What about the Living Church of God? Are there Doctrinal Differences with the Continuing Church of God?

By COGwriter

This article discusses the Living Church of God (LCG), and to a lessor degree, the Continuing Church of God (CCOG).

The top leaders in the Living Church of God were all once part of the old WCG. When WCG went into apostasy under the Tkach Administration, a long-time evangelist named Roderick C. Meredith was essentially told to stop preaching or he would lose financial support. He ignored the financial offer and formed the Global Church of God. Thousands who had been part of the old WCG then supported him. In 1998, after he made a variety of public statements about governance (some of which were contradictory), a leadership coup took over GCG, and the Living Church of God was formed. Most who had been part of GCG went to LCG. Currently around 9,000 people are affiliated with LCG.

What was Fundamentally Different About the Living Church of God?

The Living Church of God, like the old WCG, believes that the book of Revelation reveals a succession of seven churches, sometimes called "church eras," which show certain characteristics of the true church throughout history.

However, regarding other COGs, LCG was initially unique.

Like GCG, LCG initially took up the 'Philadelphian work' (Revelation 3) by placing its top priority on proclaiming the Gospel while also teaching the 18 truths that Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) claimed were restored to that era--no other large COG did both (others improperly changed the work, while some will not teach all the 18 restored truths, though LCG tended to hold back on one).

Here are some historical quotes from LCG teachings on these points:

The Living Church of God is the remnant of the Philadelphia Church continuing into the Laodicean era (Winnail, D. Lessons from Revelation 2 & 3. Sermon, DVE 407. March 7, 2007, Charlotte, NC).

We believe we are the Philadelphia remnant. Philadelphia means brotherly love. (Winnail, D. Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, and You. Sermon, PENE-11-PM. May 23, 2010, Charlotte, NC).

'Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown' (Revelation 3:11). Mr. Armstrong wrote that he restored to the Church of God at least 18 truths that the previous era had lost (Mystery of the Ages, p. 251). Philadelphians are the ones who hold to those truths (as well as all other biblical truths)-including governance-and will be able to have a crown and to rule!

Philadelphians have 'kept My command to persevere' (Revelation 3:10). Holding fast to Truth, while putting a priority on proclaiming the Gospel, is what sets the Philadelphian Church apart...

The Living Church of God cannot claim that all its members are Philadelphian, but we do believe we are a uniquely Philadelphian remnant. Can one find a larger or more effective 'corporate body' which retains the Truth as taught by Mr. Armstrong, without adding non-biblical "revelations" or diverting its members from making their top priority the Great Commission of proclaiming the Gospel as established by Jesus Christ? No!...Of course, simply attending with the Living Church of God does not make one a Philadelphian; individual members must do their part, and must not allow their lives to be cluttered by the cares of this world so that they themselves become lukewarm (Laodicean) (Thiel B. What is a Philadelphian? Living Church News, July-August 2001).

We are trying to do that work today--the work of the Philadelphia era of the Church (Meredith RC. The Destiny of America and Britain. Sermon, July 24, 2010).

These quotes shows where Living differed from the other COGs--Living claimed to represent the largest remnant of the Philadelphia era of the Church of God, taught the 18 truths that God used Herbert Armstrong to restore to the Philadelphia Era of the Church of God, and placed a high priority on proclaiming the Gospel. It also has the largest television presence of any COG and hence made significant financial commitments to gospel proclamation.

As far as I can tell, LCG was the first major group which knew that the 18 truths were not the 1986 Tkach list (some other groups rely on an article published by the Tkach administration in 1986 or do not teach believe they must teach the 18)--although sometimes the Tkach list has been apparently used in some sermons by some LCG leaders.

Yet, beginning in 2012, LCG began to officially teach that those that do not agree to a certain imposed doctrinal change (related to 2 Thessalonians 2:3; see The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings) have somehow been led by, or blinded by, Satan.

That was not a Philadelphian attribute.

"Falling Away" Sets LCG apart and other 2012 Statements of Concern

In meetings with the three Charlotte evangelists and myself held on December 15 and 16, 2011, its presiding evangliest Dr. Meredith promised to make certain changes and corrections to LCG's Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs by the end of January 2012. This had been promised in the past, but this time he seemed insistent that he would at least resolve the main issues by then (see also December 2011 Proposed changes to LCG's Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs, my proposed changes to the Statement are in shown in red and explanations are shown in the footnotes that were also submitted).

Yet in January/February 2012, it was becoming clearer that promises to correct and resolve certain matters that were made to Bob Thiel in mid-to-late December 2011 were not going to happen (see also Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God or en el idioma espanol¿Por qué Bob Thiel dejó la Iglesia del Dios Viviente?). This was causing concern.

Furthermore, for Passover 2012, a DVD was sent out featuring Dr. Scott Winnail where he made a biblically-improper comment to the effect that Jesus was not present at Passover (Matthew 26:26; 18:20; John 6:51,53)--and while he may not have meant it the way he said it, his statement was basically consistent with certain Protestant statements that I heard in the past and this was a concern. I believe I later discussed this with my then LCG Regional Pastor and/or a Charlotte-based LCG minister who seemed to agree with me, but as far as I could tell, LCG was not planning on correcting it and never did send out a retraction.

In May 2012, Dr. Meredith sent out one or more disturbing statements related to the falling away of 2 Thessalonians 2:3. So, I immediately sent him and the other Charlotte-based evangelist an email with some of my concerns while urging them to look at additional facts and scriptures.

On June 1, 2012, a carefully scripted must-play sermon was produced in LCG's television studio featuring LCG Evangelist Dr. Douglas Winnail (which I did not see until July 14, 2012--and it caused me to start making changes to the COGwriter.com website--beginning that day). The subject was on the falling away of 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The sermon relied heavily upon Protestant commentaries and did not actually quote a variety of relevant scriptures or quotes from the old Radio Church of God/Worldwide Church of God that disagreed with Dr. Winnail's conclusions. But seemed to give the impression that it did (some that were missed are in the article The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings).

Here is some of what Dr. Winnail taught in that sermon:

Falling Away - Implications

Clarifying this issue and powerfully delivering this prophetic warning about a universal falling away from the fundamentals of biblical Christianity, led by a Beast, a Man of Sin and Miracles will clearly set the Living Church of God apart...

This will be an issue that will clearly set apart the Living Church of God from others who will be teaching something very different...This is also going to set the Living Church of God apart from false teachers that say it has already happened.  It doesn't fit with the prophecies of Jesus Christ or the prophecies of Revelation...This perspective that 2 Thessalonians 2 only applies to the Church of God takes it out of its biblical and historical context.

Thus, according to Dr. Winnail the "falling away" doctrine is what is to set LCG apart from others--and therefore he considers this as a defining doctrine for LCG. I asked Dr. Meredith about that, but never got a response, hence I concluded that he must agree with Dr. Winnail (especially since Dr.Winnail, orally and in writing, insisted that his position was the position of the Council of Elders and his position was in an official "must-play" scripted sermon--though at least one Council member told me that he would not accept Dr. Winnail's position). Those interested in a more biblical and historical view of the subject of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 may wish to read the article The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings (in Spanish: La Apostasía: Enseñanzas de la Biblia y de la WCG) or watch the two videos The Falling Away Part 1: From the Bible and Church History and The Falling Away Part 2: Positions Presented by Others with the former one more biblically-focused latter one more related to LCG-positions.

Beyond the doctrinal error itself, there was something highly disturbing about the sermon. And that was the implication that those who did not agree with it had the "spirit of error."

Dr. Winnail stated, while showing 1 John 4:1-6, 2 Peter 3:17-18, and Luke 21:36, that:

You must be able to discern the spirit of truth from the spirit of error.

...do not be led by the error of the wicked...These are admonitions we find in the scriptures...Jesus said you will know the truth and the truth will set you free...

Watch and pray that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.

The above suggested that those who disagree are following the spirit of error, and hence not Christians (Dr. Winnail also made other comments between those shown above that did so as well) as that is clearly what scriptures such as 1 John 4:1-6 teach.

So this was a major concern to me and I began to change the COGwriter.com website immediately after watching it, while also contacting the three LCG Charlotte-based evangelists and certain ministers about this. I also met with Richard Ames on October 8, 2012 and he said he was open to me sending my reasons for opposition. Yet, I was unable to get this matter resolved from Charlotte.

On October 18, 2012, I received an email from William Bowmer (then Executive Editor for LCG's print publications) where he informed me that despite known errors in LCG's God's Church through the Ages booklet, that at least 20,000 more would be sent out--thus admitting that LCG was knowingly providing incorrect information to those actually interested in COG history (for more details about the errors, etc., please check out October 2012 Emails Related to GCA Booklet; for a more accurate overview of church history, please check out the pdf booklet Continuing History of the Church of God).

Then on December 15, 2012, I watched LCG sermon DVE727 titled Watch and Get Ready by Dr. D. Winnail. In it, after referring to why Protestant commentaries support his position on the "falling away," Dr. Winnail stated that those who do not agree are "blinded to the reality" of what he was teaching. Since it is Satan who blinds the world (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9), this seemed to be an attack against the people of God who did not agree with Dr. Winnail's falling away position.

Thus, in two different sermons Dr. Winnail suggested that those who did not agree with him were being influenced by Satan or perhaps not even Christians. This, in my view, was extremely serious, crossed the line, was totally inappropriate, and not at all a Philadelphian approach to this subject. This new official LCG position was a heresy I would not accept.

Watching those sermons caused me to make multiple attempts to contact Dr. Meredith to see if he would disavow any of these statements and conclusions. Instead, on 12/28/12 he ignored the issues that I raised (cf. Revelation 3:14-19) and issued an improper and error-filled letter against me (for the letter and details see Roderick C. Meredith's Accusatory Letter to Bob Thiel). Dr. Meredith attacked the messenger (me) and would not deal with the message or issues raised. He wrote things about me that he should have known were not true and then passed it on to the LCG ministry, who then got it posted all over the internet. This was just another example of how LCG did not seem to believe that Matthew 18 applied to its leaders and that there was insufficient "love of the truth" at LCG (see also Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God). Attacking the messenger and not dealing with the issue was highly inappropriate (as was publishing statements against me that were not true; see also Roderick C. Meredith's Accusatory letter to Bob Thiel).

This, combined with other earlier responses, clearly demonstrated insufficient love for the truth and that further attempts at reconciliation then were futile. Therefore, the Continuing Church of God was then formed as it was clear that LCG no longer could possibly have the Philadelphia mantle (especially since an LCG minister had started to suggest that to me about a year earlier).

It should also be noted that a must-play sermon from Dr. Meredith was played in many LCG congregations on this falling away subject in May 2013, which improperly confirmed Dr. Winnail's position. Some details are in the article The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings.

LCG has, for some apparently carnal reasons, chosen to define itself by a doctrinal change that is wrong and in conflict with scripture. Why would any choose to overlook this?

LCG had a change of direction because of the falling away promotion and self-identification. This is a concern and should be a concern to those that remain part of it. The directional change, etc., sadly helps demonstrate that LCG has identified itself as a Laodicean organization. Furthermore, even Dr. Meredith seemed to realize that LCG was Laodicean, though he did not use that term when he wrote the following in a member/co-worker letter dated July 12, 2016:

Several of our ministers in the field have mentioned that, although people are not “falling away” or anything serious, yet there is a sense of spiritual malaise, a kind of a “take it easy” Laodicean attitude that is certainly creeping in. Our people are not “on fire” as much as they have been in the past.

Oddly, the above also shows that Dr. Meredith and some of his ministers did not agree with the 'falling away' position he and his church adopted.

As far as other scriptural misunderstandings go, Dr. Meredith once improperly wrote that if one did not agree with its biblically incorrect view on the identity of the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians (see Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?), one does not understand biblical prophecy.

Hence, in at least two different ocassions in which it promotes prophetic error, LCG is teaching that this is what defines it as a church. Yet, many still support it. Do those in LCG not understand Christ's warnings to the Laodiceans (Revelation 3:14-22)?

Furthermore, consider the following from LCG's current presiding evangelist, Gerald Weston:

When the Church gets off track - and I say “when” - IF the Church were to get off track, it’d be obvious, as it was before. When you start doing away with the Sabbath, and the Holy Days, and laws of clean and unclean meats, and the purpose of life, and go back into keeping Christmas, and Easter, and Halloween, and all the rest, that’s pretty obvious isn’t it? In fact, you didn’t have to go that far before it became obvious where the Church was going.

(Weston G. Love Thinks No Evil. LCG Sermon. Airdate, 2/23/18)

While, of itself, nothing is wrong with that, that is consistent with a lot of what the other Laodicean COG groups teach.

That said, in the January-February 2024 edition of the Living Church News, Gerald Weston got rid of Dr. Winnail's main position on the falling away matter, and that was a good step (for details, see Gerald Weston pushes LCG’s position on the ‘Falling Away’ closer to the biblical, COGwriter, position).

And while, LCG is a legitimate COG, I do not believe the organization is Philadelphian.

Nor, do I believe would Jesus. Notice some of what Jesus said related to Philadelphia:

7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens": 8 "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. (Revelation 3:7-8)

LCG has NOT kept God's word as it should.

In addition to what has been mentioned earlier, it does NOT:

Doctrinal Differences between LCG and the Continuing Church of God

LCG's Gerald Weston had the following in a Co-worker letter dated February 13, 2019:

Correct doctrine is vital to the Church of God and love is at the heart of correct doctrine. ...

Doctrine, we might say, is simply teachings or instructions, and in this case, the teachings of the Bible. The Apostle Paul confirms that doctrine is important. He warned the Church of God at Ephesus that they “should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting. . .” (Ephesians 4:14). And he urged the members in Rome to “note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (Romans 16:17).

Right doctrine is what allows us to have unity. Paul told the Corinthians that they should all speak the same thing, meaning they should be unified in the basic doctrines they were taught by Paul and other ministers of the truth (1 Corinthians 1:10). And he pointed out that we must strive to keep the unity of the faith: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).

A servant of God must teach sound doctrine as found in the Bible, not ideas with roots in pagan philosophy and heathen practices. He must also be bold in proclaiming the truth and in fulfilling God’s command, “Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1). We live in an age where God is despised, because this generation, especially, hates His laws. Biblical values are rejected at every turn and a totalitarian-minded elite is convincing a whole generation to do everything it can to wipe out any remembrance of God and His Word. The “culture war” is, more precisely, an assault against God.

Love is important and doctrine should be based upon the Bible (see also The Philadelphia Remnant: It's All About Love).

LCG not only has issues with love, but with doctrine.

Many have asked me for a list of doctrinal differences between LCG and the Continuing Church of God. The following is not all inclusive (there are more that I will likely add later), as far as doctrines, unlike the Charlotte-based Living Church of God, the CCOG believes:

  1. That the word of God and not Protestant commentaries should be the basis for changing doctrine (it remains my view that LCG’s “falling away” logic was primarily based upon Protestant interpretations, overlooked a lot of what HWA’s church actually taught about it, and was not consistent with many scriptures in the Bible).  See also The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings. That said, in the Jan-Feb 2024 edition of the Living Church News, LCG seems to have finally seen some of the errors in its falling away position and presumably does not identify itself by that doctrinal heresy that Dr. Winnail officially said LCG did (see Gerald Weston pushes LCG’s position on the ‘Falling Away’ closer to the biblical, COGwriter, position).
  2. The Falling Away on 2 Thessalonians 2:3 mainly has to do with those affiliated with the COG (see also The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings).
  3. That the leader of CCOG keep his word, as should the leader(s) of LCG–really (see Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God and Response to a Letter from Dr. Roderick C. Meredith Dated December 28, 2012).
  4. God’s word says He will use dreams and have prophets in the last days in Acts 2 (see also Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?). While LCG agrees we are in the last days, and from 2008-2012 its evangelists stated that they believed the COG may have a prophet, LCG no longer accepts that (Wakefield D. Living Church News, July-August 2015, p. 26).
  5. That since a prophet is higher in “spiritual authority” than an evangelist, that those who believe in hierarchical governance would support a prophet of God over an evangelist, irrespective of how long he has been an evangelist (see also The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government and How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God).
  6. “If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it? Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:6–8). While LCG has repeatedly published that, it also claims to not have any prophets, whereas CCOG does (see Church of God Leaders on Prophets).
  7. We warned about coronaviruses being a potential problem back in 2013 and 2014 (see Over 100 confirmed dead from coronavirus; Tonto: Why didn’t Bob Thiel warn about the coronavirus? COGwriter: I did back in 2013 and 2014, plus gave other warnings in 2018 and 2019), but LCG did not. Surely COVID was something God would have warned through His prophet and His most faithful church.
  8. That faith is not the first step towards salvation, but that God calls (John 6:44) and send out His messengers to teach the word of God (Romans 10:14-17), and then comes faith (the Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs of LCG differs; see also proposed changes to LCG’s Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs).
  9. That it is inappropriate to suggest that those that do not agree to an unscriptural doctrinal change have somehow been led by or blinded by Satan (this is related to statements in two sermons by Dr. Douglas Winnail; see also The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings).
  10. That it is not necessary to rebuild a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem before Jesus returns (both a TW telecast and one or more LCG sermons have stated a view that disagrees with that; see also Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required?) and that we should not insist that the “Bible clearly states” that the holy place of Matthew 24:15 is the area commonly called “the Temple Mount” (see Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill).
  11. That literature corrections and/or retractions should be made when known. The work of God MUST be done in truth (Psalm 33:4).
  12. That the COG must be bolder in certain areas if it wants to fulfill Matthew 24:14 (see also The Final Phase of the Work).
  13. Matthew 18:15-17, about going to your brother to try to resolve a matter before going public with it, applies to leaders and members.
  14. The purpose of life is not just to be in the God family, but to give love in a unique way (see The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?).
  15. That institutional idolatry is still wrong and that proper church governance does not include being loyal to a church or leader’s teachings which contradict scripture (see also The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government).
  16. That it is wrong to knowingly send out tens of thousands of booklets with admitted and known errors for several years (tens of thousands of the GCA booklet have gone out, despite LCG being told that they contain known errors years ago and that they perpetuate certain Roman Catholic myths (consider also Psalm 101:7); on 10/18/12 I was informed that over 20,000 incorrect booklets remained and were expected to be sent out; see also October 2012 Emails Related to GCA Booklet).
  17. That it is wrong to continue to have one or more known errors/contradictions in an Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs, but still keep it unchanged for years after learning what they are (one is a seeming contradiction within the Statement, and the others are covered in points 4 and 18, though point four I had not brought that up before, but wanted to when I first noticed it). (See also December 2011 Proposed changes to LCG’s Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs.)
  18. That Philadelphians should expect persecution (Daniel 11:28-35; Revelation 12:13-14; see also Persecutions by Church and State) and not excessively pull-back proclamation to avoid it (I was specifically told that some LCG leaders, who I will not mention now by name, were afraid I, Bob Thiel, could trigger end time persecution, despite the fact that they in LCG also specifically realize that the Philadelphians will be persecuted).
  19. That improving literature and doctrinal errors will greatly assist in the final phase of the work. (Briefly, what this refers to is when the COG publicly identifies the King of the North and media coverage gets generated, the Catholic scholars will tear through COG literature and find many, many simple to fix errors that will hurt the COG’s credibility. LCG Evangelists agreed to fix many of them with me over the years, but often have yet not done so. My being distant from LCG assists as I will not have to apologize for why a group that supposedly has enough of the “love of the truth” kept publishing known and serious errors. And several of those errors perpetuate Catholic myths. This could greatly damage the credibility of God’s work.)
  20. It has a better grasp of The Final Phase of the Work. (Briefly, a lot of this basically this begins no later than when the King of the North is identified and continues until Jesus returns–it has multiple parts including fulfilling Matthew 24:14–which may happen because of related media attention, persecution, the angels’ messages of Revelation, the two witnesses, and supporting those witnesses. If John Ogwyn was correct about the “short work” on Romans 9:28, this could possibly, temporarily swell the ranks of the COG prior to the persecution.)
  21. Jesus is present at Passover (Matthew 18:20; 26:26-27; John 6:51,53; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25; LCG’s Passover DVD for 2012 stated that Jesus was not present).
  22. That major preparations need to be made now for the ‘short work’–and that CCOG is doing so (see Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word).
  23. People should be more loyal to the word of God and leaders that God appoints than a corporation (see also The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government).
  24. Ignatius’ writings did not do away with the Sabbath (see Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath) as that is a mistranslation (the God’s Church Through the Ages’ booklet has this and many other errors as does the book LCG printed and gave to all in the Fall of 2014 by Ivor Fletcher).
  25. The Continuing Church of God has laying on of hands succession (see Laying on of Hands) (LCG has shied away from teaching “succession,” though when I was in LCG their leaders seemed to agree with my basic position on it, which remains–though LCG had not actually taught in its publications, when I checked).
  26. More scripturally on various divorce and remarriage (D&R) matters. Though since I have only been married once (we have been married for 41 plus years, and are not planning on divorcing), this was not a major personal item, but has long been a spiritual concern as LCG seemed to allow remarriage where the Bible did not.
  27. That adultery, does not mean multiple adultery, as far as Jesus’ words about divorce go (Dr. Meredith has said in sermons that adultery here means multiple violations. That is not how I read this and I called Charlotte about it in 2012, with no satisfactory resolution.)
  28. Marriages performed by the ministry are not to include believers to unbelievers per 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (unless certain other biblically-sanctioned reasons are present; e.g. Deuteronomy 22:28). See also the 2015 post, NBC: ‘Exposed in Ashley Madison Hack? Here’s What to Do Now’.
  29. That the Great Tribulation, the time of Jacob’s troubles, does not start at Daniel 11:40 when the King of the South pushes at the King of the North–it starts the prior verse (this is something that still needs to be corrected in the LCG Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs; this is something many have known about for years and had promised to address; see also When Will the Great Tribulation Begin?).
  30. That the “strongest fortresses” in Daniel 11:39 are a reference to the USA (see also USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses). Although the evangelists at LCG in Charlotte all agreed I was correct about this, when I checked LCG’s two major websites in 2017, there was no place where LCG teaches this–this is an improper and dangerous error of omission for LCG.
  31. That the King of the North attacks the USA and its Anglo-Saxon allies (Daniel 11:39) before he attacks the King of the South (Daniel 11:40; LCG teaches both versions of this and leans towards the wrong one; LCG’s Fourteen Signs booklet, for one example, teaches that Daniel 11:31 comes AFTER Daniel 11:40-43 and that the USA and Anglo-Saxon nations are destroyed afterwards–this means LCG WILL NOT KNOW WHEN THE GREAT TRIBULATION WILL BEGIN AND THOSE THAT PREFER TO SUPPORT LCG WILL NOT FLEE TO BE PROTECTED WHEN IT IS TIME).
  32. That Daniel 11:31 is fulfilled prior to Daniel 11:40-43 (LCG’s Fourteen Signs booklet teaches the opposite order).
  33. That since the ten kings have not yet received their kingdoms, that the ten kings mentioned in Revelation 17:12-13 are not limited to 10-11 currently existing nations (LCG sometimes takes a different view, which will mean that they will not realize when the Beast power is at the end stage of its rising up, see also LCG and PCG insisting on 10 or 11 ‘nations’ for the Beast? What does the Bible teach?).
  34. Do not believe that any in the ministry should promote the sport of American tackle football (the Bible, in Romans 13:9-10 clearly teaches “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law”). HWA also specifically warned against this violent sport (see Is American Football Evil?). There are also other “love” issue matters.
  35. We do not believe that we should encourage the pagan sun-god (Shamash 888 B.C.) worship practice (cf. Deuteronomy 12:29-32) of praying with clasped hands (see our booklet Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?), whereas LCG has published photos promoting this.
  36. While the Bible seemingly allows for eating out while traveling (Matthew 12:1-8) and certain emergencies (Luke 6:3-5), that it does not condone regular eating out in restaurants on the Sabbath for those who are simply at their homes (cf. Nehemiah 10:30-31; watch also The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It).
  37. That the “mark of the Beast” includes idolatry and likely a physical object, and is not limited to Sunday worship (see Mark of the Beast and The Mark of Antichrist).
  38. That the “word of the law” needs to be preached as part of the Feast of Tabernacles every seven years (Deuteronomy 31:10-13; cf. Nehemiah 6:73;7:1-3,8,13-17; Joshua 8:34; see also The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law). This was conveyed to those giving sermons at the CCOG Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2013.
  39. That Habakkuk 2 clearly is referring to these end times and thus has prophetic applicability to the Anglo-descended nations (LCG has ministers and at least one evangelist who believe Habakkuk 2 was fulfilled in its entirety and does not have end time applications, even though it clearly does–see also Habakkuk: His message is for us now).
  40. Some of the prophecies in the Bible (e.g. Isaiah 10:5-11) seem to use the term ‘Samaria’ to refer to the modern United States of America (see also Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel and Spiritual Samaritans: Old and New). Although one LCG leader/minister was open to this when told by me in early 2012, LCG does not seem to formally teach this.
  41. France will support the Beast power (LCG is no longer certain; see Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations? And this disagrees with the late Dibar Apartian’s position as shown in The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben: France in Prophecy?).
  42. That Matthew 28:19 is part of the Bible and needs to be part of the baptismal ceremony (see also Is Matthew 28:19 in the Bible?). Evangelist Richard Ames personally expressed his doubts to me once about whether Matthew 28:19 was scripture or not–he, at that time at least, was not convinced that it was. Although the Bible teaches, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5), in late June 2013 I was told by someone else who inquired that LCG has two different baptisms because some do not believe that Matthew 28:19 applies. Although it ends with an option for an appropriate ceremony, LCG’s L049 letter specifically states, “Is Matthew 28:19 the only commanded formula that must be used in a baptism ceremony? Again, we say no, it is not, based on the actual procedures the early church used in baptizing,” which seems to substantiate what I was told about more than one baptismal option.
  43. That the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians 2 is the first beast, the final King of the North, and not the second beast, the false prophet (see also Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?; or, in English, see the You Tube video Who is the Man of Sin?). In his co-worker letter dated, April 17, 2013, Dr. Meredith indicated that not agreeing with his improper assertion about this individual means that one does not understand biblical prophecy–since Dr. Meredith is not correct on this, but CCOG is, those in his church should realize that LCG has major problems in understanding various parts of prophecy. This will not bode well for any who will believe LCG over CCOG in the future.
  44. It is wrong to tell members that “the end” is closer than the leadership believes (LCG did this repeatedly as I tended to find out when I checked with its top leadership when I attended with LCG).
  45. That 1 John 3:9 is referring to those born of God not sinning, not those begotten of God not being in a ‘state of sin’ as Dr. Meredith has stated (see also Perfection? Does God have faith in humans?).
  46. That it is not necessary that a red heifer be sacrificed as part of the final end time sequence (LCG has published that “those who are watching end-time prophetic events know that the slaughter of the red heifer is one of the first major milestones in this final sequence of end-time events”; see The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World).
  47. That God is restoring “all things” through His most faithful (Matthew 17:11; Jude 3; see also Continuing Church of God, Elijah, and Restoring All Things). While both CCOG and LCG believe that there has to be some type of an end-time Elijah, LCG has not specifically taught that it has been restoring what needs to be restored (the church history book it distributed at the Feast of Tabernacles in 2014 perpetuated Roman Catholic and other myths and DID NOT restore ‘apostolic Christianity’.) Furthermore its Dr. Winnail has also taught that the final Elijah could be the church and not a person. Yet CCOG does teach that there is a final person coming in the spirit and power of Elijah, (see Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God and The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law), that it is in the process of restoring all things, and the final Elijah will come from it (see the sermon Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong, and CCOG).
  48. That Jesus is NOT the one who will “will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6) as LCG taught in 2015, but that this is part of the work of the final Elijah (Malachi 4:5-6; details on LCG’s and CCOG’s positions are in the article The Elijah Heresies).
  49. The European Beast confederation will NOT collapse like the old Roman Empire as LCG asserted in December 2015 as the LCG view is contrary to prophetic scriptures (some details on LCG’s and CCOG’s positions are in the article Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?).
  50. WWIII is not related to the battles between Europe and Eurasia as LCG asserted in its Tomorrow’s World telecast Four Prophecies for Germany in March 2017, but has to do with the destruction and takeover of the USA and its Anglo-Saxon allies by a European-led force who will then conquer the Middle East (see also World War III: Steps in Progress).
  51. Daniel 11:42-43 does not show Ethiopia is part of the King of the South as LCG asserted in its TW News & Prophecy ezine of August 24, 2018. While some from Ethiopia could be involved, the Hebrew word in that passage means ‘Cushites.’ For details, check out the article Is the Future King of the South Rising Up?
  52. The third resurrection is NOT JUST for the incorrigibly wicked (see What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrections? and/or Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation).
  53. Romans 11:25 will be fulfilled before Jesus returns (see What About Romans 11:25 and the Full Number of the Gentiles?)--LCG did not teach about this when Bob Thiel was part of it.
  54. The prince (who will become the King of the North) confirms the covenant for seven-years (see The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27)–LCG once taught that, but now its Council of Elders is no longer sure (for details, see Weston G. Why a Council of Elders. Living Church News, July-August 2019).
  55. King of the North) confirms the covenant for seven-years (see The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27)–LCG once taught that, but now its Council of Elders is no longer sure (for details, see Weston G. Why a Council of Elders. Living Church News, July-August 2019).
  56. That doctrinal and prophetic truths needed to be restored in the 21st century and that CCOG is doing that in a way that no other COG is doing (see Continuing Church of God, Elijah, and Restoring All Things ).
  57. The beginning of sorrows and the opening of at least one of the seals of Revelation 6 has been opened–LCG does not (per its whiteboard video of May 19, 2022 titled How to Know When Christ Will Return – First 2 Major Events)--though it did teach the sorrows had began for years back when Bob Thiel was part of it.

Anyway, while there are others, the above gives some reasons why those who wish to truly be part of the Philadelphia remnant would want to consider supporting the Continuing Church of God.

(More information can also be found in the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/españolDeclaración de las Doctrinas de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. Here is a related link in Tagalog: Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. Here is a related link in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明. Here is a related link in Kiswahili: KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI. Here is a related link in Dutch: Verklaring van geloofspunten van de Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Deutsche (German): Glaubenserklärung der Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Italiano: Dichiarazione del Credo della Continuing Church of God. Here is related link in the French language: Déclaration des croyances de L’Église Continue de Dieu.)

In many areas, LCG is not "rightly dividing the word of truth" (Timothy 2:15).

LCG evangelists and other leaders on more than one ocassion told me that it was acceptable send out materials that contained known errors and perpetuated Catholic myths. The Bible teaches:

4 For the word of the Lord is right,
And all His work is done in truth. (Psalms 33:4)

10 Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord deceitfully (Jeremiah 48:10)

The bottom line is that because LCG has integrity issues (some of which are more important than many doctrinal differences) and other factors, it no longer can hold the Philadelphia mantle and it has demonstrated that does it did not have the ability to be able to complete the final phase of the work.

Notice something that the Bible teaches:

15... I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15)

The pillar/the mantle will be with the group/leader that has the most truth, values the truth the most, and makes major effort to proclaim the truth--that is clearly now CCOG and not LCG.

If you believe that you are Philadelphian, and you suspect that LCG could possibly be more Philadelphian than the Continuing Church of God, then I have a mild challenge. Please watch the entire two part sermon The Falling Away Part 1: From the Bible and Church History and The Falling Away Part 2: Positions Presented by Others and study the related article The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings with your Bible; also check out the article Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? If after you study those, you do not believe that the Continuing Church of God is correct, then I would agree with you that LCG is a probably better choice for you. But if you watch them and act like the more "fair-minded" Bereans to search the scriptures and the other source materials I refer to in order to see if what I said is so (Acts 17:10-11) and you find it to be, then you need to ask yourself how a group like LCG that promotes such blatant error, and is sticking to those errors apparently for at least the sake of its organizational unity, can possibly still have the Philadelphia mantle?

Are you like the Bereans or are you sure that what I am saying is not so?

I have not bore false witness on these matters (for those who want to know a little more about why I left LCG, please check out the article Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God). Those who believe otherwise are believing a lie.

As far as gospel proclamation priorities go, let me state that in its first month of official existence, the Continuing Church of God. reached more people with parts of Christ's gospel of the kingdom than any other non-GTA group as far as I have been able to tell. Basically, two million or so via radio and 100,000 or so via the internet. Thus, CCOG has the fruits that Philadelphians should be looking for. And since then? CCOG has reached millions more via radio and millions more on the internet, as well as put out printed materials in four languages, and internet materials in at least six languages (for specific details, please check out CCOG's weekly Letters to the Brethren).

Internet Reach

Although some in LCG prefer to believe their internet impact is higher than it is, I like to use a source such as Alexa to give a relative impact on how websites compare to the multiple millions of sites out there. One page suggested that there are about 500,000,000 websites.

Alexa Rank Checker is one of the most accurate and freely available tools to find out how well your site ranks up against millions of other sites on the Web.  http://www.seomastering.com/alexa-rank-checker.php viewed 10/31/13

The lower the number of an Alexa rating the greater the impact. For example, google.com has an Alexa ranking of 1, meaning it is the most popular website in the world, and facebook.com has an Alexa ranking of 2, meaning that it is the second most popular website in the world according to Alexa (number 3 is YouTube.com). As of 2013, Alexa provides traffic data, global rankings and other information on 30 million websites, and thus any not Alexa rated have very limited reach and simply are not popular.

Here is the Alexa ranked popularity of the main websites of CCOG and LCG that were displayed by Alexa 10/30/13:

  1. COGwriter.com (Continuing Church of God, Bob Thiel) 127,571
  2. tomorrowsworld.org (Living Church of God) 361,007
  3. lcg.org (Living Church of God Roderick C. Meredith) 369,469
  4. ccog.org (Continuing Church of God) 660,347

The above suggests that the popularity reach of the Continuing Church of God did greatly exceeds LCG's reach. Yet, that is not completely accurate as LCG's youtube presence is included above as Alexa does not do so for individual channels--plus COGwriter has since been shadow-banned by Google. But it does show, that even without having a full-time internet staff that the Continuing Church of God basically did better reaching people over the internet. Some indicated to me that even while in LCG, the internet success of cogwriter.com was a concern to some LCG leadership due to pride and/or envy on their part.

The Alexa rankings clearly do show is that despite all the money and effort that LCG has put into its internet presence, the COGwriter.com website is more popular than any offical LCG website.

Only one can lead the final phase of the work and, without massive change, it will not be LCG--and LCG is not leading it now.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

Apparently, however, some in LCG did not want people to hear the above about Alexa, as they do not want people to believe the facts.

Why do I say this?

On November 29, 2013, Wallace Smith of the Living Church of God posted the following:

This particular fellow likes Alexa, and for good reason. It is the only “measuring” instrument that I know of that makes his internet efforts look so decent. I explained why that is in my post. However, this time he has trotted out a quote from a source that seems supportive: a website called “seomastering.com.”

Before looking at what the website actually says, it’s worth noting two things. One is that I’ve read that many “SEO” folks like Alexa because it is so easily manipulated to make websites seem better than they are...

“Alexa ranking is deeply tilted towards web sites which have many webmaster viewers. This is because web masters are much more likely to have Alexa toolbar installed.” (page: http://www.seomastering.com/seo-articales/alexa-ranking.php)

Note: The last comment is under the section of their page titled “Troubles with the Alexa Rank.”

Ha! Convenient, huh? :) Maybe our Alexa fan should check out his sources better. Could have been too busy patting himself on the back. Admittedly, it’s hard to do type on your blog and pat yourself on the back at the same time. (I know. I’m currently having the same difficulty. :) )

Actually, the hits keep on coming.

That last webpage talks about how to increase your Alexa rankings. If your Alexa ranking was a good read of your site’s actual popularity, then the way to increase your ranking should be “improve your popularity.” (Duh.) However, check out the list: It is full of all sorts of “cheats” and “shortcuts” that, with one exception, have absolutely nothing to do with having a truly popular website. Rather, they are exactly the sort of things that I explained in my post would impact a website that has a perverse appeal to COGers, who are known to have a disproportionate number of Alexa toolbars installed...

In the case of our Alexa fan, the users with an unusually high are COGers...

Again: If someone is aware of these things and he continues to use Alexa as evidence of the “greatness” of his personal work, he is either being dishonest or he is self-deluded.

Thus, in addition to passing on insults, Wallace Smith is flatly accusing me of being dishonest or self-deluded. He also later in his post claims my use of (verifiable) numbers is deceitful.

The facts prove that neither of those accusations against me are true.

Wallace Smith also posted:

And as for the “flag draping” Alexa fan I mentioned parenthetically up there who keeps beating the same drum–no matter how tattered and torn that drum gets–forgive me as I mix my metaphors by recommending a prescription: (1) Read Proverbs 20:10 & 23, (2) consider what you’ve claimed of others concerning having (ahem) a “love of the truth”, and (3) prayerfully study Matthew 7:3-5.

My apologies for those who find all of this minutia boring. Frankly, I do too. But when minutia is used to deceive (even self-deceive) and accuse, it’s helpful to get some honest perspective. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to be convincing anyone, as I have heard of literally zero people who find such figures convincing. But in the event that anyone ever does get confused by such nonsense and “horn tooting”, hopefully this can be a resource for them.

Wallace Smith's "perspective" on this is not, in my view, honest. He is being deceitful (cf. Jeremiah 48:10). I am also not 'flag draping.' Yet, if he is saying that most of the people he knows prefer to believe a lie than the facts, that is sad, though probably true. LCG simply does not have the Philadelphia mantle anymore, so it is little surprise that most there will accept these improper attacks against me as valid and will choose not to believe the truths I try to report.

It was only because someone else associated with LCG seemed to believe what Wallace Smith posted and mentioned that post in an email dated December 13, 2013 (I long ago learned not to trust Wallace Smith's judgment on many matters, hence do not tend to frequent his website--back when I was in LCG, I attempted to follow Matthew 18 and on various occasions had others try to dispel his misinformation from him about matters, include me and my writings--so apparently now is the time to "tell it to the church") that I decided to respond to Wallace Smith's post with the facts.

What are the facts?

  1. We in the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) do not have an Alexa tool bar attached to anything. Not COGwriter.com, not CCOG.org, not anything.
  2. We do not use Alexa cheats, etc. as until I read the post from Wallace Smith today, I was unaware that any existed (nor have I yet looked into any of them) as I only quoted a paragraph from a particular article and had not read it in its entirety (and, yes, Wallace Smith might again criticize me for that).
  3. The vast majority of people (over 90-95%) who visit COGwriter.com do not have a Church of God (COG) background.
  4. For Wallace Smith to suggest that people who have an Alexa toolbar and who are part of a COG is somehow perverse is wrong.
  5. LCG has a large staff and budget, yet according to the independent assessment from Alexa, its websites are nowhere near as popular as the COGwriter.com website. All of the official LCG websites combined do not have as much popularity as COGwriter.com and the official CCOG websites do. These are facts anyone can look up, yet apparently Wallace Smith and some others do not want this to be believed.
  6. Alexa ranking IS NOT the only measure that makes the internet efforts of the Continuing Church of God "look decent." According to other sources, such as AWStats, we have reached people in over 220 countries and territories. According to YouTube, our videos have been viewed by people in over 210 countries and territories. According to AWStats multiple millions of our articles are being accessed. We have reached people in multiple languages and we now may also be reaching more people in lands such as China than any COG ever has.
  7. Instead of accepting reality, LCG is having minions like Wallace Smith attempt to discredit the results that the Continuing Church of God has attained.

Anyone can check out the Alexa rankings by simply going to Alexa.com and entering a website URL. Sadly, others seem to want to dissuade people from accepting the facts. Do you wish to believe the truth or are you more comfortable accepting thinly veiled accusations?

What has happened since Wallace Smith complained about Alexa? It appears LCG took some steps to improve its rankings, but still has fallen short. Notice a later Alexa ranking, which is as of 6/23/14:

  1. COGwriter.com (Continuing Church of God, Bob Thiel) 99,595
  2. lcg.org (Living Church of God Roderick C. Meredith) 253,613
  3. tomorrowsworld.org (Living Church of God) 285,042
  4. ccog.org (Continuing Church of God) 599,568

Let me also add that a check of Alexa on 12/09/16, and COGwriter.com is still more popular than tomorrowsworld.org and lcg.org.

We in CCOG still do not use any type of Alexa cheats, so any who wish to believe otherwise are deceiving themselves.

Millions of articles have been viewed by people in at least 220 countries via the internet and millions have been reached over the radio (see also the sermons CCOG: Four Years Revealing Philadelphia? and Behind the Work 2016: All Nations, Tribes, People, and Tongues. CCOG is getting the gospel out.

Bob Thiel's Roles in LCG

As far as LCG goes and my role, notice also the following (please understand that these were all unpaid roles for me and I refused a salary the two times Dr. Meredith offered me one):

  1. From late November 1998 until early 1999, the COGwriter.com website served as the defacto website for the newly formed Living Church of God (which happened after a move by the GCG board).
  2. From the start of LCG until my departure, I also served as a video group host and gave sermonettes pretty much each week and conducted Passover services as authorized by the ministry. I often spoke at the Feast of Tabernacles and gave sermons at the Feast site in La Antigua, Guatemala in 2006, where I went over the book of the law as required by Deuteronomy 31:10-13 (see also The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law).
  3. In May of 1999, the late LCG evangelist Carl McNair told me never to stop COGwriter.com, but to continue to post materials. The COGwriter website originally was started years earlier at the insistence of my then GCG minister Art Braidic–I did not want to do it, but he insisted that I do so.
  4. Sometime in late 1999 (it could have been another year), Dr. Meredith made me promise, over my objections as I did not want to make that promise, that I had to tell him when I thought he was ‘pulling punches’ doctrinally. And I kept that promise until he made it clear on December 28, 2012 that he did not want to hear what he had originally insisted upon.
  5. In the late Summer of 2005, LCG’s then Presiding Evangelist, Dr. Roderick C. Meredith telephoned me and appointed me as an advisor to the evangelists on doctrine and prophecy. It was his idea, not mine.
  6. On October 3, 2008, Dr. Meredith stated that God may consider me to be a prophet. We discussed the matter for probably at least 20 minutes.
  7. On October 16, 2008, LCG evangelist Dibar Apartian told me that I was “the one or the biggest threat to the church.”
  8. That "one" who would lead the final phase of the work.
  9. Dr. Meredith brought it up again as an email I sent him on November 16, 2008 stated, “Now, you have mentioned to me a couple of times that God may regard me as a prophet. And, of course, it was you and not I that first brought that subject up.”
  10. In late January/early February 2009, Dr. Meredith told me over the telephone that if he (Dr. Meredith) was raised to the office of apostle, he was considering ordaining me (Bob Thiel) as a prophet.
  11. On February 4, 2009, Dr. Meredith told me over the telephone, “You have an in-depth understanding of prophecy and details of church history. You could be a prophet–that may be what God will have you do.” He also asked me to pray then that he would live another 7-15 years then–I prayed and he did (he died on May 18, 2017–just a little over 8 years later).
  12. During the Summer of 2009, Dibar Apartian expressed that I was not a threat to the church.
  13. During the Summer of 2009, Dibar Apartian expressed that I was not a threat to the church, but that God had an important role for me, apparently as the one to lead the end time Philadelphian remnant.
  14. In 2010, I was asked to submit an application to teach at Living University (LU). Because of that degree, my written articles, etc., Dr. Mike Germano said that LU wanted to appoint me as an “Adjunct Assistant Professor for Theology.” He wanted me to teach church history and other aspects of theology.
  15. In November and December 2011, I counseled with my pastor Dr. Fall, as well as LCG minister Gary Ehman, about the prophet matters. I told both of them that I thought that I needed to have hands laid upon me again in order to validate the view that I might be some type of a prophet. They both told me that, in their view related to being a prophet, baptism was scripturally sufficient. While that sounded logical, the statement from the Apostle Paul to Timothy about getting hands laid upon him (1 Timothy 4:14) gave me personal pause. And that caution led to me pray more about it. Thus, instead of concluding that I had sufficient anointing, especially considering the relative enormity of some of the ramifications of this as a conclusion, I searched the scriptures and concluded that, perhaps like Gideon (Judges 6:36-40), that I would seek further outside confirmation. And prayed God would provide that (or instead essentially provide information to deny that) when I was to visit Charlotte, North Carolina in December 2011.
  16. On December 15, 2011, LCG minister Gaylyn Bonjour, while laying hands on me, was moved by the Holy Spirit to pray that God would grant me a “double portion” of His spirit, which he said was reminiscent of the passing of the mantle from Elijah to Elisha as recorded in 2 Kings 2:9-13.
  17. At meeting with the LCG evangelists on December 16, 2011, Richard Ames prayed, with “Amen” concurrence from Dr. Meredith and Dr. D. Winnail, that “Dr. Thiel” would continue to do the work that God has had given me to do, etc. He also specifically called my writings/work “an additional witness.”
  18. On Sunday 12/18/11 night at a family wedding reception, without discussing the matter, I stared at Gaylyn Bonjour for a few moments, without saying anything and then asked, “Do you have any idea of what you may have accidently done?”  Gaylyn Bonjour said, “Yes, I think so.”
  19. The following Monday (12/19/11) morning was my first opportunity to speak with Gaylyn Bonjour privately for more details about the anointing.  I asked him if it was his practice to pray that God grant a double-portion of His Spirit to people that he anoints, he said, no he had never done that for an individual before.  I asked him if he had any idea of what he may have been inadvertently led by God to do, and he said yes.  Gaylyn Bonjour also said that the only “double-portion” he recalled from the Bible was when Elisha became the replacement prophet and ecclesiastical leader for Elijah (2 Kings 2:9)—I told then him that this was my recollection as well. Notice it was Gaylyn Bonjour, and not me, who first stated this connection. He also was the first to bring up the subject of “the passing of the mantle.”
  20. On December 19, 2011, during my last visit to LCG’s Charlotte headquarters, I made several hours of lectures that were videoed taped for Living University.
  21. On March 23, 2012, Gaylyn Bonjour again told me he felt that in the Bible the “double-portion of the Spirit” anointing was related to “the passing of the mantle” and that it mattered not what certain other leaders would say because it is God, and not an organization of men, that truly appoints prophets, etc. (1 Corinthians 12:28).
  22. On August 26, 2012, LCG evangelist Dr. D. Winnail told Bob Thiel, “We all think that you might be a prophet.”
  23. In order in order to determine who “We all” was, on September 7, 2012, I asked if this was a reference to all three of the LCG Charlotte-based evangelists and Dr. Winnail concurred.
  24. I had met with Richard Ames on the Last Great Day in 2012 (October 8, 2012) and asked if it would be okay to again bring up errors related to one LCG booklet, my thoughts on the Falling Away matter, as well as the final phase of the work. He concurred, so I committed to doing so.
  25. Therefore in October 2012, I began again to work with William Bowmer (Executive Editor for LCG).  He agreed that certain errors and questionable assertions needed to be dealt with, but also stated in an email on October 18, 2012 that LCG would continue to distribute over 20,000 error-filled booklets (see October 2012 Emails Related to GCA Booklet).  This was disturbing and did not appear to be a proper Christian standard. This was the second or third time I learned something like this, and had been told before that LCG would stop this, but obviously that promise was also not kept.
  26. On October 23, 2012, I also sent a version of my falling away paper to Richard Ames, who did not respond to it.  And finally, in December 2012, I sent my paper on the final phase of the work to Richard Ames and thus fulfilled my last promised commitment to him.  (The main content of both papers has since been posted and updated, see: The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings and The Final Phase of the Work.)
  27. During this time, an LCG minister said to send the chronology related to prophet matters to some on the Council of Elders who did not have it, so I did (a version of which is shown as part of the 12/28/12 p.m. update at http://www.cogwriter.com/11gnews.htm).
  28. On December 28, 2012, Dr. Meredith sent a false and accusatory email, which he also made public, in violation of Matthew 18:15-17 (see also Response to a Letter from Dr. Roderick C. Meredith Dated December 28, 2012). On that day, after reading that letter, I telephoned Dr. Jeff Fall and told him that working with LCG was futile and that I felt I had no choice but to leave. I then emailed Dr. Meredith and told him I left. The Continuing Church of God was formally declared hours later.
  29. On January 7, 2013, which is AFTER I left LCG, Dr. Douglas Winnail sent me an email, which included the statement, “we made comments to you  that “you may be a prophet.””

While in LCG, I was not disrespectful to the evangelists and never pushed the idea that they needed to listen to me because of a prophetic role, but only to accept the truth of the Bible and history and to correct errors that they generally acknowledged that LCG had. It was Dr. Meredith who appointed me in the late Summer of 2005 to be an advisor to the evangelists on doctrine and prophecy–I was also not self-appointed for that. I left LCG because the evangelists refused to do what they, particularly Dr. Meredith, repeatedly promised, and because LCG was willing to teach things it knew were in error.


There are a few complaints about/against LCG that perhaps should be addressed here. They vary in terms of relevance.

1) I have heard that LCG and groups like it are a cult.

The Bible shows that the true Church of God would be a little flock (Luke 12:32) and called a variety of names (including cult per Acts 24:2,5,10-14, New Living Translation). For more information about Christians being part of a 'cult,' please check out the article Is the Genuine Church of God a Cult?

2) I have heard bad things about Roderick Meredith (plus HWA did not appoint him to take over the Church).

So have I. Some of his statements are not Philadelphian and contradict facts I am aware of. Also several public statements made in 2012 and 2013 clearly contradict the Bible. But he made efforts to proclaim the gospel (in a manner that will not get him kicked off television stations), does claim to believe the Bible, etc., despite publishing clearly false items about church history and Bob Thiel--which is something he hadnot repented of (see also Roderick C. Meredith's Accusatory Letter to Bob Thiel). It should also be noted that Dr. Meredith died May 18, 2017 and no longer runs LCG (see LCG’s Roderick C. Meredith died ).

3) I have heard that some member(s) or minister(s) in LCG has (have) made one or more mistakes.

This is true, though some who say things like this often do not have the whole story, though sometimes they do.

Though imperfection, per se, is not a biblically sanctioned reason to not be part of a group (though requiring one to believe something against one's conscience, would be a valid reason, cf. Acts 24:16) there are other valid reasons; such as knowingly and publicly bearing false witness (which at least two in LCG have done against me).

4) I do not believe in hierarchical governance.

Those who state this do not seem to understand what the Bible teaches about governance and also clearly do not accept the 18 truths that HWA stated were restored to the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God, hence I would not expect them to support groups tht profess it unless they are led to do more Bible study on the topic.

HWA himself taught:

But to go on with the things that have been restored...The government of God has been restored to the Church, and the government of God has been placed in the Church. You read that in Ephesians 4 and I Corinthians 12. Christ is the head of the Church and under Christ in the administration of the government are an apostle or apostles, then evangelists, then pastors, then all are called elders, all ministers all the way up clear down to the lowest. So then there are teachers and elders both speaking elders and preaching elders, deacons and deaconesses. And the Church is restored in that form of government. The Sardis Church even didn't have the right form of government (Armstrong HW. Mission of the Philadelphia Church Era. Sermon, 12/17/83).

The government of God is of necessity government from the top down. It cannot be 'government by the consent of the governed' (Armstrong HW. Mystery of the Ages. p.49).

Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote about Jesus' idea of governance:

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ-- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:11-16).

People who wish to live by every word of God should realize that God supports a biblical hierarchical governance (see also The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government). The reality is that having a biblically proper form of governance helps protect people from various heresies and unstable doctrine. However, this is not to state that LCG now properly accepts God's form of governance (it has demonstrated inappropriate interpretations sometimes and refuses to truly accept the order in 1 Corinthians 12:28--and absolutely shows signs of what Dr. Meredith used to refer to as institutional IDOLATRY), but unlike some other groups, it claims to.

Despite its claims, it has refused to accept that God could now have any in an office above an evangelist (letter of 12/28/12 and FOT sermon 2012), despite what the Bible teaches (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God). So, there is a problem amongst those in LCG who claim to believe in hierarchical governance as they have demonstrated an unwillingness to humbly accept how God has handled certain matters.

5) LCG does not truly practice Matthew 18:15-17.

Sadly, to a significant degree, this is true. I tried to work with LCG on this in 2011 and 2012, and instead they violated it so much in 2012, this was a factor in my departure.

Notice something I wrote in a letter to Dr. Meredith on June 9, 2011:

I should perhaps let you know that I was once told by of the Charlotte staff that "Matthew 18:15-17" does not apply around here" (meaning Charlotte). I asked, "Shouldn't it?" And this staff member responded, "Of course it should, it just doesn't."

The person who told me that Matthew 18:15-17 did not apply to Charlotte, specifically told me he was referring to the top leadership--the evangelists and some others there in LCG Charlotte. This employee gave up on Matthew 18 to point our their issues with them. Although I tried repeatedly, this matter was not addressed. And, instead of keeping promises or responding to my Matthew 18:15-17 comment, it was ignored. But I complied with Matthew 18:15-17 as no church leader is above scripture.

LCG has ignored Matthew 18:15-17 both ways. The first is that certain leaders function like Matthew 18:15-17 does not apply to them if they have faults (like not keeping their promises), but also that they can violate it related to those who were affiliated with their organization. There is a major pride issue amongst at least three evangelists in LCG.

The attitude that the top Charlotte leadership conveyed to me related to Matthew 18 and some other matters, brought the following words of Jesus to the Pharisees to mind:

All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. (Mark 7:9)

It is the failure to keep God's commands that is one of the reasons that LCG is ineffective in doing the work of God in truth. LCG's absurd tradition that the ministry is above Matthew 18 is unscriptural.

Related to Matthew 18:15-20, notice something I posted in January 2013:

01/05/13 a.m. As expected, some associated with the LCG ministry have leaked the 12/28/13 letter to me to anti-COG sources on the internet. They can later try to explain this to God as obviously several with insufficient love of the truth or trust in the word of God would not actually want to first talk to me to find out if these things are so (Matthew 18:15-20). The reality is that that letter contains false accusations, improper statements, and a variety of false statements. The Bible warns against spreading such things, for "whoever spreads slander is a fool" (Proverbs 10:18).

01/04/13 a.m...Yet, on September 6, 2012, with possible disregard of Matthew 18:15-17 and matters of prophetic authority (1 Corinthians 12:28), Dr. Meredith publically criticized Bob Thiel without previously discussing the related matters with him; nor did Dr. Winnail take certain steps related to promises related to doctrinal matters (Revelation 3:14-19).

Paying lip service to God's governance is not the same as truly accepting it. LCG has on several occasions I am aware of, violated Matthew 18:15-17 both ways.

The rationale? Basically, it appears to be that since Herbert Armstrong ordained Dr. Meredith as an evangelist so long ago, if something is or is not fine with him, that is God's government at work. That is simply not true. Here is something he wrote me on December 28, 2012 as part of his rationale for dismissing things about me (bolding and italics his; for more details, see Roderick C. Meredith's Accusatory Letter to Bob Thiel):

Therefore, as the one Christ Himself has put in the office of Presiding Evangelist...I want to tell you...recognize that authority for your own good.

I have never challenged that Dr. Meredith was ordained as an evangelist and he presides over LCG. Yet, he (when he was alive) and others need to realize that Christ expects His leaders to actually follow His words better than Dr. Meredith has, especially in the past several years. Church leaders and others need to live by every word of God and not decide that they can overlook portions that are not convenient to their understanding of church governance. There is a major pride issue amongst many leaders and members of LCG when it comes to the matter of governance which reminds me of what I have heard from Roman Catholics (see also The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government).

To make sure this is clear, as urged by the LCG ministry when I was part of LCG, I did attempt to tell Dr. Meredith certain of his faults per Matthew 18:15-17 privately, and also tried to get others to assist as Matthew 18 says to do when that did not work, then finally I have told "it to the church" (Matthew 18:17) as Jesus said to do.

But, LCG not only did not approach me first, nor bring in others to discuss the matters with me, instead they publicly "told it to the church" on two or more ocassions and also then what they told contained false witness. Nor would LCG correct any of it when told. Those who feel that LCG has proper church governance need to re-examine that.

Furthermore, consider also that disfellowshiped former LCG members Patrick and Elizabeth Scarborough sued the Living Church of God and some of its leaders for slander:




While I did not support this type of lawsuit, I will add that I personally was libeled and slandered by leaders in the Living Church of God. I left LCG mainly because I did not feel that the top leadership had the character to hold the Philadelphia mantle. For some libel and other details, see Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God and Response to a Letter from Dr. Roderick C. Meredith Dated December 28, 2012.

Interestingly, someone I do not know, posted the following several years after I left LCG:

I stood by and heard Mr. Ames himself say the Matt. 18 does not apply to the ministry... I about fell on the floor! They really believe they are above the law and doing what God says... but heaven help the sheep if they don't follow it. March 3, 2016 at 2:45 PM

I have tried to tell people that LCG's top leadership does not believe Jesus' words in Matthew 18 apply to them. Despite the fact that teachers like them will get a stricter, not lesser, judgement per James 3:1.

6) LCG has old leaders and will not be around long enough to support the organization.

It is true that LCG was led by an older man who refused to accept admonitions that he requested (cf. Ecclesiastes 4:13).

God places leaders in the Church (1 Corinthians 12:28) and it is He, and not man (or an organization per se) we should look towards.

The teachings and practices, not the age of, leaders is the issue all should consider.

7) I have heard that LCG has integrity issues.

Sadly, this is much more true than it should be. See also Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God (En el idioma español: Â¿Por qué Bob Thiel deja la Iglesia del Dios Viviente?) A major problem that those in LCG have is that they willingly deny God's word (hence they are not Philadelphian, as the Philadelphians do not deny it per Revelation 3:7-8) as they often misundertand proper church governance (see also The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government).

LCG repeatedly has held church-wide fasts for spiritual-gifts (mainly, but not always only for healing), yet has difficulty accepting various spiritual gifts. Its leadership demonstrated that it would betray someone that it repeatedly stated that God may be considering/using/training as a prophet (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God). Thus, how can any believe that God could raise either of the two witnesses from LCG if they discount gifts that they have allegedly had people fast for? (Another item of possibly related interest may also be Dreams, the Bible, and the Continuing Church of God.)

Despite all I have written about my departure, someone in August 2013 totally misconstrued why I left, so here is another synoposis worded a different way: Because of false statements made by evangelists in the Living Church of God, repeated promises broken by evangelists in the Living Church of God, LCG evangelists acting as they were above the Bible and not applying Matthew 18, LCG evangelists knowingly distributing error-filled literature, having significant prophetic misunderstandings introduced by LCG evangelists, and a disregard for the final phase of the work by LCG evangelists, it was necessary for Bob Thiel to leave the Living Church of God. Hopefully, that is clear.

Those in LCG should realize that God’s people keep their word, even when it is not popular:

1 Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? 2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.

3 Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. 4 Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord, and keep their promises even when it hurts. (Psalm 15:1-4, New Living Translation).

Dr, Meredith repeatedly broke promises to me, even when reminded. And even when he made those promises in front of other LCG evangelists. He never apologized to me for doing so, but instead his pride and self-will has caused him to improperly attack me publicly. And sometimes, like in the article at the beginning of this post, more subtly.

Here is something that was posted by someone at an anti-COG website related to Roderick C. Meredith (RCM):

Maybe now that RCM is on his death bed he will start making some calls. …

All the people Rod has slandered over the years including Bob Thiel (say what you want about him but it doesn’t negate the fact that RCM lied about him repeatedly), Charles Bryce and the Scarborough’s to name a few.

Let me state here, that although I was NOT a fan of Charles Bryce, I did personally object to LCG’s top leadership about certain items that Dr. Meredith improperly wrote about him after Charles Bryce left LCG. As far as the Scarboroughs go, while I discouraged them from filing their lawsuit, it was my hope that with their information people would realize that LCG had put out knowingly false information about them. Dr. Meredith has had since 12/18/12 to apologize and repent of what he did with me--but has not done so. Some have excused that as he has mental limitations--but he has been given years by God to repent and still has not seen fit to do so.

A major problem is that many in LCG seem to believe that if something is taught by an evangelist, it must be accepted or at least tolerated, even when they are convinced that it is in violation of the word of God. This is similar to how those in the Church of Rome also view their leaders positions and this is a major error (e.g. The Falling Away: The Bible, WCG, and LCG Teachings).

Jesus warned:

24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. (John 7:24)

Yet, sadly, most in LCG do not REALLY seem to understand what Jesus meant here. People are not improper judgments based upon false and improper accusations, yet it seems that many in LCG seemingly have done so. All of God's commandments are righteousness (Psalm 119:172) and, thus, judgments need to be based on the Ten Commandments.

Bob Thiel Errors or LCG Errors: Which Should be Important to Philadelphians?

Many in LCG realized that I was LCG's most prolific supporter from the beginning until sometime in 2012. While I have explained some of the reasons why I left LCG (see also Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God), I have tended not to write much about why some in LCG may have wanted me out. While closer observers of the COGwriter.com website could have seen that from the date that I first watched the "falling away" sermon, I began to distance myself from LCG, basically none seemed to realize why LCG began to distance itself from me.

After the leadership in Charlotte realized that I was not accepting the "falling away" changes, on September 8, 2012, members in the Living Church of God were read at services a letter from Dr. Meredith condemning my new book Barack Obama and the Destruction of the United States. He stated it had “much of which we do not agree with.”  A few days later, Dr. Meredith wrote me in an email dated September 13, 2012 where he discussed LCG concerns about the book. Dr. Meredith (nor anyone in LCG) had once talked to me privately or with any others about their concerns as Matthew 18 indicated that they should, before "telling it to the church" (Matthew 18:17).

At the onset, let me state that there were no doctrinal problems that LCG stated that the book contained.  One of the main issues seemed to be having Barack Obama, etc. on the cover.  According to Dr. Meredith’s 9/13/12 email to me the book, “certainly could get government agencies looking into our negativism.” Dr. Meredith objected to what he called the “alarmist” tenor of the book (cf. Joel 2:1; Ezekiel 3:16-21) as well as my use of Catholic (2 Corinthians 2:11) and Muslim prophecies (cf. Acts 17:22-30).

Later, on December 28, 2012, in a letter to me that was supposedly intended to have had limited distribution, but that one or more LCG leaders made public (see also Roderick C. Meredith's Accusatory Letter to Bob Thiel), Dr. Meredith wrote:

I have understood for years your tendency to bring in “odd” or “Catholic prophesies” or put unusual twists on scripture in such a way that no true prophet of God would ever do.

The above statement was quite strange to me. If the above is something that Dr. Meredith understood for years as he wrote then, why would he tell me that God may consider me to be a prophet and never object to me about my use of Catholic and Islamic prophecies? Why would he a year earlier have told me to continue to do the types of writings and other works I was doing? Why would he have appointed me an advisor to the LCG evangelists on matters of doctrine and prophecy? The Apostle Paul considered that he was a prophet (1 Corinthians 13:9), and he cited non-biblical prophecies/sources, etc. (Acts 17:18-30) as he tried to reach all (1 Corinthians 9:19-22) should this have disqualified him according to what Dr. Meredith seemingly implied?

It also should be mentioned that the old Radio Church of God, of which Roderick Meredith was a supporter of, taught that Catholic prophecies were part of a delusion from Satan to keep people from God's plan (Will You Be Deceived by Antichrist?) and that this is something that true Christians should be aware of (see also Satan's Plan).

Some asked me about the “errors” in the “Obama” book. Here are the actual “errors” Dr. Meredith specified in his September 13, 2012 email to me:

Perhaps you did not realize it, but there are a number of easily provable factual errors such as your statement on page 13, “In his 2007 book, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.” But this book by Barack Obama was actually published in 1995, not in 2007. On page 44 you give us “17 Reasons Why Barack Obama is Apocalyptic.” Yet on page 45 you promise “fifteen” reasons before listing 17.

Now, within a day or so of receiving this email, I wrote Dr. Meredith back and informed him that the edition of the Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance book I quoted from was dated 2007 (the fact that Barack Obama had earlier editions, did not invalidate the publication date of edition I cited). Thus, this was not a factual error. Additionally, while it is true I originally write that I had at least fifteen 'apocalyptic' reasons and later increased it to at least seventeen, the fact that I overlooked one mention in the book that said fifteen was an error in editing, which I fixed in the book within days of learning of it.


Furthermore, LCG members should ask themselves if publicly blasting me my book without at least discussing the issues with me was appropriate as LCG knew about the book before it came out?

As far as Dr. Meredith being against me for my quoting Catholic and Muslim prophecies, there are many problems with the hypocrisy of that:

1) In 2007 or 2008, my paper on Catholic prophecies was distributed to the LCG Council of Elders, some of which made positive comments about the insights my paper on them provided.

2) Additionally, Dr. Meredith told me in 2009 that he was praying for the success of my book 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect. Dibar Apartian read the book at the time and also approved its content. That particular book had many of the exact same Catholic and Muslim prophecies that were also in the Barack Obama and the Destruction of the United States book.

Chapter 8 of 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect was titled Barack Obama, Islam, and the End of America. I would also add that chapter 8 of 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect had the same photo of US President Barack Obama that was on the front cover Barack Obama and the Destruction of the United States book combined with the fire that was shown on the cover on my 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect book.

3) All of the three Charlotte-based evangelists in the Living Church of God (and others in that church) cite Catholic and Muslim prophecies themselves. LCG literature contains references to the prophecies of Catholic Bishop Malachy and this has happened even after 'condemning' me for doing so. For one example, see the cover article by Dr. D. Winnail in May-June 2013 edition of Tomorrow's World magazine titled Francis I: The Final Pope? It referred to the Malachy prophecies. Others have as well (e.g. The pope resigns: what’s next? LCG Commentary, February 15, 2013).

Furthermore not including the weekly updates, LCG has mentioned the Imam Mahdi in at least nine articles (for one example, see Middle East events and Muslim prophecy, Commentary, April 06, 2011) and one booklet. Here is a quote from a booklet by Dr. Meredith:

Indeed, a coming "Mahdi" whose arrival Muslims are expecting in Bible prophecy known as the "King of the South" (Daniel 11:40-45) will soon arise and have a dramatic impact on world events. This powerful Muslim religious leader will unite many of the more than one billion Muslims. He will pose a genuine threat to the coming European Empire, which will have to crush that threat in order to continue exploiting Middle Eastern oil to further its military ambitions. (Meredith RC. Prophecy Fulfilled: God's Hand in World Affairs. LCG booklet)

The Imam Mahdi is a person specifically from Shi-ite Muslim prophecy.

LCG has also referred to other non-biblical prophecies in a variety of its materials.

4) Back in 2009, when I visited Charlotte, to encourage me to use Catholic prophecies, evangelist Richard Ames told me that the old Radio Church of God had used Catholic prophecies the same way that I had used them. He then had William Bowmer give me a copy of a 1964 Good News article by the late David Jon Hill that did so titled Will You Be Deceived by Antichrist? There were also other instances when the old Radio Church of God did this, some are shown in the article Satan's Plan.

5) On December 15, 2011, while in Charlotte again, I discussed a book I was working on that did that extensively went into Catholic prophecies Fatima Shock! The next day, on December 16, 2011Richard Ames publicly prayed, with “amen” concurrence from Dr. Meredith and Dr. Winnail, that I would continue to do the type of work that I had been doing--and that work included the frequent references to these non-biblical prophecies as a means to reach those without a Church of God background. It was not right for Dr. Meredith to give “amen” concurrence if for year he had problems with what I was doing. People should ask themselves why he clearly changed?

6) Six months later, Dr. Meredith published the following in a semi-annual letter that came out one week after my book did:

All kinds of “miracles,” visions of the Virgin Mary and other strange sights and events will begin to take place—startling many…(Meredith RC.  Semi-annual TW subscriber letter, May 18, 2012)

Dr. Meredith probably posted what he did after reading at least parts of my book Fatima Shock! (he had received a draft copy in 2011/early 2012) or based his writing on statements I made to him during my December 14-20, 2011 visit to Charlotte. However, unlike Dr. Meredith, I never once said that Marian apparitions (which is what Dr. Meredith is referring to) would appear, only that there appearance is consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecy. Since the Bible does not specifically make Dr. Meredith's claim, yet Catholic prophecy does make those claims, it shows that Dr. Meredith has relied on non-biblical prophecy for some of his prophetic statements.

7) Probably the reason that the condemnation of Catholic prophecies came out when it did was that several leaders in Charlotte understood that at least one of those non-biblical prophecies seemed to point to me personally. And if people considered that any Catholic prophecies could ever be true, this would interfere with certain leaders' visions for the future of LCG. Thus, by condemning my use of them, some apparently hoped that various ones would not consider that one or more could potentially be correct. Because if so, that would have been further confirmation that my prophetic ordination was valid. Of course, I have not ever claimed that any should rely on non-biblical prophecies, only that they should be considered in the light of biblical prophecy, etc. But this was apparently “too close for comfort” for some in September-December 2012.

8) In his letter to me of September 13, 2013, Dr. Meredith admitted that I did not treat non-biblical prophecies the same as biblical ones as he wrote, “I know you don’t say it that way.” Hence, I was somewhat condemned for something that Dr. Meredith realized that I had not done. Yet, he and others condemned me. And others went along with it, misunderstanding that proper church governance does not violate the command against false witness.

9) In January 2014, LCG minister Wallace Smith posted some negative things about me and made inuendoes regarding me and 'heathen prophecies' that he had concluded. It is not that everything in his post was wrong, but that he made statements he tried to relate to me that were false. Yet, he never offered actual proof that I did anything false, instead he, in my view, was highly misleading. The fact that he attempted to pour over many 'heathen prophecies' when he wrote about and prepared sermons/telecasts, etc. related to Mayan predictions and 2012 should point out further hyposcrisy.

The Apostle Paul considered that he was a prophet (1 Corinthians 13:9), and he cited non-biblical, pagan, prophecies/sources, etc. (Acts 17:18-30; Titus 1:12) as he tried to reach all (1 Corinthians 9:19-22). Furthermore, various prophets, such as Micaiah (1 Kings 22:10-28) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 28:1-17; 44:15-29) explained how pagan prophecies impacted God's prophecies. And what I have tried to do is follow Paul, Micaiah, Jeremiah, and others who have done this. Condemning me for properly citing, explaining, and often denouncing non-biblical prophecies is wrong and hypocritical. But that is what LCG did, and for some reason seems to recently wish to continue to do.

Thus, the facts are that for one book I was publicly condemned, without any warning or private consultation, for being a book of warning (“alarmist”), making one editing error (I wrote fifteen one place I meant seventeen, and this was immediately corrected), and for doing what all three of the Charlotte-based evangelists of the Living Church of God had previously told me to do (and four, if you include the late Dibar Apartian).

In December 2013, I learned that various ministers in LCG were still attempting to slander my reputation. Of course, this is not a new thing, as Jeremiah went so far as to write, "Every one of them curses me" (Jeremiah 15:10). Notice also something that Jeremiah said to God and how God responded:

15 O Lord, You know; Remember me and visit me, And take vengeance for me on my persecutors. In Your enduring patience, do not take me away. Know that for Your sake I have suffered rebuke. 16 Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts. 17 I did not sit in the assembly of the mockers, Nor did I rejoice; I sat alone because of Your hand, For You have filled me with indignation. 18 Why is my pain perpetual And my wound incurable, Which refuses to be healed? Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream, As waters that fail?

19 Therefore thus says the Lord: "If you return, Then I will bring you back; You shall stand before Me; If you take out the precious from the vile, You shall be as My mouth. Let them return to you, But you must not return to them. 20 And I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall; And they will fight against you, But they shall not prevail against you; For I am with you to save you And deliver you," says the Lord. 21 "I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, And I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible." NKJV (Jeremiah 15:15-21)

Those who 'wrote Bob Thiel off' because of the public condemnation of me by LCG should consider who was doing what was biblically-appropriate? Was it my using the term fifteen once, when it was clear that I meant seventeen? Or was it hypocritical and other LCG errors which should be important to Philadelphia-remnant Christians?

Perhaps I should add that an LCG minister told me that I was considered by one of the Charlotte-evangelists to be the biggest 'intellectual threat' to his ambitions and that was likely a factor certain of the letters leading to my departure (there were also one or two field ministers who held a similar view). I would also add that my unexpected anointing by an LCG minister apparently also caused several to worry that they might lose influence in LCG if I remained around.

I will add that all who rely on LCG's prophetic errors will NOT know what is happening just prior to the start of the Great Tribulation and will not see to flee to a place (Revelation 12:14-17) when it is time.

Pilate realized that the "chief priests" turned against Jesus because of envy (Mark 15:10). And I would suggest that the facts about what LCG did to me suggest envy as at least a partial motivation, much more than love.

American Football is it Philadelphian?

Believe or not American football seemed to be another 'behind the scenes' reason that LCG forced me out.

In the Summer of 2011, I had written a possible commentary for LCG about American football. I ran it by at least two-three members of LCG Council of Elders, none of whom had real objections to the content. But it ended up not being published and I never received an answer from LCG's editorial department as to why.

Later (December 17, 2011) after directly hearing certain comments, I believe I had figured it out--at least one leader in editorial (Richard Ames) was a major football fan. That was something I initially had not realized.

Dr. Meredith himself was later influenced by at least two very close to him (including at least one top evangelist, Richard Ames, and one relative, his son Jim) who were (and still are to the best of my knowledge) big fans of American football (not to be confused with soccer).

Partially because of this, they wanted my influence in LCG reduced. They also by late March 2012 knew about my prophetic anointing and I believe that they wanted no chance that LCG might officially decide to truly tell its members the plain truth about American football and to highlight what the late Herbert Armstrong wrote about it (for details about the truth and Herbert Armstrong's writings on it, please see the article Is American Football Evil?).

Oddly, the love of the violent sport of American football seems to have been a signficant reason why many stayed with LCG and did not come into the Continuing Church of God. This is despite the fact that many within LCG know it must be wrong. Notice two LCG published quotes which help demonstrate that:

If our leisure is spent watching, reading about, or "playing" fighting, war or murder, then are we focused on "turning the other cheek"? If our pleasure is to dwell on bloodshed or violence, if we want to "get inside the mind of the killer" as one popular television show promotes, then are we aligning our minds with God, or with Satan who was a "murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44)?

No Christian can deny the Bible's condemnation of hatred, which is the spirit of murder. Those who immerse themselves in media violence are being flooded with that ungodly spirit.

Some will attempt to justify violent entertainment as simply an enjoyable pastime. Do they consider the sobering warning of Isaiah 33:15, where God describes the person He will protect in times of danger: "He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, he who despises the gain of oppressions, who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil." (Ciesielka W. Violence. LCG Commentary. http://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/violence)

One of the fun questions that I’ll focus on in this post was this: “Will there be football in the Millennium?” Actually, the conversation during table topics was more broad, asking about sports in the Millennium in general, but with tonight’s Super Bowl event on folks’ minds (which might be going on right now as I type this, come to think of it), football had a starring role in the discussion.

The question and conversation also reminded me of a question I received from an elderly widow lady in one of my congregations. She is a sweet lady who happens to enjoy football on television. She had read someone preaching something that unnecessarily troubled her and came up to me at services to ask for counsel, worried that watching football might be “evil” in some way. For such a sweet lady in my care to be so worried unnecessarily about something which was not a sin required a response.

At the heart of the question about any particular sport being played in the new society after Christ’s return is this: Is the sport inherently evil? If so, then: no, of course, it would not be played.

So, is football inherently evil? No, it isn’t. Some might say that “No” is only the right answer for touch football or flag football, as if tackling is somehow the “inherently evil” quality. (Smith W. Thoughts in Route, February 15, 2012).

Super Bowl seems to be discussed much on this blog...Not that it is inherently evil (Smith W. Thoughts in Route, November 22, 2012)

One unique aspect of our modern society is its proliferation of violent entertainment. Of course, other societies have reveled in violent amusements, as did the ancient Romans in their Coliseum. However, such entertainment is now widely available, in many more forms, than ever before.

Sociologists have estimated that by the time the average U.S. child starts elementary school, he or she will have seen 8,000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence on television...As long as people fail to control their selfish desires, violence will continue. Anyone can break this pattern, but first there must be a change on the inside. (Sena P. Break the Pattern of Violence! Tomorrow's World magazine. Mar-Apr 2008)

In the movie, Hunger Games is a futuristic reality show modeled after the Roman gladiatorial games in the Coliseum...What criteria should Christians use to judge whether a movie, TV show, or video game is acceptable to God? The answer can clearly be found in the pages of the Bible!

The book of Isaiah was God’s warning to the physical Jewish nation. He directed them to change their pagan and violent ways lest He be forced to destroy them. Isaiah’s warnings are also for us today. God clearly tells His people: “He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly… Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil,” will be blessed by Him (Isaiah 33:15). Although movies and violent video games are “not real,” if we imbibe in them are we really stopping our ears from hearing bloodshed and our eyes from seeing evil? We are commanded not to “see” or even “think” evil (Ezekiel 20:7; Zechariah 8:17)...

True Christians who love God will hate evil, and keep their eyes, ears, and minds far from it (Psalm 97:10). They will “love good” (Amos 5:15) and seek to fill their lives with things that are “true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if virtuous and praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8). (Winnail S. LCG Commentary, January 23, 2014)

God is called “the God of Peace” in 1 Thessalonians 5:23. The Bible shows us that God rejects violence, war and brutality...

Beyond the actual violent events that we learn about, extraordinary violence entertains us. Our society takes pleasure in cruelty and savagery. Today, we love violence as much as, or more than, Roman society did in the days of the gladiators! Now, these fictional depictions of violence are not enough; “Reality television” has taken the inevitable shift to exhibitions of people really getting hurt, maimed or even killed. The human tendency is to push to a new level of “extreme.” Today’s “extreme” will soon become tomorrow’s mainstream. How far will we push it? What will be the new shocker that sells big?

Comparable to the surge of violent fictional and reality TV, is the dominance of top-selling video games that focus on killing and warfare. With titles like, “Assassin’s Creed,” “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.,” “Warhammer,” “Left For Dead” and the new game “Dante’s Inferno” (which uses “collected souls” as game currency), video games are becoming more and more outrageous...

We should never wish pain on anyone. (Kendall P. Violence is Not the Answer. LCG Commentary. January 30, 2014)

Fictional violence does not result in physical pain or bloodshed or damage to video game characters or actors. It also does not have to result in character loss, though it can be inappropriate and can affect the mind.

But as far as professional American tackle football goes, the rules of the game, as well as how it actually is played, result in violating one of the "seven laws of radiant health," which according to Dr. Meredith is "Avoid Bodily Injury" (Meredith R.C. Seven Laws of Radiant Health. @1955, 1973 Ambassador College).

Do the people who watch this type of savagery wish to be hurt themselves like happens to the participants? Consider that "the hope of the hypocrite shall perish" (Job 8:13; cf. Romans 13:9-10).

The hypocrisy of writing against violent entertainment and personal injury, while condoning American tackle football, should be obvious to any serious about the truth.

It has not ceased to astound me that men who expected their wives to abide by the 'no makeup' policy for years in the old WCG do not believe that they should not be entertained by violent sports. To me, that also is a sign of hypocrisy.

Of course, to come out clearly against the sport of American football would cause a group like LCG to lose financial contributions from many American males--and yes, fear of losing financial contributions is a problem that LCG has (and I am not referring mainly to American football here). Those interested in learning more about American tackle football and why Christians should not be fans of it can read the article Is American Football Evil? and/or watch a YouTube video titled Should Christians watch American football?

There were several reasons that LCG wanted my influence cut, but none appeared to have been biblically-sanctioned. And this appears to be what led to several improper letters about me being produced (e.g. Roderick C. Meredith's Accusatory Letter to Bob Thiel).

Ephesians 4:11-16

Is appealing to Ephesians 4:11-16 a reason to remain in LCG or instead CCOG? That passage of the Bible states:
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ —  16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)
Since I am not involved in trickery, the question seems to be is the ministry of LCG doing its job related to this?  And if not, what should be done?
Facts demonstrate that the ministry of LCG has clearly failed in its responsibilities related to Ephesians 4:11-16.  I will cite just two examples that happened in 2012 (and there were other examples).
One to again mention is that Dr. Douglas Winnail gave an improper sermon in 2012 on his 'falling away' doctrine.  This is more than a minor doctrinal disagreement for at least three reasons. 
First, Dr. Winnail claimed that this change was the defining doctrine for how LCG differed from other COG groups (see The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings).  Thus, this was a DEFINING change, which in my view absolutely showed that LCG could not hold the Philadelphia mantle if it would not retract that.  The same afternoon I heard that sermon, I ceased to consider myself a member of LCG and began to make changes to the COGwriter.com website to reflect that.  And while I tried for many, many months to resolve this (and actually years if one considers what happened prior to 2012), this was not only adopted but pushed forward by Dr. Meredith and others.
Second, if one connects-the-dots of Dr. Winnail's statements in that sermon and a later one (see The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings), it is clear that he is suggesting those that do not agree with this change have been blinded by Satan or do not have God's Holy Spirit.  This was a major and improper affront that the ministry should have stood up against.  I tried to work with both Dr. Meredith and Richard Ames to get them to disavow this and neither would.  Thus, they failed their responsibilities in Ephesians 4:11-16.
Third, while much of the LCG ministry did not particularly agree with the change, nearly all decided to support it.  All the ministry that remains in LCG are supporting it one way or the other (by not teaching members it is wrong), thus they have clearly failed to prevent members from being deceived by doctrinal trickery of men.  In my view, Dr. Winnail was misled by certain Protestant inaccurate interpretations of the related passage and was able to get the rest to accept or at least put up with, his false doctrine.  I believe the lack of strong biblical objections against this change by the LCG ministry shows that they have functioned as bad shepherds on this (Ezekiel 34:1-10), disqualifies them as the primary ones responsible for Ephesians 4:11-16.
The other example to mention is the fact that LCG leaders (including all of its HQ evangelists) have repeatedly backed sending out knowingly inaccurate information.  Both in its Official Statement of Beliefs (see December 2011 Proposed changes to LCG's Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs) and its church history booklet (see October 2012 Emails Related to GCA Booklet).  And while LCG might finally correct some of these matters, the reality is that they decided in 2012 to knowingly distribute inaccurate information that they agreed not to do in 2011, and continued to do so in 2013 and 2014.  I believe that truly demonstrates that LCG is disqualified to be the proper guardians that Ephesians 4:11-16 is referring to.
Bringing up some COG history might be of assistance here.  Herbert W. Armstrong left the Church of God, Seventh Day, because CG7 knowingly would not teach certain truth, because the then CG7 leader indicated that the bulk of the ministry there would not support it.  This was Herbert Armstrong's justification to go out on his own.  Notice what he wrote:
So, as the first step in this test, I wrote up an exposition of some 16 typewritten pages proving clearly, plainly, and beyond contradiction that a certain minor point of doctrine proclaimed by this church, based on an erroneous interpretation of a certain verse of Scripture, was in error. This was mailed to the Stanberry, Missouri, headquarters to see whether their leaders would confess error and change. The answer came back from their head man, editor of their paper and president of their "General Conference." He was forced to admit, in plain words, that their teaching on this point was false and in error. But, he explained, he feared that if any attempt was made to correct this false doctrine and publicly confess the truth, many of their members, especially those of older standing and heavy tithe payers, would be unable to accept it. He feared they would lose confidence in the Church if they found it had been in error on any point. He said he feared many would withdraw their financial support, and it might divide the Church. And therefore he felt the Church could do nothing but continue to teach and preach this doctrine which he admitted in writing to be false. Naturally, this shook my confidence considerably. This church leader, if not the church itself, was looking to people as the SOURCE of belief, instead of to God! Yet, here was the only Church holding to the one greatest basic truth of the Commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, kept in the NAME of God, and in spite of this and a few other erroneous teachings, nevertheless being closer to the whole truth than any church I had found. If this was not the true Church of God, then where was it? (Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, 1973 ed. pages 315-316).
Mrs. Armstrong and I continued to fellowship with these brethren. I continued to work with them, and with their ministers, as far as that was possible. The lay brethren continued to look to me for the leadership for getting the Work of God going to the world. But from that "all-day wrangle" I was independent of them and their ministers, financially. From that time I was dependent, solely, on God. We did not ask or solicit financial contributions from any except those who voluntarily became financial co-workers with us. And that has been the policy ever since (page 385).

Herbert Armstrong obviously felt that CG7 did not properly administer Ephesians 4:11-16 as they were too carnal on certain matters, and felt he had no choice but to leave them.  And that is what I have also done with LCG, and why the Continuing Church of God had to form.

Character counts, and LCG's top leadership does not have enough of it, nor love of enough of the truth, to hold the Philadelphia mantle. 

It should also be noted that the Bible teaches to "walk by faith and not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). Yet, those in LCG (and groups other than CCOG) seem to feel that it is better to walk by sight. They accept the fact that men ordained their leaders, but refuse to accept the fact that the Bible says that God reveals Himself to prophets via dreams (Numbers 12:9). True prophets of God are, from a hierarchical perspective, above evangelists and ministers per Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:28. But Laodiceans seem unwilling to believe God's word about these matters (see also Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).

Dibar Apartian

Dibar Apartian was an evangelist in the old WCG, GCG, and finally LCG. He and I knew each other for years and counted each other as friends.

In late 2014, a former LCG member sent me the following related to the late evangelist Dibar Apartian:

I just wanted to write you about Mr. Apartian and what he REALLY felt about LCG and its leaders.

I know that Dibar Apartian expressed serious concern for the LCG brethren, as he made comments about the "true colors" of LCG's upper leadership would come out after his death-which is exactly what happened.

Mr. Apartian told several LCG members, whom he trusted, that LCG was no longer God's true Church, and was no longer even a Godly church.

Mr. Apartian was against the "falling away" doctrine, just as John Ogwyn was against it also.

Mr. Apartian also knew that Herbert W. Armstrong was vehemently against Rod Meredith being the human leader of the church. Mr. Apartian always felt uneasy about following Rod Meredith, since he knew HWA's feelings about that.

Mr. Apartian was also having private meetings, near the end of his life, with ministers of different Church of God groups-one of those ministers, whom Mr. Apartian met with, told me about their meetings in person. Those private meetings were about Mr. Apartian leaving LCG.

However, due to his rapidly failing health and a few other reasons, he stayed with LCG.

He did make it very clear though, that LCG was heading the wrong direction, in terms of doctrine and other major decisions as well.

Mr. Apartian was also very upset about Rod Meredith's lack of compassion and concern for him, while he was near his death.

Rod Meredith had heard about some of Mr. Apartian's revealing comments about LCG, and Meredith was not happy.

Therefore, Rod Meredith did not visit much with Mr. Apartian towards the end, and Meredith even discouraged other LCG members from visiting with Mr. Apartian-worried that more negative facts about LCG would "get out."

I hope this info is helpful-God's people need to know the truth about LCG and about Rod Meredith

. . .

Mr. Apartian actually said that LCG was no longer a Godly church!

He also said that we would all see LCG's "true colors" after he died.

He made these statements to several LCG members, but most of them are still working at HQ, so they just keep quiet and don't say a word.

It should be mentioned that I have spoken with this person about this and have long been aware that Dibar Apartian had issues with LCG.

Dibar and Shirley Apartian originally came to GCG for the same basic reasons that I did. We did not come because of our past relationships with Dr. Meredith. We came to GCG because we felt it was in a better doctrinal position and Philadelphia work-focused mindset than UCG (who we all spoke with).

Yet, prior to the GCG split, Dibar Apartian expressed his opinion about various actions and decisions that the then presiding evangelist Roderick C. Meredith made that he did not care for.  Dibar Apartian personally told me in late 1998, that he told Dr. Meredith if he ever did something like this again that he would not follow him into another organization.  This clarified, for me at least, some of his views of Dr. Meredith.

Dibar Apartian was disappointed with LCG's Tomorrow's World magazine.  He stated it lacked interest, depth, and relevance.  In 2007 and 2008, he pushed Dr. Meredith to agree to have articles in it from me as he told me that my articles were what LCG needed.  Dr. Meredith agreed at the time.  I agreed, but under the proviso that LCG would first fix errors in its booklet on church history as I did not want to have LCG publish more materials that contradicted others.  Although LCG leaders agreed to do that and told me on numerous times that they were working on it, it never happened as various ones promised.  The reality is that one of the top people did not want the magazine changed. He also prevented the booklet changes from being adopted as a reason to not have me submit articles.

Despite this, Dibar Apartian frequently used to urge me to try to get the other leaders in LCG to correct various historical, doctrinal, prophetic, and literature errors.  Although I tried to get him to do more of that himself, he always instructed me to not only do that, but to remind other leaders in Charlotte to keep their promises to fix errors, literature, etc. Which I did. He did what he did differently to try to affect change.

Dibar Apartian indicated to me, multiple times, over the years that he wanted me to lead needed changes in Charlotte and I tried for years.

In 2008, he told me that I may be "the one," meaning the one to lead the final Philadelphia work, and he confirmed that in 2009 and 2010.

In one of our last conversations, he concluded with the words, "I love you." I was emotionally touched.

But, until I heard from the former LCG member who sent me the emails, I was unaware Dibar Apartian actually said that "LCG was no longer a Godly church" and that all would see LCG's "true colors" after he died.

Most in LCG do not really know how Dibar Apartian viewed LCG in his last years.

Well, in my view, it became clear shortly after Dibar Apartian died that the leadership mantle was no longer in Charlotte (where LCG's HQ, headquarters, is based).

As far as information coming out for all to see after he died, the 'falling away' change and related logic should have been obvious to those willing to see the truth (details are in The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings). The insistence on the wrong identity of the 'man of sin' (details are in the article Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?) and the insistence on 10-11 nations for Revelation 17:12-13 (see Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?) should show all who are willing to live by every word of God, over traditions of men, that LCG had lost it.

But the bigger issues, and the ones that Dibar Apartian had the most objections to was the lack of Philadelphian love, the willingness to distribute error, and integrity problems of the leadership in Charlotte.

Since Dibar Apartian's death, some of this information has come out (see Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God and Response to a Letter from Dr. Roderick C. Meredith Dated December 28, 2012 and  October 2012 Emails Related to GCA Booklet and December 2011 Proposed changes to LCG's Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs), yet relatively few believe that makes enough difference. But it does. Character counts and that the final phase of the work of God must be done in truth (Psalm 33:4). LCG has distanced itself from a least a couple of prophetic positions that Dibar Apartian held (see Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?).

Charlotte lost the Philadelphia mantle some time ago, and LCG is now a Laodicean church with some Philadelphians in it. This result is consistent with certain views that Dibar Apartian had, though it would seem he felt more who were part of LCG would have accepted that by this time.

Here is an email from someone who came in CCOG (until his death), who graduated from Ambassador College in the late 1960s) related to the mantle:

Dr. Thiel,

   Thank you for a needed sermon to inform those who have doubts about the use of dreams by God and to make it clear who God is using now to finish the final phase of His work. I know many are skeptical of one who claims they are the one God is using to lead His Work/Church. This is understandable since there are those who make such claims and are in it for themselves. Clearly you are doing what God has commissioned/called you to do. I can see no reason why you would dedicate so much time and energy in starting and leading the CCof G (what material benefit do you receive?). Materially you would be better off putting that time and energy into your business. However, the only wise option you really have is to allow God to use you as He wants since ones reward is in heaven. Therefore one should store up treasure in heaven.  I do not believe you sought/seek power and prestige as some do in other so called Church of God groups.

   I believe God has lead me to CCofG. He heard and answered my prayer. I finally became so disgusted with GCI and where it had lead God’s people. I had so many issues with their doctrine, and tearing down of everything God built through HWA. But I did not know where to go. I believed God called and chose me and that His church would never die out. For many years I thought the mantel passed from HWA to Mr. Tkach senior, since Mr. HWA chose him as his successor, and then Joe Jr. Of course I was wrong. I looked to the example of unfaithful kings in Israel and Judah and waited for God to appoint a faithful leader. The example of David waiting for God to remove Saul was misunderstood by me.

   The last straw was a message DXX RXXXXX gave on church history about 4 years ago. He traced church history through the Catholic Church and he marginalized Mr. Armstrong’s work. I finally woke up. I asked God to lead me where His most faithful leader and body of believers was.  In time and after much study of church history and those who were most faithful to the faith once delivered God lead me your website. He answered my prayer. Interestingly it was not until I had re-studied early church leaders such as Polycarp and Polycrates plus the Passover/Easter issue on other web sites, etc. that I discover Cogwriter by “accident”.

   I recalled what HWA taught about church history and realized there still must be a Church of God group still faithful to biblical teachings and contending for the faith once delivered. But where and who?

   The main reason I never considered a break off group from WCG in the 1990′s was because I first came in contact with Jerry Flurry’s group. I reject his teaching on the man of sin and other doctrines and his leadership style. Also, when Global started and other break off groups there was such confusion and governance issue it seemed to me it was better to stay where I was in WCG. Of course being in Connecticut we were far from Pasadena and had little first hand information.

    However, I knew from scripture God did not want Christians to go it alone. He formed His church and it was ones duty to support His work as well as develop a personal  relationship with God. Many of my friends just left WCG or became members in churches of this world. Some stayed with WCG. But I believed God raised up HWA to start the 6th church era and to proclaim the second coming of Jesus Christ. Therefore, how could I just be content to go it alone, (outside of His Church)? Thankfully in time God answered my prayer and I believe has led me to CCofG.

   Hopefully others will wake up. Thank you for your faithful service.

The mantle is NOT with LCG.

It is good that member found the sermon helpful. As far as his observation that I was not seeking power and prestige, I would add that he has met with me and seen me both in the USA and Canada, and realizes that my profession, etc. could give me more of that. And yes, I would concur with his position that I would be better off financially (as well as the related stresses of ‘the burden’ associated with the work, cf. Malachi 1:1; Numbers 11:11) if I did not lead the CCOG, as I do not take a salary from the Continuing Church of God (CCOG).

While the Bible says that ministers are entitled to be compensated per the Apostle Paul (1 Timothy 5:17-18), it also warns against worthless shepherds:

1 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.” (Ezekiel 34:1-6)

While there is nothing wrong with wearing wool clothing, many in the ministry ended up with better clothes than perhaps they otherwise would have.  Often their focus has been wrong.

Publicly Discounting Dreams

In LCGs World Ahead weekly update of December 10, 2015, Dr. Douglas Winnail took a shot against dreams:

Some of the strongest condemnations delivered by the Hebrew prophets were against the leaders of Israel who “cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness” and “who try to make My people forget My name by their dreams” (Jeremiah 23:13, 26-27, 32; see also Isaiah 3:129:16).

Normally, I would have not mentioned something like this, but this coming about a month after the recommended CCOG sermon Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule, seemed more than a coincidence.

Why? Other than the late Martin Luther King, Jr., there have not been famous political leaders speaking much publicly about actual dreams. Thus, the announcement seemed directed to get people to discount dreams.

Now, of course, unlike various ones in LCG, I have not lied about what happened. Nor have I attempted to get people to forget God's name because of my dreams. To the contrary, one of the dreams mentioned God and quoted scripture.

The Bible teaches the following:

17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:17-18)

Is the Bible true?

Of course it is.

Why ask that?

Because that verse says that in the latter days, old men would have dreams--this means dreams for God. And that some with God's Spirit would prophesy. Notice also the following article, etc.:

Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18? Does any church have the confirmed dream and prophetic signs of Acts 2:17-18? Should one? Here is a link in the Spanish language: ¿Tiene la CCOG confirmadas las señales de Hechos 2: 17-18? Here is a link in the French language: Est-ce que l’Église Continue de Dieu confirme les signes d’Actes 2:17-18? A related sermon in the English language is also available: 17 Last Days' Signs of the Holy Spirit.

No leader currently in the Living Church of God has claimed that prophetic dreams happened to them. The same is true for all the leaders in groups once part of the old GCG, except the Continuing Church of God.

I had at least two dreams. I was about 50 at the time of the first one, which essentially makes me an ‘old man’ per Numbers 8:25; cf. John 8:57. And about 52 at the time of the second one.

Some people want to discount dreams, but notice what God taught:

6 “Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision;
I speak to him in a dream. (Numbers 12:6)

While it seemed to me that from my dreams God was calling me to be a prophet, I was not sure at first that the message was from God. Lest that seem unusual, Jeremiah the prophet sometimes wondered as well--he, like I, realized the message was from God when the message was confirmed (see Jeremiah 32:6-8). Also the Apostle Peter at least once had a vision that he did not understand (Acts 10:9-17) until later as well (Acts 11:5-17). 

At risk of repeating some history, consider that on October 3, 2008, Dr. Meredith called me and said to me, “God may consider you to be a prophet.” Notice that this came from a long-time evangelist and did not first come out from me. It was Dr. Meredith who first brought up the topic about Bob Thiel being a prophet. In January 2009, Dr. Meredith told me over the telephone that if he (Dr. Meredith) was raised to the office of apostle, he was considering ordaining me (Bob Thiel) as a prophet. On February 4, 2009, Dr. Meredith told me over the telephone, “You have an in-depth understanding {of prophetic matters}—you could be a prophet.” In the Summer of 2009, Dibar Apartian told me, in quite a positive tone, that Dr. Meredith had been stating in top level meetings that Bob Thiel may be a prophet. Because of Dibar Apartian's statements, later that Summer or perhaps early Fall, I asked Dr. Douglas Winnail, if he was part of top LCG level discussions stating that Bob Thiel may be a prophet. He said yes.

Now I (somewhat like Gideon, Judges 6:17-22, 36-40) wanted further confirmation. Two LCG ministers (Gary Ehman and Dr. Jeff Fall) told me in November 2011 that I did NOT need special anointing to be a prophet. I told them that based on what the New Testament teaches on the doctrine of the laying on of hands, that I did believe that something like that was required.

In November 2011, both LCG minister Dr. Jeff Fall and LCG minister Gary Ehman told me that I did NOT need to have hands laid upon me in order to be a true prophet of God. Yet, I told them that something like that needed to happen for me to accept it. And in November/December 2011, I prayed that if I truly had a prophetic role from God that He would have something happen during a planned mid-December 2011 trip to Charlotte, North Carolina to confirm it or deny it if that were His will. As it turned out, on 12/15/2011 hands were laid upon me in Charlotte by LCG minister Gaylyn Bonjour, who I had not even intended to see then (I had asked to see Gary Ehman, but as it turned out, he was not in the Charlotte office due to an unexpected illness). After seeing Gaylyn Bonjour mentioning some health issues and wisdom, he laid hands on me, and specifically prayed that I would be granted a “double-portion” of God’s Holy Spirit, and he anointed me with oil. Afterwards, Gaylyn told me that he had not ever requested a “double portion’ of God’s Spirit before on anyone, but he felt that it was reminiscent of the time that the prophetic and ecclesiastical leadership mantle passed from the Prophet Elijah to Elisha (2 Kings 2:9-13). Gaylyn Bonjour had been unaware that I had prayed that God would have me anointed or somehow identified for a prophetic role on that mid-December 2011 trip if that were His plan for me and I had never discussed my possible prophetic role with him prior to this anointing. On 12/18/12, I asked Gaylyn Bonjour if he knew what he may have unintentionally done and he said yes. This 12/15/11 anointing appears to be the first biblically-appropriate prophetic anointing in the Church of God in many decades, if not many, many multiple centuries. And the legitimacy of this anointing has been proven by subsequent events–though many do not seem to understand how God works at times (see also Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?).

As it also turned out, I tried to meet with Dr. Meredith on December 19, 2011 to tell him that it seemed God was telling me that his wife was about to be struck with something serious. A few weeks later (per Dr. Meredith’s letter dated 1/12/12), Dr. Meredith reported that his wife (who was much younger than he) was stricken with stage four cancer (she later died on November 29, 2013). That prediction was not the result of analytical skills on my behalf, but I believe were insights from God’s Spirit.

In my view, the unexpected ‘double-portion anointing, Gaylyn Bonjour’s comments about the mantle passing, and my feeling led to tell of something about to hit Sheryl Meredith, were the result of God answering my prayers in November/December 2011 that the prophet matter would be confirmed or denied in Charlotte with my December 2011 trip. Essentially, this was THREE confirmations.

I believe that God answered my prayer. Many do not really seem to believe that God answers prayers or uses dreams, but His word says otherwise.

Of course, some have objected that Gayyln Bonjour was only a minister and not a top ecclesiastical authority, but God has used less than the 'top level' leaders to actually anoint in the past (2 Kings 9:1-3). Some have objected that he had not intended to do this--and while that is true, consider that Isaac never intended to bless Jacob (Genesis 27:35), yet after he did, he would not take the blessing back (Genesis 27:37). Gaylyn Bonjour also told me that what he did, he did, and the double-portion anointing cannot be taken back. When I told Dr. Meredith about all of this, the only concern he mentioned to me was he felt that anointings like this possibly should be done by an evangelist, yet there is no verse in the Bible that supports that.

Many do not want to believe what the Bible actually teaches.

Like the Sadducees of Jesus' day, modern Sadducees also overlook scriptures. Some deny scriptures such as Matthew 18 (see Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God) and Matthew 28:19 (see Is Matthew 28:19 in the Bible?). Many who claim to belive in biblical church governance instead have decided to rely a bit more on their organization than they have the word of God.

Notice what Jesus told the Sadducees.

29 Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. 31 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 32 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." (Matthew 22:23-32 )

Many in the COGs do not know the scriptures as they should nor the power of God (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God and Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God and The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government).

It probably should also be noted that the Bible teaches to "walk by faith and not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). Yet, many seem to feel that it is better to walk by sight.

Within two weeks of my leaving LCG, on January 7, 2013, Dr. Douglas Winnail sent me an email, which included the statement, "we made comments to you  that 'you may be a prophet.'"

As far as I am aware, I the only COG leader who met the criteria of being an 'old man' who had a dream that was confirmed as well as a prayer answered about being given an anointing reminscient of being a prophet.

These are biblically-proper criteria.

Since the time of my departure from LCG, it has promoted more and more doctrinal and prophetic errors as it refuses to believe the Bible and the power of God. Dibar Apartian said this would happen with LCG, and it did.

Too many modern COG people think like Sadducees. Interestingly, years ago, LCG's editorial department contacted me about the possibility of publishing my article Are the Laodiceans the Modern Sadducees and Pharisees? Although I discouraged it at the time, and LCG did not run it, the reality is that most in the COGs are Laodicean and most of the Laodiceans seem to be like the ancient Sadducees.

Few will believe:

  1. Dr, Meredith on more than one occasion stated that God may consider me to be a prophet.
  2. That God speaks to His prophets in dreams (Number 12:6).
  3. I had two dreams that were confirmed by subsequent events, thus confirming they were from God (Jeremiah 32:6-8; Acts 10:9-17, 11:5-17).
  4. Dreams and prophets are required in the last days (Acts 2:17-18).
  5. God answered my prayer (cf. Psalm 65:2)
  6. God does not always get anointings done the way people think they should be (Genesis 27:25-37; 2 Kings 9:1-3).
  7. Therefore my anointing was a real answer to prayer and God's intervention.

Most seem to wish to be like the Sadducees who "are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God." They do not really BELIEVE NOR UNDERSTAND how God works and governs. Dreams can come from God, and several in CCOG have had confirmed ones (see Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).


Notice something LCG published:

Personal - Pray for Our Financial Growth!

Roderick C. Meredith
January/February 2016

One special prayer that I would ask all of you to join me in praying is this: let us all together beseech God to grant us in this Work at least half of the financial increase that He gave Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong for about 35 years! For, as Mr. Armstrong explained many times, God gave the Work under his direction about 30 percent increase year by year for about 35 years.

Near the end of his ministry, with personal problems and sins growing throughout the Church, those blessings were taken away or cut back. ...

God Almighty is still alive, He is working through us right now, and—as these terrible end-time events approach—we really need to shake the world with the knowledge of His Kingdom far more than we have ever done. Remember, brethren, we are only “beginning to fight.” We have not yet finished! So again, since Jesus told us: “ask and you shall receive,” we can with faith ask God to give us at least one-half of the financial increase He gave His Church all those years when Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong were still alive and doing the Work. That would be a 15 percent financial increase of this Work year by year. I hope all of you will sincerely and zealously do your part. But I am not going to “press you” on that. For that is up to you and between you and God as you “walk with Him” in the fear of God. But I feel that God would want us to cry out and ask Him for the blessing that I have already indicated. Then, we could go on far more television stations, greatly increase our impact over the Internet—which is certainly the “wave of the future”—increase our personal appearance campaigns and “grow” the Work in every possible way.

When I first began this present Work back in 1992, I was a little embarrassed to ask for money. ...

Most of you realize this. If you go around your neighborhood you find virtually no one who has heard of the Living Church of God or any of the other groups that are trying to do God’s Work today. This needs to change! So I hope all of us can begin to fast and to pray fervently and ask God to help us stir ourselves to do our part far more zealously and begin to serve our Creator with zeal and to give of our physical substance sacrificially as we are able. Some of our brethren are already doing this. But I am fully aware that many of our brethren—often fine brethren who mean well and who are already giving a little bit of their substance—are nevertheless sitting on hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars worth of money, property and other resources they very rarely touch to help do the Work of the living God at the very end of this age.

Think of it! ...

God’s Word tells us: “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:32–37). God does not ask us to “have all things in common” as did these first-century Christians, but we can still be moved and inspired today by their great zeal.

Is it too much to ask that all of us follow the pattern of the early Church and give of ourselves, our time, our energy and our possessions in the very service of Jesus Christ at the end of this age?

So while he was alive, Dr. Meredith believed that sins cause COG groups to have less than 30% growth, and therefore he was hoping for 15%. There are sins in LCG (see Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God). By Dr. Meredith's logic, there were severe problems with LCG.

But is there a group with over 30% growth per year?

Yes, the Continuing Church of God has had that type of growth (see CCOG's Four Years and God Revealing Philadelphia?). We have the type of blessing that the Philadelphia era once had and that Dr. Meredith wished LCG had.

The CCOG has been the fastest growing x-WCG church in the 21st century. We have 8,000 who claim to be with us and are the only known x-WCG to add that many people (as opposed to coming from a single split) in the 21st century.

Perhaps I should add here that according to the late Herbert W. Armstrong, it was a suggestion from Dr. Meredith that stopped the 30% growth per year that the old Radio Church of God had for decades (see The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government).

Concluding Thoughts

The Living Church of God contains a mix of people. Back in/near 2009, despite it still then (in my view) having the 'Philadelphia mantle' within it, when I was asked if I felt that the majority in LCG were Philadelphian, I responded with "No." (More on the mantle can be found in the article Herbert W. Armstrong, the Philadelphia Church, & the Mantle.)

But I felt then in 2009 that, although there are scattered Philadelphians, LCG had more Philadelphians in terms of number of people than any other group. However, as more doctrinal changes were introduced, been insisted upon, and often improperly accepted, this changed. There are truly vastly less Philadelphians in LCG than I used to think that there were. LCG has truly become a Laodicean group, and hopefully the remaining Philadelphians will wake up (cf. Matthew 25:1-13) before it is too late and "gather together" (Zephaniah 2:1-3; watch also Zephaniah's 'Gather Together' Prophecy) with the Continuing Church of God.

What I have noticed in the past decade or so is an excessive willingness to abide by positions coming from Charlotte even if they disagree with the Bible, actual facts, etc. (e.g. Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?). Decades ago Dr. Meredith considered this type of reliance on a church to be IDOLATRY (yes, he capitalized that in his writing about that in the article: Meredith RC. Second Commandment. Plain Truth, March 1960, p. 27--this is also quoted in the article The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government). Nowadays, he seems to consider such idolatry to be loyalty.

This is highly disturbing yet most in LCG do not understand the ramifications of that as sin, nor its relationship to Laodicea:

17 Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:17-20).

I personally believe I was called to support the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God and be part of the work (hence COGwriter, etc.) and that LCG itself no longer properly represents it, but that the Continuing Church of God now does. It should be clear that CCOG's commitment to truth and its gospel proclamation efforts demonstrate it for any who are truly willing to look at the facts. Perhaps I should mention that during the years when I was an official (by his appointment) advisor to Dr. Meredith, I repeatedly told him that he seemed to have a major problem in being able to distinguish between Laodiceans and Philadelphians. The end result of that is that LCG is no longer the leader of the Philadelphian remnant and is primarily composed of Laodiceans (and people who will end up that way if they stay there too long).

It has been my experience that about a third of those in LCG (and probably a higher percentage of its employees) realize that LCG has significant integrity, hypocrisy, and/or doctrinal issues. Yet, most dismiss them as insufficiently important for many reasons--I believe that when they do so, they are denying the word of God (cf. Revelation 3:8). They rationalize that since LCG does have a major media presence, does have more congregations to attend than CCOG, Dr. Meredith was ordained by the late Herbert Armstrong, they do not personally have to believe the heretical teachings themselves (even though one of them, the falling away, has declared to be THE doctrine to separate LCG from others), and LCG has a ministry that they are comfortable with, that somehow God will work it out and they do not have to be that concerned themselves--this attitude is close to, if not truly, idolatrous--and it is Laodicean (Revelation 3:14-19).

Because it misunderstands governance and key aspects of Bible prophecy, those who will support LCG in the end will NOT BE PROTECTED FROM THE GREAT TRIBULATION (see also, for one example, details in the article Is the Future King of the South Rising Up?).

The Bible, of course, teaches, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12). Many forget that God sometimes changes leadership (2 Kings 2:9-13; Isaiah 22:15-25) and also that the late Herbert W. Armstrong left the old CG7 for similar reasons that I left LCG (see also the article Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God).

If you believe that Herbert W. Armstrong was right then, are you willing to do what is right now? If you believe the Bible over peer pressure, will you support the truth or a compromised version? Jesus said most Christians in the end would support the compromised version (cf. Revelation 3:14-21). What about you?

Some articles of related interest may include:

Do You Believe God Used Herbert Armstrong to Raise Up the Philadelphia Era of the Church of God?
What is a True Philadelphian?
The Thyatira Church Era
The Sardis Church Era
The Philadelphia Church Era
The Laodicean Church Era
Are the Laodiceans the Modern Sadducees and Pharisees?

Thiel B. What About the Living Church of God? www.cogwriter.com (c) 2002/2005/2006/2007/2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014/2015/2016/2017/2018/2019/2020 / 2021 /2022 /2023 2024 0408

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