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Public Statement: Trial of Stephen Allwine: a former lay minister of the United Church of God, an International Association

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Public Statement: Trial of Stephen Allwine

a former lay minister of the United Church of God, an International Association

[JANUARY 26, 2018] In the coverage of the January 2018 trial of former lay minister Stephen Allwine, some media have included inaccurate comments about the United Church of God, an International Association. They attempt to link Church beliefs regarding divorce to a possible motive for the murder of Amy Allwine.

Here are the facts about the United Church of God and its beliefs: We highly value Scripture and regard the Bible as the authoritative Word of God. In respect to marriage, the Church positively teaches it involves a lifelong commitment of mutual love, respect and selfless service. Marriage is a Holy covenant that reflects our relationship with Jesus Christ. The Church also strongly follows the biblical command that murder—even the mere thought  of murder—is condemned as sin and can never be justified (Matthew 5:21-32 Matthew 5:21-32 21 You have heard that it was said of them of old time, You shall not kill; and whoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say to you, That whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has ought against you; 24 Leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, whiles you are in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison. 26 Truly I say to you, You shall by no means come out there, till you have paid the uttermost farthing. 27 You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery: 28 But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 And if your right eye offend you, pluck it out, and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand offend you, cut it off, and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell. 31 It has been said, Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce: 32 But I say to you, That whoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery: and whoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.
American King James Version×
). Unlike what some may have insinuated, our ministers are called to be humble servants—as stated in the New Testament: “These pastors must be men of blameless lives because they are God’s ministers. They must not be proud or impatient; they must not be drunkards or fighters or greedy for money” (Titus 1:7 Titus 1:7For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
American King James Version×
, Living Bible).

The United Church of God is transparent and regards our mission, in part, to be a light to this world (Matthew 5:14 Matthew 5:14You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
American King James Version×
). As humans, we are all subject to missing the mark and stand in need of a Savior. We have a glorious Redeemer—our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ—who died for all of us that our sins and shortcomings may be forgiven (Acts 4:12 Acts 4:12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
American King James Version×
). That selfless act of Jesus results in marvelous reconciliation to God our Father and subsequently in “bringing many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
American King James Version×
). As the Bible authoritatively and positively declares, it is the fervent desire of God for “everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4 1 Timothy 2:4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
American King James Version×
, New Living Translation).

The United Church of God is deeply saddened by this tragedy and urges all to pray for the families and those involved.

More information about the United Church of God, an International Association, is available at ucg.org .