This article is intended to tell the truth about an article on the internet titled, "A CRITIQUE OF DR MEREDITHS DOCTRINAL CHANGES AS PER THE LIST GIVEN BY DAVID PACK by Roger Waite" (all CAPs in this article are his, other than my abbreviations) which was done several years ago.
Roger Waite's article begins with, "Recently Mr David Pack gave a Bible Study that is widely available in the church in which he claims there have been around 26 doctrinal changes made by Dr Meredith in his time in Global. I have wanted to do an analysis on these doctrines myself so that I could better personally understand the doctrines in question. I have sought out references as best as I could for these changes and, to a fair degree, we are relying on Mr Packs word for a number of them in determining whether they have occurred. I am merely critiquing these doctrines. It is not my purpose to prove to the reader that they have happened. Seeking out that proof is up to you, the reader, with whatever resources you have available. "
One will note that he claims this list came from David Pack (I do not know if that is true, but suspect it is based upon other claims from RCG) and that he actually does not know if they occurred. He also said the reader needs to see if they are true. Now the list and article itself are rather old, but was is still on-line (at a UCG member's website until early 2006).
So, my article will deal with each one of them. And will contain the truth about each one of them. All of the alleged 26 changes which David Pack supposedly charged RC Meredith with making are bolded as was found in R. Waite's assessment of them (note: Roger Waite is not a supporter of LCG).
Alleged Change 1) MR ARMSTRONG WAS NOT THE ELIJAH TO COME.
That IS NOT RCM's quite position as I have personally discussed this with him several times. Here is one statement from RC Meredith on this:
Herbert W. Armstrong did an Elijah-like work" (Meredith, Roderick C. Special Announcements. Videotape 30. May 8, 1999).
The following is not an exact, but approximate, quote (as it was taken from my notes in a sermon),
From a biblical point of view, the Elijah question is not a major issue...I am not that Elijah...It will probably be a younger, better looking, man...Herbert Armstrong died over fifteen years ago...Malachi 4 teaches...vs. 5, 'Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD'... Mr. Armstrong himself went back and forth on this issue...Elijah may be one of the two witnesses. He (Herbert Armstrong) told Dibar Apartian that he (Mr. Armstrong) was not the Elijah...He (Mr. Armstrong) did not change any major doctrines, such as the Sabbath...but did change positions on other matters...Our policy and practice in the Living Church of God is to honor Herbert W. Armstrong as a teacher, minister, and as an Apostle...,raising up an era of the Church...The greatest minister, perhaps, in the past 1800 years...Mr. Armstrong certainly did do the greatest work in radio, television, and all that...We feel he did an Elijah-like work...We are to follow him as he followed Christ...I feel that the Living Church of God is carrying on the teachings and practices, that is religious not personal practices, of Herbert Armstrong more than any other group on earth...He could have been the Elijah to come, but I don't think we should be dogmatic and appoint him...They (the two witnesses) have power to shut up heaven, like the original Elijah did...These two men are a definite type of Elijah and Moses. And one of them may be the end-time Elijah (Meredith, Roderick C. The Elijah Question. VTE 131, May 19, 2001).
Here is an interesting quote from Herbert Armstrong on this subject,
Also Malachi 4:5-6 pictures the Elijah to come at the very end of the Church age (Mystery of the Ages. 1985, p. 349).
All should understand that since the Church age has not ended, that HWA's own writings are completely consistent with RCM's position on this matter. It also should be understood that HWA admitted to Aaron Dean that there could be a future Elijah to come after HWA died (this and more information is in the article The Elijah Heresies).Alleged Change 2) THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GOD.
Roger Waite correctly wrote,
In sermons and articles Dr Meredith has clearly shown that he doesnt believe in the trinity doctrine and that the God Family presently only composes two members God the Father and Jesus Christ and that the Holy Spirit is the power and mind of God.
RCM does not teach that the Holy Spirit is God.
Specifically, LCG's Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs says,
Alleged Change 3) THE KEY OF DAVID IS THE RIGHT FORM OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT.
Scripture shows that God is a divine Family which began with two, God the Father and the Word (Genesis 1:26; Ephesians 2:19; 3:15; Hebrews 2:1011)...THE HOLY SPIRIT God is Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the very essence, the mind, life and power of God. It is not a Being. The Spirit is inherent in the Father and the Son, and emanates from Them throughout the entire universe (1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:7; Jeremiah 23:24). It was through the Spirit that God created all things (Genesis 1:12; Revelation 4:11). It is the power by which Christ maintains the universe (Hebrews 1:23). It is given to all who repent of their sins and are baptized (Acts 2:3839) and is the power (Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:67) by which all believers may be overcomers (Romans 8:37, KJV; Revelation 2:2627) and will be led to eternal life." (Statement, March 2004).
This is partially correct, but not quite. What RCM teaches is that the Key of David in Revelation 3:7 includes the knowledge of the identity of Ephraim and Mannaseh and is also related to government.
This latter statement is consistent with Isaiah 22:21-22,
And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
Believing and teaching Isaiah 22:21-22 is not a doctrinal change.
Since the matter of government is so hotly debated in COG circles these days, perhaps this would be a good time to quote LCG's Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs in its entirety on this matter,
GODS FORM OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT The Father is supreme in authority, and His Son Jesus Christ is under Him in rank and authority (John 14:28). The head [leader] of Christ is God [the Father] (1 Corinthians 11:3), and Christ is the Head of the Church (Ephesians 5:23). God governs with love, and continues this pattern throughout His Church. Under the Father and under His Son, Jesus Christ, are  apostles,  prophets,  evangelists,  pastors and  teachers (Ephesians 4:11). Gods way of governing has always been government from the top down (Exodus 18:2126). Jesus taught Servant Leadership by His Word and example (Matthew 20:2528). He said, You know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many (KJV) (Statement, March 2004).
I should add here that I really wish that LCG believed the above, but they have trouble accepting that there are any above their top evangelist. For details, please see The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Roderick C. Meredith on Church Government, Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God, and How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God.
Alleged Change 4) FIVE RESURRECTIONS.
Roger Waite correctly writes,
We are dealing in pure semantics here as all of us, including Dr Meredith, are in agreement as to what those resurrection stages are.
RCM and LCG teach the three future resurrections the same as HWA did. R.C. Meredith does not teach that there are five future resurrections, nor did he ever teach that. What is astounding is that although RCG's David Pack knows this, he has had an article against LCG that says it teaches five resurrections.Alleged Change 5) GODS CHURCH IS NOT OUR MOTHER.
Roger Waite correctly wrote,
Dr Meredith shared his belief on this point with us on page 17 of the original Church Government and Church Unity booklet....Mr Armstrong on pages 215 and 216 of Mystery of the Ages stated that Gods church is called Jerusalem above "which is the mother of us all" and that the church nourishes the begotten but as yet unborn children (by teaching from the Bible by the ministry) in its spiritual womb and protecting it from being "tossed and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine".
Here is what RCM has written on that matter,
While I did write the two booklets you referred to, they were edited and to some degree did not convey what I intended. My intent was not to state that in no sense was the Church our Spiritual mother, it was to explain to those then affiliated with the Worldwide Church of God why I felt that the Worldwide Church of God was not our Spiritual mother (Email to ABerkey, April 2003).
Also notice two statements that RCM publicly preached:
...God's Church, which is the mother of us all (Meredith RC. A Welcoming Church. LCG Sermon, Charlotte, NC, July 2006).
The Church is the mother of us all (Meredith RC. Fasting a Powerful Tool. LCG Sermon, Charlotte, NC, July 7, 2007).
Alleged Change 6) CHRIST IS THE TERMINATION OF THE LAW.
Roger Waite correctly writes about RCM,
He has clearly taught that we are required to still keep the law and so this is statement from his Romans 10 sermon is probably a semantic slip-up.
RCM clearly teaches we are to keep the law, there was no doctrinal change here.
Again from LCG's Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs,
THE LAW OF GOD Gods basic spiritual law is summed up in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:117; Deuteronomy 4:13; 10:4). In the Sermon on the Mount and elsewhere, Jesus magnified Gods law (Matthew chapters 57; Isaiah 42:21), showing His followers that they must obey both the letter and the spirit. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good (Romans 7:12). It is practicing this way of lifethrough Christ living in us (Galatians 2:20)that makes one a true saint (Revelation 14:12) (Statement, March 2004).
Now, perhaps I should mention that my experience is that some there do not believe that parts of it apply to them the way that the Bible teaches (for a couple of details, please check out Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God).
Alleged Change 7) YOU CAN PRAY TO JESUS CHRIST.
Roger Waite correctly wrote,
In a 1995 sermon entitled "What is Jesus Christ Doing Now?" Dr Meredith stated that though our main prayers should be directed to the Father there are times when we can pray directly to Jesus Christ citing Stephens prayer before he was stoned as proof when Steven said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit Lord, do not charge them with this sin"(Acts 7:59-60).
Furthermore, this was HWA's position. In a sermon, HWA made the statement,
"You can pray directly to Jesus Christ"
The soundclip is on the net, and if I relocate it (I listened to it several years ago when this so-called change was making the rounds), I will attempt to link it here.
Also, in the May 1960 Good News article titled "Should We Pray To God, Or Only To Christ?" On page 8 HWA states,
"WE DO, WE MAY, WE SHOULD, ALSO PRAY TO JESUS CHRIST!"
Thus this is not a change.
Alleged Change 8) OPEN DOOR POLICY.
Roger Waite correctly states,
I used to have a photocopy from a Ministerial Journal that stated that Globals official policy here was that anyone was allowed to come to services as long as they came to worship peacefully. Only if they began to cause mischief would a minister become involved to sort out any problems or ask them not to attend, if need be...1 Corinthians 14:23-24 says, "If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all." I would gather from those two verses that the early church there at Corinth did have an open-door policy and dealt with problems as they occurred.
I was several times an official greeter in the 1970s and 1980s in WCG and have hosted services in my home since the 1990s. The practices of LCG are not different than the practices in the old WCG. There was no change on this that I ever noticed.
Alleged Change 9) CHURCH GROUPS ARE BRANCHES OF THE CHURCH.
Roger Waite writes,
A possible implication from using the term branches is that they are all a part of the church since they are connected as branches and that God...That is only an implication of the term, not necessarily the intent of it. Biblically speaking, Christ is "the vine" and we are "the branches"(John 15:5) individual members not church organizations.
While what I have quoted from Roger Waite is to some degree true, it is also true that different organizations could also be described as branches (presuming that they are truly part of God's Church). David Pack, who allegedly came up with this list calls the various groups 'splinters' which, though less kind perhaps, is making the same point--there are different COG groups at this time. Thus, I do not see a doctrinal change here.Alleged Change 10) MEN CAN WEAR EARRINGS.
Roger Waite writes,
Under Mr Armstrong we forbade men wearing earrings under the principle of men not wearing anything that pertains to a woman(Deut.22:5) and because it was a cultural sign of rebellion. It has now become culturally acceptable for men to wear earrings.
RCM told me he personally discourages men from wearing them, but does not prevent them.
On the other hand, I believe that HWA did make exceptions on earrings depending upon the culture. Furthermore, ear piercing for male servants is authorized in the Bible (Exodus 21:6; Deuteronomy 15:17) and men in Israel did have earrings (Numbers 31:50).Alleged Change 11) YOU CAN TAKE A SABBATH OFF NOW AND THEN.
Roger Waite writes,
According to Mr Pack, Dr Meredith has said this periodically in sermons.
Having received and watched hundreds of sermon tapes from LCG/GCG since 1995, I have never once heard that, so I did ask RCM about this. RCM told me that he has stated that he does not feel it is a sin if once or twice a year, when traveling/camping and not near any place to attend services, that members observe the Sabbath and have a Bible study instead of attending services. In my own case, when traveling away from areas with a valid COG congregation, I watch a sermon tape/YouTube video.Alleged Change 12) HAIR LENGTH.
Roger Waite writes,
Paul plainly says that it is a shame for a man to have long hair (1 Cor.11:14) and that a womans head should be covered and not shorn (1 Cor.11:6). "A woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels"(1 Cor.11:10).
That is RCM and LCG's position, thus there is no change here either. The only issue that David Pack may be referring to is that in those in LCG do not believe that the first few times someone from outside its fellowship visits that they need to make an issue of items such as hair length. But again, that is consistent with the practices and the teachings of HWA's WCG.
Perhaps the following passage may better explain that RCG does not understand:
Alleged Change 13) OUR CHILDREN IN THE CHURCH ARE NOT ALL CALLED.
But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless (Matthew 12:7).
Roger Waite writes,
1 Corinthians 7:14 says that all of our children, even those with one converted parent, are holy they are set apart for God. If they are set apart for God then surely they are at least called to that partial understanding. It is up to them to respond and if they do then God can choose them and work with them towards baptism and being a part of His family.
I Corinthians 7:14 is RCM's and LCG's position, thus there is no change here either.
I have never heard RCM make the statement attributed to him as 13 above, and he told me he does agree with with I Cornithians 7:14 and that children in the church as set apart and called by God.Alleged Change 14) INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE NOT A SIN.
Roger Waite correctly writes,
In the October 28, 1996 "In Transition" Dr Meredith was quoted as saying, "we discourage interracial dating and marriage NOT as a capital sin, but as something that brings a great deal of trouble, frustration, unhappiness and sorrow". He says interracial marriage is not a sin...There is no specific command that says "thou shalt not marry someone of a different race" in the Bible. You can look from Genesis to Revelation and you will not find one. There are many scriptures where God forbade Israel from marrying Gentiles but those commands are primarily religious in nature to prevent them from straying from Gods ways.
Interracial marriage was allowed, but discouraged, in WCG under HWA's leadership. There is no change in practice in LCG compared to the old WCG.Alleged Change 15) IF BAPTIZED MEMBERS AND UNBAPTIZED PEOPLE DATE (OR MARRY?) ITS NOT A SIN.
I personally believe that it is normally wrong for members to marry unbaptized members (per II Corinthians 6:14). Why only 'normally'? Well if the couple have a child together, that may be considered an exception based upon certain OT passages.Alleged Change 16) HIS OWN MISCONDUCT.
Roger Waite writes,
Someone who teaches high morals but blatantly does not practice what he preaches by living like a hypocrite is essentially a heretic even if he is doing the Work and his verbal teaching is spot on. We teach by our example and if our example is hypocrisy then we are teaching heresy. The reader can seek the facts and make his or her own judgment on whether Dr Meredith is guilty of this type of heresy.
Having written articles about the accusations against both HWA and RCM (click on either of those for details respectively), suffice it to say that one of RCM's biggest public 'misconduct' was that he made the mistake of publicly stating that there were no problems in GCG when the other board members told him there were not (or as I told him recently, he often believed those who were not Philadelphian) and being to willing to share control. Privately, there are other matters that I do not wish to put in this article (cf. Proverbs 17:9; Matthew 1:19). But I will say that in my view he has serious integrity problems (see also Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God).Alleged Change 17) WOMEN WRITERS.
Roger Waite writes,
There have been general articles written by women in the church magazines.
I would simply state that LCG has had far less articles written by female writers than WCG did under HWA. There has been no change here.Alleged Change 18) A WOMAN BEING ON THE BOARD.
Roger Waite correctly writes,
Dr Meredith kept his wife on the Board up until September 1998 and she only came off the Board after much persuasion by the other board members.
The board members did this so they could take over GCG, which they did.
The PLAIN TRUTH is that what RCM did was not a change. HWA did the same thing--his wife Loma was on the board as well. In my opinion, RCM should never have let the board essentially force his wife off the GCG board. Once they got her off, they were able to vote Carl McNair off, and then takeover in 1998.Alleged Change 19) UNBAPTIZED MEMBERS CAN WASH FEET AT THE PASSOVER SERVICE.
That is not LCG's written position. Actually, here was LCG's position on Passover service attendance and footwashing in 2004:
Alleged Change 20) EATING IN RESTAURANTS ON THE SABBATH.
Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread Undoubtedly everyone is now fully engaged in preparation for the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread. With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to cover a few Passover matters discussed at past Council of Elders conferences. It was reiterated, and all agreed, that only baptized members should participate in the Passover service, including the foot-washing. The foot-washing, the bread and the wine all go together and are all connected to the deep meaning of the Passover. Therefore, only baptized members of the Church, who have examined themselves and are prepared, should take part. The question of unbaptized members attending the Passover, just to observe, was discussed as well. The conclusion was that this should not be done except for the rare exception. In such cases, it is left up to the Church pastor's discretion to make that decision, keeping in mind the quietness and privacy of this most important occasion (Bryce C. World Ahead Weekly Update, March 11, 2004).
There does not seem to be a change in position between LCG and the Old WCG on this subject. If David Pack has a different position on this, I am unaware of it, as he has written that this is acceptable. I, however, have felt that LCG and others have often carried this too far and this is one of the doctrinal differences between LCG and the Continuing Church of God. See also What About the Living Church of God? Are there Doctrinal Differences with the Continuing Church of God?Alleged Change 21) NEW MOONS.
There is no change in position between LCG and the old WCG on this subject. Someone asked RCM once about new moons and why we do not observe them and I believe he indicated that the person may have had a point, but decided that the traditional COG position on this did not need to change.
The fact that RCM may have wanted to look into the subject, does not make that a doctrinal change. I have also looked into it and concur with the old WCG's position (see New Moons).Alleged Change 22) DOCTRINE DOESNT ALWAYS COME THROUGH AN APOSTLE.
Roger Waite reports,
Mr Pack tells us that ALL doctrine must come through an apostle.
The Bible teaches:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16).
LCG has made doctrinal changes that I do not believe are supported by scripture (e.g. The Falling Away: The Bible, LCG, and WCG Teachings).
Alleged Change 23) BIRTHDAYS CELEBRATIONS ARE ALLOWABLE.
LCG discourages birthday celebrations, but some of their members seem unaware of this.
An article of related interest may be Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays?
Alleged Change 24) THIRD TITHE TO BE DONE AWAY.
Roger Waite writes,
According to Mr Pack, Dr Meredith made the comment in one council of elders that maybe Global should do away with third tithe like United.
The truth is that RCM and LCG teach third tithe:
"And at the end of every third year you shall bring out a tithe of your produce of that year and store it within your gates" Deuteronomy 14:28)...the third tithe year traditionally begins and ends after the Feast of Tabernacles in the third and sixth year of a seven-year time cycle. "When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third year--the year of tithing--and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be filled, then shall you say before the LORD your God: 'I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which you have commanded me: I have not transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them'"(Deuteronomy 26:12-13). Notice that God calls this tithe a "holy tithe"...God places great importance on this tithe because He sets it apart for sacred use (Ehman, Gary F. The Blessings of Third Tithe. Living Church News. Nov-Dec 1999; p. 10).
The LCG has not eliminated or taught against third tithe as far as I am aware.Alleged Change 25) ONE MAN RULE.
Roger Waite writes,
Dr Meredith stated in his initial crisis letter: "Increasingly, our meetings have become more like a debating society. Each side has to divide up their constituents and propagandize them before a vote is taken on key issues. That is worldly...We will NEVER learn to faithfully practice God's form of Government if this continues! Frankly, brethren, since I was out voted anyway, I tried for a while to cooperate and go along with this system for the sake of UNITY in God's Church. Now I see that I was WRONG. I should NOT have gone along with this democratic approach even for the sake of unity. "This political approach to government is NEVER advocated in the Bible. It is NOT working because it is not God's way, and it breeds chaos and confusion. I have not wanted to fight. But now, I am being forced to fight for the Truth-for God's form of Church Government and for us to have the zeal to finish the Work! Some of these men on the Board want to politicize this Church and make it like the human governments of this world. Brethren, these carnal practices must cease within the body of Christ!" What is plain from this quote is that if Dr Meredith sets up a council of elders in the new organization he sets up, they will ONLY advise him but have no power to decide the matters brought before the council. They will advise Dr Meredith but will not vote on matters.
It is not, it is simply a criticism from Roger Waite. And presuming this is one of the 26 charges David Pack listed against RCM, it seems silly as David Pack runs RCG under a one man rule government.
One of my issues with RCG and LCG is that they do not truly accept biblical governance and have concluded that their current leaders hold the ecclesiastical mantle, which I do not believe either holds. See also The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Roderick C. Meredith on Church Government.Alleged Change 26) YOU DONT HAVE TO EAT UNLEAVENED BREAD FOR ALL SEVEN DAYS OF THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD.
This is not RCM's or LCG's position:
Leviticus 23:6 states, "seven days you must eat unleavened bread." Among other things, the unleavened bread symbolizes Jesus Christ. In John 6:33-35 we are instructed to feed on Christ, which we should do every day, including the seven days of Unleavened Bread, not just when we decide to eat the bread. Our focus should be on becoming more like Christ. Eating unleavened bread every day and focusing on the meaning of that unleavened bread is what is really important. Therefore, during the Days of Unleavened Bread all members of the Church are instructed by Scripture to eat at least one piece of unleavened bread per day. (Bryce, Charles. The World Ahead (Weekly Update) 3/11/04).
Roger Waite concludes with,
I do agree that RCM makes slipups in his speech from time to time and other errors--many of which I believe are significant (see Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God . Yet, the truth is that many of the 26 items documented here are not doctrinal changes in LCG. Many of the charges are not true, a few are, and the rest are not changes (mainly problems).
Those are the 26 doctrinal changes that Dr Meredith has made or tried to bring in according to Mr Pack. It will be interesting to see how many are taught/allowed in the Living Church of God and whether there will be more of these kind of minor changes in doctrine. Time will tell.
Anyway, if David Pack made those statements, I believe he should retract them as the facts prove that RCM has not made the 26 doctrinal changes that the Roger Waite article alleges. It is sad that certain people who claim to be part of the Church of God are not really interested in the truth.
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