Be sure and investigate further into the inner workings of Living Church of God because they won’t tell you up front what you’re getting into. Look beyond their bold words that say you will “Discover Real Christianity”; look into their history, the background of their founder, and read testimonies from former members.
Note: If you have a mate who has recently gone into this group, or is becoming involved, be sure and read: If You Have a Loved One in a Deceptive, Exploitive Group.
Living Church of God is an offshoot of Worldwide Church of God (WCG), founded in 1934 by Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA). WCG was known for decades as a destructive, authoritarian religious group, which claimed to be the “one and only true Church of God” with Herbert Armstrong considered “God’s apostle” who was said to have received revelation from God.
Roderick C. Meredith (born June 21, 1930), founder of Living Church of God, was a former member and evangelist in WCG. He graduated from Ambassador College (AC) in 1952. AC was founded by HWA in 1947 to train ministers and to carry out his publishing activities operation with his Plain Truth (PT) magazine.
Meredith was also associate editor for the PT and wrote a number of articles for WCG, especially on prophecy. These can be found online in Plain Truth archives online. (See especially the 1950s and 1960s to read many of his false prophecies.) Meredith was exposed as a false prophet in Pt. 2 of the Robert Gerringer Letter (search for the word “Meredith”).
In 1992, Meredith founded Global Church of God (GCG) in San Diego, California. (One insider revealed that Meredith was paying himself $120,000 per year during the time he was with Global COG.) (Much more info on Global’s beginnings is covered in read OIU 2, Pt 2 beginning at: “Speaking of Global…(Re-inventing the wheel).”
Claiming to be God’s True Church:
Rod Meredith gave a sermon on May 17, 1997 entitled “Where is the True Church Today?”1 In it he stated that the “true church” was none other than Global Church of God. LCG now offers a booklet, Where is God’s True Church Today? and there is a video on their site from August 2013 entitled, “Where is God’s True Church?”
In November 1998, Meredith was fired from Global Church of God after an “authority conflict.” Meredith had felt he should be the “unquestionable leader.”2 In December of that year, he founded Living Church of God (LCG) in San Diego, California. In 2003, he left San Diego and moved his LCG headquarters to its present location in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Meredith believed God chose him to “re-establish the true church” and that his members are the “spiritual heirs of the original Jerusalem Church of New Testament time” or “remnant” of the Philadelphia era.3 LCG believes they are the continuation of this Philadelphia era4 and claim to to be practicing “original Christianity” even offering Roderick Meredith’s original booklet Restoring Original Christianity.
Meredith stated that LCG is carrying on the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong “more than any other group on earth.”5 Similar authoritarian groups say the same thing. Such boasting is common in totalistic, controlling Bible-based cults.
While LCG will say there are “branches” to the true church today (referring to WCG splinters that teach HWA’s dogma and which call themselves “churches of God”), in Meredith’s booklet, “Where is God’s True Church Today?” he asks the reader, “How can you recognize God’s true Church? This booklet will help you understand!” He continues on throughout, throwing out the word “true” over and over again. This kind of repetition of a word is common in Bible-based cults. He finally brings the reader to the point of thinking, “Yes! There must be a true church somewhere and Living Church of God is it!” This kind of black and white thinking can lead one to becoming deceived and exploited.
Living Church of God members were known to refer to Rod Meredith as “God’s anointed.” (Refer to March 21 letter “My Experience With Global and Living Church of God Was a Horrible One” in the section on Letters About the Shooting Spree) Members of exclusive groups often give their leaders titles that glorify them.
Living Church of God Shooting Spree:
On March 12, 2005 eight people were tragically killed, including the shooter, Terry Ratzmann (LCG member), during a shooting spree at LCG services. Ratzmann, 44, was a member of LCG.
Eight Dead in Living Church of God Shooting Spree! (Many excellent letters that ESN received at the time)
Excerpts from USA Today, March 14, 2005:
Terry Ratzmann, was “upset over a recent sermon, a fellow churchgoer said Sunday.” … Ratzmann, 44, a churchgoer… walked into the hotel room where the church had services and fired 22 rounds from a 9 mm handgun. Seven people, including the church’s minister and his teenage son, were killed and four others wounded. Ratzmann then took his own life, police said.”
Killings Shed Light on Church. This article was published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on March 20, 2005 about the Living Church of God shooting spree. It also links to and from the letters on the shooting spree.
Program and Bible Study Course:
LCG produces a weekly half-hour TV program called Tomorrow’s World. They also put out a magazine by the same name. (now online) Both avenues are used in recruiting potential members for LCG. The burdens that will be expected of the member is never shown upfront until they join the organization. By that time, they believe they are in the “true church of God” and to leave is to “turn your back on God” and lose out on eternal salvation. Headquarters (and what they say to do) is always correlated with God. Therefore, to disobey LCG is to disobey God.
Tomorrow’s World Bible Study Course is what prospective members and visitors to the site are encouraged to enroll in. It is taken online or through the mail. This course is based on Herbert Armstrong’s Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course where the reader would look up certain scriptures which were furnished (usually taken out of context) so they would come to the conclusions the WCG wanted them to. (Read: How Did Herbert W. Armstrong Recruit People?)
Note: A much better option than the LCG Bible Course for studying the Bible is with Dr. J. Vernon McGee of Thru the Bible who goes through the entire Word of God in 5 years (M-F), alternating between the O.T. and N.T. This recommended ministry is listed on our Links.
Living University and Living Education:
In 2007 Meredith founded Living University (LCG’s college) in Charlotte, N.C., which was designed to train ministers and lay members into the belief system of Herbert Armstrong. Since the college was not accredited by any agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, getting a “theological degree” from LCG’s Living University was not worth the paper it was printed on. By May 2018 LU was closed down and Living Education (with online courses) has replaced it.
In 2007 Meredith founded Living University (LCG’s college) in Charlotte, N.C., which is designed to train ministers and lay members into the belief system of Herbert Armstrong. Since the college is not accredited by any agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education6 getting a “theological degree” from LCG’s Living University is not worth the paper it’s printed on. By May 2017 LU was closed down and Living Education replaced it in August.
Living Youth Camp is LCG’s camp for their youth and is patterned after HWA’s Summer Educational Program camps (S. E. P.). They have three different camps: Teen camps for age 13-17; Pre-teen camps for age 6-12; and Adventure camps for age 13-21.
LCG continues in the teachings of Herbert Armstrong, a known false prophet who gave over 200 false prophecies. (Read: Did Herbert Armstrong Set Dates?)
Preaching a False Gospel:
LCG teaches that there is only one true gospel which is “about the Kingdom of God,” but this gospel is centered on “God’s government,” to be enforced upon the entire world when Christ returns, and which members will have a big part in. The word “government of God” is also associated in members’ minds with LCG headquarters. (Read: Why do members emphasize the government of God?)
The gospel or “truth” that LCG teaches is totally lacking in the knowledge of redeeming grace; instead it places the focus on striving to obey the Mosaic Law (which Meredith insisted is still binding on Christians). Meredith said the true church is to first: preach this “gospel of the Kingdom” and second: to preach the “true name of Jesus Christ.”7 Yet, Meredith preached “another gospel” (Galatians 1:6-7), and the “Jesus” he preached is a false Jesus.Meredith affirmed this law-keeping teaching early on in his 1956 booklet, Is Obedience to God Required for Salvation?
According to the Word of God, Meredith’s “faith plus works of the Law” belief system was clearly “another gospel” and “another Jesus.” (II Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:8) It does not point others to the Person of Christ and allow them to rest in what the Lord Jesus has already accomplished for them through His death and resurrection. LCG’s teachings are in direct conflict with the gospel of grace as presented in the N.T., especially in the Epistles of Paul. (Read: The Law of Moses and the Grace of God)
LCG teaches that there are only “two members in the God family”–God the Father and Jesus Christ, and that God the Father is the foremost member. Only faithful members will become God; e. g.:
“How can you not be filled with ALL of the ‘fullness of God’ and not be God? … This is the final fulfillment of the Gospel of Jesus Christ–the ultimate Good News–that man can be born into the God Kingdom, the God-level of existence.”8 [bolding ours]
LCG teaches that Jesus was not God while on earth, but became God at His resurrection. They claim that to say He was fully God and fully human is “logically not possible.” This shows their lack of understanding of the Word of God. The Scriptures are clear that Jesus was fully God and fully man. (See: The Two Natures of Jesus which includes many scriptures. Also read the book, Jesus Christ IS God by Robert L. Sumner, which is one of most comprehensive works defending the Deity of Christ.)
For a thorough study read: The Eternal Sonship of Christ by George W. Zeller and Renald E. Showers. (PDF)
“If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” ~Galatians 1:9
Meredith’s Wife Dies in 2013:
When Roderick Meredith’s wife died of cancer, he asked for money instead of flowers to be sent to LCG. Read: Roderick Meredith Wife Dies.
Death of Meredith / Gerald Weston Takes Over:
Roderick Meredith died May 18, 2017 of cancer and was replaced by Gerald Weston. Weston follows the same false belief system based on Herbert Armstrong’s dogma. (Read: Herbert Armstrong: Mr. Confusion for a review of his doctrines.)
As of 2018 LCG stated that its average weekly attendance was 9,000. It is reported that it may have dropped to around 6,000 today.
Continuing Church of God a Splinter:
In December 2012, a new splinter group named “Continuing Church of God” was founded by Robert Thiel (former member of LCG). Bob Thiel said he no longer believes LCG is the Philadelphia remnant in Revelation 3 and that CCOG is now leading the “final phase of the work.” In 2018 CCG was reported to have 3,800 members (3,600 in Africa).
Church of God Assembly, a New Splinter:
A new splinter of LCG, Church of God Assembly, was formed in September 2020 after Sheldon Monson (minister in LCG) was fired by Gerald Weston. It is estimated that over 500 members left LCG.
By D. M. Williams
Exit & Support Network™
Updated September 14, 2020
NOTE: Living Church of God has been known to meet in Masonic temples or buildings (as did Worldwide Church of God). Roderick Meredith confessed to being initiated into the DeMolays, a Masonic club for boys, when he was a teenager. (“Trust Christ’s Leadership,” taped sermon by RCM, July 6, 1996.) Some believe that groups such as the DeMolays are “feeder groups” for the Masons (“…being groomed for potential membership in Masonry and the Eastern Star when they reach adulthood.” Hidden Secrets of the Eastern Star by Cathy Burns) Could Dr. C. Paul Meredith (Roderick Meredith’s uncle) perhaps have been a Mason himself? C. Paul Meredith was appointed director of the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course in 1954 by Herbert W. Armstrong. The AC Bible Correspondence Course was used in recruiting others into HWA’s organization.
Expose` Material on Roderick Meredith as a Minister:
The Broadway to Armageddon by William B. Hinson (book in PDF; search for Roderick Meredith’s name)
Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web by David Robinson (book is available PDF; search for Roderick Meredith’s name)
Letters: (out of many on our site)
Eight Dead in Living Church of God Shooting Spree! (Many excellent letters)
Confession and Freedom From Specific Cult/Occult Strongholds (includes WCG, PCG & all offshoots)
3 “…we are the ‘remnant’ of the Philadelphian Church living over into the Laodicean era” (Living Church News; July-Aug 2003, “Wait on God,” by Roderick C. Meredith, p. 3.) However, LCG believes that in order to be considered a Philadelphian, individual members must “do their part, and must not allow their lives to be cluttered by the cares of this world so that they themselves become lukewarm (Laodicean)” (Living Church News, Jul-Aug 2001, “What is a Philadelphian?” by Robert Thiel, p.15). Note: “do their part” is construed to mean, “obey the government of God.” “It is clear that God’s government throughout the Old Testament–AND in the soon coming World Ahead–was (and will be) a hierarchical government under God’s direction, based on the Holy Scriptures…” (Global Church News, Sept-Oct 1995; pp. 5,7,8)
5 All or Nothing Statement by Roderick C. Meredith.
7 Do You Believe the True Gospel? by Roderick C. Meredith, 1995. “We must never forget that Christ’s teaching was not primarily about Himself, but was a message about the coming world government which He will soon set up here on this earth.” (January 16, 2005 Dear Brethren and Co-Workers letter by R. Meredith)
8 Your Ultimate Destiny by Roderick C. Meredith, pp. 31, 33,1996. Meredith also teaches (as HWA did) that “God’s purpose is that He is reproducing Himself…” (Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs of the Living Church of God. March 2004).