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.
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. LCG continues the teachings of HWA.
Roderick C. Meredith left the WCG and founded Global Church of God in 1992. In a sermon on May 17, 1997 entitled “Where is the True Church Today?” he stated that the “true church” was none other than Global Church of God.
Meredith believed God chose him to “re-establish the true church.”
In November 1998, Meredith was fired from Global Church of God and in December of that year he founded Living Church of God (LCG).
Roderick Meredith’s wife Sheryl died November 29, 2013. She had been suffering from stage 4 cancer since 2012. His first wife, Margie, also died of cancer, in 1976. Margie was the sister of Raymond, Burk, and Carl McNair.
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.
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.”
Dead were: Pastor Randy Gregory, 50, and his son, James, 17; Harold Diekmeier, 74; Gloria Critari, 55; Bart Oliver, 15; Richard Reeves, 58; and Gerald Miller, 44. Randy Gregory’s wife, Marjean, was wounded.
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 2017 LU was closed down and Living Education (with online courses) has replaced it.
Program/Bible Study Course:
LCG produces a weekly half-hour TV program called Tomorrow’s World with Richard F. Ames and Gerald E. Weston as the speakers. [Update: Richard Ames had a stroke in March 2017] They also put out a magazine by the same name (now online). Plus, they have Living Church News, also online. All of these 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?)
In addition, there is a Children’s Bible Program (“Children’s Bible Lessons”) for ages 6-7 that consists of 49 lessons.
Living Youth Program (LYP) is Living Church of God’s camp for their pre-teens and is patterned after HWA’s Summer Educational Program camps (S. E. P.).
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.
According to the Word of God, Meredith’s “faith plus works of the Law” belief system is 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)
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.
Continuing Church of God a Splinter of LCG:
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).
Roderick Meredith gave many false prophecies in the past. To read some of them, go to the Robert Gerringer Letter and search for the word “Meredith.”
Following is a sampling from Meredith’s newsletters:
“The very end of this first 6,000 years of human experience will soon be here.” (December 8, 2004 Dear Brethren and Co-Workers letter from Roderick Meredith) “Alternating storms and droughts, firestorms and earthquakes, disease epidemics and increasing terrorism will afflict our peoples in a manner unprecedented in modern history!” (June 17, 2004 Dear Brethren and Co-Workers letter from Roderick Meredith) “Millions of people all around you will become increasingly alarmed and afraid as the wars, the acts of terrorism and the drought, famine and disease epidemics all become more and more serious.” (July 21, 2004 Dear Brethren and Co-Worker letter from Roderick Meredith.)
Meredith stated that LCG is carrying on the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong “more than any other group on earth.” (Refer to: All or Nothing Statements) Similar authoritarian groups say the same thing. Such boastings are common in totalistic, controlling Bible-based cults.
LCG’s dogma and belief system is rooted in the teachings of Herbert Armstrong, known as a false prophet who gave over 200 false prophecies. (Read: Did Herbert Armstrong Set Dates?)
Expose` Articles on Roderick Meredith as a Minister:
The following shows some of the hidden history of Living Church of God:
“You will gain precious insights and information available nowhere else.” (stated my Meredith)
Death of Meredith:
Roderick Meredith died May 18, 2017 of cancer and was replaced by Gerald E. Weston. Weston follows the same 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.
By D. M. Williams
Exit & Support Network™
Updated February 18, 2020