In Revelation 3, we read of the two final phases of the history of the Church of God. The Church of Philadelphia is characterized by a zeal to do the Work. God promised to set before them an
"open door" to preach the Gospel (v. 8) as well as to protect them from the future Great Tribulation (v. 10). However, there is a final, seventh stage of the Church described, the Church at Laodicea. This Church is characterized by spiritual lukewarmness and lethargy (vv. 15-17). Though Mr. Armstrong put the Church "back on track" during the last seven years of his life, it became increasingly apparent from the very early 1970s onward, that two different "spirits" co-existed within one organization.
Starting about a year after Mr. Armstrong's death, there began a gradual trend back toward the permissive, liberal approach of the 1970s. Within a few years, however, changes moved far beyond those of the 1970s, into total apostasy from the Truth— even to the point of teaching the Trinity and that obedience to God's law (including the Sabbath, Holy Days, tithing and unclean meats) is unnecessary. In December 1992, 40 years after his ordination, Dr. Meredith was forced out of the Worldwide Church of God because of his refusal to compromise with the prevailing forces of apostasy. Joined by faithful brethren and ministers, Dr. Meredith moved quickly to revive the Work of God under the banner of the "Global Church of God." Within six weeks, the Church began producing a weekly radio program. In May 1995, the Church began a weekly telecast.
In January 1995, the Worldwide Church of God leadership dropped all pretense of continuity with historic Church of God doctrine and openly embraced Protestant theology. This brought about a virtual "meltdown" of the organization, and led to the departure of thousands of brethren as well as scores of ministers from around the world. Sadly, this post-1995 departure spawned many competing organizations, and a multitude of independent ministries that have continued to split and divide. In November 1998 there was even an attempt, led by several Global Church of God board members, to stage a "corporate takeover" of that organization. Board members ousted Dr. Meredith, against the wishes of a majority of the Church's Council of Elders, but soon found that the vast majority of GCG members and ministers continued to support the ousted leader, and those Council of Elders members who left after his ouster. Dr. Meredith immediately revived the Work under the banner of the "Living Church of God," supported by thousands of faithful brethren and ministers, and was back on television in less than two months—on the very same television station and in the very same time-slot that the board members canceled!
Forty weeks after Dr. Meredith announced the formation of the "Living Church of God," the GCG entered into bankruptcy proceedings. Since then, the splinter groups forming from the bankrupt organization have continued to scatter and divide. The ten men who, after ousting Dr. Meredith, sat on the reconstituted GCG Council of Elders in December 1998 are scattered, as of the writing of this booklet, among seven different Church of God organizations. By contrast, all the Council of Elders members who left GCG and remained supportive of Dr. Meredith are together, to this day, in the Living Church of God.
The Living Church of God has maintained its focus on doing the Work—reaching the world with the true Gospel message of Jesus Christ. You are reading this booklet because of the spirit of teamwork and unity that has allowed the Living Church of God to hold Philadelphian zeal as its common ideal, and to reject the spirit of self-will and "resting on one's laurels" that has afflicted so many Laodecian members of God's Church. The Living Church of God is committed to living by every word of God—including Jesus Christ's "Great Commission" to go "into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
As has occurred many times in the past, God's people today find themselves at a crossroads. Satan has sown confusion and discouragement. As a result, many brethren are hurt and angry, or have been overwhelmed by the cares of this life. Others have been deceived by false teachers, and have gone into apostasy. Still others have become so lethargic and lukewarm that they have lost their vision and merely wish to maintain local congregations, no longer caring about doing the Work. This represents a fulfillment of Christ's warning to the Church contained in Matthew 24:10-13.
However, the Gospel will be preached to the world in this endtime (Matthew 24:14), and there is a growing assembly of believers that is both zealous for the full Truth and zealous to finish
God's Work. Just as God's people have had to do from the first century onward, so His people today must "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). God states clearly: "He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness" (Romans 9:28). Who will He use to do it? According to Daniel 11:32 it is "the people who know their God [that] shall be strong, and carry out great exploits."
Where is the Church that Jesus built? It has not died out! Rather, it has defied the gates of hell and is miraculously defying them still. Today, the Living Church of God continues to do the Work of God, proclaiming the true Gospel to a world spiraling toward destruction.
Will you be one whom God uses to finish His end-time Work? Do you have the true Philadelphian spirit that reaches out to the whole world in genuine love and concern to share God's message of Truth and hope? Do you consider it important that the House of Israel be warned of the impending time of Jacob's trouble? Is the Work of God more important to you than your own personal comfort?
We in the Living Church of God believe that we are a continuation of the Philadelphia Era that Christ raised up through Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong many years ago. We are motivated by a sense of urgency in these years that are the immediate prelude to the Great Tribulation. We truly believe what Jesus Christ taught— that we must work the works of the Father while it is yet day, for the night indeed comes when no man can work (cf. John 9:4)! Will you, too, heed Christ's words?
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The Living Church of God offers a variety of free publications, including a Bible Study Course, booklets and the Tomorrow's World magazine.
The following booklets may help you to better understand
God's plans for you and the world. To request your free literature, please refer to the previous page for the address nearest you, or order online at www.tomorrowsworld.org
Restoring Apostolic Christianity
How God Intervenes in World Affairs
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