Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Living Church of God member writes about Sardis/Philadelphia eras and why the church proclaims the Bible yet treats members like dirt

Note:  While I may or may not agree with many of the things said below I am making good on my offer for LCG members to have a space to share their concerns.  LCG members/former members now make up a significant percentage of the readership here. We have allowed them space to share their concerns and disappointments in the leadership and direction of the church.

From a Living Church of God member: ...I am a Living Church of God member who would like anonymously to post a couple of articles that I think many of your readers might find interesting because they are entirely based in Scripture and because they are completely contrary to what was pounded into church members for decades.  I think they help explain some of why the church(es) proclaim what is in the Bible but at the same time treat people like dirt.

Is the Living Church of God the fulfillment 
of the Sardis church description?

The Worldwide Church of God claimed to be the fulfillment of the Revelation 3 description of the faithful church era, so does every one of the hundreds of offshoots from that church.  Have any of them actually taken the time to compare themselves to what the actual Scriptures actually say?  Let's take a look at what the actual Scriptures actually say and compare them to the actual facts.

Revelation 3:1 states: "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, 'These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: " I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead."

Here we have a very specific clue - the name.  In sermon #964, Gerald Weston mentions that the originally, Mr. Meredith had wanted to incorporate under the name "Church of the Living God", however that was unavailable for some reason, and so the name was chosen as "Living Church of God".  Those are two entirely different connotations, and the one fits precisely with the name that is "alive" in Rev. 3:1.  Mr. Armstrong claimed that the Church of God, Seventh Day was the Sardis church era, however, that is simply not a name that is "alive" in the same way that Living Church of God IS a name that is alive.  The facts and the Scripture match.

Verse 2 of Rev. 3 gives a warning that there are problems in the church that are not being fixed.  Verse 3 gives a description of what is wrong, "Remember how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent...."  Here we see what the problem is: the era has forgotten how it heard and received and does not repent. 

How does a person received the truth?  A person must be humble and teachable, as Christ illustrated by using the example of a little child (Matt. 18:2-4, Mark 9:37, Luke 9:48).  When the crowd heard Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost they realized they had sinned and were given the instruction to repent (Acts 2:37-38), and they did.  Receiving the truth involves being humble and teachable, and that doesn't only apply to someone "new in the faith", but to everyone at all times.  Even the apostles, after the coming of the Holy Spirit sinned (Gal 2:11-13) and had things they needed to learn (Phil. 4:11-12).

To receive the truth it is required to repent, and repentance will not be accepted without also forgiving others (Matt. 6:14-15).  Repentance without forgiveness is of zero value (Matt 18:21-35).  I fear for the ministers who have issued unfair punishments to church members (James 2:13).  While I understand that there are times when discipline must be administered, it must be done in accordance with the Scriptures (Matt. 18:15-17) and it must be for Scriptural reasons or otherwise established clear rules, not simply some unexplainable cause.  There also must be no partiality involved (Deut. 1:17, 16:19, James 2:1-9). 

Unfortunately, the Living Church of God falls very short in these areas.  If you have been treated badly by the Living Church of God and read the open letter from the Scarborough's, you probably read a playbook of the way you were treated as well - accused and then shutdown and cut off in spite of clear evidence of innocence or underlying circumstances.  While no one is perfect, the harshness often dealt out is often in far disproportion to the alleged infraction, and no amount of apology is ever accepted or even acknowledged, it is simply the opinion of the minister that reigns supreme.  In Mr. Meredith's live webcast on Dec. 24, 2016, he stated that if someone in church has a problem and they bring it to the leadership that they will listen.  But here is what most often actually happens: If someone has an issue with a minister and they bring the problem to the church leadership, they will initially listen to the person, then ask the minister in question what his version is, and then side with the minister.  If there are further attempts by the individuals to be heard they will be ignored or kicked out.  The clear evidence, facts of the matter, multiple witnesses, or Scripture become completely irrelevant, all that the church leadership seems to care about is their authority being upheld.  I'm not just basing this on the Scarborough's letter, I know it from seeing others get treated the same way.  I knew one individual who asked repeatedly why they were being punished and tried to apologize for everything they could think of only to have their apology turned around and used as "evidence" against them.  I knew another individual who was issued a punishment and when they asked the HQ minister sent to review the case why they were being punished, he simply said he didn't know - but that didn't stop him from enforcing the punishment (get this: he flew all the way from Living Church HQ to review a case, and didn't know why the person was being punished).  The lack of forgiveness and lack of repentance certainly fits with the description of Rev. 3:3.

Pointing out Scripture to a minister is also treading on very thin ice.  I'm not talking about an obscure verse somewhere or vague prophecy, I'm talking about multiple verses that essentially back up common sense.  Things such as getting all the facts before judging a matter (Deut. 13:14,17:4, 6, 19:15-18, Matt. 18:15-17, I Tim. 5:19) not listening to here-say or gossip, and so on.  If a minister is transgressing in these areas, to point it out is to ask for retribution, whereas it should be the opposite (Pro. 9:8, 15:31, 17:10), the ministry should be especially glad to adhere closely to Scriptural guidance.  This know-it-all attitude is the opposite of how a person receives and hears the truth and is a fulfillment of Rev. 3:3.  The facts and the Scripture match.

Concerning the "works" that are mentioned.  The Living Church of God acts as if the only definition of the word "work" is preaching the gospel and that doing so somehow gives a pass to any other wrongdoing that is going on.  That is simply not the case, "works" are what a person does (Gal. 3:19-21, James 2:14).  Preaching the gospel to the world is a base requirement of God's church (Mark 16:15, I Cor. 9:16), it does not earn extra credit or cover for sins (Pro. 10:12, Luke 17:10, I Pet. 4:8).

Continuing on in verse 3 of Rev. 3, "...Therefore if you will not watch,..."  Watch what, world news?  Is that what it is talking about?  No, refer back to verse 2, it is talking about watching and strengthening the qualities that are dying.  It's about watching the self and personally overcoming, repenting, and so on.  Seeing the exact world actors and timing that are due to fulfill prophetic events is worthless without a foundation of Godly love (I Cor. 13:2), which is based on following His law (John 14:15, 15:10, I John 2:4, 5:2-3).

The penalty for "not watching" is, "...I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I come upon you."  As is made clear in many Bible prophecy areas and is examined in many church of God books on the subject, there are many signs that precede Christ's return, years of them, in fact.  Christ isn't going to sneak back and surprise people.  But Christ returning is not the only way that He can "come upon" a person, as is made clear in the Ezekiel warning (Ezek. 3:18-21).  If a person dies before Christ's return, then Christ has essentially come as far as that person is concerned.  Also, considering that there are many signs prior to Christ's return, and yet He indicates that He will sneak up on this church era, it seems that this church era will not be in existence at His return.  There have been many churches of God over the centuries that have flourished and then vanished, the Scripture seems to indicate that the Sardis era, exemplified by the Living Church of God, will be no different.

Rev. 3:4 states, "You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy."  This statement should stand as a very stark warning for the church, note that it is not the "many" who have not defiled their garments, but the "few".  The church leadership who thinks they have a place in the kingdom assured and yet go around oppressing the members had better think again.  Hophni and Phineas and the Pharisees all held positions of leadership as well and they certainly didn't gain automatic admission into the kingdom because of it (I Cor. 10:12).  And members who aren't repentant, forgiving, and actively making changes in their lives to better get along with others and serve God had better beware also.

Rev. 3:5 states, "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels."  This verse tells the seriousness of not overcoming - he who does not overcome will not be clothed in white and will be blotted out from the Book of Life.  This is how serious it is to be humble, teachable, repentant, and forgiving.  Ceasing from those things will lead to loss of salvation.

The conclusion in Rev. 3:6 says, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."  The admonition is to look at what is said to all the churches, not just the ones you think apply to you.

It is my hope that the Living Church of God leadership will read this and cease from the harshness and partiality that is so rampant.  If the Living Church leadership doesn't want their church described as a "minister's club", then stop making it into one.  It is my prayer that the Scripture will be followed, not just taught.  It would be nice to see some openness and honesty for a change.


Scriptural evidence of why Worldwide Church of God 
was not the Philadelphian era of the church.

The Worldwide Church of God was measurably the largest and most influential church of God in the history of the churches of God.  With mailing lists of some 8 million and church attendance in the hundreds of thousands, the size of the church dwarfed any previous church of God by magnitudes.  With the invention of radio and television, the preaching of the gospel went out in ways previously unimaginable to people around the world.  The economies of scale allowed printed magazines to be distributed widely.  This ability to preach the gospel in such a dramatic manner left little doubt to Mr. Armstrong about which church era he was head of - obviously, he had the "open door" of Rev. 3:8, and therefore simply must be the manifestation of the Philadelphian era.  Now that we have the advantage of being able to look back in time, does that assertion still hold true?  

Mr. Armstrong had identified the Church of God, Seventh Day as being the "Sardis Era", however, the name certainly doesn't fit the description.  His reasoning was that since they had lost much of the truth and did not have a zeal to preach the gospel, that they were figuratively a "dead" church.  Also, since Worldwide was "obviously" the Philadelphian era, this had to be the case.  But does it fit with history and Scripture?  If you read the books on church of God history, you will find a repeated pattern which goes something like this: Revival - Growth - Apostasy - Collapse.  Simply skim through the book by Mr. Ogwyn on the subject and you will find this over and over again, especially during the vast span of time identified as the "Thyatira era".  Although Mr. Armstrong could not know it at the time, the church he raised up would follow that exact same pattern.

If you have read the article comparing the Living Church of God to the description in Revelation 3 of the Sardis church, you will have some of the premise and additional evidence of Worldwide not being Philadelphian due to time sequence.

So let's look at the actual Scriptures and the actual facts starting in Rev. 3:7:

"And to the angel of this church in Philidelphia write; These things says He who is Holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens:"

In sermon number 974, Mr. Gerald Weston notes correctly that this verse is a description of Christ (not the church) and that it is a quotation from Isaiah 22:22.  He also repeats Mr. Rod Meredith's frequent assertion that ""David" means government".  Is that what this Scripture is saying?  The passage in Isaiah 22:15-23 refers to someone who has a key to king Davids house, they have control over who is allowed to enter.  This in no way is speaking about a type of governmental structure as has been frequently asserted, the context simply does not support it.  The description is of Christ as having the key, it is Him who has control over who enters the King's house and who doesn't. 

Rev. 3:8 "I know your works.  See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name."

First of all, "works" are simply what a person does, it does not refer to any one specific thing such as preaching the gospel (Gen. 2:2-3, I Cor. 3:13-15, II Thess 3:8, Titus 2:7).  Christ is simply saying He knows what this era is doing.  

Mr. Armstrong read this verse and referenced the other places in the Bible where a "door" is used to mean an opening to preach the gospel (I Cor. 16:9, II Cor. 2:12, Col. 4:3) and concluded that this meant that the Philadelphian era would have a large opening to preach the gospel.  This interpretation combined with the overwhelming magnitude of the preaching of the gospel by Worldwide led to his "obvious" conclusion.  But is that conclusion correct?  All of Worldwide and all the offshoots claims of "Philadelphianess" depend on the correct meaning of the "open door" in this verse. 

Of primary importance, let's consider the context of this statement about the "open door".  The Greek word translated "door" appears 39 times in the New Testament, but only three of them clearly allude to preaching the gospel.  The previous verse was describing Christ as having the power to open or close an entrance and here we see a door open to this group of people.   Considering that there is no criticism to this group of people, it is a fitting reward that they would be allowed into God's house.  To paraphrase the two verses in regards the door: "7 Christ has the key to the house 8 and He has opened the door to you."  Where in the two verses is there anything that alludes to the "open door" as pertaining to the gospel?  It isn't there any more than there is Christmas is in Matthew 2!  The word "door" also appears in verse 20, but no one contends that it is referring to preaching the gospel due to context.  Well, the context of verses 7-8 doesn't support it either.  The claims of Mr. Meredith that the Living Church of God is the "Philadelphian remnant" rest entirely on the "open door" of verse 8 having to do with the preaching of the gospel, but the context clearly does not support it!  (Furthermore, where in the Scripture is there any mention of a "Philadelphian remnant"?)

I am not saying that preaching the gospel is not the duty of a Christian church, it certainly is, but I am saying that using that as the defining characteristic of the Philadelphian era does not fit with the context of the Scripture.  Both Worldwide and Living church have blasted other churches for taking Scriptures out of context, but isn't that really what has happened here?  The concept of the preaching of the gospel as defining the Philadelphian church has been a constant for decades, but how does the Scriptural reference back that up?  I know many will simply insist on that definition "because Mr. Armstrong said so" and it is in keeping with church tradition, however, what did Christ say about traditions that were not according to the Scripture (Matt. 15:3-6, 9, Mark 7:8-9, Col. 2:8)?  He was not impressed.  This is very important, look at what the words of Scripture actually say!

Continuing along in verse 8, the description continues that this church era has kept Christ's word and did not deny His name.  Did Worldwide do that?  Did it uphold the Bible and keep to it's teachings?  Of course not, it dropped the teachings and went right into protestantism.  Even when Mr. Armstrong was alive there were many leaders who broke away and took members with them right into heresy.  Corruption grew up frequently that he had to deal with, he even had to put his own son out of the church.  Before his death the seeds had already been planted that would attempt to wipe away everything he had taught within just a few years after his death.  It is hard to look at all that and describe it as a church that held fast to the Scripture, in fact, it is impossible.  

Verse 9 can only be fulfilled after Christ's return.  Verse 10 indicates that this church era will be protected from the "hour of trial" which is assumed to be the great tribulation, although that term isn't found elsewhere in the Bible.  If that assumption is correct, then this church era must exist before and during that time.  There is nothing here about it existing in fullness and then dwindling to a remnant for which this part is fulfilled.  If protection is due to being already in the grave, then there is nothing special about this church era's protection, as the majority of Christians are already in the grave.  The reward of protection is due to persevering, but it is not specific in exactly what.  Did Worldwide church persevere?  It no longer even exists!

In verse 11 Christ says He is coming quickly and to hold on to the crown that is given.  Although "quick" to us and "quick" to God are different things, Christ does say He is coming quickly to this era, which further indicates its existence at His return.  Worldwide church no longer exists, and many of those who were associated with it at its beginning are no longer alive.

So since Worldwide was not the Philadelphian era, what was it?   Well if the eras are sequential and Living church is Sardis (see the other article for that), then let's look at the description of Thyatira and see if it matches.

As with all the eras, the first line part describes some attribute of Christ.  Verse 19 starts the description of the church:

:19 I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience [perseverance]; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.

Here there are several positive traits listed and then one that is very interesting - that the last works are more than the first.  When it comes to churches of God through history to the present, there isn't any that surpass Worldwide in size, influence, or recognition.  This church very clearly had far more "works" than any of the others, printing more literature, and using means and methods not even imagined in the previous centuries.  Was Worldwide the end of the Thyatira era?  They certainly had more works than any before them: the description fits.  They also, more so early on than later, had an approach of love, service, and faith.  When Mr. Armstrong "put the church back on track", those attributes were not really restored to what they had been before.

20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.

The Jezebel of the Bible was a huge promoter of pagan religion, and in this context it seems that the "sexual immorality" mentioned probably has to do with dabbling in false religious ideas.  Did some in the leadership of Worldwide church ever dabble in false christianity?  During the church wide fast and live broadcast from Living church HQ Mr. Weston mentioned that there were ministers in Worldwide who quietly kept Christmas.  The various "theology projects" that took place also had leanings toward false religious practice.  

And what is "eating things sacrificed to idols"?  That is to take something that is fine of and by itself, but has been tainted by its use in pagan practice (Acts 15:29, I Cor. 10:28).  A very clear example of this is the use of Masonic lodges to hold church services in, which was extremely prevalent during the time of Worldwide.  The Masonic practices are clearly rooted in paganism and their buildings always contain symbols and idols, and yet that is where Holy Days were kept, in the midst of rooms containing idols!  Clearly, this description fits.

Verse 21 indicates that the church was given time to repent and didn't.  This brings to mind the time in the '70s when Mr. Armstrong "put the church back on track".  It was not "back on track" as was plainly evidenced over the next decades.  The church as a whole did not repent.

Verse 22 indicates that the church era and those associated with it will be in "great tribulation", which means that the church era will be around at that time.  How is indicated in verse 23 which indicates that this church era produces "children".  Just as the great false church produces children (Rev. 17:5), so does the Thyatira era of God's church, and with hundreds of churches springing from the collapse of Worldwide, this fits the description.  This may also tie in with Rev. 12:17 as being among the ones that Satan is allowed to pursue.

Verse 24 describes there being no "other burden" being placed on those who do not have the false doctrine.  It appears that the main trial of this era of the church is to resist the pull of false doctrine.  Did Worldwide resist the pull of false doctrine?  Pretty clearly, it didn't, not at it's demise, and not during its span.

The balance of the passage gives a list of rewards to the over-comers and an admonishment to hold fast, as with all the eras.  The easily obtainable facts and the clear portions of Scripture seem to line up pointing to Worldwide as not being the Philadelphian era but the last hurrah of the Thyatira era.  Mr. Armstrong could not have known at the time what the perspective would be thirty or so years after his death, but now the situation is very apparent.  This pretty well explains the corruption and mistreatment that so many were subjected to over the course of Worldwide's existence and the churches that sprang from it.  Far from being the era which was given no reproach, it was an era mixed with corruption, as so many readers of this website witnessed with their own eyes.

I am sorry for all of the people who were treated disdainfully by individuals who claimed to represent God.  Their conduct is blasphemous even more if they are among the leadership.  Those who think that being in "the right church" and "preaching the gospel" remove any obligation to treat people with decency have completely missed the main point of God's way of life that they claim to profess.  They way that people are treated like garbage and thrown out without a second thought is an absolute disgrace, and the complete opposite of what God's word clearly spells out.



Black Ops Mikey said...

Sorry, but even at its largest, Church of God Seventh Day was still larger than the Worldwide Church of God, in more places. What passes for influence? The Bible Advocate or The Plain Truth.

Oh, I'm sorry, neither the Worldwide Church of God nor the Plain Truth (as envisioned by Herbert Armstrong) -- not even The Good News -- exists any longer, but the CoG7 and the Bible Advocate are still around after 150 years.

The little sects of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia can make all the noise they want and pretend all they want, but they are neither great in any way (particularly as Christianity) nor are they at all influential in any significant way.

Those are the facts.

It's clear that they can readily ignored as usual so that the usual lies and excuses can continue to be embraced without one whit of consideration that the belief system of the Armstrongists is totally off -- completely wrong -- and unfocused.

Dennis Diehl said...

The Seven Snippets to the churches in Asia minor were to them. Making them into seven arguable and squabbling church eras is making the text mean what it never meant or could mean.

Anonymous said...

Hey LCG "member" - there's the door. No one is forcing you to stick around. Go find a church that fits your perfect idea of church. You ain't gonna find one - anywhere. Sorry. I wish there was one, but there isn't one. Not yet. Not until the Kingdom is on the Earth.

Sweetblood777 said...

I have stated the same for years. Living COG has alive connected right to it. I believe that there are two ways that the seven churches need to be viewed. One as they identify on the mail route and the other. expanding through time.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Of course, Dennis, since Revelation is just made up, maybe the churches never existed and there was no message for them.

And today, it's totally meaningless.

The Painful Truth said...

But these people will continue to support a lie which in contrast they lie to themselves every time they send off a check to "Headquarters".

Anonymous said...

I had a work boss work who kept verbally abusing his workers in order to squeeze everything he could from them. He expected management to ignore the abuse, and reward him with promotions. It never happened. Upper management had some morals, so they refused. My point is, this boss, like to days ministers, couldn't comprehend how he was perceived by others. He was secretly despised by responsible people, but didn't know it. Like todays ministers, he was disconnected from reality.
Rods 'send in your excess wealth' for a final push for the work, is his attempt to top up his reward in heaven. What a joke that is. He hasn't even qualified for the kingdom.

Anonymous said...

Herbert W. Armstrong taught the following:

Sardis era: The Church of God, Seventh Day.

Philadelphia era: The Worldwide Church of God under HWA.

Laodicea era: The current ungodly MESS.

Remember this and think about it often.

If you reject this understanding and try to listen to new theories, it just seems to open the door to a lot of demonic influence. There will be NO END to the many, different, crazy theories that many, different, crazy people will come up with. Significantly, none of their many, different, crazy theories that they waste their lives trying to convince other people about will ever prove to be worth anything.

The so-called “doctrinal upgrades” that the LCG leaders come up with are bad enough. To listen to all the many, different, crazy theories of all the many, different, crazy, lower-level, LCG nuts will not help at all. It is no wonder that they get kicked out and that nobody wants to waste any time listening to them and their many, different, crazy theories. RCM is full of enough rebellion and hostility toward what HWA had taught. The many, different, crazy, little, LCG nuts do not have the good sense to keep quiet about their own rebellion and hostility.

Hearing about the very real and serious faults of the splinter groups can be very interesting. Hearing the many, different, crazy theories of the many, different, crazy, little nuts can become a real drag. It is not as if the Holy Spirit is leading them all into the same truth. Instead, numerous evil spirits each lead a different, crazy, little nut off in a different direction. Which one of these many, different, crazy, little nuts are you going to follow? What makes you think that the one, particular, crazy, little nut that you happen to listen to could ever possibly be right? Do you feel lucky, rebel?

The explosion of the WCG really did send nuts flying everywhere. This explosion did not lead to greater order and understanding. Like the one true explosion that it was, it continues to lead to more and more chaos and confusion.

Anonymous said...

Church 'eras" another totally unbiblical made up doctrine compliments of the Elijah.
Remember back in the day when they put people who thought they were Napoleon or Christ in loony bins?

Redfox712 said...

"In sermon #964, Gerald Weston mentions that the originally, Mr. Meredith had wanted to incorporate under the name "Church of the Living God", however that was unavailable for some reason, and so the name was chosen as "Living Church of God""

I can well recall hearing Meredith stating the same thing in a sermon of his. It was my understanding that another church owned that name hence why it was given its current name.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this.

I too am an LCG member and I agree whole-heartedly with this writer.

It was well thought out. As a member for nearly 2 decades, I can not refute any of its contents.

To anon 2:23 who flippantly says "there's the door", when all of your friends are in LCG and you have children and all of their friends are in LCG, it's a difficult thing to just walk out the door.

We have all seen how LCG members have no loyalty or love lost for people who are no longer in LCG. We have all seen how heartbreaking it is for people who leave and are basically shunned by the people they have loved for years.

I can't do that to my kids. Maybe once they grow and leave for college I will make a move but I can't bear the thought of them losing all their friends and being treated like outcasts just because mommy and daddy can't take it anymore.

I am trying to practice that "long-suffering" that the Bible talks about. And trust me, putting up with repeated sermons on government and the abusive treatment of my friends by LCG ministry feels like long-suffering!

When LCG started, it wasn't like this. Unfortunately, just like gangrene, the rot has spread year by year and, at present, the infection is about to take down its host.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:29, with comments like yours, I suspect that you may have never been fully onboard with LCG from the day you walked into one of it's Sabbath services. And that's unfortunate. What a waste of your time to stay around an organization that doesn't live up to your standards. It's a good organization with a honorable mission focus that is doing what it feel compelled to do with fallible human beings from top to bottom. And sticking around LCG just for the kids sake? Where is your leadership in your family? If you leave after they are adults, then your kids will most likely not respect your decision. Again, where is your leadership as a father or mother in doing it that way? Sad.

Anonymous said...

Although I don't hold to the theological beliefs (Armstrongism) as the LCG member who wrote these two articles, I absolutely agree with and confirm his/her assessment of how the Living Church of God leadership exercises harshness that is often in far disproportion to the alleged infraction and how they practice blatant partiality, which can simply be summed up as Spiritual Manipulation and Abuse.

I was a member of LCG for ten years and my situation with LCG is almost an exact representation of what the writer points out in paragraph 7 of the first article.

I agree with Anon @ March 30, 2017 at 5:29 AM who points out (and I'm paraphrasing here) that when you have relationships in LCG (family and friends), it's a difficult thing to just walk out the door. Ultimately though you have to make a decision, and it has to be the right decision for you.

I was compelled by the Holy Spirit and the Gospel of God to ultimately cut ties with LCG because He (the Holy Spirit) revealed to me the truth (John 16: 5-15) that the Armstrong theology (Armstrongism) which LCG teaches is the preaching of another Jesus, a different spirit, and a different gospel (2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:6-9) and it is full of doctrines of demons; and also because my relationship with Jesus Christ and adherence to His sound doctrine is by far more important (Matthew 10:34-39).

I firmly believe that there isn't any one professing Christian church denomination or group that has all of the so-called "truth" when it comes to their doctrines and practices, and that would definately include LCG and all of the Armstrong splinter groups. If "the TRUTH" really matters to any member of LCG, then get out because the truth is that LCG surely doesn't have it. I encourage you to place your trust in God and ask Him to help you with your relationships and to find a church group that holds to the essential doctrines of the Christian faith as evidenced and taught in the New Testament of the Holy Bible. In the essentials - Unity. In the non-essentials - Liberty. In all things - Charity.

As for Anon @ March 30 at 7:16 AM - How dare you have the nerve to chastise 5:29 AM! You just said that LCG has "fallible human beings from top to bottom"! You HYPOCRITE!

Your comments just proves that you are not a good person and that LCG is not a good organization! The leaders are unrighteous men who through their unrighteousness suppress the truth (Romans 1:18). If this is your way of practicing how to "rule in the coming kingdom" when you supposedly will become "God as God is God" (which you won't - see Isaiah 43:10), then you're doing a poor job you worm!

Anonymous said...

5:29 here

I'd like to reply to 7:16 who ignorantly stated that they suspect I was never really onboard with LCG in the 1st place.

You could not be further from the truth. I love the Word of God. I love God's Feast, holy days and Sabbaths. I was never in WCG (before my time). My first interaction with the COG, "first love" if you will, was in LCG. An LCG minister baptized me. I was on cloud 9. I was "all in". Hook, line an sinker.

I understand that the church is lead by humans and humans are not perfect. I get that. But what I have witnessed first hand and repeatedly is nothing short of malice from LCG ministry. Ministers in my church have WORSE character than the "worldly" people I interact with at my job every day.

Add to that their total lack of forgiveness, inability to ever admit wrong-doing, horrible egos, arrogant senses of entitlement, false accusations against my brethren, lies and refusal to fix what's wrong even when its the most logical thing to do and 1000 other things and my fire was slowly extinguished.

LCG might talk the talk but their corruption, greed and abuse of the members makes it clear that LCG is NOT the COG.

I agree with the article writer when they say that doing the "work" isn't about telecasts and TW special presentation. Doing the work is about exemplifying Christian character in our daily lives.

So anon 7:16, I guess at the end of the day, you're right. I'm not onboard with the behavior that has become normal at LCG. No one should be. Doctrinally though, I still believe what I have proven to be biblically sound despite my saddening experience in LCG.

anonymous63 said...

Anon 5:29 AM "We have all seen how LCG members have no loyalty or love lost for people who are no longer in LCG."

"You shall know them by their fruits". If they (the ministry /members) are not showing the fruits of the Holy Spirit why stay in an ungodly environment? If you continue to stay, there is a very strong possibility that you will be corrupted/poisoned by the NOT GODLY fruits. You say you are staying for your children's benefit. If the fruits, attitudes and unrighteous character of this group /ministers are affecting (or is that effecting?) you, it is also affecting your children. Toxic relationships are damaging.

You say, "putting up with repeated sermons on government and the abusive treatment of my friends by LCG ministry feels like long-suffering!" Ok, I can see that you would be 'putting up with' the sermons on government but I have to ask, why are you *putting up with* the abusive treatment of another human being that you call a friend, by those who 'lord it over you/them'? Why would you stand by and not speak up? How do you call that long-suffering? Would you call someone a friend who 'put up with' someone else abusing YOU? Would you allow your children to be abused and not stand up and say something to the abuser? Would you not report the abuse? Will you allow your children to continue in this environment and let THEM be abused by the ministry? Why stay in a rotting and infected environment that you describe similarly to gangrene? The church is *supposed to be* a body. If the head is sick, the whole body is sick (willingly or not). I hope you can understand that my questions come from a place of care for you and your children and those you call friends.

More questions. If you wait to escape or stand up for what is right until your children are grown, are you not putting them in a position of having to turn their backs on you, if THEY remain in LCG? How do you currently feel about being expected (commanded) to shun those who have left or been put out? Do you feel that is a reasonable position to put your children in? You say, in your 4:59 comment that "your fire was slowly extinguished." Once that stage occurs, it is often not long before the embers go out and then there is nothing left. If LCG is not the COG then what is it?

Anonymous said...

5:29 here

@ 9:13

I am not offended in the least by your questions. I struggle with those questions nearly daily.

I have guilt that I haven't stood up for those that I know were treated unfairly by LCG ministry. It's something that eats me alive. But I know that standing up for them would result in problems for my family for no LCG minister is going to tolerate a member who "stands up". You are right, I have been a horrible friend. I love these people but my actions aren't reflective of that love because of my cowardice. To answer you question, I feel horrible about being told to shun people who I know are good.

It sounds so shallow even as I type it but my kids are looking forward to summer camp and we've already registered for the Feast. I'm not in a place where I am brave enough to mess that up.

The entire environment isn't "rotting and infected". Many of the brethren and ministers are good people. It's the core that is rotten (Rod McNair borders on evil) with a few offshoots to local congregations (you can always tell based on where people are disfellowshipped and/or leave in greater numbers than they grow).

Regarding your question about my kids growing up and turning their backs on me if I leave LCG and they stay... I'm not worried about that because I doubt LCG will be in existence for that much longer. There is a growing discontentment that is palpable. It's unsustainable. I'd rather just stay and keep my good name and when everything falls apart making a move will be less notable.

And lastly, to answer your question, "if LCG is not the COG then what is?" - I am convinced that the COG is a body of people. It has nothing to do with an organization with a corporate name. There are people in the various splinter groups that are truly trying to live God's way. There are many people who don't attend with any group who are truly trying to live God's way.

I agree with you that it would be easy for "the ember to go out" completely and that is one of the reason I continue attending with other like-minded people. I just no longer look to my ministers for guidance, character or even informative sermons (they are so uninspired). We are each PERSONALLY responsible for growing in grace and knowledge. No church can do it for us.

Anonymous said...

Let me suggest exploring the metaphor of the ember going out. Look at it in two opposite ways.

1. Before going to bed on a cold night, I put big solid chunks of oak or locust wood in my stove so there will be embers left to get the fire going again the next morning to keep the house warm.

Is your ecclesiastical fire safely contained and properly vented so it warms the family without releasing poisonous gases or burning down the structure it is supposed to make warm? If so, how can you best keep the embers glowing through the dark night?

2. After firefighters doused the flames of a brush fire on our property, they hurried around to the smoky spots and extinguished every last ember so it could not ignite a new conflagration.

Has your ecclesiastical fire spread out of control and damaged you and your relationships? Can you afford to let the embers die out, or do you need to extinguish them now, for your family's sake?

Anonymous said...


I hope that I can offer some encouragement to you because I have been in your same situation: To stand up against unfairness and be kicked out, or to keep silent and watch others suffer wrongly.

I pushed things as far as I could without getting kicked out myself. I had to realize that I was not on a level playing field with these individuals. You can be totally in the right, with all the Scriptures on your side, and be kicked out without a second thought. To push things farther, and be kicked out, would have accomplished nothing.

You are 100% correct that growing in grace and knowledge of God is up to each person individually, no church or minister can do it for you.

Hang in there my friend, you are not alone in your struggles.