It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Dr. Roderick C. Meredith, Editor-in-Chief of Tomorrow’s World and Presiding Evangelist of the Living Church of God. He had been suffering from cancer and died peacefully on May 18, 2017. He would have been 87 years old in June.
A large funeral followed, filling a high school auditorium with acquaintances from Australia, Belgium, Canada, and from across the United States. The service began with an 18-minute video comprised of sincere tributes from Living Church of God ministers from around the world. Two of his four sons spoke of his faith, perseverance, and unwavering commitment to the truth of God and the Work of preaching the Gospel to the world. Mr. Richard Ames, Tomorrow’s World telecast presenter and Dr. Meredith’s own brother-in-law, recounted personal reflections and reminded us of our hope—the resurrection from the dead.
The service finished with one of Dr. Meredith’s favorite songs. “I’ll Walk with God” comes from the movie The Student Prince and was dubbed by the powerful tenor voice of Mario Lanza. In the movie, the song is heard when Karl Franz sings over the coffin of his grandfather, while the understanding of his new role as king is sinking in. As with the fictional Karl Franz, the very real Roderick Meredith was humbled by high office and deeply understood how much he needed to walk with God. I could not help but be personally affected as I listened and looked at his coffin on the stage.
Dr. Meredith’s death was not unexpected. Toward the end, he could no longer physically walk, but as his son reminded us, he never stopped walking with God. He often remarked, “I’ve lived a full life. I do not fear death. My life is in God’s hands, and I look forward to going to sleep and waking up in the resurrection.” There was no doubt in his mind what life is all about and what our hope truly is.
So much can be said about the life of this remarkable man. In high school, he was a star miler in track and field and won Golden Gloves boxing titles in Joplin, Missouri, where he grew up. It was perhaps this strong determination to never quit, whether running or boxing, that led him to accomplish so much. He was knocked down in life many times, but he never gave up.
After being introduced to the truth of the Bible, he enrolled at Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, where he became intimately acquainted with Herbert W. Armstrong. Dr. Meredith was one of the first evangelists ordained by Mr. Armstrong in 1952, and he spent more than 64 years in the Work that Christ began through Mr. Armstrong. He is well known for teaching Freshman Bible (the Gospels and Acts) and the Epistles of Paul at Ambassador College, and at various times he was Deputy Chancellor of all three Ambassador College campuses: Pasadena, California; Big Sandy, Texas; and Bricket Wood, England. He also served as Director of Church Administration of the Worldwide Church of God for many years and pastored a number of congregations.
Following the death of Mr. Herbert Armstrong, the next leader of the Worldwide Church of God sidelined Dr. Meredith and several other faithful men, and took that church in a radically different direction, abandoning biblical truths in order to please the world. Dr. Meredith was finally forced out because he refused to go along with the apostasy. He had a choice: Either he could retire, or he could revive the Work that God had started through Mr. Armstrong. He chose the latter, and—at age 62—he began the Global Church of God in 1993, later to be known as the Living Church of God, in an effort to restore original Christianity. Others soon joined him, as it became clearer that the Worldwide Church of God was sliding ever deeper into apostate Christianity.
Even after the partial paralysis of a stroke in 2008, Dr. Meredith pushed himself to continue to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world and to shepherd the flock. His greatest wish was for the Work in which he labored for so long to go forward in unity and power under Jesus Christ. Until February of this year, he was active in the Work, coming to the office each day, holding meetings, and writing letters and articles. His legacy lives on in the Living Church of God, where he oversaw the raising up of more than 350 congregations in 55 countries worldwide.
Demonstrating the extent of his influence, tributes have come in from around the world: Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the Irish Republic, Australia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Togo, South Africa, Mauritius, Haiti, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, Guyana, as well as many from all over the United States and Canada. And this is only a short list!
One statement I heard many times about Dr. Meredith was “He tells it like it is!” How often I have chuckled inside when I have recalled the comment I heard from a young person attending one of our live Tomorrow’s World presentations, who said to me, “I really love the old guy. He tells it like it is.” Dr. Meredith made an impression on this young man and others like him, even if they did not remember his name. They recognized the intensity, the sincerity, and the truthfulness with which he spoke as the main presenter on Tomorrow’s World.
We are often asked what we believe, and Dr. Meredith summed it up in his booklet, Restoring Original Christianity. Virtually all knowledgeable theologians, if they are honest, will admit that Christianity, as we know it today, would not be recognized by Jesus Christ and His Apostles. Dr. Meredith chronicles this fact in this powerful booklet. And I hope all of you are following his series on the Protestant Reformation, which continues in this issue. The foundation of this series was his master’s thesis, and he worked diligently during the last months of his life to make sure the true history of this movement was preserved and known. This series shows that the Protestant Reformation was not as it has been often portrayed.
His booklet on the Antichrist is also a fearless declaration of the truth. As he so often said with great power and emotion, “Dust off your Bible! Don’t believe me because I say it! Believe it because you read it in your own Bible!” He often challenged his audience to “check up on me!” In other words, check up on what he was teaching and prove for yourself whether he was right or wrong. How often do you hear mainstream ministers challenge you to do that?
Dr. Meredith is missed by those of us who sat in his Freshman Bible Classes, by those of us who served with him in the ministry of the Living Church of God, by members of the Church of God around the world, and by family and friends. He is survived by his sister, the wife of Mr. Richard Ames, as well as by six children, ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Dr. Meredith, you ran a great race. You fought a good fight. You kept the faith. Therefore, there is laid up for you a crown of righteousness. Rest in the Lord. We look forward to seeing you at the resurrection of the just at the appearing of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!