Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Irreplaceable Mr Meredith

What happens when Rod Meredith, against all his vaunted hopes, expectations and prior speculation, goes the way of all flesh? We can only speculate, but there is still a degree of predictabilty involved.

There will be consequences for his Living Church of God of course. But there will also be a flow on effect for the wider COG movement.

Rod is the last of the significant Armstrong-era evangelists, an enduring tie to the life and ministry of Herbert W. Armstrong. When Meredith passes from the scene the last anchor is raised and a formidable link to the past is lost. Just as the Apostle John, according to pious legend, long outlived his peers, so has Rod. Once he is gone the so-called Churches of God are truly in a post-Armstrong age.

Meredith has inspired his imitators, men like Gerald Flurry and David Pack, but none, despite much huffing, puffing, preening and posturing, has been his equal. However many flaws Meredith displays, it is telling that he has, in his own way, gradually achieved a more balanced perspective than his emulators. Age has, mercifully, somewhat moderated his pretensions, even as his message has remained myopically constant.

And that is probably the key; the man who was once Herbert Armstrong's top lieutenant has relentlessly stayed "on message." Meredith's continued presence has served to keep the "old paths" weeded. He has been the "gold standard" in traditional Armstrongism, the unacknowledged reference point for other splinter groups. Competing iterations of Armstrongism have tended to define themselves, even if unconsciously, against the Meredith model.

When he is gone the game changes, and the broad doctrinal consensus that has till now reached across most of the varied sects of Armstrongism, the "Worldwide family", will likely buckle.

As for the Living Church of God, who is there in that body that could possibly replace him? No one waiting in the wings seems to have either his unquenchable drive or his overbearing ego. Certainly not Richard Ames. Meredith is irreplaceable.

This will force change, at the very least in style, and almost certainly in organisation. With the throne vacant LCG will, one suspects, quite quickly find it necessary to adopt a more collegial structure. That will be problematic given the constant emphasis placed by Rod himself on top down authority and "the government of God."

It's got to be a recipe for division. Despite the travail of recent years it might yet be the United Church of God, or perhaps the departed COGWA malcontents, which will be best placed to scavenge the benefits. The departure of Bob Thiel throws another factor into the equation. As a shaper of opinion while within LCG, Bob was in a unique position to influence the transition by throwing his weight behind one of the emerging factions as he did in the Global Church of God crisis. But Bob has lost that ability now he has effectively sidelined himself as a bit player on the farthest fringes.

Après Rod, le déluge


  1. Yes, there doesn't seem to be anyone on the RADAR to lead the ACoGs into the Kingdom (of psychosis), but you never know.

    And anyway, Ronald Weinland predicted the deaths of so many people and that has become a nagging failed prophecy, since they have all lived on and prospered.

    It is my fear that we are all doomed and that, because Ronald Weinland cursed Roderick Meredith that he would die, Meredith may very well live forever and the only church of God with the name "Living" (but is dead) will continue on and on and on.

    [This is a two for one mocking.]

    It's too bad Dennis Luker died: He would have been the Great White Hope for United, which has similar problems -- there isn't anyone in particular who can inspire confidence in the future of the UCG.

    It's tempting to say, doomed! they're all doomed! but they're more like chronic diseases that never quite goes away, no matter how we treat the symptoms.

  2. Well, you know, it's like all the members of the splits and splinters of Armstrongism are just a bit loopy and some are completely and certifiably insane. IMHO, I should add, because be it far from any of those folks to see a psychologist about their problems of being unable to discern reality from fantasy. Some may say that it is simply a case of living in denial but I think it's a lot more than that because they don't seem to know about things that normal people know about by simply being alive.

    Anyway, whatever it is that these folks have wrong with their mental faculties, we noticed it long ago - while we were still involved one of those cults. These are not a biblical "peculiar people" but really strange and weird people. Anybody of a normal intellect who hasn't resigned themselves to that fate and who is without mental problems has left those cults (unless they depend on the cult for a living, of course). Speaking of which, I feel sorry for those born into the cult and can't leave.

    There are other cults out there for these people when the Armstrong cults implode, waiting for them with open arms to receive them into the fold. It's "the cult mind" that is the problem - some people just need to feel "special", need to feel they are in on the "secret" knowledge that no one else knows or understands but them. In the words of Lewis Black - "they are crazy".

  3. This is one of the rare times when I find myself agreeing with Corky. I believe we're also seeing that in some quarters, there is strong nostalgia for classic Armstrongism. In some people's memories all of the bad has been washed away. The oppressors now seem to have quarantined themselves within the groups that actually adhere to 1950s classic Armstrongism. So long as there is an opportunity to compare one's splinter with these more extreme groups, bad theology will continue to look less bad by comparison. I know nothing of the new "mellow" Rod, the less extreme one. Back in the days before the disappointment of 1972-75, he was the most extreme. A leopard cannot change his spots, but apparently with age they fade.


  4. The only thing that is really clear here, is that Corky is insane...

    1. We were ALL insane to believe the absurdities put forth by HWA and WCG. Thankfully, many of us have come to our senses. In my book, that includes Corky.

  5. Yes, Corky, Byker Bob, they are crazy with the insane ravings of a dead false prophet, but as we have been plumbing the depths over at False Prophet Ronald Weinland, our consensus is arrogance.

    Putting it all together, we have stupid crazy arrogance.