Well, those of you who thought I was becoming a shill for Living, or at least for COG Writer, fear no more! I have quite a measure of respect for Robert Thiel, who writes the blog “Church of God News”. He is a prolific writer, but it is normally high caliber. Certainly, it is normally not as petty as this:
The fact that LCG has received as many responses for the first seven week of 2009 as UCG had gotten in total for its television and radio efforts since inception, should show those with “ears to hear” which group God is using to proclaim the good news through television.
~ COG Writer, UCG & LCG Announce TV Responses, 22 Feb 2009
Most of you realize, of course, that Dr Meredith broke away from WCG early on and formed Global Church of God. Some have criticized Dr Meredith for breaking away so early and not trying to work things out with the church leadership of WCG at the time. He later had yet another falling out with the GCG board, so he left that and starting Living Church of God.
I’d like to take the time to state, before going on further, that LCG was certainly on my short list of organizations when God really started working on me. While they retain a few of the more strict doctrines that HWA taught, I saw nothing that would have counted it out completely. In spite of some people’s insistence, not everyone is going to agree 100% of the time on everything. That is why Paul wrote about “disputable” items. Anyone who believes or teaches otherwise is living in a fantasy world. What is really important is that the “the plain things are the main things, and main things are the plain things”.
LCG also is to be commended for not wasting time getting the Gospel out there. They funnelled money into TV and a slick magazine in short order. They hit the ground running, as they say.
Those that went to UCG, however, stuck it out and tried to work it out with the parent organization as long as they could. And, isn’t that the point of Mt 18:15-18?
UCG took time to review all of its doctrines. After much corruption by church leadership over the years, it was indeed a prudent thing to not take any of them for granted but to “prove all things”. Many were led astray because they forgot how to do that. It seemed that it was time for the Church to relearn this important task and practice discernment.
Just as important, and easy for those who like to take potshots forget, UCG took the time to be Christian, not just study it. While those who were “freed from legalism” also felt free to abandon widows and retired ministers who disagreed with them (Mt 23:14!), UCG absorbed those who were willing to be helped and helped where feasible (cf. 1Ti 5:3; Jas 1:27).
Is UCG perfect? Of course not. Then again, neither is LCG. We are all works in progress. What we need to be clear on is what the mark of progress actually is. In spite of all the phenomenal growth of the WCG during the 1980s, what did it come to? People read the magazines and watched the TV shows, but they weren’t reading their Bibles! They did not develop a love for the truth.
Now, I put it to you, dear reader, what would Jesus rather hear upon His return? Would He prefer, “Look how many TV episodes were produced in Your name”, or would He prefer, “Look how many widows were fed in Your name”? I think the Scriptures make it clear (cf. Mt 25:31-46). Remember the mark of true religion. Remember the goal is to bear fruit — the fruit of the Spirit.