A Tough Love Indeed: April 12 RW Sermon: “God’s Love is Coming”
They have however set the hymnal CD back on random. O Lord of Hosts My King My God, O Come and Let Us Worship Him, and Sing Praises and Rejoice came out of the CD player this week. Interesting that most of these hymns were often sung at Festival sites, at the Feast of Tabernacles. The first ten – fifteen minutes of the sermon are taken up with trying to get some air flow into the room (we would have been forced to just sweat it out, back in the day, as the doors were always locked from the inside during services), dealing with the noise of a train outside the meeting room, and the announcements.
Only thirteen baptisms this week. A sign that interest in Weinland’s church is starting to wane? He has been averaging between fifteen and thirty up to this point. Weinland does say that members coming from Worldwide must admit to being spiritually asleep, but that they do not need to be baptized to enter the CoG-PKG. This may be different from what he has stated in earlier sermons (possibly the March 29, 2008 one).
They are still trying to get the elders “signed up” on the program they were training them on during the elders meeting a few weeks ago. The auto-responder email has not been set up yet (on the website) and Weinland does say that the church must not “waste its time” with those who do not truly accept the church and its teachings (read, those who have not already begun tithing to the church), who come in through the website.
Weinland also said that the 2005 Passover service has been “tacked on” to the 2007 Passover service, since apparently it was incomplete, and now this is the file members are urged to download just in case, or if they are outside of the Jerusalem time zone, if they are for any reason unable to connect with the live Passover service Weinland will be giving in Jerusalem on the 18th April, 2008 (Friday night). The point is made that both services will be the same, or close to the same and to use “either one is fine”.
Around the 20 minute mark he starts talking about the re-awakening of the scattered church and starts dropping the buzzwords of getting the church “back on track” — this was the same terminology used by Armstrong after 1975 in Prophecy failed to pan out. Members of the scattered church, and anyone just coming in to the church, “have to be humbled first before they can be worked with”. This is clear and absolute milieu control.
Around 33 minutes, Weinland takes the time to reiterate that churchgoers need to be attentive to those with multiple chemical sensitivities. This is likely a problem of Weinland’s, not of the wider membership of the church, although apparently one of the elders and his wife suffers from the condition as well.
At the 35 minute mark Weinland starts yelling about “the perverted, pukey [yes he does use the word pukey], sick, syrupy, false love”, that new petitioners of the church claim to have for god. Such people are “so twisted, perverted, sick, far far far from the love of god”. A little later he adds: “….you have never loved God. the only ones who can love God are those that God humbles and brings to repentance to his way of life and then if you receive then you can begin to love God.” In other words, if you are baptized into god’s true church. And you can only be considered for baptism into god’s true church if you pay tithes to the church. Around 37 minutes Weinland comes out with the humdinger “…..to love god you’ve never known god how can you love someone you don’t know?” This is consistent with Weinland’s unitarian theology, which diverges quite sharply from Worldwide’s binitarian views.
At 37:25 – 37:40 in the MP3 file linked above we have the quote that will live on long after Weinland has departed from the public consciousness: “Starting on April 17th  when the Pope is in Washington DC because that’s when he begins to be influenced very powerfully.” This is the first instance where Weinland has named the Pope specifically as being integral to the First Trumpet of the Great Tribulation.
Around 41 minutes he starts to talk about China coming to prominence when the sixth trumpet blows. On the Whale program, he said China would rise during the fifth trumpet did he not? Around the 45-minute mark Weinland makes the point that even country/western music is bad. Back in Worldwide days, C/W music was the ONLY music that was truly “acceptable” (besides teeny-pop which back in the day was NOTHING like Britney and Christina thankyewverymuch) listening outside of the Festival Chorale tapes…..
At 48 minutes Weinland excoriates those who are seeking “a relationship with god” but not keeping the commandment of the sabbath day. Then he goes on to mention the Washington Monument in Washington DC being a phallic symbol. This is classic Armstrongism. The only part Weinland left out was how the Pope’s hat is a representation of the (Babylonian?) fish-god Dagon.
Traditional christianity is excoriated for hating god’s laws which, to Weinland’s theology, means they hate god. He does make a point to say that he [Weinland] is the wrong person to tell that to, that you love god. He says he used to respond to those emails but he doesn’t any more. Around the 53 minute mark is “if you don’t know God you don’t know how to love him in the way God says to love him”. Weinland does mention the tried-and-true WCG staple of “God’s way is the way of give (tithing) not the way of get (not tithing).”
One hour in, Weinland starts in with the unitarianism again, about Logos being translated as the mind of god, and not the christ figure separate but equal with god in the god family, the way Armstrong had it. The “be not conformed” theology is then repeated and expanded upon.
At 1:05:00 Weinland reiterates the “beauty” of “the seven thousand one hundred year plan of god”. This sermon would not have been out of place at the Last Great Day, the final of the seven annual sabbaths, held immediately after the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.
1:19:46 brings us “The world doesn’t love the way of god they loath it they hate it,” bashing traditional christianity again, and: “We are not of the world even as I am not of the world.” and a little further on: “Being in the world and not of the world is how you grow.” This follows the be not conformed theology that is classic milieu control, and was used extensively in the Worldwide Church of God.
At 1:24:00 Weinland goes on an absolutely classic Armstrongist rant against “intellectual” theories like the Big Bang and evolution. “Intellectual” was considered an epithet in Worldwide, back in the day.
At the hour and a half mark Weinland starts quoting from John 15:10 on, proof-texting it to use the verses as justification that the CoG-PKG is the only true church of god. The other seven hundred (and splintering further as you read this) denominations of the Church of God might disagree with you there Ronnie-boy. This is also classic Armstrongism only back in Worldwide days, there was only ONE “vine”, the Worldwide Church of God.
1:37:00 brings us this witticism: “Nobody out here has a special relationship with christ. it only comes through the church. Nobody can have a special relationship with god it only comes from the church.”
Then at the 1:37:00 mark we get the startling (to me at least) revelation that Armstrong’s “19 revealed truths” have been expanded to a mind-boggling forty-nine truths. Forty-nine? Forty-nine? That’s almost as bad as re-instating all 613 laws of the Torah would be…….Members are urged to be students. “A student, student, student, student, student, not a teacher teacher teacher”. Classic Armstrongism, where evangelicism was wrong (because that would attract undue notice from “the world”). Next comes the zinger: “No one in any church out there has ever, ever, EVER experienced agape.” This is different from Armstrongism in that WCG members were expected to and encouraged to have agape (brotherly love) only for other members of the church. Weinland also, amusingly, pronounces it “ah-gah-pay” instead of “ah-gah-pee” the way it should be.
1:42:00 “All the law is based on the love of god.” Classic Armstrongism. Puts me in mind of the hymn “O How Love I Thy Law”. I’m surprised that isn’t on the “random” CD Weinland plays every week in services.
At the 1:48:00 mark Weinland discusses a letter from a newly-baptized member who has lost his family, his friends, his job, and he says “but this is OK” (in the letter). A bunch of us pretty much started screaming at the screen “THIS IS NOT OK!” at that point. Very sad. Yet held up as a shining example by Weinland, as “greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for another”. Weinland goes on to say he is excited for those whose lives have been changed in so drastic a way as represented in the letter from the member that he is quoting. Weinland is, as Shadows of WCG’s “J” pointed out, directly responsible for this poor man’s destroyed family, destroyed friendships, and destroyed employment.
Destroyed families, finances, and relationships with “the worldly” (friendships and employment) are a long-standing legacy of Armstrongism. One that the world will not soon be without, as long as there are Church of God splinters in existence.
Weinland then goes on to spend the last part of the sermon highlighting one part of the church’s new FAQ section on its recently-updated website, underage teens. This is quite clearly a legal disclaimer (and Weinland goes through it at some length during the sermon) because of the number of children who were being drawn to the church. Of note, this section of the text is ironic in an amusing way: “For teens who are legally under age, we encourage you to inform your parents of your desire to live God’s way of life that you are beginning to learn. Nothing should be hidden from them, and especially in a matter like this, since there are many weird religions available on the Internet, as well as others who seek to take advantage of young people.“ Weinland clearly cannot see the beam in his own eye for the splinter in that of others’.
The rest of the Topics section of the FAQ is commended to members for study and memorization. It actually provides a good overview on what the church actually believes, for those on the outside looking in.
Particularly interesting is the section on the Anti-Christ:
In short, anti-Christ means someone who was in Gods true church, had the truth of God dwelling/living in them by the power of God’s Holy Spirit and then chose to reject God’s way of life. They are “anti-Christ” because they will not allow Christ to live/dwell in them. Anti-Christ is not one person, nor does this refer to the Pope.
However, the Pope will be influenced powerfully by Satan when he is in Washington DC on April 17th, 2008, as per the quote at 0:39:00.
Weinland then goes through the next three sections of the FAQ verbally: Answering Questions When Asked, Awakened Brethren, and Citizenship in a Nation. These are all clearly legal disclaimers designed for the specific purpose of keeping Weinland and his church out from under the scrutiny of undue attention. Of note, apparently the CoG-PKG has dispensed with the WCG belief that interracial marriage was a sin, and now endorses interracial marriage.
The final ten minutes of the sermon (which is two hours and five minutes in length) is spent fear-mongering in the guise of instructing the brethren; they are told that, on the sabbath, when people are bleeding and dying all around them, or if someone’s house falls down on them, members are not to simply stand idly by, just because it is “the sabbath”.
Weinland did make a point to quote a couple more scriptures than he usually does in this sermon. At the end, he reveals that he apparently had a few more that he didn’t use: “I’ll use these other scriptures in some other sermon if that is what god intends for me to do.”