Similiarities Between the Eastern Orthodox and the Living Church of God

Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople

Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople


While most people in the Church of God (COG) recognize that many of our doctrines are different than many of those of the Eastern Orthodox, few seem to realize that there are several areas of agreement.

So, perhaps today would be a good time to go over some of them.

Against the Evangelical Protestant Teaching of Born Again

Both groups agree that the idea that one is “born-again” now for instant salvation is not an accurate portrayal of what the Bible teaches.


Frank Schaeffer…calls the standard evangelical doctrine a “false bill of goods.” “The simplistic ‘born-again’ formula for instant painless ‘salvation’ is not only a misunderstanding, I believe it is a heresy. It contradicts the teaching of Christ in regard to the narrow, hard, ascetic, difficult way of salvation.” (Clendenin D.B. ed. Eastern Orthodox Theology, 2nd ed. Baker Academic, 2003, p. 268).

Living Church of God:

THE MEANING OF “BORN AGAIN” With a physical human birth, there must first be “begettal” (by the male), and “conception” (by the female). With a spiritual birth, there must first be a spiritual begettal and conception. Then, after a period of “spiritual gestation” or spiritual growth (2 Peter 3:18), true Christians will someday experience a literal spiritual “birth,” thereby becoming immortal children of God. We will literally be born again at the resurrection as Christ Himself was, “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). (Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs. LCG, 2004).

The Dictionary of the Bible and Religion explains in the article “Regeneration” that the rite of infant baptism, practiced not only by Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, but by many Protestant churches as well, “is historically known as baptismal regeneration and rests on the belief that the sacrament, when performed aright, has the power to confer what it signifies, namely regeneration or new birth of the child to God’s family.” Churches that view infant baptism as a sacrament believe that the ceremony itself confers regeneration, and that the baptized person at that point enters into the Kingdom of God. Evangelicals would argue that the individual must first make his own personal profession of faith, after which he is “born again” and is, from that moment on, in the Kingdom…Those who view “born again” as a matter of sacrament and those who view it as personal experience do agree on one point. Both viewpoints assume that Christians are already born again at this present time…Just as new life is imparted in the process of human birth—with a begettal, a period of growth and development and then a coming forth into the world—so also is new life imparted in the process of salvation. We are begotten, we grow and develop as Christians, and then we enter into the Kingdom of God. The “when” of salvation is the resurrection from the dead, when we will finally inherit the Kingdom of God as spirit-born sons of God. Christ said in Luke 20:36 that we will be the “children of God, being children of the resurrection” (NRSV)…To equate the biblical “born again” with conversion, or an emotional experience at baptism, is to miss the entire point that salvation is a process! Salvation begins with our receiving God’s Holy Spirit after baptism and thus becoming a partaker “of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). Christians then grow in grace and knowledge throughout the rest of their physical lives. The salvation process will culminate at the resurrection with the Christian’s full arrival into the glorious Kingdom of God as a fully glorified, Spirit-born son of God. Truly, God is “bringing many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10)! (Ogwyn J. What Do You Mean “Born-Again”? Tomorrow’s World. Jan-Feb 2003).

While neither group agrees with the evangelical teachings, they do not agree with each other much on this point.

What they do seem to agree on though, is that being born-again is more than the simple acceptance of Jesus as Savior and that those who receive the Holy Spirit are in the process of becoming saved.

An article with biblical and historical information would be Born Again: A Question of Semantics?

John The Apostle Went to Ephesus

Both groups agree that John the Apostle went to Ephesus.


John, “According to tradition, he went to Asia Minor and settled in Ephesus” (Matrantonis, George. The Twelve Apostles. Copyright: © 1990-1996 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. 07/05/05 ).

Living Church of God:

The Apostle John died in Ephesus at the end of the first century (Ogwyn J. God’s Church Through the Ages. LCG Booklet, 2004).

John Was Not Subservient to Roman Leaders

Both groups agree that John the Apostle was not under the authority of any Roman bishop.


The Eastern Orthodox perspective is that the other Churches had no idea that they were supposed to obey the Bishop of Rome. In the case of Polycarp, a man ordained by the Apostle John as Bishop of Smyrna, we find that Anicet (Bishop of Rome) was unable to convince him to adopt the mainline custom. Only a few years later, we see Victor (Bishop of Rome) unable to force a change on the Asiatic Churches. Why? Because no one there recognized Rome’s authority to do so. This, in the Orthodox mind, is important because these Churches were essential witnesses of the Apostles’ teachings. It is likely that John, Philip and Andrew had ministered in the area. The memory of St. John was exceptionally strong
among these bishops. Had they heard anything about a Petrine succession of plenary authority in Rome? No. And yet, the Beloved Apostle was alive for at least twenty years after Peter’s martyrdom in Rome. Was John under the authority of Peter’s successor in Rome? This conclusion, which is unavoidable according to Rome’s ecclesiology, is one that the East cannot accept (Cleenewerck, p. 259).

Living Church of God:

Paul once noted that it was “James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars” (Galatians 2:9) of the Church in Jerusalem (Cephas is the Aramaic word for Peter).

Certainly Peter was an important and pre-eminent apostle, however, once James and Peter were killed, this only left one pillar, the Apostle John, who moved to Ephesus.

Is it logical that if any one was to be the leader to succeed Peter it would be John?

Is it logical that the one who wrote the last books of the Bible would be the primary leader of the church until he died?…

Therefore, it is no surprise since John outlived Peter and all the other original apostles that any church leadership succession would have transferred to him.  Recall that even the Catholics admit that John guided churches from Ephesus.  It would seem illogical that since most Catholics claim to have had four ‘bishops of Rome’ (after Peter) before John died, that John, an original apostle, would be subservient to them.

This is especially true since none of those early “Bishops of Rome”claim to have held the position of apostle (or even bishop!)–a bishop is essentially an elder who is a pastor or overseer (compare Acts 20 vss. 17 and 28)…

Thus, it does not seem biblically reasonable that a local elder in Rome ruled the true Church at a higher level than a prominent apostle ordained by Jesus and noted to be a pillar by Paul.  It is illogical to believe that there were, as are claimed, four “Bishops of Rome” (Linus, Cletus/Anacletus, Clement, and Evaristus) who were in charge of the entire Christian church and above the Apostle John in authority.  Yet, those who accept “apostolic succession” via Rome must believe this (Thiel B.  The Beginning and the End of the Christian Church Era: An Alternative View of Church History by One Who Actually Believes the Bible.  Nazarene Books, in press 2009.

It may be of interest to note that even Roman Catholic scholars admit that there is no evidence that the early leaders in Rome (such as Linus, Cletus, etc.) were actually even of the rank of bishop (see What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? ). It makes no sense that the last of the original Apostles would be subservient to them.

Polycarp Was A Successor to the Apostles

Both groups agree that Polycarp was a successor to the original apostles.


…early bishops include James, Polycarp… (A Timeline of Church History: Tracing the birth and continuity of the Orthodox Church from Pentecost to present, 3rd edition printed in Canada. Concilliar Press, Ben Lomond (CA), 1996).

Christianity spread far and wide throughout the known world, but the Good News of Christ aroused intense opposition, and the first three centuries of the Church were characterized by sporadic, but bloody, persecutions. Church tradition is full of the lives of these early martyrs for the faith, and one cannot but admire the courage and perseverance of these heroes who willingly gave up their lives rather than denounce Christ. Among these were…Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, burned at the stake when over eighty years old (from “These Truths We Hold – The Holy Orthodox Church: Her Life and Teachings.” Compiled and Edited by A Monk of St. Tikhon’s Monastery. Copyright 1986 by the St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press, South Canaan, Pennsylvania 18459).

As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Polycarp…This apostolic and prophetic man, and model of faith and truth, was a disciple of John the Evangelist (Polycarp the Holy Martyr & Bishop of Smyrna. Greek Archdiocese of America. 8/27/05).

From a book written by an Orthodox archpriest,

You’ve got Polycarp…He was Bishop of Smyrna by about 100 A.D. Early writers like Irenaeus tell us he was the spiritual son of the Apostle John (Gillquist PE. Becoming Orthodox. Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Brentwood (TN), 1989, p.39).

Living Church of God:

Polycarp (ca. 69–155AD) had been a personal disciple of the Apostle John and was one of the few church leaders of his day to hold fast to the Truth…The Apostle John died in Ephesus at the end of the first century. The next faithful leader in Asia Minor…was Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna. As a young man, Polycarp had been a personal disciple of John and had observed the Passover with him on several occasions. Polycarp became prominent during the first couple of decades of the second century. The churches under his leadership remained one of the few areas where God’s Festivals continued to be observed throughout the remainder of the second century. In his old age, Polycarp even made a journey to Rome seeking to convince the bishop of Rome, Anicetus, of his errors in not celebrating the biblical Passover date and in observing, in its place, an annual Sunday Paschal observance (Easter) (Ogwyn J. God’s Church Through the Ages. LCG Booklet, 2004).

The Original and True Church

Both the Orthodox Church and the Living Church of God teach that they are the original and true Church:


…be Orthodox. We wish to make that choice available and to urge people to become part of this original Church of Jesus Christ. Repeatedly, in the Book of Revelation, Jesus says, ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Gillquist, p.182).

The Orthodox claim one of its strongest point is

…its determination to remain loyal to the past, its sense of living continuity with the church of ancient times…Orthodoxy, believing that the Church on earth has remained and must remain visibly one, also believes itself to be that one visible Church. This is a bold claim…The Orthodox believe that they are the true church…Claiming as it does to be the one true Church, the Orthodox Church believes… (Ware, pp.203, 246-247).

Living Church of God:

The biblical name of the true Church is “the Church of God.” God names things what they are. The name is clearly stated in both singular and plural form in twelve different places in the New Testament—including Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 10:32; 11:16; 1 Timothy 3:15 (Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs. LCG, 2004).

God’s Church has endured through the ages. It is a “little flock” (Luke 12:32), but God has always remained true to His promise that “the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18)…the true Church of God… The true Church, symbolized by a woman in Revelation 12, was forced to flee into the wilderness…the true Church’s history is not about one continuous human organization. The preserved history of the Sabbath-keeping Church of God has been almost entirely written by its enemies who viewed it as heretical (Ogwyn J. God’s Church Through the Ages. LCG Booklet, 2004).

Where Is God’s True Church Today?…We in the Living Church of God are definitely focused on accomplishing the Work that Jesus Christ is doing through His Church in these last days…By examining the “fruits” you can see for yourself how God is using the Living Church of God today to accomplish His purposes. Remember, as indicated above, God’s true Church is the “body” of Christ…Rather than argue and make excuses to disobey, God’s Church keeps holy what God has made holy. It follows the inspired example of Jesus and the apostles in keeping God’s Sabbath and His annual Holy Days, which reveal His awesome plan. Finally, God’s Church does the Work of proclaiming as a “witness” the message of salvation through Jesus Christ and the good news of the soon-coming Kingdom of God based on His law. The organization that publishes this booklet strives to do all of these things. As you know, we in the Living Church of God try to follow all of the above truths with all our hearts and powerfully proclaim the end-time prophecies of the Bible… (Meredith R.C. Where Is God’s True Church Today? LCG Booklet, 2005).

There is at least one important difference in this similarity. The Orthodox Church teaches the same visible organization (though their other literature suggests a collection of what appears to be semi-autonomous groups) is the true Church. LCG teaches that the Bible shows that the Church will be in the wilderness for a time (and also sometimes be forced to move locations), hence it will not always be clearly visible to historians.

It should be noted that neither the Orthodox Church or LCG believe that their respective members are the only ones part of the Church. However, my understanding is that the Orthodox Church believes there are probably thousands of times more actual Christians alive today than those in LCG believe that there are.

Homosexuality Is a Sin

Even in the 21st century, leaders of both groups are not afraid to call acts of homosexuality a sin.


The following is from an interview by Spiegel with Metropolitan Kyrill (a metropolitan is type of high ranking bishop) who is also the now the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church (he was its foreign minister during the following interview):

SPIEGEL: … but not everyone says: Thou shall not be gay. Why should people have to conceal their homosexuality?

Kyrill: The Bible calls it a sin. But we do not condemn these people. The church is opposed to these people being persecuted or offended. But why should sin be propagated? The gay parade is a blatant display of sodomy. In that case, we might as well promote other sins, as has long been the case on television. This degenerates public morality. It is the church’s job to call a sin a sin. Otherwise it no longer serves a purpose. Unfortunately, the tendency in today’s world is to champion the freedom of choice, while freedom from evil is virtually forgotten.

Living Church of God:

In a published article, R.C. Meredith, presiding evangelist of the Living Church of God wrote:

Is Homosexual Behavior SIN?

But is homosexual behavior an absolute sin against God and the way He created us? Of course it is! We just read that practicing homosexuals “will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” And in very plain language God describes the famous philosophers of Greece and Rome: “Professing to be wise, they became fools.… For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting” (Romans 1:22, 26–28) (Meredith RC. The Plain Truth About Homosexuality! Tomorrows’ World, Magazine of the Living Church of God.  Jan-Feb 2008).

Length of Services

Both groups have services that tend to be about two hours (though sometimes they go longer).


Certainly Orthodox functions tend to be more prolonged than their Western counterparts…It is perfectly possible to celebrate the Byzantine liturgy, and to preach a short sermon, in an hour and a quarter…In 1943 the patriarch of Constantinople ruled…the Sunday liturgy should not last over an hour and a half…a normal Russian parish…lasts no more than two hours” (Clendenin D.B. ed. Eastern Orthodox Theology, 2nd ed. Baker Academic, 2003, pp. 19, 20).

Living Church of God:

In the Living Church of God, Sabbath services usually last about 2 hours; in the United Church of God, normally an hour and a half.


Both groups claim to accept the writings of the Bible and teach that they should be “People of the Book”.


“The Bible is the supreme expression of God’s revelation to the human race, and Christians must always be ‘People of the Book’ (Ware, p.199).

Living Church of God:

THE HOLY BIBLE The Bible is the inspired revelation from God to mankind. It is the true basis of all Church doctrine (Matthew 4:4; 2 Timothy 3:16). We believe the Bible is inerrant in its original manuscripts and is the authoritative foundation for all true knowledge (John 17:17)” (Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs. LCG, 2004).

“We as the church had better become ‘the church of the book’…We better believe and BE ‘the People of the Book’ ” (Meredith R.C. Vital Keys to Understanding the Bible. DVE388. July 1, 2006).

Passover is Based Upon a Lunar Calendar


Montreal’s Eastern Orthodox Christian community – Greeks, Ukrainians, Russians, Serbians, Armenians and Romanians – is observing Holy Week…There are 11 major Orthodox churches in Montreal, serving about 100,000 people. The differences among them are ethnic or linguistic, not theological.

The spiritual focus today is one of quiet mourning, solemn meditation and strict fasting, recalling Jesus’s entombment.

Pascha, or Easter, will be celebrated after midnight tonight.

The two Christian communities – Orthodox and Western rite – observe Easter vigils on different dates because they follow different calendars.

Orthodox churches rely on lunar cycles to fix the date for Easter. The rest of the Christian world accepts the Gregorian calendar introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.

(Eastern Orthodox faithful celebrate Easter tomorrow. The Gazette, Montreal – April 26, 2008.

Living Church of God:

This lamb was to be the “Passover lamb” and was to be slain on the eve of the 14th day of Abib—the first month of the year in God’s sacred calendar…The first three of God’s commanded Festivals come in the spring. They all picture spiritual aspects of the Plan of God. The last four Festivals all fall in the seventh month—the month of finality or completion—and picture the completion of God’s plan on earth (Meredith RC. The Holy Days—God’s Master Plan. LCG Booklet).

Because of this similarity of using the biblical month/lunar calendar, the Living Church of God and the Orthodox normally observe Passover (which the Orthodox normally call Pascha) close to (but almost never actually on) the same date (both groups can differ from the Roman Catholic Church by about a month).


Both groups reject the Roman Catholic idea of purgatory.


“Today most if not all Orthodox theologians reject the idea of Purgatory” (Ware, p.255).

We do not accept a third place, a purgatory, by any means, since neither Scripture nor the holy Fathers have taught us any such thing (cited in Cleenewerck, p. 355).

Disavowing a belief in the Western “Purgatory,” our Church believes that a change is possible during this intermediate state and stage (Aghiorgoussis, Maximos. The Dogmatic Tradition of the Orthodox Church. Copyright: © 1990-1996. 08/18/07).

Living Church of God:

…According to Raynerus, the Vaudois had major differences with Roman Catholicism. He lists 33 beliefs that he considered “errors”, including: their claim to be the true Church of Christ and the Apostles’ successors, their belief that the Roman Catholic church is the harlot of Revelation and their rejection of Roman Catholic feast days, purgatory, transubstantiation and prayers for the dead (Allix, p. 188). Accounts from the 1100s assert that the Waldenses (Vaudois) shared the same beliefs as Albigenses and Cathars…The true Church did not believe in a Trinity, an immortal soul or purgatory. It did not promote clerical celibacy, indulgences, infant baptism, prayers to the dead or the use of idols and images. ” (Winnail D. The Reformation and Religious Deception. Tomorrow’s World, LCG Magazine. January-February 2002).

Neither Teach an “Immortal Soul”

Although there are differences, both groups teach that the soul, of itself, is not immortal.


To this day, the funeral services of the Orthodox are very clear: we “fall asleep” and go to Abraham’s bosom / hades / paradise. It is a place of rest of repose in the Holy Spirit with an anticipation of the glory or judgment… Orthodox believe that the soul is not absolutely or substantially immortal – the great Greek theologian Zizioulas makes that very clear and he is the head of the Ecumenical dialogue for the Orthodox.  However, the “souls of the righteous are in the hands of God” (Wisdom) and are sustained by God. We would also argue that the soul/spirit has awareness (as God grants) and not total loss of awareness (Cleenewerck L.  Rest of the History Book, Email to Bob Thiel, December 17, 2009).

Living Church of God:

Polycrates of Ephesus in the late second century wrote and told the Roman Bishop Victor:

Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead? (Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapter 24. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the last day, at the coming of the Lord, when he shall come with glory from heaven and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who sleeps in Hierapolis, and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and moreover John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and being a priest wore the sacerdotal plate. He also sleeps at Ephesus (Eusebius. Church History, Book III, Chapter 31. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

In more modern times:

…Satan’s first lie that man is an immortal soul (Armstrong HW. Mystery of the Ages, 1985).

The human spirit of itself cannot see, hear, think or know. The only real LIFE, inherent and self-containing, lies in the Holy Spirit of God, united with the human spirit…At death, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7).  The spirit is the depository of memory and character. The spirit is like a mold. It retains even the human form and shape of the deceased, so that in the resurrection to judgment those who have died shall look as they did in life, retain whatever character they established in life, remember everything that was stored in their memory. But in the meantime, in death, there is no consciousness–they “know not any thing” (Eccl. 9:5)…We shall inherit the kingdom at Christ’s coming. The dead in Christ shall be resurrected, rising first–changed to Spirit immortality (Armstrong HW. Mystery of the Ages, 1985).

“Glorification”—putting on immortality—is the final step in receiving salvation (1 Corinthians 15:53). Ultimate salvation for mankind comes at glorification in His Kingdom. (Ephesians 5:27; Philippians 3:21; 2 Timothy 2:10). (LCG Statement of Fundamental Beliefs)

The early church taught against the idea of the immortality of the soul. It did not teach awareness, but like Jesus (John 11:11,14) and Paul (Ephesians 5:14) it taught death was like sleep. For more details, see Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? and What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection?

What Happens After Death for Those Who are Neither Saints Nor Incorrigibly Wicked?

Both groups seem to agree that God has a plan that does not require those not now saved to suffer eternally.


Clement of Alexandria wrote:

He destroys no one but grants salvation to all…

He indeed saves all. But [He saves] some by converting them through punishments. However, those who follow voluntarily [He saves] with dignity and honor (Clement of Alexandria. Cited in Bercot DW. The Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1998, p. 591).

Bishop Timothy Ware (who is now called Bishop Kallistos) wrote:

“What exactly is the condition of souls in the period between death and the Resurrection of the Body at the Last Day? Here Orthodox teaching is not entirely clear…The majority would be inclined to say that the faithful departed do not suffer at all. Another school holds that perhaps they suffer, but if so, their suffering is of a purificatory but not an expiratory character. Yet a third group would prefer to leave the whole question entirely open: let us avoid detailed formulation about the life after death” (Ware, p.255).

“There is no terrorism in the Orthodox doctrine of God…several of the Fathers have none the less believed that in the end all will be reconciled to God. It is heretical to say that all must be saved, for this is to deny free will; but it is a legitimate hope that all may be saved. Until the Last Day come, we must not despair of anyone’s salvation, but must long and pray for the reconciliation of all without exception” (Ware, p. 262).

Andreas Andreopoulos wrote:

Gregory does not accept the restoration of all and the subsequent forgiveness of all as an inescapable necessity. Nobody will be saved without going through repentance, cleansing and forgiveness, and his view of the apokatastasis is merely the belief that everyone will be able to see truth as it is at the end, and everyone will be given the chance to repent…The restoration of all however, a valid possibility according to the Church, although not a doctrine, has a special place in the hopes of saints who pray for the redemption of their enemies, and it expresses our hope for the charity of God. Possibly the honorable silence expresses this hope, which in spite of the danger of determinism, becomes almost a certainty in this light: If even one human being is able to forgive and pray for the salvation of the entire cosmos, wouldn’t God’s providence find a way to make it happen? (Andreopoulos A. Eschatology and final restoration (apokatastasis) in Origen, Gregory of Nyssa and Maximos the Confessor. Theandros an Online Journal of Orthodox Christian Theology and Practice, Volume 1, number 3, Spring 2004. viewed 06/08/09)

Archpriest George Florovsky observed:

St. Gregory of Nyssa anticipated a kind of universal conversion of souls in the afterlife, when the Truth of God will be revealed and manifested with compelling evidence…

God respects human freedom, as St. Irenaeus once said…The Last Judgment remains a mystery.

(Florovsky G. The last things and the last events. Originally written no later than 1979. Missionary Leaflet # E95h Holy Protection Russian Orthodox Church. Los Angeles. Editor: Bishop Alexander (Mileant) viewed 06/07/09).

(Orthodox escatology remains a mystery to the Orthodox as they tend to admit that they do not understand much of it.)

Origen wrote:

“Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world,” whether the world here is to be taken intellectually of the Church, and the taking away of sin is limited to the Church. In that case what are we to make of the saying of the same disciple with regard to the Saviour, as the propitiation for sin? “If any man sin,” we read, “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world?” Paul’s dictum appears to me to be to the same effect, when he says, “Who is the Saviour of all men, especially of the faithful” (Origen. Commentary on the Gospel of John, Book VI, Chapter 38).

Thus Origen is teaching [correctly in the view of the Living Church of God and probably the Orthodox] that Christ died for all and not just those currently in the church.

The Greek Orthodox priest George Mastrantonis has noted that Origen was:

“the first great theologian in Alexandria” (Mastrantonis G. Fasting from Iniquities and Foods. Greek Orthodox Diocese of America. 12/01/05).

Thus, it is possible that Origen’s writings may have had some influence upon the position that Timothy Ware took. Specifically, noted historian K.S. Latourette observed this about Origen:

Origen taught that ultimately all the spirits who have fallen away from God will be restored to full harmony with Him. This can come about only with their cooperation, for they have freedom to accept or reject the redemption wrought in Christ. Before full restoration they will suffer punishment, but that punishment is intended to be educative, to purge them from the imperfections brought by their sin. After the end of the present age and its world another age will come, so Origen believed, in which have been born again will continue to grow and the unrepentant will be given further opportunity for repentance (Latourette K.S. A History of Christianity, Volume 1, Beginnings to 1500. Harper Collins, San Francisco, 1975, p.151).

While we in LCG would not word it quite that way, this does support the idea that God has a plan that will give the unrepentant an opportunity for salvation after this present age. More information can be found in the article Hope of Salvation: How the Living Church of God Differs from Protestantism.

Living Church of God:

“The Last Great Day features the great judgment that will occur at the end of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ on earth (John 7:37; Leviticus 23:36, 39, 33-34; Revelation 20:11-12)…With a physical human birth, there must first be “begettal” (by the male), and “conception” (by the female). With a spiritual birth, there must first be a spiritual begettal and conception. Then, after a period of “spiritual gestation” or spiritual growth (2 Peter 3:18), true Christians will someday experience a literal spiritual “birth,” thereby becoming immortal children of God. We will literally be born again at the resurrection as Christ Himself was, “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4)…The “Last Judgment” Age (called the “Great White Throne Judgment”) in which all who have ever lived—yet who died in sin and ignorance of God’s Truth and His way of life—will be resurrected to a physical life and will have the Word of God opened to their understanding (Revelation 20:11-14; Matthew 10:15; 11:21-24; 12:41-42; Ezekiel 37:1-14)” (Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs. LCG, 2004).

“…the vast majority of human beings will ultimately be in God’s family” (Meredith R.C. Last Great Day Sermon. Clearwater, Florida, 20051025).

An article of related interest may be Universal Salvation? There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis.

Jesus was the LORD/YHWH of the Old Testament


Orthodox and patristic tradition insists…that the Angel-Messenger of YHWH is the preincarnate Logos…the Word is revealed to other minds as such (Lord and Savior)… (Cleenewerck, p. 337).

Living Church of God:

Many Christians try to distinguish the God of the Old Testament from the person of Jesus Christ. Yet your Bible shows that Jesus Christ, who pre-existed with God the Father from eternity, was the One who spoke to Abraham and Moses and gave the Ten Commandments!…We see this also in Genesis 18. Here the Logos appeared to Abraham. He did not appear in His full glory in dealing with Abraham, Moses and others, but more in human form—yet apparently with a “difference” so that Abraham recognized that he was dealing with the “Lord” (vv. 3, 27). (Meredith RC. Who Was the God of the Old Testament? Tomorrow’s World Magazine, Jan-Feb 2009)

This is another area that these two groups agree more with each other than most Protestants.

A Physical Resurrection


It important to note that Greek Christian theology strongly retained the Hebrew emphasis on the functional unity of soul and body with its emphasis on the resurrection of the body3. The Creed of 381 confesses “the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come” as the basic Christian hope (Cleenewerk, p. 352).

Living Church of God:

After describing a great “white throne,” notice what the Apostle John wrote under inspiration: “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works” (vv. 12–13). When these dead people are seen “standing,” this involves a resurrection! (Meredith RC. The Holy Days—God’s Master Plan. LCG Booklet)

However, there seems to have been a shift in understanding here with the Living Church of God not changing on the resurrection (see What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection?) nor the age to come (see Hope of Salvation: How the Living Church of God differ from most Protestants) the Orthodox have some differences among themselves in these areas.

Prophecy: Church to Flee and Hide Because the the Great Tribulation


Irenaeus of Lyon is considered to have been a saint by the Orthodox. He wrote:

And then he points out the time that his tyranny shall last, during which the saints shall be put to flight, they who offer a pure sacrifice unto God: “And in the midst of the week,” he says, “the sacrifice and the libation shall be taken away, and the abomination of desolation [shall be brought] into the temple: even unto the consummation of the time shall the desolation be complete.”Now three years and six months constitute the half-week. (Irenaeus. Against Heresies (Book V, Chapter 25, Verse 4)

Now, that the promises were not announced to the prophets and the fathers alone, but to the Churches united to these from the nations, whom also the Spirit terms “the islands” (both because they are established in the midst of turbulence, suffer the storm of blasphemies, exist as a harbour of safety to those in peril, and are the refuge of those who love the height [of heaven], and strive to avoid Bythus, that is, the depth of error) (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book V, Chapter 34, Verse 3. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

The Orthodox theologian and saint Cyril of Jerusalem taught in the fourth century:

Antichrist shall reign for three years and a half only. We speak not from apocryphal books, but from Daniel ; for he says, And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time. A time is the one year in which his coming shall for a while have increase; and the times are the remaining two years of iniquity , making up the sum of the three years; and the half a time is the six months. And again in another place Daniel says the same thing, And he sware by Him that lives for ever that it shall be for a time , and times, and half a time. And some peradventure have referred what follows also to this; namely , a thousand two hundred and ninety days ; and this, Blessed is he that endures and comes to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days . For this cause we must hide ourselves and flee (Cyril of Jerusalem. Catechetical Lecture 15. viewed 12/27/08).

Living Church of God:

Beginning in Revelation 12:7, we enter the end-time sequence of events. A final war in heaven results in Satan’s expulsion. Knowing that he has only a short time left (v. 12), he launches the final end-time persecution of the true Church, which results in the Great Tribulation. In Revelation 12:14, we learn that the woman—the Church— is then “given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.” Clearly, the Church is taken to a place where God will supernaturally nourish and protect it during the final three-and-a-half year period before Christ’s return. This ties in with Revelation 3:10, in which Christ promises the Church at Philadelphia that He would protect it from the “hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world.”…

In three specific references, the Bible seems to associate Petra with God’s end-time place of protection for His people, but these scriptures are all somewhat vague and can be understood in more than one way. If these verses do not refer to Petra, though, it would seem that God really has not given us any indication of the location where He will nourish His people during the final three-and-a half year period….(Isaiah 42:11-13)…Isaiah 33…verse 10…(v.14)…(vv.14-16)…Another reference is Isaiah 16. Here God tells the Moabites, who rule the area of Sela or Petra (v.1), to shield His outcasts…While the details of how and where God will protect His people are fascinating, we must all keep in mind that in the ultimate sense our protection does not come from any place–it come from God (Ogwyn, John. Is There a Real Place of Safety? Living Church News. July-August 2001; pp.5-6).

The quotation from the Living Church of God includes some of the scriptures that Irenaeus seemed to be referring to. It is not clear, however, if in modern times, most of the Orthodox hold to the views of their saints like Irenaeus or Cyril on this as prophecy tends to not be included in most of the Orthodox writings I have seen. Those interested in more about this may wish to read the article There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra.

Might Apparitions Claiming to Be Mary Be Used to Deceive?

Though I have not seen it appear in top level official sources, both the Orthodox Church and LCG seem to believe that apparitions claiming to be Mary may be used to deceive people to get them to join a future ecumenical church.


“Mother goddesses” known in the ancient world were not just confined to the Near East and Mediterranean but are universal. The Kogi Indians, among whom we lived in Columbia, worship a spirit called Nabuba, the “Ancient Mother.” When Roman Catholics missionaries attempted to evangelize the Kogi int he last century, they used a not-uncommon strategy for drawing pagan peoples into Rome’s fold: rather than explaining the differences between the pagan mysthology and Christian truth, they found “equivalences,” Christ, under this syncretistic view, corresponds to the Kogi Sejukukui (a trickster god who faked his own death by hiding in a cave), while Nabuba is said to be the Virgin Mary. This confusion has led the Kogis to call their pagan temples “cansamaria,” a corruption of “casa de Maria” (house of Mary).

Given these Roman Catholic “evangelistic methods” of more than a century ago, it is it any wonder that contemporary “apparitions” of Mary are invariably accompanied by ecumenistic messages promoting the idea that all religions are equally valid and Orthodox Christianity is but one “path” among many? A recent issse of Orthodox Traidition (1966) contains the account of Matushka (wife of a Russian Orthodox priest) Katherine Swanson’s trip to Medjugorje, Croatia, to investigate the most famous of the recent cases of appartions of Mary in the Roman Catholic world. In it she recounts a telling episode:

Our guide took our group for an audience with the “seers.” During this audience, a pilgrim asked one of the children the following questions: “Does the Virgin say that the Catholic Church is the true church?” The response given by the child provides clear evidence of the ecumenical content and religious relativism which, oddly enough, increasingly mark the “revelations” at Medjugorje: “Our Blessed Mother says that all religions are equally pleasing to God.

The Life magazine article, then, is yet another contribution to this line of thought. Given the idea that all paths are equally valid, then all “Marys” are equally valid, too. The author describes several of the Marys of our times: Miearculous Mary (such as at Medjugorje), Mediator Mary (Who, as the author quotes Fr. Andrew Greeley saying, lets people into Heaven through the “back door”), (Editors notes: the Orthodox Church of course never taught about the “back door”, and of course one only prays that this is a matter of a figure of speech, but let us not dwell on the “back door”, but the gates of Paradise, the Kingdom of our God). Mediator Mary of the feminists, and Mother Mary. This last one, Mother Mary, is the role which the author considers the most appealing to non-Catholics: “The emotional need for her is so irresitible to a troubled world that people without an obvious link to the Virgin are being drawn to her. It is known that Muslins revere Mary as a pure and holy saint…Interdenominational Marian prayer groups are springing up throughtout the world. Many Protestants, even some who still reject notions of a supernatural Virgin, miss Mary.”

To which Mary are Muslims and Protestants being drawn? The Protestant Reformation rejected the distorted view of Mary which had developed in the West since the Schism of 1054, and which would ultimately result in the Roman Church’s proclamation of their dogma of the Immaculate Conception. But Protestantism did not just reject the Western view of Mary; it ignored Her altogether, in effect denying Her role in the Incarnation and, consequently, the part She plays in our salvation. As Rome began to see her more and more as a “goddess,” a fourth Hypostasis of the Trinity, as it were, the Protestants reacted by down playing Her position and refusing to honor Her at all, this in spite of the Gospel words:“All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed.”

Today, as heterodox Christians become more and more ecumenist and work toward creating a “One World Church,” the search has begun for a Mary of universal recognition, one who will appeal not only to those who bear the name Christian, but apprently to Muslims and others as well, just as attempts are likewise being made to identify the “new Christ” with the Muslim concept of their coming Mahdi and with the Messiah still awaited by the Jews. This, of course, will be no Christ at all but the antichrist.

(Jackson P. ORTHODOX LIFE., No. I, 1997., Brotherhood of Saint Job of Pochaev at Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y. pp. 18-22. viewed 05/11/09)

Living Church of God:

The reality is that it is likely that false apparitions, claiming to be “Mary” may be among the signs and lying wonders that the Bible warns are coming (2 Thessalonians 2:9) (Thiel B., Ph.D. Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions. (c) 2008/2009)

Dibar Apartian, a top level leader of the Living Church of God told me in 2008 that he agrees with my assessment here. Hence, it appears that within the Orthodox Church and the Living Church of God there is concern that one or more apparitions claiming to Mary will likely be used to try to persuade people to accept a modified Catholic religion. More on this can be found in the article Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions.

Becoming God

Both groups teach that in God’s plan, He intends to truly make the saved part of the God family.


…so that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God… (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter XXVII. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

“St. Athanasius summed up the purpose of the Incarnation by saying, ‘God became human that we might made God’ ” (Ware, p.21).

“…we are God’s ‘offspring’ (Acts xvii, 28), His kin…we will become ‘like’ God, we will acquire divine likeness; In the words of John Damascene…To acquire the likeness is to be deified, it is to become a ‘second god’, a god by grace’. ‘I said, you are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High’ (Psalm lxxxi, 6; cf John x, 34-35)” (Ware, p. 219).

“Such, according to the teaching of the Orthodox Church, is the final goal at which every Christian must attain: to become god, to obtain theosis, ‘deification’ or ‘divinization’. For Orthodoxy our salvation and redemption mean our deification…deification is not something reserved for a select few initiates, but is something intended for all alike. The Orthodox Church believes this is the normal goal of every Christian without exception. Certainly we shall only be deified on the Last Day; but for each of us the process of divinization must begin here and now in this present life” (Ware, p.231,236).

The Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople recently taught:

“The church fathers were primarily pastors, not philosophers,” he said. “They were concerned first with reforming the human heart and transforming society, not with refining concepts or resolving controversies.”

The patriarch said that at the center of their pastoral work was a recognition that humanity is “called to know and to become God,” the call to holiness which the Orthodox term “deification.” (Pope, Orthodox patriarch meet privately, pray together.CNS News – March 6, 2008.

Living Church of God:

“‘Will true Christians literally become God at the resurrection? That is, literal members of the God family, born into that family at the resurrection? In other words, born sons of God, lessor in rank than the Father and the Son. Is God’s purpose to reproduce himself?’ ANSWER. Yes, God is now reproducing himself in the process called spiritual salvation” (McNair, Raymond. Personal Correspondence. GCG, September 27, 1995; p:4).

“How can you not be filled with ALL of the ‘fullness of God’ and not be God?” “This is the final fulfillment of the Gospel of Jesus Christ–the ultimate Good News–that man can be born into the God Kingdom, the God-level of existence” (Meredith, Roderick C. Your Ultimate Destiny. Booklet. LCG, 1996; p:33)

“God’s purpose is that He is reproducing Himself and that those converted, ultimately, become full members of the Family of God, under the authority of the Father and the Son (1 John 3:1-3). They will share divine glory in the resurrection” (Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs. LCG, 2004).

“God is reproducing Himself…we will not be a lessor form of existence…He put His very divine nature in us…in the process of reproducing Himself…that is why we are alive. That is the ultimate purpose of our existence” (Meredith R.C. Last Great Day Sermon. Clearwater, Florida, 20051025).

We can be changed into–actually bornof spirit as a literal son of God! God is reproducing Himself! He, the Creator and Ruler of the universe, is begetting human beings through His Spirit to be born as His sons–to be in His family and inherit eternal life (Meredith RC. How to Know God. Tomorrow’s World Magazine, September-October 2007, p. 7).

We should never forget that God has called us to become His full sons and daughters, to share His level of existence with us for all eternity. Just as these characteristics— amazing power, access to all of the universe and perception of all things—apply to Christ and the Father now, they one day will apply to us! (Smith, Wallace. God and the “Three ‘O’s. Living Church News, Sep-Dec 2007, pp. 10-12,20.)

Our potential…we will be God…We have a lot to be thankful for…When He is done we will be exactly like Him (Way H. Being Thankful. LCG Sermon, SLO County, 12/01/07).

Hence both groups teach deification of the saved. Although both groups consider that Theophilus of Antioch was probably a faithful leader (and the Antiochian Orthodox Church traces their claimed “apostolic succession” through him) Theophilus had many teachings that differ greatly from those of the Orthodox Church but are the same or similar to those of the Living Church of God–please see the article Theophilus of Antioch. An article of related doctrinal interest may include Deification: Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God?.

Birth Control and Abortion


“Many Orthodox theologians and spiritual fathers consider that the responsible use of contraception within marriage is not in itself sinful. In their view, the question of how many children a couple should have, and at what intervals, is best decided by the partners themselves…Abortion on the other hand is unambiguously condemned in Orthodox moral teaching. We do not have the right to destroy human life” (Ware, p.296).

“the view of the Orthodox Church on the issue of contraception. Because of the lack of a full understanding of the implications of the biology of reproduction, earlier writers tended to identify abortion with contraception. However, of late a new view has taken hold among Orthodox writers and thinkers on this topic, which permits the use of certain contraceptive practices within marriage for the purpose of spacing children, enhancing the expression of marital love, and protecting health” (Harakis S. The Stand of the Orthodox Church on Controversial Issues. 8/20/05 also cited in Cleenewerck, pp. 392-393, though he spelled it the writer’s name as Harakas).

Here is a longer Orthodox writing on this subject:

It should be noted, however, that most Orthodox Churches tolerate a wider range of birth-control options, as long as three conditions are met:

(1) The method is non-abortive…
(2) The motive must be responsibility, not selfishness…
(3) A blessing should be obtained…

Bishop Kallistos…wrote {in} 1993

Concerning contraceptives and other forms of birth control, differing opinions exist within the Orthodox Church. In the past birth control was in general strongly condemned, but today a less strict view is coming to prevail, not only in the west but in traditional Orthodox countries. Many Orthodox theologians and spiritual fathers consider that the responsible use of contraception within marriage is not in itself sinful. In their view, the question of how many children a couple should have, and at what intervals, is best decided by the partners themselves, according to the guidance of their own consciences.

As long as the term contraception means ‘non-abortive’ methods of birth-control, this statement is accurate. (Cleenewerck, pp. 396,397-398).

Living Church of God:

“To prevent having children and producing a family would be a direct violation of God’s command, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” But to plan a family in an intelligent manner, as to the time of the first arrival, and the time-spacing of other children—that is a different matter. Nothing in the Bible forbids this. Much in the Bible, in principle, supports it!” (Armstrong HW. Missing Dimension in Sex).

“The Apostle Paul wrote: “But if anyone does not provide for his own [family]… he has denied the faith” (1 Timothy 5:8). Would anyone argue that a Christian can provide for a family member by killing him? Remember: one of the Ten Commandments specifically condemns murder (Exodus 20:13). In other words, any birth control method that induces abortion is wrong” (Winnail D. Abortion: A Modern Holocaust? Tomorrow’s World Magazine, LCG, March-April 2005).

Papal Authority

Both groups deny the Vatican’s view of papal authority.


“The Orthodox Church does not accept the doctrine of Papal authority set forth in the Vatican Council of 1870, and taught today in the Roman Catholic Church” (Ware, p.27).

Living Church of God: From LCG’ God’s Church through the Ages booklet,

“Victor of Rome sought to intimidate the churches of Asia Minor into conforming to the Roman Easter practice. Polycrates wrote Victor:

“We therefore observe the genuine day [Passover]; neither adding thereto nor taking therefrom. For in Asia great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again in the day of the Lord’s appearing, in which he will come with glory from heaven, and will raise up all the saints; Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who sleeps in Hierapolis… John, who rested upon the bosom of our Lord… Polycarp of Smyrna…or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead? All these observed the fourteenth day of the Passover according to the gospel deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith… and my relatives always observed the day when the people threw away the leaven [Abib 14]. I, therefore, brethren, am now 65 years in the Lord, who having conferred with the brethren throughout the world, and having studied the whole of the sacred Scriptures, am not at all alarmed at those things with which I am threatened, to intimidate me. For they who are greater than I, have said, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men’” (Eusebius, Church History, xxiv).

As history shows, from the Apostle John to Polycarp to Polycrates to present, those in the Church of God have never accepted the authority of the Bishop of Rome (called pope since the late 4th Century) to establish doctrine–especially as some papal pronouncements contradict scripture.

Married Clergy


Thus Orthodox tradition and practice honour and respect the celibacy of priests and praise their service in the body of the Church; at the same time, they honour and respect the married clergy since, they too, serve the same sacrament of the Church and salvation. The Orthodox Church thus accepts these two forms of service equally and leaves the choice of which it is to be to the individual member, in accordance with his own vocation and particular charisms. For pastoral reasons however, the Church has favoured the institution of celibacy for the order of bishops, and these are chosen exclusively from the celibate priesthood (Damaskinos Papandreou, Orthodox Metropolitan of Switzerland. The Orthodox Churches and Priestly Celibacy. viewed 02/04/08).

Living Church of God:

The Living Church of God does not require celibacy for the ministry and it is not necessary for advancement. Most of its elders/presbyters, regional pastors, and evangelists are married. While both the Living Church of God and the Eastern Orthodox Churches allow their elders/presbytrs to be married, the Orthodox do not allow this any more for their bishops (an article of related interest would include Was Celibacy Required for Early Bishops or Presbyters?).

No Immaculate Conception

Both groups deny the Catholic dogma of Mary’s alleged “immaculate conception”.


The Orthodox Church does not accept the Catholic dogma of 1854–the dogma of the immaculate conception of the Virgin, in the sense that she was exempt at birth from original sin . This would separate her from the human race and she would have been unable to transmit to her Son real humanity (Clendenin p. 67).

Even though some Orthodox seem to have distanced themselves from it, in their Patriarchal Encyclical of 1895 declared:

XIII. The one holy, catholic and apostolic Church of the seven Ecumenical Councils teaches that the supernatural incarnation of the only-begotten Son and Word of God, of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, is alone pure and immaculate; but the Papal Church scarcely forty years ago again made an innovation by laying down a novel dogma concerning the immaculate conception of the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary, which was unknown to the ancient Church (and strongly opposed at different times even by the more distinguished among the Papal theologians). (As cited in Cleenewerck L. His Broken Body: Understanding and Healing the Schism Between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches (An Orthodox Perspective). Euclid University Consortium Press, Washington (DC), 2007, p. 400)

Living Church of God:

“The Bible never refers to Mary’s “Immaculate Conception”—the doctrine that she was born without sin.” (Winnail DS. The Lady of Nations. Tomorrow’s World, LCG Magazine).

So, the Orthodox and LCG agree on that there was no immaculate conception of Mary and the idea that she was “ever-Virgin Mary” “was unknown to the ancient Church”.

But this subject is a little tricky–though both groups deny the “Immaculate Conception” doctrine. The Orthodox believe that Mary was not exempt from “original sin”, a concept that LCG deny, while LCG teach that sin only Jesus did not sin (Hebrews 4:15)–Mary did sin (Romans 3:23), a concept that the Orthodox tend to deny.

So, although there are many obvious differences, there are some similarities between the teachings of the Eastern Orthodox and the Living Church of God.

Both groups claim to have the faith of the original church that Jesus founded through His apostles.  Yet, while the Orthodox changed on other doctrines, this has not been the case for the Church of God, specifically (for details, please see Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Living Church of God).  The Living Church of God has held fast to many original doctrines that the Orthodox still have, as well as many that the Orthodox ended up changing.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Living Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Why Should American Catholics Should Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics The talks for unification involve compromise and the apparent rising up of a changed religion that no one should accept.
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is an article for those who wish to more easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG/GCI members or any interested in supporting the faithful church. It also explains a lot of what the COGs are all about.

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