Corporate and
spiritual authority collide

by Dale Dupont

Beginning at age 19, the writer attended services of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG), United Church of God (UCG) and independent Church of God groups. He has an A.A.S. degree in industrial electronics and has worked toward a degree in electrical engineering.

MILWAUKEE, Wis.-- Jesus said in Matthew 18 that, if they do not hear you, tell it to the church. Well, here goes.

We're all imperfect, so no one is guilt-free in this matter. In fact, it seems way too long since I have said anything to the church about how we handle the going-to-your-brother, not-gossiping, abuse-of-authority or turning-a-blind-eye-to-the-sin-in-our-midst passages of Scripture.

Feast visit

At the last Feast of Tabernacles, which would be in 2012, a long-time friend invited me to visit a site in Sheboygan, Wis., sponsored by the Church of God a Worldwide Association (CGWA), the group commonly known as Cogwa.

I said to my friend: I don't know if they would want me there.

He said to me: Your visit would be great for Christian fellowship, reconciliation and seeing old friends.

So I decided to visit on a holy day to see if I fit in there.

I showed up after the sermonette and before the main message. A security man questioned who I was and asked why I was there.

I told him and said I could sit in the hallway and wait to visit with my friends after the service was over.

The security guy said no to my hallway idea and seated me in the middle of the group.

It was nice to see new faces and old friends. After the message it was nice to fellowship.

Pagan symbolism

But then presiding minister Mike Hanisko walked up to me and asked why I was there. I said I was invited by an old friend. I mentioned my friend's name.

Mike knew him. Mike said: People have complained about you being here.

He continued: Don't come back. You can fellowship only with the person who invited you. You know how we dress, so why aren't you wearing a suit and tie?

I told Mike I had forgotten to bring my suit coat, and ties are a pagan symbol so I don't wear them.

Two witnesses

Mike and I have a history. I know things about his family. He knows things about my family. We go back a long way. There is a lot of unresolved stuff in our relationship.

I do speak my mind. I'll say things like: Aren't you leaving out this scripture and that scripture?

Mike and others confuse their corporate authority with spiritual authority. I'm speaking of spiritual authority, Mike is talking about corporate authority.

Mike's assistant Dan Dowd asked me not to go to Passover a few years ago.

Dan said that after that Passover we could all sit down face to face and work things out.

But that never happened.

In Milwaukee, in the UCG, I brought two witnesses with me to talk with Mike, and I discussed with him the problems I had with his treatment of me at that time.

There are things that I believe that irritate Mike and the other members of the ministerial hierarchy.

For example, I will not call them "mister." Mister means "master," and we should reserve that terminology for Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ said we are all brothers, and call no man master and no man teacher. That policy irks the ministers.

Gossip is a failing

The whole situation boils down to this: I said to Mike we're supposed to do Matthew 18. It's in the law that we're not supposed to gossip. Gossip is a failing of our society.

The churches aren't a ministry of reconciliation. They're not playing God. They're playing Satan. God would tell them to go reconcile with their brother.

The bottom line is the organizations are still facilitating breaking the law, and then they're kicking out people who disagree with them.

Editor's note: The publisher of The Journal informed Mr. Hanisko of the content of Mr. Dupont's article and invited him to comment for publication. He declined to do so.


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