Another Ronald Weinland Prophecy Fails

Jesus DID NOT Return on May 27th, 2012 as Weinland Promised

Who Is the Date-setting Armstrongist Ronald Weinland?




Ronald Weinland (pictured) has claimed that he and his wife comprise "the two witnesses" of Revelation, chapter eleven.

R onald Weinland is a hard-line, self-appointed Armstrongist prophet who heads up the so-called 'Church of God - Preparing for the Kingdom of God' (Church of God - PKG, for short), website here. This group is yet another of the now numerous Armstrongist offshoots.



Let me commence by saying that I have no desire to attack a fellow human being for whom the Bible is all-important in life; for myself too, the Bible is everything! I have no personal problem with Mr Weinland. But when somebody sets themselves up as an interpreter of that inspired Book, not only that, but the only authoritative interpreter - in God's sight - upon this earth at present, and when such a person clearly leads others astray, then, as a writer within the discipline of Christian Apologetics, I must speak out! But let us backtrack just a little. What are Mr Weinland's influences?


Influences

Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986) founded his 'Worldwide Church of God' (originally called 'Radio Church of God') in Eugene, Oregon, back in 1933, and it spread from there, initially through the power and influence of U.S. religious radio. Initially calling himself "pastor general," Armstrong eventually insisted that he should be viewed as "God's only 20th century Apostle." In fairness, the modern-day 'Worldwide Church of God' now officially rejects Armstrongism, and have actually rebranded themselves as 'Grace Communion International' - but Armstrongists are still to be found all over the place although almost always in small groupings (however, they almost always claim greatly-inflated numbers for their membership, following on from Armstrong's original practice).

Although Herbert W. Armstrong claimed himself to be "God's twentieth century Apostle" and claimed the old WCG teachings were utterly unique to his ministry (since - according to him - they were "revealed to him by God"), all cult and sect watchers are well aware that Armstrongism always drew on teachings which were in no way new, nor "uniquely revealed," but were already around elsewhere. Strands of Armstrongist teachings may be observed in the reasonings of people such as William Miller, Ellen G. White, Charles Russell and others too. Also, 'British Israelitism' (sometimes known as the 'British-Israel movement'), played a large role in Armstrong's evolving religious schema, as did other strands of lore and legend. Former 'gift-of-the-gab' tractor salesman Armstrong put all of these influences together into a sort of smorgasbord of confused doctrinal teachings which he claimed were supremely biblical and which (he claimed) were divinely revealed to him alone. He further claimed that he was the new John the Baptist and - just as that man had prepared the way for the first coming - he (Armstrong) had been appointed by God to 'prepare the way' for the Second Coming! Armstrong was always prepared to admit that he had never received any sort of serious biblical/theological training which (he usually suggested) would be a bad thing for the true disciple of Christ.

'1975 in Prophecy' was a typical Herbert W. Armstrong book, replete with extreme and fanciful claims, but the writing style was poor with over-use of upper case (capital) letters and exclamation marks; it was as though the writer was yelling at the reader, yet none of the claims were ever substantiated or properly established. Outrageous accusation and excessive emotion were used as a substitute for deep, studied, biblical learning.

Go here for a look at another typical Armstrongist booklet of the period.

The whole Armstrongist mix amounted to a religious fantasyland of Alice in Wonderland proportions! We will not go deeply into the teachings and claims of Armstrongism here since we have done it elsewhere (if you want to know more, check out the links at the bottom of this page). Suffice it to say that no serious student of the Bible who has studied the pages of Scripture at great length, patience and depth, has ever taken this strange mixture of often eclectic claims very seriously. Armstrongism is rightly branded as a cult which stands outside of biblical Christianity even though it has always claimed "biblical authority," unfortunately such 'authority' being based on a very selective and inconsistent use of Scripture, always - as an example - magnifying the Old Testament over the New.

Originally Armstrong and his 'WCG,' had a booklet titled, '1975 in Prophecy,' that - effectively - set a date for Christ's Second Coming. In his (money-begging) "co-worker letters" Armstrong started claiming from around the late 1960s that war would break out in Europe in early 1972, this leading to the 'Great Tribulation,' followed by the return of Jesus Christ in 1975. Later, of course, he denied that this was ever a prophecy, or the setting of a date. In this book Armstrong predicted "a tremendous universal famine over America, Britain and northwestern Europe caused by unprecedented drought and floods." He also stated that, "One third of our entire population will die." Originally published in 1956 (but available even up to 1971), this booklet quietly and suddenly disappeared from WCG circulation when all Armstrong's apocalyptic prophecies failed and his timing was shown to be a complete nonsense. So setting dates is something that Armstrongists do have a very clear history of doing; perhaps no surprise, then, that Weinland has also set various dates for the parousia. We need to look at that:


More About Weinland

Ronald E. Weinland was born in 1949 and grew up on a farm in western Kansas. During a self-described dissolute youth, he converted to Armstrongism in 1969 and was baptized into Herbert Armstrong's 'Worldwide Church of God' (WCG). He studied at Armstrong's Ambassador College, attending the Bricket Wood campus in England from 1972-74, and after that campus closed he transferred to the Big Sandy, Texas campus. In 1975, he graduated with a degree in theology from the unaccredited institution and a few months later married Laura Short. The theology degree, of course, was not the more normal broadly-based theology degree, but a rubber-stamping of the tenets of Armstrongism. Any student daring to challenge the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong would have been quickly thrown off the course.

Weinland has claimed that he became a prophet in 1997. God's revelation comes to him, not in the form of a burning bush, but delivered directly into his mind. In his sermon of November 19, 2005 he intimated that he was one of the two witnesses and then four weeks later on December 17 he made a more explicit claim. A few weeks later he made it clear that the other 'witness' was his wife Laura.

The author of "2008: God's Final Witness," Weinland claims to be a Prophet of the God of Abraham (as well as one of the Two End-Time Witnesses as prophesied in Revelation 11). After the failures of his prophecies for specific dates such as April 17, 2008 for the beginning of the Great Tribulation leading to the return of Jesus Christ in 2011, Weinland changed to a new timeline that restarted the Great Tribulation on December 14, 2008 with the return of Jesus on the eve of May 27, 2012. This, of course, is the date which has just failed. Ron has ordained his wife as a "Prophetess," just below him in the Government of his Armstrongist-styled 'church.'

Quite apart from having another failed date to attempt to explain away to his followers, Weinland has other problems at present. On November 10, 2011, he was indicted on 5 counts of criminal tax evasion for an amount of $357,065 in allegedly evaded taxes. The charges in the indictment included "using COG {church} contributions for personal use and not reporting the funds as income on his tax return." On November 22, he was arraigned and entered a plea of "Not Guilty." A jury trial in federal court is apparently scheduled for June 4, 2012. But we say no more about such tax matters because that would be to go beyond the purposes of this article.

Weinland's fellow-Armstrongists (that is, those not of his particular grouping but of the various other Armstrongist groups) have been quick to pounce and, perhaps not surprisingly, especially venomous. David C. Pack has written,

'...Ron Weinland claims to be a prophet. But make no mistake: All his predictions are coming from a false prophet. Ron Weinland and his wife are false prophets. Almost every Scripture this man cites - without exception - is twisted, mangled and butchered. The Bible warns of such "evil men and seducers" (II Tim. 3:13) specifically in our time, but like all of its other warnings, most do not heed.' (source: David C. Pack: http://rcg.org/sep/cogpkg_ronaldweinland.html).

Yet Pack himself is an Armstrong disciple of quite an extreme hue. Pack heads up the Restored Church of God. In the past we have written of Mr Pack's views here. Mr Pack also claims to be an Apostle, as do the leaders of several Armstrongist groups, all of whom are at loggerheads with each other!

But we need to get to the real truth about date-setting for the time of Christ's return. Why can we know that all such human claims are nonsense? Because Holy Scripture clearly tells us so.

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. (Acts 20:28-31).

Jesus also said,

"But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36).

Now it is true that Matthew 24 is something of a tricky scriptural passage; without question, certain parts were fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70. Jesus could possibly have been referring to the destruction of Jerusalem (which occurred in AD70), however, not all of the chapter was fulfilled at that time and certain sections certainly concern the final parousia. But the principle that God would not allow men to be able to work out 'the day nor the hour' of His direct interventions in human history must be viewed as an ongoing principle. With regard to AD70, for example, Jesus warned of the signs, but set no dates. Many years earlier, the Jewish captivity in Babylon was of an approximate 70-year duration, but with no specific setting of dates. In fact, Scripture presents the return of Christ as sudden and unexpected. Note this:

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:37-39, NIV throughout).

For sure, true believers will note 'the times and seasons,' being watchful and vigilant, but any idea that certain ones will be able to work out the precise date of the final parousia, must be reckoned as unbiblical and presumptuous!

We are sorry that, with one thing and another, Mr Weinland is undoubtedly currently having to do a lot of explaining! It is staggering that any would continue to so arrogantly set dates for the return of Christ when so many have attempted to do so and so many have failed.

UPDATE!

Following the failure of his latest predicted date for Christ's return, Ronald Weinland posted the following on his website:

"30th May: The beginning of the post dated April 20, 2012, states: "As readers of this site know, May 27, 2012, is the time that I have stated as being the date Jesus Christ will return as King of kings over all government on this earth." The Church of God - PKG looked to that specific physical day as the literal time of Christ's return and faithfully looked for his coming right up to the last hour on the Sabbath of the 26th.

God's people have lived through many difficult stages of time throughout our history. What we have just experienced has been one of those difficult times. Such events can be very unsettling, and they tend to move people to intensely reflect upon their Biblically based belief system..."

Weinland makes just a few other comments as well (source: http://www.ronaldweinland.com/), but there is (as this article was about to be published), no apology for causing confusion to his followers, no public repentance with a frankly expressed statement regarding a lesson learned from errors never to be repeated. Disappointing. While many of us may smile and wink at the latest date-setting for the parousia, we must remember that some are easily affected by such things. Ultimately all such failed "prophecies" only serve to bring disrepute upon the Gospel.

We suggest that Mr Weinland makes a public statement of apology plus a full admittance that he is not - and never has been - a "prophet."

Robin A. Brace. June 3rd, 2012.

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