I am in a state of disbelief that I am even writing this letter to you. You see, as of last week, I am no longer attending services with the Living Church of God. It’s not that the people there aren’t nice people (they are) and it’s not that they are evil and don’t want to obey God (they sincerely want a relationship with God), but what I find deeply lacking is that there is no focus or any real messages on Jesus and what He should be to us, or what He has done for us, or even that He is the One in whom we are to trust in for our salvation.
It is preached (although not in these exact words) that those in the Living Church of God are to trust in themselves and not in Jesus Christ, for example, and these are only a few. If you don’t pray an hour a day, or fast once a month, or do a number of other things, you probably won’t make it into the Kingdom. This is making the sacrifice of Jesus of no effect. It’s a religion based on works and fear and this belief leads to a person having tremendous guilt, no confidence, and feelings of hopelessness. I know this to be true based on answers to questions I have asked others in the Living Church of God and also my own feelings.
There are several other doctrines and practices of Living Church of God that my studies have shown to be not biblical and I don’t want to discuss those. But one, which struck me recently, is this (and it’s not really a biblical issue): We are told that when we are to meet during Sabbath services that a member should wear his best clothing because he is coming before God, and I, being a man, am required to wear a suit. That’s fine and good with me, but I think it’s wrong, or should I say, it’s a double standard to require the best from members when the halls we meet in are very often substandard. For example, a gymnasium as a meeting hall. I don’t think that is honoring God.
I understand now that salvation isn’t based on me. I truly understand now that salvation is a gift based on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and I can do nothing to earn salvation. I cannot earn salvation with my own righteousness. This deeper understanding has brought me to where I trust in Jesus and not in myself. It’s quite liberating.
I know there will be times when I will miss the fellowship of the members and I also know that living by what I now believe may be a challenge and a struggle, but it’s a challenge I must accept. I now have faith that Jesus Christ is my Saviour and I have absolutely no faith in myself, or other men! Jesus Christ is the WAY!
Note: Roderick Meredith died May 18, 2017 at the age of 86.