Well, if you believe in “eras”, then we are all Laodiceans and had better heed the warnings to Laodicea (Rev 3:14-22). They had an obviously elevated view of themselves. They obviously felt no need of help from God or man. Why? Because of a feeling of superiority. So much so, in fact, that they reserved to themselves the privilege of judging others. If these are the end times and if this is the “era” of Laodicea, then get used to the fact that you are a Laodicean no matter where you attend.
You can stop with the weasle words about “overlapping eras” and other nonsense. Don’t compare it to the “industrial era” either, since that is not what history books call it. It is the “industrial age”, so go out and get a proper education and quit making things up.
“Laodicea” = “the people decide”, “the people judge” or “the judgment of the people”. Simply put, it is judgmentalism and not sheer apathy that marks this group. Most COGs groups talk about the lack of zeal, but they are sorely missing the point.
It isn’t even that they are apathetic, in fact. When you read the description, it is obvious that they do have a zeal towards riches. They feel they are being blessed because they have been given great material possessions. Like Job’s 3 friends, they conclude that the righteous will be materially blessed while others will not.
Like anger, zeal is a good thing, but only if it is properly directed.
Like the Pharisees, it is easy to get the things of man and the things of God mixed up. Having zeal towards the wrong things does one no good. The Pharisees had a zeal, after all. They went out of their way to have Jesus killed. That took determination.
Then, what type of zeal are we talking about? Why, zeal for the things of God, of course!
Instead of brotherly love – what “Philadelphia” is supposed to mean – we see judgmentalism:
1. Witness UCG’s recent paper on “Sabbath breaking”. Why should they feel the need to defend members unless they were being unjustly accused?
2. UCG’s recent rebuttal about “changing doctrine”. I have seen these charges on the net, and they are ridiculous.
3. Thiel’s not-so-subtle lie about “documented UCG’s doctrinal changes”. Again, instead of correcting his previous errors, he only reiterates the same “doctrinal” differences between UCG and LCG that I’ve addressed before. Not only does he repeat several items to come up with a longer list, but in many cases it isn’t even a doctrinal matter to begin with. In almost every case, the “change” is one from what LCG has decided to retain from WCG and UCG is not. In almost every case, it isn’t even a “change” in doctrine since UCG was founded. He only later tries to soften his stance by stating, “And while not all the differences between those two groups are changes, many are changes from what the old WCG taught–which is where the top leadership of both groups came from.” Then, don’t state it as such to being with!
One of these days, he will realize his continued spin does nothing but repel more reasonable people. Thiel’s slanted writings are a major contributor to why I never joined that group.
4. PCG’s assertion that those who belong to other COGs – “Laodiceans” in their view (the irony) – are worse than infidels. Destroying families is OK, at least in the eyes of their “god”.
5. Ronald Weinland not only refuses to repent of his false prophecies, but he hurls “curses” at his critics. When proven wrong, then go on the offensive seems to be his modis operandi.
Brethren, there is a spirit behind these things. He is a powerful influence. I suspect that most will not repent because they are so caught up in their own self-righteousness, though.
I believe that there are groups (plural) who exhibit the spirit of brotherly love. Jesus said an outsider would know that you were His disciples by displaying brotherly love. I believe they exist. I also believe that the wheat and the tares will grow up together, and so you will never find any perfect organization. I also see no reason to assume that all of God’s people will be gathered in a single manmade organization.
Paul often wrote of the strife and divisions during the 1st century. I have heard people claim it would be likewise in the days prior to Christ’s return. I guess they were accurate after all.
Many seem to assume that God is creating an organization now. Have we truly considered that He is not, at least in the way we would think about it? The Church is compared to a building in some passages. It seems to me that God isn’t erecting the building just yet. Rather, He is preparing the bricks He will use to build it.
For example, what is the difference between the spring holy days and the fall holy days?
What is the difference between where we are in the plan of God verses after Christ’s return?
Individual vs corporate.
Don’t get me wrong, as God does work in a limited fashion with corporate entities, whether they be churches or nations. However, the focus of the spring holy days is on individual repentance and salvation. God is not calling the entire world at this time. He is, however, calling a few individuals right now to personally have their eyes opened and be saved.
Many of the COGs seem to be caught up in such idolatry. The result? Divisions. One group worships a man, while another group worships the Place of Safety, and yet another worships church government. Some even worship their church organization instead of the One Whom it should represent.
It gets me down to see such in-fighting amongst and within groups that should be of the same mindset. However, I have to then be reminded (it is obvious that I do not remind myself, but rather the Spirit, as I am carnal and cannot focus on such things) that wheat grows amongst tares. Even though many fish are caught in a net, only some are kept.
Someday, though, God will work with all humanity. He will have many children. He will have a very large family. Until then, we must struggle with the evil that is in ourselves. Unfortunately, we must also deal with evil outside of ourselves as well — and resist.
I idolize no man, no church organization nor any pet doctrine. Once you do these things, you will go off track, I promise you. It will ultimately cause a skewed vision, and then you will begin to feel you and/or your group are superior to others. If you lose your vision of where you stand in relation to God, you will ultimately elevate yourself. Your love will grow cold.
The danger, of course, is the human tendency to believe we can be wrong. If we pin our hopes on the wrong thing, it becomes very difficult to move it.
The 1990s showed that some had pinned their hopes on an organization of men. Unfortunately, some still promote physical organizations to the point of idolatry. They spin their nonsense to sound Biblical, but in fact they are rejecting the very Creator’s words when they do so.
That’s why we must keep that vision of where we stand in relationship to God Himself. We will then realize that we are as nothing unless God says otherwise. Even then, it is He Who does most of the work through us. Even the air that we breathe is a gift from Him.
I don’t think a day doesn’t go by that I don’t ask, “Who am I?” I think about what little I am and how great God is. Indeed, “Who am I?” Are there really so few that ask that question of God daily? Weekly? Monthly even?
We need to put the focus on our own relationship with God. Avoid the ones who tell you otherwise (that does not necessarily mean “shun”, however). The Laodicean attitude will rub off on you if you aren’t vigilant. Keeping our focus on our own limitations and the greatness of God in the proper perspective is the best cure for elevating ourselves that I know of. It will stunt the growth of judgmentalism and foster an environment of brotherly love.
Sometimes, I look around, and I wonder if we learned nothing from Worldwide and its breakup.