Nine Days to the Seventh Seal
Weinland’s food poisoning apparently got to him so much after the Mar. 1 sermon, he still had laryngitis eight days later. There was a sermon from Wayne Matthews uploaded to the site at the specified time EST (actually some minutes before), instead. All in all, it was a toothless epistle, one that could have been delivered succesfully in any Worldwide Church of God congregation between 1979 and 1985.
Given the lack of background noise, I get the impression that Matthews’ sermon was “canned”, i.e., prepared either ahead of time and uploaded at the “right” time onto the site (which makes sense since they are something like a day ahead of the continental US), or was given to an empty room.
I would say the latter, given the announcements; Matthews met with five people in Queensland at somebody’s house last Saturday? Not a big church at all, and they keep reinforcing how “small” they are, in sermons, and in the literature.
This is the reverse of how most splinter Churches of God operate: They are constantly on the hunt for ex-members, constantly looking for those who are “lost” to return into the fold of “the one true church”. (At 650+ splinters, there is a wealth of “one true churches” to choose from.) Weinland and his evangelists are preaching that the seventh seal will open the minds of those in “the scattered church” (i.e., those who belong to other splinters, or who exited WCG completely) after March 18th, and this scattered church (according to one member online) will result in an influx of about three thousand people.
Given that around twenty-five people were baptized, out of all of Western Europe, according to Weinland’s blog, that is hardly the “millions and millions” Weinland has stated previously will be attracted to the church. These numbers indicate confirmation that the splinter is extremely small.
This could be why members are being urged to step up their efforts, to “begin talking about the book” to family members after March 18th. Likely Weinland wants to draw as many ex-Church of God members in as he can, although they seem to be vacillating between the “millions and millions” Weinland expected as recently as a few months ago, and now they are emphasizing the “we are a small church” perspective. Not so small that they would entirely escape notice, amidst the sea of splinters, however, given the culture of death they are indoctrinating their members with.
On to Matthews’ sermon. It was a lot of “us vs. them” theology, about how ignorant and arrogant the “outsiders” are to “Who is the Church of God PKG?” To which Matthews never did give a clear answer, indicating he was preaching only to the converted. There is a lot of “if we are strong in our faith that we are in the right church, then we are immune to outside attacks” that was the staple of sermons in the Worldwide Church of God days.
Note the closing prayer, however, which is a fine example of milieu control:
1:33:19-1:34:22 “Who is the Church of God PKG?”
“If you would all like to stand. [there is no background noise at this point]
Great Eternal Father we simply do approach you with humility thanking you very much for the calling that you have given us. Father we do not take anything to ourselves in any way. We know that without you we are nothing and that if you hadn’t have called us, given us this great opportunity we would be like everybody else, but. We also rejoice exceedingly Father that even though people who are hostile at this moment, and do not know the truth of you and your mercy Father, will call them and grant them repentance in a time[?] order. And this is a great joy. Those that die coming up Father, that it’s just a break in time, and in your mercy you will reveal to them a great, wonderful period ahead of them in the Great White Throne Judgement and that they will have the very same opportunity that you have given to millions now to know you. And we just simply thank you for your great name. And so we thank you for this great opportunity for being able to meet on the sabbath to worship you, praise you and give you the glory in the name of Jesus Christ our savior.
The end of the sermon instructed members to state proudly that they were members of the Church of God PKG, members of god’s one true church, that the church is preparing for the kingdom of god. Hopefully the members will do as they are instructed, so that outside observers can exit counsel them out of the organization, or at the very least, plant seeds of doubt in their minds as to what they actually believe about April 17th, before it comes to pass.