From a reader here:
Some of the victims of the recent LCG purge actually wanted to stay in LCG.
I know someone who met a few of them at the UCG Feast. My friend wrote LCG to ask how they justify kicking people out without offering counseling or making attempts to "help" these supposed sinners. He was shocked at the flippant, rude replies given by the LCG Correspondence Department (an LCG minister).--------------------------------------------
John Doe Question:
Hello. I met exLCG members at the Feast this year (UCG) that said they were disfellowshipped and marked for having a bad attitude. They also claimed that nobody tried to help them or counsel with them. My question is what is your policy on disfellowshipping/marking members? Do you try to help members that go astray? Is a negative attitude enough of an offense or do you have to commit adultery or something like that? Thank you.
LCG Reply:The Living Church of God does not arbitrarily disfellowship or mark individuals. These things happen because of individuals not obeying God, or causing division or other disruptions in the Church. It has been our experience that talking with disfellowshipped members will always result in them stating they were unfairly and unjustly put out of the Church. We can assure you that this is not the practice of God’s Church.If you need further information, please let us know.PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE DEPARTMENTJohn Doe Reply:I can imagine that it is usually true that getting kicked out would result in the person or people feeling upset and negative. These people seemed to be sad more than anything else. My concern was that they seemed to be converted and they seemed like kind people so it lead us to wonder what kind of horrible thing they might have done that would result in an immediate disfellowshipping without a minister trying to counsel or help them in any way. We decided that they would be in jail if it was something that bad and they were at the Feast so they obviously weren't child molesters or killers. That leaves us wondering what kind of offense would result in a converted family getting kicked out? I'm sure you can’t say. But I still wondered 2 things that your email didn't answer. Does LCG disfellowship/mark members without trying to counsel them first? What type of offense warrants disfellowshipping/ marking church members? It seems like you would try everything possible to help before giving up a member as "Gods Church". Maybe these people are good actors and we were fooled. It has made us and our friends curious and we have thought of them many times since getting home from the feast. If these people want to be with you it seems like they would be helped instead of removed. I would think that Christian love would cause their minister to do everything possible to keep them in the church and to help them, not keep them out when they obviously want back in.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questionsLCG Reply:The question we ask is why would you think that the ministry would not do all of those things? That is what ministering means. Yes, we are supposed to be forgiving, but we are still given the task of protecting the flock. How would you personally respond to what God inspired Solomon to write in Proverbs 6:16-19?Your further statement seems to indicate that these people were not treated fairly, that ministry did not try to help them. Why would you state that, if you were not being influenced by the individual(s) themselves. Isn’t that a fair question for us to ask of you? You “seemed” convinced that they were “converted.” People can be converted and still be in bad attitude and cause division because they feel their position is righteous. Paul’s epistles are full of these types of issues. Would these people admit that they were guilty of causing discord, etc,?Please don’t be misled, the Church takes itself very seriously in these matters. Jesus warned that to offend one of the little ones, it would be better to tie a millstone around the neck and be cast into the sea.You are asking us to answer a matter without full knowledge of the circumstances.John Doe Reply:I wouldn't "think that ministry would not do all those things". That is precisely why I took the time to write you in the first place. I only had one side of the story and I wanted to know if it was true. I was serious when I said that I have thought about attending with LCG in the past. I have been disappointed with character traits that became apparent after the UCG split. I'm looking for evidence of the fruits of the Spirit and Philadelphian love.
I am not being "influenced" by these people like you say. I can find the facts and make decisions on my own. I also did not see anything in them that indicated that they had a "bad attitude". They didn't say anything bad or negative about anyone in LCG.
The only reason I thought they weren't counseled is because they said they were disfellowshipped and marked without being counseled. Are you saying that they lied about that fact? I didn't include their names in my original email because I assumed that you would not be willing to discuss the details of other people with a stranger. I was only asking in broad generality if LCG would kick people out without first trying to help them and if so, what circumstances would warrant such a severe reaction. I thought that you knew who I was talking about because I would think that there wouldn't be too many people disfellowshipped/marked right before the feast. So I also assumed that you did in fact know the circumstances. Its fine though.
It seems like your answers will be non-direct, evasive and somewhat offensive. It seems accusatory of you to say that I am being "influenced" by them. I wasn't trying to be argumentative. I was trying to get both sides to make a fair judgment on these people like the Bible instructs me to. At this point I have their word and you answering my questions with questions! I don't like feeling like I'm on the defensive for asking a simple question so I will leave it at that and not bother you again. They answered our questions openly and directly. It didn't seem like they had anything to hide. Your evasiveness makes it look like you are hiding something. I pray that you did try to help them because it is very serious indeed if you turned away a family of little ones without trying to work one-on-one with them first!LCG Reply:Thank you for completing the circle.
John Doe Reply:I clearly won’t need to look in the direction of LCG in my search for a church with Godly character and Philadelphian love. This has been a surreal experience! I wish I knew who you were so that I could share your immaturity and flippant attitude with your superiors. Is this how Christ would have responded to a potential church member who was asking a genuine question in peace? I don't think so. If you do, you know a different Christ than I do! My opinion of LCG has been greatly molded by my correspondence with you Sir. Thank you.LCG Reply:Thank you.