This is How Church Should Make You Feel
Best of the Holidays to You All
D. Jerry Ruddlesden and Dexter B. Wakefield
The Living Church of God continues to carefully manage the financial resources that God provides through our members and coworkers. For the year 2017, regular income was flat, but total income declined from that of 2016 due to some extraordinary income items that occurred in 2016 but were not repeated in 2017. Expenses were adjusted accordingly, so that net income and expenses were approximately equal for the year.
Demographics continued to play a significant role in the Church’s finances in 2017, with many of our older members moving into retirement. However, we were very pleased to see a growing number of young families and new attendees adding to the attendance of our local churches in the United States. The international Work continues to grow, especially in Central and South America.
The Church continues to evaluate and cut underperforming programs and media outlets in order to replace them with new opportunities to preach the Gospel.
As in previous years, the Church allocates the bulk of its resources to preaching the Gospel (38 percent) and feeding the flock (55 percent). Administrative costs were kept at a very low seven percent of expenditures.
The Church entered 2018 on a good financial footing and looks forward to a successful year for God’s Work. As in previous years, the Church was audited by the accounting firm, Cherry Bekaert, and the full 2017 audited statement (with notes) is available at www.lcg.org. To read it, click on About Us, then on Living Church of God: 2017 Consolidated Financial Statements.
It was hard to imagine that if I didn't stop wearing Bonne Bell lip gloss, I would single-handedly prevent Jesus from returning and my family from being saved.
King James Bible
It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house. Proverbs 21:9
Pay Attention to Bible Prophecy: Jesus told His disciples to stay alert and watch for the fulfillment of specific prophecies that will mark the approaching end of this age. This admonition is repeated numerous times in the New Testament (Matthew 24:42–44; 25:13; Mark 13:33–35; Luke 21:36; 1 Thessalonians 5:6). Jesus also warned in the parable of the foolish virgins that many will be caught napping by the surge of events that will precede His return to this earth (Matthew 25:1–13). God has given His Church a “more sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:19, KJV)so His Church can act as a watchman to warn about the prophetic significance of both current and impending world events (Ezekiel 3 and 33). Yet, over the years, misguided teachers and preachers have ridiculed the Church’s understanding of prophecy and accused anyone watching Bible prophecy of suffering from “prediction addiction.” However, as we see world events fitting into the end-time scenario that is outlined in Scripture, we need to make sure we are building a closer relationship with God and that we are learning to live by every word of God—as we continue to pay attention to Bible prophecy.
November 29, 2018 By Rod McNair Dear Brethren,
Below-freezing temperatures have come to the Carolinas over the last few days—a refreshing change after a long, hot summer! Mr. Gerald Weston is still travelling, and will be conducting a Regional Conference in Joplin, Missouri this weekend. As December begins, here in the office it’s budgeting time as the Accounting Department works with the different departments to map out the budgets for 2019. Parents, please note that we are posting new Children’s Bible Lessons each week on the lcgeducation.org website, for three different age levels. Mr. and Mrs. Jim Meredith are moving to Knoxville, Tennessee next week to take up their new responsibilities there—we wish them well on their new assignment. Please continue praying for Mr. Martin Fannin, and note the encouraging update about Mrs. Connie Breaux below! And I look forward to seeing all you brethren in Helena and Great Falls, Montana for a church visit and TWPs this weekend.—Rod McNair
While size is not an indicator of truth, the truth is that the CCOG has been the fastest growing COG in the 21st century. The three groups with more congregants than CCOG (UCG, COGWA, LCG) have essentially been slow growing and the other two shown on the post (PCG and RCG) have had substantial losses of congregants in the past 6 or so years.
Unlike UCG, COGWA, and LCG who got the bulk of their members because of a split from another organization (as PCG also somewhat also did–but not as quickly directly as the others did), CCOG did not do that.
Currently, about 3,800 are considered and/or wish to be considered congregants with the CCOG.
Now, I noticed that the anti-COG Banned by HWA site made negative comments about CCOG and Africans today.
But scripture points to a much more positive view.
Jesus taught that fruits will identify the true from the false:
It is obvious to tens of thousands of Church of God members and even more ex-members that Bob Thiel IS a false prophet, who comes as a ravenous wolf seeking to devour sincere seeking Africans in order to add to his "astounding" membership rolls. Never has the church seen a more puffed up and vainglorious self-appointed COG leader that it has in Bob Thiel. Even Dave Pack, the narcissist he is, is not as important as Thiel who has declared himself the one and only true end time prophet. No COG has ever grown as fast as he has nor made available booklets in so many languages as he has, at least in his eyes.15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)So, fruits are the criteria Matthew recorded that Jesus set to know true from false prophets.
Good trees produce a lot of fruit.
Deuteronomy 7:13 refers to people as the fruit of the womb.
If fruits can be defined as people in the Church of God, then CCOG has those.
Since CCOG formed, it has produced the most fruit that way.
Thus, the only group of the six listed that claims to have a prophet that has the fruits of a prophet Jesus referred to is the CCOG.
Laodiceans, and others, however, refuse to accept that standard that Jesus set.Jesus never, I repeat NEVER set up Bob Thiel as a prophet or the one foretold in dreams, as he claims.
They decide (they reason around this).
Various ones say, well anyone can get Africans to come with them, and since CCOG has mainly Africans, this does not count.
Well, that was basically the same attitude that the Jews had in New Testament times concerning the calling of Gentiles. They did not think that the Gentiles counted.That is a load of Armstrongite self-serving bullshit. Those who see through the lies of the self-appointed false prophet are concerned about sincere searching people in Africa who probably truly want to follow Jesus but have been caught up in another white man's cult imported from America that is trying to save the unconverted heathen blacks of Africa. It is time these people stepped out in faith and rebuked the white Bawana's coming to give them their version of the truth. It is time they stop prostituting themselves to the American purveyors of legalism and learned to embrace grace and freedom that the Jesus the seek to follow came to give to them, freely and without and works of their own.
The late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about this portion of scripture:
Now study carefully beginning verse 25: “Blindness in part is happened to Israel [HOW LONG? Forever? No — note it], UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” — the end of this age during which God is calling a people from among the gentiles to bear His name (Acts 15:14). And so, says Romans 11:26, “all Israel SHALL BE SAVED [how?]: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” The Deliverer, Jesus Christ, is coming again!
When He comes, the gentile times will be over — the BLINDNESS will be removed from the Israelites — and their opportunity — their FIRST chance — of salvation will then come to those whom God had blinded! This is at the time when He comes to REIGN on HIS THRONE — the throne of David, with the saints made immortal reigning and ruling with Him — and the time is DURING THE THOUSAND YEARS!
It is a sad day when any COG leader claims salvation cannot be found outside their own respective church. Truth only resides with them and therefore those who reject them and their church are unable to understand any truth of God or what they have to offer.Notice verse 31. These blinded Israelites have not now, in this age, received mercy, that through the mercy of the gentiles saved in this age, they MAY, THEN, obtain mercy and salvation. How? Because these saved gentiles will then be kings and priests, assisting in this wonderful Work! (Armstrong HW. Where Will The MILLENNIUM Be Spent? Tomorrow’s Word magazine, September 1971)Clearly, we are now (47 years later) much closer to the time when all the Gentiles are to come in to later be kings and priests!
If you are not with CCOG does your church teach or understand this?
Will you believe the Bible or reason around it?
More of the Gentiles had to be called–and that is happening–and now mainly in CCOG.
The end does NOT come until the ‘gospel of the kingdom’ reaches enough nations and the ‘full number’ (as the NIV, NLT, BSB, CEV, GNT, HCSV, ISV, and NET Bible, put Romans 11:25) of Gentiles God wants in this age come in.
If you really are praying for the kingdom to come as Jesus taught in Matthew 6:10, then you should support CCOG.
Don’t use prejudices and other factors stop you from acting on the truth and using the criteria that Jesus and the Apostle Paul laid out.Anyone who yearns for the kingdom to come will NOT under any circumstance EVER support the improperly named "continuing" Church of God. Trusting in the One who is greater than any COG leader will ever talk about is far better than ever desiring to be in a kingdom run by a COG leader or their group, particularly one envisioned by the improperly named "continuing" Church of God.
The truth is that CCOG has been the fastest growing COG in the 21st century.
Re: Membership numbers for major WCG remnant groups...Thanks to quite a few of you who messaged me privately with some responses to my questions about membership of current WCG remnant/splinter groups...no one seemed to be sure, though one person put Thiel's Continuing Church of God around 3800.In the meantime I checked with Dixon Cartwright, thinking he might have the best finger on the pulse...here are his guesses--and he emphasizes these are just estimates:
United Church of God An International Association (12K)The Church of God a Worldwide Association (9K)The Living Church of God (3K)The Philadelphia Church of God (2K)The Restored Church of God (2K)My query was not a theological one (as if "larger" means better) but more a kind of curiosity question, or even along the lines of the sociology of religion--what happens when an "high demand imminent apocalypse group" falls apart...The WCG is one of the dominant examples in American religions, wheras JWs, SDAs, and LDS, despite breakaways and fragments, managed to maintain their core group--which I think the WCG/Grace Communion would have done had they not abandoned and even opposed ALL the major teachings of Mr. Armstrong. If the mother group had continued to strongly teach and advocate the core teachings of "Mystery of the Ages" my guess is they would have adjusted to failed prophecy but continued to grow strongly with a sharp and unique message.
Note: Tabor's numbers for LCG are wrong above.I think this is a kind of new phenomenon in the history of most American apocalyptic movements. They shift and change but usually maintain the core or essence of their founders (Charles Taze Russell, Ellen G. White, Joseph Smith)...
United Church of God: 12,360 according to Peter Eddington on 26th February 2018.
Church of God a Worldwide Association: approx.11,000 (5,500 in the USA), according to Jim Franks on 29th November 2018.
Continuing Church of God: 3,800 according to Robert Thiel. (Over 3600 are in Africa.)(It should also be noted that Tinfoil Bob's improperly named "continuing" Church of God is the only COG that actually pays most of its members to be part of their group. If we can trust Bawana's church count of 3,800, it means that he is funding 3,600 members in Africa who do not have the funds to send money to his awesome HQ's in Arroyo Grande, CA. From computers to seeds to financial funds, the Great Bawana keeps his church-hopping African members happy, even as they keep demanding more resources from him.)
The LCG, PCG and RCG do not give out numbers, but attendances for all three have been declining significantly.
Living Church of God: 6,000? 9,000 was presumably the attendance when Robert Thiel left LCG to form his own church, and it surely hasn’t sunk to 3,000 today. The only membership loss announced publicly was the transfer of the Geneva, Switzerland, congregation to COGWA.
Philadelphia Church of God: 3,500? Stephen Flurry commented a couple of years ago that PCG had levelled out at around 5,000. In 2017 The Philadelphian magazine listed 143 congregations, indicating that 2,000 must be on the low side.
Restored Church of God: 1,000? If it isn’t down to this figure (or lower) now, it surely will be soon – David Pack is continually losing members and ministers – even his second-in-command left recently.
COGWA has benefited greatly from the losses of LCG, PCG and RCG, because it decided to be more welcoming towards newcomers. Prospective members are no longer vetted before being allowed to attend. Instead COGWA has copied the United Church of God in introducing a standardized website for each congregation, stating location and times of services, and welcoming people to visit. Whereas the Festival of Tabernacles in LCG, PCG and RCG is restricted to members and their families, COGWA has an open attendance policy.COGNews