*Dr. Robert Thiel
Arroyo Grande, CA
Dear Dr. Thiel,
I have carefully read and marked your paper to Dexter Wakefield on the “Chronology Related to Bob Thiel and Evangelistic and Related Matters.” Since this matter relates to your relationship with the Church as a whole and your entire future, I have decided to answer this matter myself. I have prayed that for your own good and your future reward in God’s Kingdom, you will sincerely ask God at this time to give you an open mind and willing heart to heed Almighty God’s instruction in Proverbs 15:31-33: “The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise. He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility.”
Bob, I have personally liked you, wanted to encourage you and have tried to work with you for years. However, I have seen that you have had great difficulty in learning the lessons of deep humility that God wants all of us to learn. With very few exceptions, nearly everyone who knows you has clearly seen that—although you have a quick mind and great energy—you have nearly always thought very highly of yourself and of your own opinions. You have offended or at least “bugged” dozens of Church members with this very self-important, pushy and “know-it-all” attitude and approach. So if I, as a minister of Christ for over 60 years and one old enough to be your father—can help you, I would certainly like to do this. For I love you as a fellow human being and one I have known and shared a number of hours with in talking over matters related to the Bible and our entire purpose here on this earth.
However, Bob, your own remarkable vanity and “dreams of greatness” have greatly affected your ability to think clearly many times. Over the last few years, many of us have noted that you have begun to think of yourself in terms that are not realistic. Also, to abet your desires to be a “great one” in the Work, you have carefully and cleverly twisted and enlarged upon many things people have mentioned to you. Throughout this entire “chronology” paper you have done this over and over.
Recently, I had a meeting with Messrs. Ames, Winnail, Wakefield and my son, Jim, to discuss this paper you sent to Mr. Wakefield (and now I see you have also sent it to Messrs. Tyler and Weston). All of us in the meeting except Mr. Wakefield have gotten to know you somewhat and have heard many others express concern about your egotistical ideas that you believe you are a prophet or one of the two witnesses. I will not take the time to argue about every single point you bring up in your paper; that is not the important matter. I will just say that over and over you subtly twist, enlarge upon or exaggerate many of the things you think you heard—some of which you may have “partially heard” but enlarged upon in your own mind and received in a way that was not intended by the one doing the speaking.
Near the very beginning of your paper you try to quote Gary Ehman as saying that God has used you to “prepare the Church” and then you go way beyond what Mr. Ehman intended to say. Then, you did the same thing relating to the January 6, 2000 incident about me saying, “That is you” in relation to Roman Catholic prophecies. Then, you indicate that you told Davy Crockett that I was going to be “hit” with something bad to teach me a lesson. Then, you indicate that the “mini-stroke” I had in September 2008 was in fulfillment of that prophecy. Bob, I never knew that you had given such a prophecy and never felt that this min-stroke I had at age 78 was any sort of “fulfillment” of anything you had ever said! Bob, do you really believe that you “prophesied” to my having a stroke, and that it was a direct result of my not heeding correction from you? I strongly suggest you consider Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Then your letter goes to October 3, 2008 where you say that I said, “God may consider you to be a prophet.” Bob, as you well know, I had my stroke in September 2008 and was still very weak and disoriented as a result of it. That you would take anything that I said in that time period and try to use it is not right. I do not ever remember saying anything like that, and I can assure you that I have never thought you might be a prophet! But if I did make some kind of statement in this regard, I was simply trying to encourage you to go on and grow in your understanding of the Bible and willingness to serve.
Then you go to January 2009 where you say I told you that if I was raised to the office of apostle, I was “considering ordaining Bob Thiel as a prophet.” That, Bob, is simply not true! For I have never, at any time—considered ordaining you as a prophet. This is not because I don’t “like” you, but rather because I have understood for years your tendency to bring in “odd” or “Catholic prophesies” or put unusual twists on scripture in such a way that no true prophet of God would ever do.
You are probably correct in your statement that in the Spring/Summer of 2009 I may have told you that I was “praying for the success” of your prophetic book. For I have tried to be your friend and encourage you without giving you delusions of “grandeur.” However, it appears that any encouraging thing that I or most anyone else has told you seems to be adding to this “delusions of grandeur” feeling you have about yourself.
Then, in your paper, you go on to describe your meeting with me in Panama City and later with Dibar Apartian who, you say, “believed” then that God had a top prophetic role for Bob Thiel. However, all of us who knew Mr. Apartian at that time and have talked to him many times about these matters know that Mr. Apartian did not think of you as a prophet. You can easily ascertain that by talking to Mrs. Apartian, Mr. Ames, Dr. Winnail and all of us. Bob, since you have this powerful feeling of “greatness” you often “read into” what anyone says. This kind of idea of you being a prophet that is pounding away in the back of your mind is once again causing you to twist your own memory of what is said by others.
Later in the paper, you talk about Dr. Fall and Gary Ehman being approached by you about your desire to “have hands laid upon you” in order to ask for healing and for wisdom before meeting with evangelists here at Headquarters. As you point out, they did not agree to do so. Then on December 15,2011 you went to Gaylyn Bonjour and asked him to anoint you for an apparent physical ailment, but also asked him to ask God to give you wisdom in the upcoming meetings with the HQ Evangelists. He agreed to do this and, as is his normal approach—he can be emotional and heartfelt about the matter and asked God to grant you a “double-portion of His Holy Spirit.” Others have told me that, being partly of French ancestry, Mr. Bonjour is often emotional and very heartfelt when he anoints anyone. Mr. Bonjour has confirmed he in no way was intending to ask God to make you a prophet! Yet, because of your vivid imagination and fervent desire to exalt yourself to that role, you “took it” that way—as you do so with many other things.
Then you go on to somehow try to indicate that you had special knowledge about how my wife was to be “hit hard with something.” Consequently when it was announced in January that she had come down with cancer, you deluded yourself into believing that you had somehow prophesied this to happen. Nothing could be further from the truth! She had not been feeling well for months, and the stage four diagnosis indicated that this cancer had been growing inside her body for many months. Constantly, in your paper, you seem to be “reading into” events that indicate you were given something special by God about such matters. Then, you indicate that you feel that “only a member of the eldership is required to anoint one as a prophet” and use 1 Timothy 4:14 as a proof text. Bob, 1 Timothy 4:14 is clearly, in context, talking about the gift of God’s Holy Spirit given to Timothy as a Christian—not the office of a prophet. Certainly, all of us have the laying on of hands by the eldership after baptism to receive God’s Spirit. But this Scripture is not talking about becoming a prophet, but receiving God’s Spirit to help Timothy, “be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (v.12).
By “reading into” things that others tell you the idea that you might be a prophet, you have deceived yourself—willingly of course—so that your mind is now virtually “fixated” on the idea that you, are a “prophet” of God.
However, what you utterly fail to recognize is that a true prophet of God—in God’s New Testament times—has always been clearly recognized as such by the ministry already in high offices in God’s Church; who are shown by Christ—the living Head of the Church that this person is in that office. Such an individual has always been cooperative with those doing the Work and has never “set himself up” all on his own to contradict, to compete, or to be a “lone wolf out there” doing his own thing to exalt himself.
Although you think you are not like “Ron Weinland” or others who have done this kind of thing, your present statements and writings indicate that that is exactly what you are becoming. Therefore, as the one Christ Himself has put in the office of Presiding Evangelist and leading minister in the Church of God doing the Work of God at this time, I want to tell you, in love, that you need to realize you are not a prophet, nor are you recognized as such by the Church or by Christ’s true ministry whom He has set in authority in His Church. You need to humble yourself and recognize that authority for your own good. If you end up “fighting” or “competing” with the Work of the living God, God will deal with you and He will humble you in ways that we do not now fully understand. For “whom God loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:6).
At my age and in my office for so many years, Bob, I can sincerely tell you that I have no feelings of hate or competition with you. I simply want to help you “wake up” before it is too late. I pray that God will help you to understand and heed what I am now telling you as a servant of Jesus Christ who has faithfully served Him full time for over 60 years. Please be willing to listen and to heed what I am saying in the name of Jesus Christ!
Bob, you made the statement in your letter, “…his then pastor (Dr. Fall)…” indicating that you may no longer consider yourself a member of the Living Church of God. If that is not the case, and if you are willing to repent, to listen and take correction, and continue to be a part of the Living Church of God, I do ask you, in Jesus’ name to let us know. If you are unwilling to heed the loving correction given in this letter, and insist on cleaving to your view of yourself as a “prophet”, let us know this also and we will understand that you have chosen to trod a different path separate from the Living Church of God. At least you can be open and honest about this. As the physical leader of God’s Church, I have an obligation to protect the brethren from wolves, and I take this responsibility seriously. If you turn aside and try to draw others to follow you down this dangerous path, we will have to do everything we can to protect God’s people.
I have prayed for you and will pray for you much more in the days to come—asking God to guide you in His love for your eternal good. I do ask you to let us hear from you as I have indicated above. Our prayers will be with you, not against you. May God guide you to do His will, and not your own.
With Christian love,
Roderick C. Meredith
*Notes Bob Thiel is a former apologist for the Living Church of God (LCD). On his blog he has wrote the following:
Since the November 1998 takeover of the old GCG by the board in the U.S., those once with GCG went to many places. Nearly 80% of the members and the majority of the ministers ultimately went with the Living Church of God (LCG), 8-15% went with the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship (CGCF) and smaller percentages ended up with David Pack’s Restored Church of God (RCG) (which was formed after the GCG board put him out), Harold Smith’s Church of God Fellowship, Northwest (CGFnw), and other groups (at least one which is outside the U.S. uses the term Global Church of God). Most in Belgium left with GCG, but many in Belgium and Northern France came back to LCG in 2009. On July 1, 2001, eight ministers resigned from CGCF and formed the Church of the Eternal God (CEG), similar in name, but not related, to the Eternal Church of God (ECG–founded by a minister removed from the original GCG ministry for impropriety) about a month later CGCF (USA) dissolved and most still with it ended up in the United Church of God (UCG).
One former GCG minister (Ronald Laughland) became pastor of the Wholeworld Church of God. In 2004, Raymond McNair, having been in GCG, CGCF, LCG, then went on his own and formed Church of God, 21st Century (COG21); later he became ill and died. Don Haney, once in GCG/LCG, formed the Church of God In Peace and Truth. In 2005, Ben Faulkner, who was in GCG and LCG, formed the Church of the Sovereign God (CotSG). In 2006, Charles Bryce who was in GCG and LCG left, and formed the Enduring Church of God (En COG). In 2010, several of the main leaders who went to UCG from CGCF left it and went to a group called COGWA. A couple of people, like Norman Edwards (Servants’ News), left GCG well before the 1998 takeover (he has Port Austin Bible Campus). On 12/15/11, a minister in good-standing with LCG anointed Bob Thiel with oil and prayed that God would grant him a double-portion of His Spirit: and things have not been the same since (he still, of course, supports the goals and biblical beliefs of Philadelphia era of the Church of God).
Website links for most of those who were once part of GCG and that have websites can be found at the COGlinks page. After concluding that insufficient value was placed on the truth by certain leaders of LCG and that they no longer held to biblical church governance, on 12/28/12 Bob Thiel formed and then announced the beginning of the Continuing Church of God.
January, 2013 Letter To LCG Ministers About Robert Thiel
Date: January 2, 2013
Dear Fellow Ministers around the world,
Greetings from Charlotte! God is continuing to bless the Work in so many ways— including the fact that we had an approximately 11% increase in our income in 2012. We are very thankful for this and all the growth in our TV coverage, the impact that our Internet and the campaigns are providing, etc. And I am especially thankful for the wonderful response and warmth and enthusiasm we had over the recent 20th Anniversary celebration of the Church. We have much to be thankful for to start 2013.
My purpose in writing all of you ministers is to ask you to read carefully the attached copy of the letter I sent to Dr. Thiel several days ago by email. This will give you a reasonably thorough understanding of the problems he has had over the last few years. So you will be able to answer the questions any of our brethren may have if they are confused or disillusioned in any way by anything Dr. Thiel sends out or says.
However, Dr. Winnail and I both agree that it is best for you not to read this letter to the congregation or share it in any public setting. It is actually better for Dr. Thiel—and the Church as a whole—that he not receive “too much publicity.” Most people already realize that he is often “over the top.” And has not been a reliable source of information in many cases.
Also, at least a few dozen people realize his dreams of grandeur and the fact that he is fixated on the fact that he thinks that he is a “prophet.” So because of the above situation, we do not plan to “publically” mark Dr. Thiel at this time. However, if any of you hear of any of our people leaving to join Dr. Thiel or that they are greatly affected by any of his attacks, please let us know.
Thank you, again, for all the work and loyalty you have shown in your individual ministries. Let us all continue to pray for one another, for unity in the body of Christ, and that God’s blessing on the Work may continue even greater in the secular year 2013. May God be with and bless and protect you and your families.
With Christian love,
Roderick C. Meredith