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Christian Educational Ministries
and Tyler Church of God rumors a 'nonstory'

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Christian Educational Ministries
and Tyler Church of God rumors a 'nonstory'

by Dixon Cartwright

TYLER, Texas--When a Journal editor heard rumors of a "falling-out" involving Ron Dart and the Tyler Church of God, this newspaper asked Larry Watkins of Big Sandy, Texas, business manager of Mr. Dart's Tyler-based Christian Educational Ministries, what was going on.

Mr. Watkins, who along with Mr. Dart is an elder who attends the Tyler church, responded by E-mail Aug. 28, 2008, that "the only 'falling-out' has been that, because of what I feel is a very small minority, but very vocal number of members, complaining of CEM 'controlling' the TCOG, Ron resigned from the 'Theology Committee' of the TCOG."

"Theology Committee" is Mr. Watkins' term for the elders who serve the Tyler church: John Reedy (pastor) and Mr. Dart, both of the Tyler area, and Mr. Watkins.

The committee, Mr. Watkins said, was formed years ago by a unanimous vote of the congregation to manage the church's speaking schedule and related activities.

Two entities

"Ron and I both have done all we could to try and keep an 'arm's length' between CEM and the TCOG just so something like this would not occur," said Mr. Watkins, "so this is just another step to further separate CEM and the TCOG as two completely separate entities."

The church has scheduled a business meeting after the Sabbath service of Aug. 30 to discuss the existing bylaws, a formal registry of membership and the possible use of a supermajority for some decisions by the congregation, he said.

Also up for discussion: the congregation's new building, whether to file for nonprofit recognition by the Internal Revenue Service (churches in the United States are not required to incorporate, and to date the Tyler Church of God, founded in 1996, has not done so) and the makeup and duties of the Theology Committee.

"It is now and has always been CEM's intent that the TCOG be totally operated and governed completely by the members of the congregation and that CEM have no authority of any kind over the TCOG," Mr. Watkins said.

"The only 'involvement' currently between CEM and TCOG is the previous agreement and request by the congregation to coordinate the speaking schedule and the agreement to record services for CEM's service ministry to scattered brethren."

A nonstory

Mr. Watkins, who described the recent events and rumors as a "nonstory," said Mr. Dart plans to travel more in the near future to other congregations.

"But that was something we had been discussing and planning for some time and just happened to fall at the same time" as the discussions of the CEM-TCOG relationship, Mr. Watkins said.

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