Now onto business:
One of the issues that prompted Steven Andrews to write his letter to David Hulme (discussed last post) was his concerns regarding a sermon Hulme recently gave in which he asserted the right to rule alone.
(Please note: Andrews' letter is posted on an Armstrongite blog operated by one James Malm.)
Here are some excepts from Andrews' letter regarding this particular sermon:
Because of its impact on everything we do as an organization, your view of government and authority is of primary concern. In your recent sermon on government, gospel and godliness, great effort was expended in an attempt to demonstrate, using scripture and the Apostle Paul, that you are entitled to rule in what can only be called an autocratic manner. What was not in your presentation was any acknowledgement that what makes government work is godliness, beginning with faith.Andrews also points out that according to the rules and regulations of California it is not possible for COG-AIC to be controlled by one man and to do so would put COG-AIC in rebellion against the law of the land, contrary to Scripture.
Unfortunately, government, more specifically, Biblically based government, is a topic about which leaders in the church, for as long as I have been in the church (40 years), seem to know very little....
Once in power, leaders seek to protect that power. Not surprisingly, by asserting their authority, based on their position, to do so. This kind of circular reasoning has been true even of Church leaders. What makes it worse when Church leaders behave in such a manner is that they misuse scripture to justify their acquisition, possession and retention of authority. That is precisely what you did in your sermon on government, gospel and godliness.
As I have explained to you and board, The Church of God, an International Community was created for the following purposes (Bylaws Article 3.1 emphasis added throughout):
“…the corporation shall serve as an instrument of the Church of God to publicly proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world as a witness and care for those that God, the Father, shall call. The corporation shall not, except to an insubstantial degree, engage in any activities or exercise any powers that are not in furtherance of the purposes of this corporation…”
The corporation is a California Nonprofit Religious Corporation under the California Corporations Code. California Nonprofit Corporations Code §9210(a) provides that a Nonprofit Religious Corporation is required to have a board of directors. It further provides that the activities and affairs of the corporation shall be managed and all corporate powers shall be exercised by or under the direction of the board. Subsection (b) of that same section allows the board to delegate management of the activities of the corporation to any “person or persons” “provided that the activities and affairs of the corporation shall be managed and all corporate powers be exercised under the ultimate direction of the board.”
This means that under California law, the board of a Nonprofit Religious Corporation is the highest authority for the organization. No particular board member, including its Chairman enjoys sole authority and the authority of the officers of the corporation is subordinate to that of the board acting as a body. The lawful operation of the organization demands this structure and specifically eschews autocracy. Romans 13, particularly verses 1-2, require those of us in the Church to respect the laws of the land unless they contradict the laws of God (Acts 5:29).So we see that David Hulme's attempt to reimpose his absolute authority within COG-AIC has been exposed.
In these scriptures, we are given clear lines of authority with respect to governing. Since there is nothing in the Nonprofit Corporations Code that contradicts the scriptures, those laws and the structure they provide need to be respected and upheld. The model of governance on which California law is based is not different in the UK, Australia, Canada or any other location in which the Church is incorporated to facilitate its work. Notwithstanding, implicit in all government and governing is authority. And while it is the California Corporations Code that defines authority within the corporate entity of the Church of God, an International Community (an instrument of the Church), the bylaws that establish operating authority for the organization have been subordinated to scripture. I did that intentionally.
So whether we are speaking of the Church of God, or the corporation established as an instrument to facilitate the work of the Church, neither primary, nor ultimate authority rests with you, any other individual or any group of individuals. Authority rests with Christ and based on his Father’s instruction, he demands mutual submission, not autocratic rule. Primary and ultimate authority rests with the Father. Your sermon on Government, Gospel and Godliness referenced none of this. Rather, it painted a threatening picture of your autocracy within the household of the Father. Not a few people felt threatened. Was it your intent to threaten the beloved children of the Father?