Living Church of God
|Living Church of God|
|Leader||Roderick C. Meredith|
|Headquarters||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Founder||Roderick C. Meredith|
San Diego, California
|Separated from||Global Church of God|
The Living Church of God (LCG) is one of the church groups formed by followers of the late Herbert W. Armstrong. It was formed as a series of major doctrinal changes were introduced in the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) after Armstrong's death in 1986. It is one of the many Sabbatarian Churches of God to leave Armstrong's organization.
LCG's leader is Roderick C. Meredith (b. June 21, 1930), who had been a high ranking, senior-most evangelist in WCG.
Following his graduation in June 1952, Meredith was assigned by Armstrong to start and pastor congregations in Portland, Oregon, San Diego, California, Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. On December 20, 1952, after summoning him back to the WCG's headquarters in Pasadena, California from his pastorship in Oregon, Armstrong ordained him and four other men - including his uncle Dr. C. Paul Meredith - to the high-ranking position of evangelist. These men were the very first evangelists of the WCG. Meredith was the youngest of the newly ordained men, and was the fifth to be ordained.
Over the following years, Meredith would help start up scores of congregations throughout the United States. He would also conduct many baptizing and evangelizing tours in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, and Africa. From the early to mid-1950s, and again in 1960, he was assigned by Armstrong to live in Britain to start up congregations for the Church.
For many years he was one of the WCG's leading theologians, top executives, and instructors at Ambassador College. Meredith for many years oversaw the ministry in the WCG.
After Armstrong died, WCG began to change many of its core doctrines, a process that brought the organization into the mainstream of Christianity, something many members objected to, hundreds of splinter groups arising as a result.
Meredith initially founded the Global Church of God in 1992, but was controversially fired in 1998 as chairman of its board and presiding evangelist. Meredith left to form LCG, incorporating the church in San Diego, California in December 1998. His dismissal was widely unpopular with most of the GCG membership, and as much as 80 percent left the organization to come with him.
In 2003, the church's corporate headquarters was moved from San Diego to Charlotte, North Carolina. By 2011, the church reported it had 330 congregations in 45 countries, with over 8,000 members attending its annual 8-day long festival of the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day at 46 sites in 31 countries located in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, North America, and South America. An independent auditor specializing in non-profits reported for 2010 the church had an annual income of over $14.3 million (US). LCG's revenue is collected through tithes, which are 10% of gross income regardless of source, holy day offerings, and contributions from its members and others.
Other beliefs include:
- Binitarianism: The belief that there's a two-person Godhead, consisting of God the Father and God the Son (also called The Word). The Holy Spirit is "not a Being", and is considered "the very essence, the mind, life and power of God".
- It also holds generally that members should not take part in politics, juries, voting, swearing (members can only "affirm", not swear, in court), or military service.
- British-Israelism: The belief that the Anglo-American people are descended from the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel, and are the possessors of the birthright promises and accompanying blessings of Abraham’s descendants through his grandson Jacob.
- That certain Laws, including the "dietary laws" mentioned in Leviticus 11 and in Deuteronomy 14:3-21 concerning the distinguishing between the unclean and the clean animals, and between the animal that may be eaten and the animal that may not be eaten, should be adhered to by Christians today.
- That Christians should observe the biblical seventh-day Sabbath. According to the biblical definition, a day is measured from sunset to sunset and therefore the Sabbath begins on Friday evening sunset, and ends Saturday evening sunset. No paid physical labor is to be performed during this time period. No personal activities that take away from worship and family time such as participating in sporting events (such as Friday night high school football) any entertainment such as going to the cinema, theater, dance hall or bar and also no watching non-religious movies or television besides the news. The day to day labor of feeding livestock, and family members is allowed. This day is viewed as holy, and set apart by God at creation (Genesis 2:2-3) and is a sign between God, and His believers (Exodus 31:13)
- Annual festivals listed in Leviticus 23 and Deuteronomy 16 should be observed by Christians today as part of the "Sabbaths", which Jesus, the original apostles and the First Century Church God, headquartered at Jerusalem, kept. Members do not celebrate birthdays, Christmas and Easter, and other extra-biblical holidays that were adopted by late and post-First Century Christianity to placate those with pagan beliefs.
- That people after death go to "sleep” (Ecclesiastes 9:5), while awaiting the resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). Believers will be changed into immortal beings, and the people who have never heard the gospel, will be taught--having a chance to accept, or reject God. 
Shortly after LCG's incorporation, it started producing a weekly half-hour television program, Tomorrow's World. As of 2007, the show is anchored by Meredith, Richard Ames, Rod King and Wallace G. Smith.
It is carried on 211 television stations throughout the world. In May 2006, LCG's media department reported the show was accessible to nearly 78 million American households, or 71 percent of the American television market.
According to reports in March 2007 by Nielsen Research, the program was estimated to reach an average of 50,000 new viewers each week. To date,[when?] approximately 320 programs have been taped and televised since 1999.
A free bi-monthly magazine and website by the same name is also published, with 1.8 million copies being mailed to subscribers in 2006. From the magazine's inception in 1999 through May 2007, 8.3 million copies had been sent out.
The church produces several foreign-language radio programs, which are broadcast on 15 stations. These include a Spanish language program titled El Mundo de Mañana (Tomorrow's World). It is presented by Mario Hernandez, who also is the presenter of the Spanish language telecast by the same name. The second radio broadcast, mainly throughout the Caribbean, is the French language program titled Le Monde Demain (Tomorrow's World). Up until his death in 2010, it was presented by longtime LCG evangelist and radio presenter Dibar Apartian.
In 2007, LCG launched Living University, an unaccredited nonprofit online distance learning institution and is exploring accreditation for its undergraduate degrees, diplomas and certificates.
Terry Ratzmann Shooting
In March 2005, an LCG congregation in Brookfield, Wisconsin was attacked by gunman Terry Ratzmann, a church member. Seven LCG members, including three children and the pastor, were killed. The killings thrust LCG into the national spotlight.
No motive was determined by police but authorities examined possible religious connections to the shooting. However, other motives are likely including the recent loss of job, and mental factors, among other possible reasons.
- Christian observances of Jewish holidays
- Christian views on the Old Covenant
- Sabbatarian Churches of God
- "A Short History of Grace Communion International". Grace Communion International. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- Introvigne, Massimo. "Schism in the Global Church of God: Birth of A New "Armstrongite" Church, The Living Church of God". Center for Studies on New Religions. Retrieved 2007-08-29.
- "Church of God Timeline: 1996 to 2004". The Journal: News of the Churches of God. Retrieved 2007-08-28.
- Howard, J. Lee (February 14, 2003). "Church group relocating HQ here from San Diego". Charlotte Business Journal. Retrieved 2007-08-28.
- "The Living Church News" (pdf). Living Church of God. January–February 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
- "The Living Church News" (pdf). Living Church of God. July–August 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
- http://www.tomorrowsworld.org/booklets/gods-people-tithe. Missing or empty
- "Statement of Beliefs". Living Church of God.
- Is There Life After Death? by: Richard F. Ames.
- "Fundamentals of Belief". Radio Church of God.
- Winnail, Douglas (25 May 2007). "World Ahead Weekly Update".
- Living Church of God, Letter from Roderick C. Meredith, March 12, 2007
- The Living Church News, v.4 No.9, July–August 2007, p9
- Greetings, Douglas Winnail, May 24, 2007
- Programas de El Mundio de Mañana
- Co-Worker Letter Library
- "Motive Still Unclear in Milwaukee Church Shooting". The New York Times. August 3, 2005.
- Wilgoren, Jodi (March 15, 2005). "Police Focus on Religion in Milwaukee Shootings". NYTimes Online (The New York Times). Retrieved 24 January 2012.