“Faith in Action” is the name of a magazine published by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. Having read the 31 May issue, I think that “Selling Salvation by the Pound” might be a more appropriate title.
A number of articles bang on about the “Campaign of Israel” and “sacrificing”. Both of these appear to involve the
marks believers donating a large chunk of cash to the UCKG in order to awaken God’s interest in them. It appears that, in the eyes of the UCKG, God is some sort of Third World bureaucrat who requires a bribe before he takes an interest in your case.
First there is tithing. Now a lot of independant churches, lacking the accumulated wealth and state subsidies of the established churches, need contributions from their congregations to function but the UCKG takes the concept a whole lot further. It would appear that God holds out on you unless you tithe. Consider this letter from one Ingrid Jagdeo:-
“In July, 2008, I was working for a Local Authority and got promoted. That same day, I was in a car accident and suffered significant injuries to my back and leg. I was unable to fill that position and, subsequently, lost the promotion to someone else. After recovering in November last year, I started attending the UCKG. I had heard about being faithful to God intithes but I had always struggled with the idea. I thought it was all about the money and not something I felt like doing. I didn’t mind offering when I could, but nothing more than that. Then at the beginning of 2009, I decided to put God to the test and started being faithful in my tithes. A couple of weeks after making that decision He honoured me and I was promoted to the position that I had lost because of the accident. God has showed [sic] me that he doesn’t joke around.”
It does not seem to occur to the writer of this letter, which we obviously must accept as genuine, that when the opportunity for promotion opened up again the Local Authority remembered that she had been considered suitable last time (and perhaps being fearful of being sued under the Disability Discrimination Act) decided to promote her. And just consider the implications of the second and third sentences. Implies that if you don’t pay up, God will break your leg and back. Makes Him sound like Tony Soprano.
Beyond tithing, there is the Campaign of Israel or sacrificing. Bishop Julio explains:-
“If the Lord puts it in your heart to sacrifice an item of value to you, here is a way to make the sacrifice perfect and more pleasing to God: Instead of bringing the item to the church, you should make your physical sacrifice of searching for a place to sell that item and the present the money you sold it for in your envelope on the altar. Doesn’t this require more effort and isn’t it more painful than simply bringing the item itself?
“…now that the Holy Spirit is giving this direction, let us offer the perfect sacrifice always.”
In other words:-
Listen up proles. Donating your stuff to the church is all very well but it means I’ve got to traipse around selling it and frankly I can’t be arsed. Sell it yourself and just give me the readies.
For the record, I am not claiming that the magazine used these exact words. I would have thought that was obvious but judging by recent comments(8 August 2012), it is not.
In a question and answer article sacrifice is defined as:-
“…the surrender of something prized for the sake of something higher or more valuable. It’s the highest expression of what you believe you will achieve”
In other words, if you want something out of life, God might arrange it for you in consideration of a well stuffed brown envelope. It has obviously occurred to someone that giving wedges to the UCKG is really no guarantee of success because the final Q&A reads:-
“Why is it that some people are blessed in Campaigns of Israel and others aren’t? Because unfortunately some people don’t understand the real meaning of sacrifice and consequently they didn’t sacrifice at all.”
Can’t have the
marks faithful getting the idea that slipping readies to the ‘pastor’ does not actually achieve anything, can we? So convince them it’s their own fault and if they give a little lot more, God might change his mind.
UCKG should change its name to “The Church of God the Bent Bureaucrat”.