There's blunt irony in the inescapable fact that each of these doomsayers is now either dead or skating toward the precipice. Each proclaimed the nearness of Christ's return "in our time". Each was wrong.
It's an unenviable track record, and yet there's no lack of hopefuls to take on their mantle. You'd think they'd learn.
There is no escaping, though, that the Churches of God are part of the wider Adventist movement, with all that implies about misreading apocalyptic literature. Declaw them of that and they lose their very soul; witness what has happened to Grace Communion International. Adventism is all about the nearness of Christ's return. If you were living in 1844 it was perilously near, not to your grandchildren but to you personally. 1914, the angelic trumpet was about to sound. 1972, and the DC10s bound for Petra had their engines running.
And yet, here we all are, 2016. But wouldn't you know it, prophecy is still marching on. The trouble is, it's marching the other way.
The prophecy pundits don't seem deterred, busily "watching world news" with the help of WND. In fact, they regard this as a religious duty, assuming this is what Jesus meant when he called on his disciples to 'watch'.
Of course, it wasn't. No TV newscasts, no newspapers or magazines in the first century. Such news as you got was usually months old, carried by word of mouth or handwritten letter. Paul wasn't monitoring CNN, much less Fox News.
But, if you're going to bleed tithes from the flock, it helps to keep them expectant and stressed out. The apocalyptic mindset feeds on pessimism. It also discourages people from taking practical action - on climate change for example. Why bother?
There's a nice little quote attributed to Luther.
"If I knew that tomorrow was the end of the world, I would still plant an apple tree today."It's almost certainly apocryphal, but like a lot of apocryphal sayings, there's a good deal of truth to it.