Busy day. In between trying to actually get some work done, I’ve been tying up the bow tie ribbon to place on my ex-UCG life. I don’t want to burn any bridges, at least locally, and I need to finish up my obligations in a clean manner.
Meanwhile, I see it hasn’t taken Dr Robert Thiel long to pin the Laodicean label on Church of God – America, something-too-long-to-remember.
19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (Revelation 3:19, King James Version)
Notice Who should be doing the judging. Not the people judging, which is what Laodicean means.
Laodicea refused help from Rome after it was hit by an earthquake. They were rich and didn’t need Rome’s help. They had “need of nothing” physically. They were also “blind”, indicating a spiritual problem as well.
The church listed right before Laodicea is the one that everyone wants to claim to be a part of. “Philadelphia” means “brotherly love”, yet so many of these COG organizations have less than many worldly churches. Ironically, it is the ones beating their chest the most about being Philadelphian that truly feel they have need of nothing. The Church at Laodicea is lukewarm because they are lacking what the previous church had. They are judgmental because they are missing the fact that brotherly love is an important part of the ingredients of making it into the Kingdom of God. In fact, Jesus referred to loving others as the second greatest commandment, only outdone by love of God.
I had hoped of course that UCG would show much of that spirit of brotherly love, but now it seems things have taken a different route. Time will tell if any of the COGs will wise up and really learn what brotherly love is.
At any rate, it appears that Dr Bob will have to let that one go and focus on pinning the Laodicean button on Church of God, a Worldwide Association now, seeing as COG-America’s site has closed down.
As regular readers of this page are aware, I strongly believe that it can be demonstrated that it is the Living Church of God (LCG) which holds fast to the truths that were restored to the Philadelphia era of the Church of God–all of them.
And, regular readers of this blog know I strongly believe it can be demonstrated that some of these “truths” were additions to the word of God (Rev 22:18). That goes for many COG groups, BTW, not just LCG. Furthermore, if someone wants to be “Philadelphian” it needs to be proven in words and deeds, not just in doctrine. The attitude reflected needs to be love, rather than just giving it lip service.
I'm just happy God saw fit to call a sinner like myself into the the body of Christ. I need no other label.
If I'm Laodicean so be it, I'm still a member of Christ's body.
@Kevin: Well, I don't know your heart. Rev 3 says of Laodicea "knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked", but it sounds like you are well aware of being wretched.
Maybe that's what many people miss the most. Christ was talking to all of the churches. All the others knew they were wretched sinners, but Laodicea did not.
@John, if you notice all seven of the churches of Revelation is said to be "in" either Ephesus, Sardis, Philidelphia, Laodicea, etc.
If you ask me this isn't referring to church attitudes, or church areas. It refers IMO to the spiritual state of the whole community.
I believe that we have lived, at least here in the U.S., in a state of Laodicea for the last 100 years or so.
The attitude of the entire country is, "we are rich and in need of nothing".
While we in the church are indeed living "in" this prevailing attitude within the U.S., hopefully we have a repentant spirit and have came out of this spirit.
Hmmm, just noticed, all the churches say "in" except Laodicea, it says "of". Interesting!
@Kevin: Well, I would agree that the US in particular is in danger b/c of its individualistic, materialistic and generally myopic view of world and other events. It surrounds a person, and we have all these electronic gizmos to ensure it is broadcast to the most remote of areas.
However, I don't really believe in "eras". I maintain that is the wrong word to use. It's not as though one church suddenly starts up and then shuts down. All of those attitudes existed throughout church history. Many historical writers have complained of a general lackadaisical and materialistic view of things since Revelation was penned, thus leading them to believe they were in the Laodicea era. Yet, time marches on.
No, it is more likely that these are attitudes that are prevalent for a time. Rather than eras, they are zeitgeists. The attitudes have been there all the time, and still are, but one will dominate in any particular time period. They didn't spring up overnight, and they won't go away overnight. In fact, they are there all along somewhere.
That's why the warning is for all the churches. If you or your particular group has a prevailing attitude, then it's time to work on that. Unfortunately, the way I read it, Laodicea is the least likely to heed that warning.
Regardless of whether the church was one specific congregation, or one specific era – regardless of what argument you may try to apply to the situation, does ANYBODY want to be lukewarm? One cannot claim to be neutral, "on the fence", etc, because there's no such state with God! There's either eternal life or eternal death. I understand the idea of reserving judgment until all facts are in, but by the same token, we will NEVER have all the facts in this life. We MUST seek God's will, exercise His discernment, and proceed with His judgment (via His Spirit) guiding us.
If not, don't be surprised when you find yourself hearing the same words as the others who chose not to be either hot or cold…right around the time you're spewn from His mouth.