Gerald Weston has an article up on the Living Church of God member site (Choose life over lentils) trying to encourage LCG members to "fight the good fight" and stay loyal to the LCG, otherwise, you most likely will be eating Satan's lentil soup.
How many have we known along the way who dropped out of the race? What form of lentil soup were they pursuing? What difficulty was so great that they would toss in the towel and give up eternal life? Clearly, they lost the vision or never had it. Sadly, most never realized the gravity of the choice they were making. What about you? Do you recognize how the little decisions each day—whether to pray, whether to study, whether to fast, whether to give of yourself for others—all add up to whether you are choosing eternal life or lentil soup?What Weston fails to realize is that those who leave the LCG are NOT turning their backs on eternal life, or freedom in Christ, or any other thing you want to call it. The fact is their very life may depend upon leaving LCG! Sanity and human dignity are required by many to make that choice compared to remaining shackled to the legalistic mumbo-jumbo that the church passes off as "truth."
Weston starts his article off in typical COG fashion, continually ingraining in members that their salvation is forfeited if they leave the church.
Weston goes on to state that those who leave the church have no vision in their life, who gave up on the church and therefore have turned their back on Weston's god.Make Your Decisions with CareThe Bible reveals that the decisions we make today should be made with care, as they may carry with them long-term consequences. Esau realized too late that his birthright was of far greater value than a bowl of soup. He was tired and hungry. How could he know? Then again, how could he not know? God tells us he despised his birthright and, “afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears” (Hebrews 12:17). As we are told in Genesis 27:38, “And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.” The die was cast! Imagine what it will be like in the resurrection when he realizes, to a degree he could never understand in his lifetime, the value of that bowl of lentils: the incredible real estate later given to the sons of Joseph!
Yet there are those who have little vision and who trade away the Kingdom of God for today’s lentil soup. Luke 9:57–62 gives three examples of men called to follow Christ, but who apparently chose to act on other priorities. While the rewards of discipleship are wonderful beyond our imagination, the immediate cost can be significant to mere humans such as you and me. This is why we are told we must “count the cost,” and why we normally review Luke 14:26 and the verses that follow prior to baptizing someone. For Jesus declared, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” We understand that “hate” here means to “love less by comparison,” yet some have been forced to choose between a spouse and obedience to God. Others have had to make a choice that disappoints and angers their parents. And how many have lost jobs or been passed over for promotions for following God’s Truth?The church has always held up as "spiritual martyr's" those that leave spouses or their jobs in order to belong to the church. If the church was actually a new covenant church then this would NEVER be an issue. These so-called "martyr's" ruined some part of their lives because they followed men who placed more importance upon the rules and their own man-made interpretations than following a life of grace, mercy and freedom. Freedom is anathema in the Church of God. How dare people want to be free from the shackles of the law! How dare they might possibly screw things up in life and move onward without fear, instead of wallowing in guilt and shame. Damn Jesus for ever giving a hint of the concept where grace, mercy and love trump the law.
Then Weston makes the following absurd statement:
None of this should come as a surprise to those who read the scriptures, but did we ever hear a sermon on this subject in the churches that some of us once attended? I never did! And what about this passage? “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:34–37). We should never take these words lightly or think that Jesus did not mean them!I don't know what planet he was on, but this has been the ongoing message the church has pawned off on members for decades. The god that the church has always preferred is the god who was coming with a sword, the god that is eternally pissed off, and the god who is filled with extreme wrath.
Be damned the good Samaritan who helps the person by the side of the road. Be damned the person who reaches out a hand to the prostitute and makes them a person of worth. Be damned the person who cooks a meal for a homeless person on the street. Jesus screwed up the picture and COG leaders are not happy about it.
Because Weston and his cronies have turned their backs on new covenant understanding, they have to continually be in a battle fighting for their salvation. It is exhausting work for these guys, as they have been doing it for 40/50/60 some years. For a person who understands the new covenant they know that the battle has been fought, victory has been accomplished and peace is found in being at rest, knowing they no longer have to fight. The good fight has been fought and won.
Weston ends using one more dose of fear. Anyone that dares to leave the church will be wailing and gnashing their teeth over that decision at some point in the future.
There are several references in the New Testament describing a future day when some will weep and gnash their teeth over the poor decisions they made. They will only understand after gaining a glimpse into what they traded away. Right now, we do not know all that God has in mind for His faithful children. How can we know? We are physical, mortal beings. God is Spirit and eternal. But we can trust our Heavenly Father. And we can do as Moses, who chose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward” (Hebrews 11:25–26, KJV).Weston and his ilk in the COG want church members to continue to trust like Moses instead of trusting like Jesus did. They never seem to say much about anything the dude did, but sure love to talk about Jewish heroes. Because that misplaced devotion is on rules, Weston and the LCG cannot for upon spiritual and eternal things that make new covenant Christians perfectly at peace and perfectly comfortable LEAVING the LCG.
No one's salvation is at stake for leaving the Living Church of God. God is not going to damn you to the lake of fire. In fact, your very life may depend upon leaving the church, given the bloody track record of LCG history.