Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Living in S(p)in

The 3rd place holder in the COG stakes is Rod Meredith's Living Church of God.

Meredith departed from WCG to establish something called the Global Church of God. It published a magazine ("The World Ahead") and bought TV time. But ol' Rod (affectionately known to many as Spanky) found the hirelings were getting ideas above their station. The elders in Global wanted checks and balances put on Meredith. What to do?

And so Spanky scuppered his new church, and set up Living. If you don't play by his rules he'll take his ball and go home.

I remember hearing Rod speak in person for the first time. I'd read a lot of his stuff and thought he would be inspirational. He wasn't. The man exuded arrogance and conceit. He styled himself among the "leading ministers" (and in times past let it be known that he was "number 3" in rank among mere mortals - under HWA and GTA... these days I suppose he's graduated to the Big Enchilada...)

Meredith is obsessed by rank, and suffers under the delusion (proclaimed from the pulpit) that he has never committed a major sin since baptism. Apparently pride doesn't count.

Rod has been around since the 50s, creating a species of havoc wherever he's gone. He was one of Herbert's original team of yes-men, aggressive, insensitive and rigid in his thinking. People who need an authoritarian guru to tell them what to do still appreciate his "strength".

And then there are the weird asides and comments that crop up in his sermons. Does the word "Freudian" mean anything to the man? Rod is one minister who simply opens his mouth and every deranged thought comes out in a relentless tide. Spanking, masculine young men...

You might wonder why I'm concentrating on Meredith rather than his church. The two are inseparable. When Rod finally goes to his eternal reward his church will vaporise. In my view, it can't happen soon enough.

Earlier this month a Meredith disciple, Terry Ratzmann, opened fire at a Living church service in Wisconsin, killing 7 people, including the minister and two teenagers. How much Meredith's gloomy apocalyptic "gospel" was a factor is difficult to tell, but it can't have helped. The following Sabbath Meredith preached on "lessons from Wisconsin". Those listening carefully will probably conclude, though, that the "lessons" were for everyone but him... the "Presiding Evangelist" has no capacity for critical evaluation. Hopefully the unwanted publicity will put paid to whatever small growth LCG had been experiencing. The demographics were already unpromising. Today Meredith's church is dead in the water.

Next time we move on to number 2. But which is it, the WCG (founded by Herbert) or the UCG (the largest splinter)? It's no easy call but I'll take the plunge anyway... and tell you why...

Till then...


Cogdefender said...

I don't think you nailed the reason for the Global split correctly. Maybe you were in on the Global side, frankly, the man, with all his human faults did start the Global church, others came with him and eventually disagreed.....frankly if they had left and then told others why, they would have had a lot more impact and made him less of a martyr.

mv starr said...

concerning the shooting in lcg..in merediths church mag a fews days before the shooting he (meredith) had an editorial about gays that was filled with the most horrible hate for them that would have made pat robinson envy...at the end of the editorial he said gays should be put to death..is it a coincidence that an unmarried man who read the article went on the shooting spree..was he as some say gay?? when meredith was in worldwide his sermons were forever laced with hate for gays so much so that many there thought he was a latent homosexual..meredith and garner ted filled the church with gay bashing and sinner above all bashing that exist in all the chuch's of god to this day..refusing to acknowledge matthew 6:11 and mat. 10:15