Gerald Weston, a minister in the Living Church of God, gave a sermon in November that caught the attention of many in his congregation LCG. Some of the LCG members understood that the sermon was given because of defections and massive grumbling going on in the Living Church of God.
Apparently many of the members of the congregation were appalled and deeply disappointed by the sermon. Gerald Weston was the pastor of this congregation through the 1980s-1990s and was visiting over Thanksgiving this year as he usually does. Weston was instrumental in leading this Kansas City WCG congregation into the Global Church of God, and so he is beloved by many there. Because of his leadership, his was the largest congregation in GCG and LCG up until recently when the Charlotte congregation surpassed it in attendance. He became famous shortly before he resigned from WCG when he stated in his final sermon in their employment, “I will not prostitute myself for a paycheck,” to which the congregation applauded. This makes the things he states in this sermon even more notable by contrast. Several years ago Weston was promoted to evangelist in LCG and installed as the head over the Canadian office, where he still maintains that position. He is also the main presenter for the Hong Kong version of the Tomorrow’s World telecast. This sermon is a perfect encapsulation of the level of cultism that is permeating the Living Church of God. The ministry searches the scriptures to find anything that can be used to maintain their authority over the membership.
Many LCG members are disillusioned that their prayers were NOT heard in regards to healing Mr.s Meredith. Rod and COG tradition has always emphasized that if you prayed had enough God would hear and heal, particularly when it was a high profile person in the church.
One person who listened to sermon had this to say:“And we have deaths from time to time. We’ll no doubt have some deaths in the next year; perhaps in this congregation – very likely, one or two. Although we never know exactly who it might be because sometimes it’s the younger ones instead of the older ones who you expect. Perhaps what makes the death of Mrs. Meredith a little unusual is the fact that she is high-profile, was high-profile. Many hundreds and thousands of people were praying for her. And perhaps it’s because Mr. Meredith has EMPHASIZED healing and faith. And so many may wonder, ‘Does God truly exist and hear our prayers. Does God indeed heal today? Is there something wrong with the church?’ Sometimes people worry about THAT. ‘Are we lacking in faith?’ These are some of the questions that we might have.
What he said about healing is pure craziness. So *I guess* we should thank God for not healing us and pray that he would continue to withhold healing, so that we can maintain our faith, because if he did heal us we would certainly lose faith. Of course we better add that "we know you can heal us God, but please be sparing with the healings". This is one part that appalled some of the folks, especially the ones who are suffering from some serious health issues. The ones I spoke with acted like they wanted to give him the big middle finger on that point.UPDATE:
The outrage from the members related specifically to the statements in the sermon such as, "But faith is the substance of things hoped for. Healing, for example, is one of the things we hope for. It’s not the only thing that we hope for, but it’s one. And it’s the evidence of that – we believe that God CAN HEAL – and we hope that he will heal in our particular case during this lifetime, and the sooner the BETTER. Consider if everyone was healed every time he got sick. The problem would be that it wouldn’t take faith would it? It would be something that we could see. What lesson would we learn?"
. I note that when one mate leaves the church how often another goes with that mate. It would seem like one might be strong – and, and sometimes we see that – but so often, when one leaves, the other leaves. And it shows that we follow other human beings, and are persuaded by other human beings far more than we’d like to admit to ourselves. ‘…be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses’ taught him to do. So he is telling ‘em to follow him and not follow the people in essence, and that takes FAITH to do it because there’s times when it doesn’t look like the thing to do; it’s easier to go along – to go with the flow.
00:12:32There are times when it’s easy to complain, because after all, we are JUSTIFIED in our complaints because we’re only saying the TRUTH. We see something that happens and so we complain about it; we grumble about it. And if we go back to the accounts of where all this happened – they were complaining against Moses, against Aaron, against the leadership of the church. And how many times do we complain about the leadership of the church – the local leadership, maybe it’s a deacon, maybe it’s an elder, maybe it’s someone higher up. Maybe we hear a rumor some place and we just pick up and believe it without any fact whatsoever. We’ve got a fella up there in Canada – and, and I never hear about him until I come down to the States, and I always hear about him on Shining Light or something, and he’s, he’s always talking about what’s going on in the Living Church of God – I don’t know who he IS. I don’t know if he’s ever attended a service of ours. I don’t know where he supposedly gets his information – he’s always talking about a, a great power struggle that’s taking place i-in the church. And he gets even more specific than that and, and it’s RIDICULOUS – it really is ridiculous. And those of us who sit on the Council simply laugh about it. And yet here’s somebody out there saying that, and people get on the internet and they’ll believe the INTERNET. Someone that they’ve never met – someone that they don’t KNOW. But there’s somebody out here and they’ll believe it, and then they’ll pick up on the grumbling and the complaining.
Sometimes things aren’t clear. Eating in restaurants on the Sabbath – that’s been discussed for decades, no doubt. Goes back to the time when Mr. Armstrong was alive, and it’s been discussed in the Council on numerous occasions and we’ve come up with answers on that. Of course, we-we look at all these things, whether it be makeup, or eating out on(sic) restaurants and such – either [it’s] okay or it’s not okay – we never hear the qualifying statements about those things like makeup in moderation, and without going overboard. Or eating out at restaurants – it’s okay on certain occasions, but not all occasions – we just think it’s okay or it’s not okay, as human beings. Now, of these four – circumcision, smoking, makeup and eating in restaurants on the Sabbath – of these four examples, only one judgment is directly mentioned in the scriptures, and of course that’s the one about circumcision. But in every case the church has sought the mind of God. A-and Mr. Meredith has pointed that out – that the Bible IS the mind of God. This is the book that we need to search to try to figure out what is God’s attitude toward the subject. And we try to discern that. And sometimes even for us it’s not always clear, but judgments have to be made for peace within the church. And there are a few times, like in makeup, where we have changed on more than one occasion, and we’ve-we’ve looked at all the circumstances; why the change was made and why maybe it shouldn’t have been made, but nevertheless a-a judgment was made. Because it was dividing the church, and we had to have unity within the church.
Apparently many in the LCG are not heeding the admonitions of the ministry. According to Weston, God is going to heap judgment upon these rebellious members. Is Weston trying to scare members into being submissive to the ministry?
In his sermon it is also interesting to note how he talks about what a tragedy it is for people to die when God chooses not heal them, yet when church members fail to heed the judgments of the ministry then Weston is glad his god wants to kill them.
00:39:01“The Bible has much to say about judgments and how we are to accept them. Notice back in Deuteronomy the 17th chapter, and I’ll just mention while we’re turning over there that in selecting judges, they were to be, um fair-minded, they were to be honest, but nowhere in the Old Testament say that they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They did not have the Holy Spirit of God in the way that we understand it today, but they were to make JUDGMENTS. And Deuteronomy 17 and verse 8, it says, ‘If a matter arises which is too hard for you to judge, between degrees of guilt for bloodshed, between one judgment or another, or between one punishment or another,’ notice ‘matters of CONTROVERSY within your gates, then you shall arise and go up to the place which the Eternal your God chooses.’ Verse 9, Deuteronomy 17 verse 9, ‘And you shall come to the priests, the Levites, and to the judge there in those days, and inquire of them,’ so sometimes they would go to the priests or the Levites, other times to judges that were in the local vicinity there, and says, ‘they shall pronounce upon you the sentence of judgment.’ They would look at the facts, they would base it on the law of God as they understood it at the time. ‘And you shall DO,’ notice, the person after they make that judgment, ‘You shall do according to the sentence which they pronounce upon you,’ so this was a very PERSONAL matter, not just a general thing that affects a lot of people, but it was a very personal matter. ‘…you shall be careful to do according to all that they order you. According to the sentence of the law in which they instruct you, according to the judgment which they tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left from the sentence which they pronounce upon you.’ Notice verse 12, ‘Now the man who acts presumptuously and will not heed the priest who stands to minister there before the LORD your God, or the judge, that man shall die. So you shall put away the evil from Israel. And all the people shall hear and fear, and no longer act presumptuously.’ This is very interesting because when a judgment was laid down in ancient Israel, to go against that judgment would bring the death penalty upon that person. It tells us that God is very serious about accepting the judgments that come down from his constituted authorities.
The COG has always had a large number of people in it that did not concern themselves with all the bullshit coming down from on high concerning topics that really were none of the ministry's business. Most ignored these pronouncements and went on with their lives. Apparently many in LCG are still doing this and the hierarchy doesn't like it!
Did you know that unity in the church is absolutely impossible without the ministry and the presiding evangelist? Members can never be unified on their own, it takes authority from on high to unify them. COG of God history seems to have the standard that members are too stupid to do anything on their own without the ministry being involved.When the church makes a judgment WE – all of us – need to get behind that judgment. We’re not talkin’ about the LAW of God, we’re talkin’ about things that are controversial that are not clearly stated or-stated in the scripture, and somebody has to make a judgment on a controversial issue. ‘…you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.’ You see, these scriptures are very clear that I’m going to give your hear; the-there’s no ambiguity about these scriptures. Whether, uh, you should smoke or whether you should not smoke may not be clear to everybody – I think it’s clear to most of us – but that might not be clear to every individual. But these scriptures are very clear, that we’re all to have the same mind and the same judgment. 1 Timothy 1 verses 3 and 4 – you may want to look these up later – 1 Timothy 1, 3 and 4, it says, ‘As I urged you when I went into Macedonia-- remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine.’ We had an individual we had to put out of the church recently because he had written – he’s still writing I guess – a book about the two witnesses. Now that might seem innocuous enough, but his theory is that Enoch and Elijah are the two witnesses. He’s up to about page 180 in his book, trying to prove it. And Enoch and Elijah are in one of these clouds up here someplace – I don’t know which one, we don’t have too many clouds here, so Enoch and Elijah aren’t anywhere near us today. But they’ve been in the clouds in the earth’s atmosphere for the last several hundred – not several hundred – several thousand years. That’s bad enough, but where’d he get his information? In part from the Book of Jasher – because the Bible mentions the Book of Jasher on a couple occasions. So he puts that on par with scripture – he thinks that’s part of the scriptures. Now there are three different Books of Jasher – at least three – that are out there, so you don’t know which one, and I think he’s got a fourth one that came out of Egypt – a good place to come from – that he’s going to put his-his, uh, stock in. But then there are other issues – when there’s one, it usually goes on to the other. The simplest thing for him to do would be to follow the traditions of the church: the two witnesses are people who are physical human beings at the end of the age; they are NOT Enoch and Elijah. And when you read Hebrews the 11th chapter it speaks of Enoch, it says, ‘These all died not having received the promises.’ These all died. But he’d rather believe the Book of Jasher than to believe the Book of Hebrews. You see, ther’re individuals with their private interpretations of the scripture and they’ll get them into trouble, and one wrong doctrine usually leads to another.
And I hope we’re thankful for that, getting back to our sermonette; it’s something that we should be very thankful for. And the booklets and everything else that have been written that help us to stay on track. You see, we may not have an apostle today – well we have some self-proclaimed ones out there, which is kind of laughable – but we do have a Presiding Evangelist. We have evangelists, we have pastors, we have teachers, we have individuals that God has placed in local congregations that guide the local congregation, as well as the church as a whole. But we have others that is says, ‘for the equipping of the saints… for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’ And notice verse 14, ‘that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.’ Yes, there are people out there that are plotting their own ideas; they’re self-willed individuals. ‘but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ.’ We may grow up to the-the head, which is Christ. ‘From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effectual working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.’ You read this passage and you realize that the Church of God – the true church, wherever it is, and I think we believe it’s hear, that’s why we’re here – but the true Church of God is going to be a unified church. When we read Corinthians we recognize that it’s not always perfectly unified, but this is what we strive for. And the reason that we can be unified is because we have government from the top down. The problem is that, when it speaks here of, ‘no longer children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine,’ when WE are carried about a wind of doctrine we don’t realize it – we think we’re right. I don’t know about you, but if I get in an argument with my wife, I know I’m right. The problem is, she knows she’s right. Now, we can both be wrong, but we can’t both be right. We-we don’t want to admit it, partly because of pride. The other aspect here is faith. Do we really truly believe that Jesus Christ is the head of his church? If this is his church will he, will he guide it? Will we accept the judgments that come down from time to time? I’m not talking about when somebody says it’s okay to play golf on the Sabbath and you don’t have to keep the Sabbath, or you have to work to s-, you know take care of your family. I’m not talking about THAT sort of thing. And then the casting aside of every doctrine, and going back and believing the Trinity and, and Heaven and Hell and all – I’m not talking about that sort of thing. I-I think that the ministry of the Living Church of God has proven itself. Mr. Millich is on the Council, and he’s been around – a minister longer than I have; Mr. Wells, longer than I have. And the rest of us, I think we’ve proven ourselves where we want to go: we want to follow God. Mr. Meredith, Mr. Ames, Dr. Winnail, all the way down through the ministry. I think we’ve shown and proven that we’re not trying to go off into some sort of heresy. Do we make mistakes? I would think so. Have we ever made a wrong judgment? I would guess so. But even when Mr. Armstrong made a-an error about the Day of Pentecost, God still blessed the church, and then he showed him where he was wrong. And God continued to bless the church.