Roderick C Meredith Living Church Of God Biography & Facts
The Living Church of God (LCG) is one of several groups that formed after the death of Herbert W. Armstrong, when major doctrinal changes (causing turmoil and divisions) were occurring in the former Worldwide Church of God (WCG) during the 1990s. It was after its founder, the late Roderick C. Meredith, was fired by board members of the Global Church of God (GCG), that he went on to found, for a second time, a new organization in 1998. It is just one of many and varied Sabbatarian Churches of God groups that have sprung up from the former Worldwide Church of God, known today as Grace Communion International (GCI). The US membership of LCG is claimed to be around 11,300 with about 5,000 of that total number being claimed international members. From the LCG organization, several additional split-off groups have resulted over the years, each one headed by a former LCG minister.
LCG's founder and Presiding Evangelist was, until his death, Roderick C. Meredith (June 21, 1930 – May 18, 2017).
Following Meredith's graduation from Ambassador College in Pasadena, California in June 1952, he was assigned by Herbert W. Armstrong (Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God) to set up and pastor WCG congregations in Portland, Oregon; San Diego, California; and Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. On December 20, 1952, after summoning him back to the WCG's headquarters in Pasadena, California, from his pastorship in Oregon, Armstrong ordained him and four other men — including his uncle Dr. C. Paul Meredith — to the position of Evangelist. These men were the very first Evangelists of the WCG. Meredith was the youngest of the newly ordained men and the fifth to be ordained.
In the subsequent years, Meredith would help start scores of WCG congregations throughout the United States. He would also conduct many baptizing and evangelizing tours in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, and Africa. From the early to mid-1950s, and again in 1960, he was assigned by Armstrong to live in Britain to form congregations for the Church there. For years he was one of the WCG's leading theologians and top executives, and an instructor at Ambassador College. However, when overseeing the ministry during the 1960s, he began to gain a reputation for being too strict in his application of Church rules and regulations.
LCG's Presiding Evangelist
Due to declining health, in 2016 (aged 86), Meredith appointed Evangelist Gerald E. Weston as his successor and as President of LCG. Mr. Weston has served congregations throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. He has been a frequent writer for the Church's publications, and has trained many ministers over the years. He has been a long time member of the Church's Council of Elders. Upon Meredith's death in May 2017, Mr. Weston became LCG's Presiding Evangelist.
After Armstrong died, WCG began to change many of its core doctrines; a process that brought the organization into the mainstream of Evangelical Christianity. However, many members objected and hundreds of splinter groups arose as a result.Meredith initially founded the Global Church of God (GCG) in December 1992, but due to disagreements in operation strategy the board fired Meredith from his positions as chairman of the board and Presiding Evangelist in 1998. He then formed LCG, incorporating the church in San Diego, California, in December 1998. His dismissal was unpopular with GCG members, with as much as 80 percent of the GCG membership following Meredith to the newly formed LCG. In 2004, the late Evangelist Raymond F. McNair (ordained by Herbert W. Armstrong in 1953, a year after Meredith's ordination) left LCG to start The Church of God 21st Century. (It disbanded after his death in 2008.) In 2005, ministers Don Haney and Ben Faulkner also left. Haney formed Church of God In Peace and Truth, and Faulkner formed Church of the Sovereign God. In 2006, Charles Bryce (whom Meredith had appointed head of Church administration) left and formed Enduring Church of God. In late 2012, member Bob Thiel left and formed the Continuing Church of God. In 2013, minister Rod Reynolds left and formed COG Messenger. In September 2020, minister Sheldon Monson formed Church of God Assembly after he resigned.
In 2003, the church's corporate headquarters were moved from San Diego to Charlotte, North Carolina. The church reported in 2011 that it had 330 congregations in 45 countries, and that over 8,000 members attended its annual eight-day festival of the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day, at 46 sites in 31 countries on every continent (except Antarctica). An independent auditor specializing in non-profits reported that the church's income for 2010 was over US$14.3 million. LCG's revenue comes from tithes, holy day offerings, and other contributions from both members and non-members. The tithe is 10% of a member's income and it is permitted to tithe on the net income. The members should not tithe on "unearned income" (such as Social Security, old-age assistance, unemployment benefits, pensions, gifts, disability, or similar types of income).
LCG believes that the Bible is God's inspired revelation to mankind, and as such is complete and inerrant in its original form. The Church has a three-fold mission: 1. To preach the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14; Matthew 24:14; Ezekiel 3 and 33), and the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12) to all nations as a witness. 2. To feed the flock and to organize local Church congregations to provide for the spiritual and material needs of our members as God makes it possible (1 Peter 5:1-4; John 21:15-18). 3. To preach the end-time prophecies and to warn the English-speaking nations and all the world of the coming Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21).Other beliefs include:
Binitarianism: The belief that there are two God Beings representing a God family rather than one God with multiple personalities (Godhead). These two separate personalities consist of God the Father and God the Son (also called The Word). The Holy Spirit is not a Being, and is considered the very essence, the mind, life, breath, and power of God. Much in the same way the physical world is made of matter, the spiritual world is made of Spirit.
Non-partisanism: Generally, members should not take part in politics, juries, voting, swearing oaths (members can only "affirm", not swear, in court), or military service.
British Israelism: The belief that the Anglo-American people are descended from the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel, specifically Ephraim and Manasseh and are the possessors of the birthright promises and accompanying blessings of Abraham's descendants, through his grandson Jacob. Other countries believed to be Israelite are Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, and Denmark.
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