COGWriter Shows Inconsistency in Church Eras

One of the online dictionaries gives an example of “the era of the Romans”.  Of course, Rome fell.  It came to an end.

COG people often talk about “church eras”.  Many believe the “Philadelphia era” has come to an end.  Yet, some still claim that the Philadelphians are around.  How can this be?  It’s sort of like saying that the Mesozoic era has ended but we still have dinosaurs around.

COGWriter Robert Thiel wrote on 24 August:

The scriptures are clear that the Philadelphians are protected, and others not, during the Great Tribulation.  And obviously that has not happened yet.

And you know what?  I almost agree with that statement.  The Philadelphians, if any are left during the Great Tribulation, will be protected (some think they may all die out beforehand and thus be spared).  I don’t think, however, that it is necessarily to exclude everyone else.

The main problem is how can an “era” come to an end and still have an entire group representing another era left behind?  When an empire falls, the empire is smashed.  It is gone.  Similarly, if the “Philadelphian era” of the church is over, then that church no longer exists.

You know what?  According to the usual identification given, Sardis still exists as well.  How can that be?  In fact, I believe Thyatira is still around.  There certainly is a group that seems to fit the description.  Again, if eras are true, how could that be?

Every one of the seven churches in Jesus’ message receive the warning about His coming, although admittedly one is very vague.

Maybe each of those seven churches are supposed to be looking at themselves.  Maybe they should quit worrying about the Great Tribulation and worry about be about cleaning their own house, preaching the Gospel and preparing for Christ’s return.


  1. You should update this post a month from now, with the headline: "COG Writer STILL inconsistent about church eras."

    After all, many of his "updates" on COG groups strike me as reruns of old criticisms — whether about PCG and Iran or COG7 and prophetic teachings.

    It's kind of like announcing Francisco Franco is still dead. (Whoso reads, let him understand.)

  2. John D Carmack

    LOL! Maybe he should start off his blog posts with, "Good evening. I'm Robert Thiel, and you're not."

  3. Yea, I see Thiel slapped you around pretty good.

    I suspect in LCG what some privately belief and what is officially preached are not neccessarly the same, much like it was in old wcg days.

    I've listened to different sermons given by ucg ministers, from different congregations, which are obviously approaching the subject from different conclusions (some for, some not) and if you read official UCG material on it, it pretty much is a shotgun approach covering all the bases. I can't argue with that official approach since it is such a difficult and vague topic.

    I personally have gone back and forth myself on the topic over the years (currently holding a view probably more in line with Thiels than yours) and while I don't personally agree with some of your conclusions I can't provide the end all discussion biblical proof for my conclusions or to refute yours.

    It strikes me as odd that the topic is such a hot buttom for some.

  4. John D Carmack

    @Buckblog: Bah! He says I am "unintentionally bearing false witness", yet he misrepresents what UCG teaches (once again).

    For the record, the UCG leadership has taught for a number of years that this is the Laodicean era (at least since 2001, I believe). At least teaching that everyone is Laodicean is more consistent than abusing the word "era" in my opinion.

  5. Hi John,

    I wasn't aware that the UCG leadership has taught for a number of years that this is the Laodicean era.

    Persinally, I think that this is probably correct, but I don't remember hearing this myself. Do you have a source for this that you could quote?

  6. John D Carmack

    @Questeruk: Unfortunately, no. I thought perhaps it would have been on the sermon message that Clyde Kilough gave during the 2002 Winter Family Weekend. After going through some old UNs, though, one mentioned that Roy Holladay gave the opening message. I remembered at the time that in itself seemed odd because in the morning are all the seminars. So, it was probably Roy Holladay who first said it. Of course, they don't post anything but the sermons on the website, but others had similar things since then (just not as strongly).

    Over time, they toned that down quite a bit. It was shocking at the time, to say the least, and I have a feeling some people got offended and complained a bit after that event. Some recurring statements in a few sermons would seem to bear that out.


    Whether or not Bob Thiel is correct about LCG being Philadelphian, he is not inconsistent.

    A single organization, such as LCG or some other group, can be Philadelphian during the Laodicean era if the majority of the WHOLE Church of God, the collective body of every person who has God's Holy Spirit, is Laodicean.

    If this is the Laodicean era, that means the the Laodicean condition is the predominant or majority condition among all the members of the whole Church collectively, regardless of organizational boundaries. That is my understanding of Mr. Armstrong's teaching, and I think that is consistent with the teaching of Revelation. So, for example, if you added up all the baptized and converted members of all the groups and ended up with 20,000 humans on the earth who have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them (and only God knows who they are and how many there are), then the whole Church of God would be 20,000 members. If 60% are in the Laodicean condition, you can say this is the Laodicean era on the basis of the condition of the majority of the true Church of God. That would be true even if there is an organization, such as LCG or some other group, in which the majority are Philadelphian. Such a group would be only a small part of the whole Church.