Monday 30 June 2008

Ahem, um...

The following is a totally fictional dialogue, inspired by the news that Ronald Weinland has put the returning Christ in a parking orbit till 2012. It's bound to be less entertaining than any real interview Ron gives.

Interviewer (I): It is our pleasure to have Ronald Weinland back with us today. Welcome Ronald.

RW: Thank you Chuck, it's great to be back.

I: Last time we spoke with you The Great Tribulation was about to begin. Did that happen?

RW: Well Chuck, it's important to understand just how must misinformation there is out there. It makes it very hard for Christ's true ministers to...

I: Yes, but you were very definite Ronald. The Great Tribulation was to begin this year, in fact back in April wasn't it?

RW: Well, we need to back up a bit here Chuck. You see...

I: And wasn't there supposed to be nuclear war within ninety days of that? Isn't that what you said?

RW: Some people may have, unfortunately, understood, ah, misunderstood it and...

I: There is also the matter of the Two Witnesses Ronald. You were one of them, right?

RW: Well, yes, in a manner of...

I: And your wife Lulu-belle was to be the other?

RW: Laura, Mrs. Weinland, is indeed, as far as we have been given to understand...

I: Have either of you have been preaching in sackcloth over in Jerusalem yet?

RW: Well, we have been to Jerusalem, and I did give a very nice sermon for our people there, and we did stay in a pretty swanky hotel before coming back to the United States.

I: But aren't the Two Witnesses supposed to stay there and finish the job?

RW: The problem here is that false religion gets in the way Chuck. It creates false expectations. As Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong said many times, first you have to unlearn...

I: But Ronald, let me quote what you said...

RW: No, no, no Chuck. The truth is that there has been a great deal of misunderstanding and deliberate misrepresentation. Satan has been very active. To put things as simply as I can, God has cleared up a lot of the details as He has continued to reveal His will to me, and I can now confidently state that Christ is indeed returning in 2012.

I: 2012?

RW: Yes, 2012.

I: Not 2008?

RW: Not 2008. That was an unfortunate misunderstanding.

I: Whose misunderstanding Ronald?

RW: I believe the church was unprepared, unready. They needed to pray and fast more.

I: So, if your church fails to pray and fast again in 2012 the date may get put back again then too?

RW: No, 2012 is definite, and I stake my reputation on it.

I: But you already staked your reputation on 2008.

RW: We're just moving forward as the Holy Spirit directs us Chuck, malicious accusations notwithstanding.

I: Ronald you said you'd quit preaching if you were wrong.

RW: I wasn't wrong Chuck. Some of the details needed clarifying, but I've been absolutely consistent all the way through.

I: There's no contradiction between 2008 and now 2012?

RW: Only among the carnally minded Chuck, and bear in mind that the scoffers are under God's curse and are being eaten alive by blood-sucking worms and tumors even as we speak.

I: Frankly Ronald, all this backtracking is giving me a headache.

RW: See!

Sunday 29 June 2008

Larry's answer

Larry finally came clean and offered his answer to the question he posed.

I have been to many other churches and my wife is a devout Catholic. The level of true ignorance in these other churches is beyond description. All of this is not coincidence.

Apart from pointing out that Larry's views seem at odds with those of WCG's leadership, who nowadays sing a song of ecumenism in an evangelical key, there's a bigger point at stake here.

True ignorance describes those who've never bothered to actually understand why other churches believe what they do.

The two-dimensional cardboard cut-out characterizations of other traditions are usually just that.

In Worldwide - at least in the Armstrong era - the members knew an awful lot about everything, and had an avalanche of booklets to prove it. That spirit still characterizes the splinters: blow-hard leaders with starry-eyed followers.

Free yourself from the delusion and you realize just how little you really know. Forget Philadelphian fantasies... this is the mark of Laodicea:

For you say, 'I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.' You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (Rev.3:17)

Wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, naked. The status of all those who sit in their self-imposed ghettos and cast imprecations on those who live lives of integrity beyond their walls.

The problem isn't in living within a specific culture or tradition: we all do that. The problem is when you build walls instead of bridges. Larry's Laodicean views belong to the unreconstructed Armstrongism of a past generation.

Friday 27 June 2008

Larry's question

Larry - a current WCG member - writes: Don't you think it is fascinating that there is so much passion here about the WCG?

I am amazed. I mean, really...., do you think there is this much passion in a bunch of ex-Methodists? Or ex-Episcopalians?

I doubt it.

Why do you think that is? What is it about the Worldwide Church of God and subsequent splinter groups that could stir the hearts and minds of people after so many years?

I'll bet that some of you would say...blatant hypocrisy. But you would be wrong. That's not it.

Larry raises an interesting question, though it seems a bit unfair to hint that he knows the answer but won't tell! Here is a sample of the ongoing reaction.

Response 1 (anonymous): For the same reason that abused children seek out forums to interact with others that were abused. Or someone with an illness seeks out others who might have the same illness. It's as simple as that. Don't play psychologist and make more of it than it is.
Response 2 (Richard): Larry, its probably because most of us were young, dumb, stupid, gullible and impressionable when we attended the WCG. We grew-up believing HWA was God's Apostle; believing that there is this wonderful world tomorrow coming right around the corner in 1975 as HWA told us; and believing there is a place of safety from the world's tribulation in Petra.

There is also the social aspect that we were all in this WCG cult that did not associate much with the outside world. People gave their all for "God's work" - their time, money resources and lives.

But, it all turned out to be a giant con job. We all lost our innocence with the WCG - it was all a huge lie. There is no wonderful world tomorrow, and there is no place of safety.

I really don't believe anything that comes from the WCG or its splinters and religion in general. The God of HWA and the WCG was a very cruel God.

Armstrongite ministers have cried wolf so often, that its now entertainment for me. I can't take them seriously anymore.

There is an old adage, "Lie to me once, shame on you. Lie to me twice, shame on me".

Response 3 (Corky): No, but the ex-members of the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and other cults far outnumber and outshine the few people who are on Ambassador Watch in protestation of their past delusions.

The reason you don't see the same thing from ex-Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians etc. is because they are real churches and not cults.

That is another sign of a cult, by the way, ex-members having their say on-line or in books accusing the cult of being a cult.

Larry's rejoiner: Richard, you make it sound like the Church ruined your life. Get a grip.

Response 4 (Bamboo Bends): Did it ever occur to you Larry that maybe, that's exactly what happened?

I don't know Richard.....but I do have a close friend who committed suicide because of the treatment he got from his pastor...

Yes, some lives were indeed ruined.

But you won't read about the casualties on the Suprising God Blog.

Most of us just carry on the best we can but we'll always carry the scars. Its when people tell us that what we experienced really wasn't that bad that we get truly annoyed. We lived through it.

FWIW, I find Richard's comment about loss of innocence particularly apt. A discussion worth pursuing?

Thursday 26 June 2008

Vision or Blind Man's Bluff?

I'm old enough to remember The Plain Truth in its heyday.

Slick, professional.

Most latter-day COG publications attempt to clone the formula. UCG's Good News is probably the most successful while LCG's Tomorrow's World is just plain ugly; even a rank amateur could improve the design with a judicious choice of fonts. But the truth - dare one say the plain truth - is that time has moved on, and so has the art of magazine design, and the slavish imitators have been left far behind the cutting edge.

There is some irony then in the fact that the most imaginative packaging of the the COG product you'll find between two covers comes from one of the most conservative groups: the Church of God, an International Community: the David Hulme sect.

Vision is without doubt the most impressive periodical from the COG stable. Produced quarterly, it's imaginative, visual, and even looks good on a coffee table.

And - almost unbelievably - the content is not too bad either. There is a veneer of learning, the intimation of competence, the suggestion of sophistication. If you didn't know better you might deduce that this was a mildly scholarly journal.

The latest issue - an anthology - reinforces that impression. But a casual reader will be left wondering: why is it so hard to get hard data on the unknown church behind the journal, and why does publisher Hulme ostentatiously wear his PhD on his sleeve? Insecure?

The more informed reader will have questions too: the carefully cultivated image and seemingly balanced journalism hardly mesh with a group that restricts outsiders from attending its services and appears to hide information from non-members.

In a catch-22 situation, Vision has marketed itself over the heads of most prospective members. Who is it trying to impress? Or, given the structural nature of the beast, who is Hulme trying to impress? Most restrictive religious sects actively avoid any dalliance with the world of scholarship.

The Plain Truth, even at the height of its influence and circulation, was an ad man's confection: a monument to form over substance. Far more effectively than the clones, Vision is The Plain Truth of the twenty-first century. Its Achilles' heel may simply be that it is addressing the wrong audience.

Sunday 22 June 2008

Ron, Paul and the Anti-Den

A few days off from blogging and the news of life behind the Herbal Curtain builds up. Here are a few swift kicks at the logs in the jam.

Weinland tries to save face. But, honestly, can't he do better than this?

This is not pleasant to have to address, as all of us have planned our lives on such timing. If the second trumpet sounds, with nuclear explosions in port cities, then everything will indeed be fully in line with what I’ve stated in the last interviews and in some sermons. But I do want to state again, I no longer believe that to be the case... If I have jumped the gun in a couple of interviews and interjected my own understanding into the timing of events, and have thereby been presumptuous, then I will repent and move forward.


The bottom line is that I know I am a prophet of God and God’s minister under Jesus Christ, who is the head of the Church of God, the Body of Christ. As such, I have a job to do and I am going to do it.

Ron, time to give it up... a prophet you ain't.

Paul Kroll is retiring. One of the old guard who came over to front the new guard, Paul is a fine journalist but, you'd probably have to say, an unconvincing apologist.

Dennis Pelley, Pasadena Pastor Imperator, is also heading out the door. Dennis was a controversial figure for a while, and featured more than once on the AW news website that preceded this blog. Den is presumably off to a comfy retirement: just keep an eye out for that bad karma dude!

Addendum: Bill Ferguson has new content up on Ekklesia including the mysterious Malnet files - now there's a blast from the past!

Monday 16 June 2008

From the Presiding Plonker

Fred Coulter gets a spanking! I'm not saying he doesn't deserve it, but it's a bit rich when the treatment comes from Mr. Exile-in-Hawaii, Spanky Meredith. You can still read the Herbal letter that put Meredith firmly in his place online... on that basis I'd suggest whatever Spanky says about Fred goes twice for Spanky.

From the Presiding Evangelist

It has come to my attention that a few of our members are meeting with ex-ministers of the Church of God who have been disfellowshipped and marked. One notable example is Fred Coulter. When Fred angrily and very disrespectfully confronted Mr. Herbert Armstrong back in 1979, God's Apostle personally disfellowshipped him. Then Mr. Armstrong immediately called me — as Director of the Ministry — and instructed me to disfellowship and mark Fred Coulter which I did at the time.

In my opinion, Mr. Coulter has continued to poach members away from those who are actually preaching the Gospel to the world and is conducting himself as an enemy of the Church. This is what he did when he opposed the servant of God who taught most of us the Truth, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong.

Therefore, in the name of Jesus Christ, I am now instructing loyal Living Church of God members not to meet with or fellowship with Fred Coulter—a dissident who was personally disfellowshipped by God's Apostle, Herbert W. Armstrong, and publicly disfellowshipped and marked by me personally.

— Roderick C. Meredith

When Rod writes "in the name of Jesus Christ, I am now instructing..." you just have to wonder if this is the same dude who wrote the old Ten Commandments booklet. Clearly a case of taking the Lord's name in vain.

Thursday 12 June 2008

"Crazy Yisrayl Hawkins Day"

Yes, it's June 12 - and if it isn't where you are, it soon will be.

Nuclear Armageddon launches today - in the fevered mind of Yisrayl Hawkins.

Then tomorrow is Friday the thirteenth!

It seems there has been a surfeit of nutburgers sizzling on the barbie lately. This in a tradition which once advertised itself as "a crusade for sanity" (the title of a TW article circa 1972).

Pam Dewey reports in her book that Dizzy Yissy originally gloried in the name "Buffalo Bill Hawkins." His brother Jacob founded a "House of Yahweh" in some god-forsaken corner of Texas back in 1975. Later Bill would claim he and Jake were - surprise, surprise - the Two Witnesses, despite his brother rejecting the idea. Later Yissy would claim October 2000 as the date of Christ's return, with 80% of planet Earth's population wiped out by mid-2001. I wonder if he passed that on to Shimon Perez when he had his photo opportunity with him in November 1998? (see picture)

Today he had another shot at it. Darn, missed again!
I want to reassure the two or three readers who don't share a WCG background that Hawkins and Weinland don't represent the WCG mainstream of times past. Nor, of course, do James Tabor or Lester Grabbe. The truth was somewhere in the confused middle. Frankly, "Buffalo Bulldust" is an embarrassment. Joe Tkach must be thanking his lucky stars that nobody much remembers Hawkins' ties with WCG.

I'm not sure what could top the Weinland-Hawkins Apocalyptic Double Feature... where do you go once you've played the End of the Age card to a chorus of well-deserved raspberries?

Yisrayl knows the answer to that one: you hunch your shoulders and bluster on. It worked in 2000!

Jim West's take on the day (from which I flinched the title of this post) can be found here.

Wednesday 11 June 2008

Smitten with an angry Rod?

The following email was in the in-box today. It has been slightly edited:

Rod Meredith visited the churches in southern California this past weekend. His Sabbath sermon at La Crescenta (Los Angeles) was, from what I hear, very harsh. He is very concerned that all 3 churches (L.A., Orange County, San Diego) are falling apart. He gave 5 keys as to why LCG is the true Philadelphian church. He mentioned that a man he used to teach in Bible class is now claiming to be a prophet. This was thought to be a reference to Weinland. He then yelled that anyone to talks badly about LCG or causes trouble in any way by saying anything bad about the ministry will be removed. He was VERY strong. He said that NO ONE is to attend any of the splinters. The threat of disfellowshipment was clearly implied.

I left LCG last summer. Rod is right; the churches in southern Cal are falling apart. One big reason in Los Angeles is, in my view, Jim Meredith, Rod's son. He was ordained an elder in the spring of 2006, but his qualifications for the job aren't obvious... Many people left LCG the very day of Jim's ordination, and others left when Jim said things like "If you're not totally with us, you should leave." Another problem in L.A., in my view, is Jeff Fall, the former pastor. His position is that God is sifting out people and Jeff sees it as his job to force that sifting. He seems to deliberately offend people to test their loyalty. Many said hogwash to that and left. The remaining are loyal and blind and non-thinking. The third problem is what is going on at LCG HQ, which has been well-documented on AW. This is pretty much the sole reason for the destruction of the San Diego church from over 50 to under 20.

Anyway, the entire church has become much more cultish on hierarchical government... It is almost to the point that only the dumb sheep are left.

Uh oh. Not the picture of contentedness you'd glean from reading Bob Thiel's blog is it?

Tuesday 10 June 2008

Dumping Weinland: the first step

Weinland is busy pretending he never said what he said: an act of unmitigated cowardice IMHO. But the real question is, why does anyone now continue to follow the guy?

Imagine attending the COG-PKG services last Sabbath knowing all the over-the-top predictions Weinland has made, none of which has a snowball's chance in hell of coming true. Imagine passively sitting there while the clown - strutting and preening - goes through a "business as usual" routine. Imagine then turning around and signing yet another tithe check over to this insanely wrong ministry?

Someone in the comments section pleads: In my opinion, I think Ron and his wife, Laura, are sincere. I believe they are genuinely deceived. I'll spare you all of the details, but I have known both of them for many years and they are good people who think they are doing what God wants them to do.


Genuinely deceived in proclaiming themselves as the Two Witnesses? Genuinely deceived into cursing those who stand up to their pretensions with cancer? Genuinely deceived into setting dates then acting as though they have amnesia? Genuinely deceived into claiming that God shares special revelations with Ron... How does that happen?

I think we'll have to redefine "good people."

To their credit, a number of members have apparently walked out of the Weinland cult in the wake of his self-evident failure to live up to his own lunatic predictions. But why is anybody still hanging around?

I usually haven't got much sympathy for the "blame the victims" brigade. After all, many decent folk were recruited into the WCG (or a splinter) because they were:

(a) young
(b) naive
(c) inexperienced
(d) idealistic
(e) uneducated
(f) going through a life crisis where easy, instant answers were appealing
(g) a combination of two or more of the above

But surely even the densest, most unsophisticated, wet-behind-the-ears individual would have enough gumption - assuming they can tie their own shoelaces - to see that Ronald Weinland now has zero credibility, and that they've been made to look fools as well.

Understandably, it takes some time for people to detach themselves from failed causes. After swallowing the bait, working your way off the hook may take a while. But to any such folk, it's worth remembering that every great journey begins with a single step.

Step 1: cut off the Weinland tithes! Ron has clearly proven that he's incompetent as a prophet, minister or balanced human being. To continue sending him money is irresponsible in the extreme.

Step 2 will become clear once you action step 1!

Rodney Lain, one of the more interesting characters in the early years of WCG dissolution, had a nice slogan:
Free your mind... and your behind will soon follow

I can't think of any better advice.

Sunday 8 June 2008

Dear Ron

The Day of Pentecost has fully come - at least here in New Zealand where its getting toward 10AM already. This is your day too! If nothing happens you're going to quit preaching. That's what you've said repeatedly.

Then later you've promised to publicly state that you were wrong about your predictions and become the first false prophet in history to confess to that fact.

What you don't say is whether you'll still stay on your own payroll. Funny that!

Ron, let me confess something too: I don't believe you. I think you'll find a way to weasel out. Perhaps a couple of the sycophants will beg you to stay, and, after due soul-searching you'll selflessly agree.

And I'm also of the opinion that, in the unlikely event that you did depart (clutching a golden handshake?) you'd be back again quicker than Garner Ted from his hunting cabin in 1973.

On the other hand, I want you to know that I don't really consider you so much false prophet as a doofus. Real false prophets are either much more effective or a darn sight more subtle.

Have a nice day. Should be an interesting sermon opportunity! Will look forward to the resignation.

Saturday 7 June 2008

Bride of Packenstein

The news is out... David C. Pack, Grand High Poobah of the Restored Church of God, has remarried, less than a year after the death of his first wife, Shirley.

"J" from the Shadows blog observes: All I can say is, that was extremely quick, wasn't it?
Already observers are wondering whether the lucky lady will recapitulate the Ramona Martin epic. If you're old enough you may even remember the PT article octogenarian Herb wrote - salivation in print - celebrating the successful consummation of his marriage vows on the morning after. Ramona's views were unpublished.

The Worldwide News ran a photograph of the happy couple with officiating minister Garner Ted Armstrong - who relented at the last moment despite being opposed to the union. It was probably one of the last father and son shots before Stan pulled the rug out from under Ted.

Ramona of the painted toenails (makeup doctrine? what makeup doctrine?) proceeded, of course, to take Herb to the cleaners. Truly a mother in Israel!

Dave himself confirms the nuptials in an aside in his latest sermon (along with claiming no know more about prophecy than anyone else in history, and suggesting Weinland is demon-influenced!)

Meantime I know all AW readers will join me in sincerely wishing Big Dave all the wedded bliss that his hero Herb enjoyed with Mrs. Martin.

Update: The identity of the new First Lady is revealed in the comments section, and some interesting questions are asked.

Another Tribulation Farce nut-case

Weinland and Hawkins: both spiritual sons of Herb... these guys deserve each other. Can't you just imagine them giving split-sermons in Petra? Baptist blogger Dr. Jim West has a few words to say on the latter today.

Hawkins says June 12? That's Thursday. Ronaldo says (probably) Pentecost? That's Sunday. Could be a tough week...

Thursday 5 June 2008

The Surprising Ted Johnston

Having just listed The Surprising God blog among the top five I'd prefer to avoid, I was sent back there today to check out the following remarkable statement by Ted Johnston.

...the idea of universal reconciliation, which is a key aspect of WCG's Christ-centered, Trinitarian Theology.

OK, I'm surprised.

It's not that the chief honchos in the Tkach group - Mike Feazell take a bow - haven't dropped enough hints, but when did universal reconciliation become more than a favored speculation?

And while we're at it, what is WCG's position now on the form of Universal Reconciliation preached by the late Ernest Martin back in the 1970s? You can check out Ernie's views on this subject here.

Universal Reconciliation is a teaching that goes a very long way back in Christian history, at least as far as Origen. Eventually (and I'm paraphrasing here) all sentient life - human and angelic - will be received back into God's loving embrace - maybe even Satan and his minions. Wikipedia has a useful discussion of the issue.

It's enough to send traditional, humorless, bile-driven Calvinists into a frenzy, though a few obscurantist fringe thinkers of that ilk (like Barth) seemed to have taken it seriously.

The Armstrong-era WCG also toyed with the idea.

Don't get me wrong... I quite like the idea of universal reconciliation. If you're going to proclaim a gospel of grace, and don't want to transform God into a double-predestination monster, then it makes a good deal of sense. Any aggravation it causes fundamentalists is an added bonus!

But, when did it gravitate to the heart of WCG dogma: "a key aspect of WCG's Christ-centered, Trinitarian Theology"?

Or has Ted got it all wrong?

What might Joe Tkach's buddies in the NAE make of this? After all, as the Wiki article states: Evangelicals and related Christian denominations have published extensively against universalism in recent decades, defending the doctrine of perpetual Hell.

Clarification please!

Wednesday 4 June 2008

Meeker's Apology

This is the apology Joel Meeker posted on the UCG Elders' Forum. Wouldn't it be interesting to know if he sent a private apology to Aaron Dean?

From Joel Meeker, Milford OH

I must apologize for my EF post of Wednesday last week. In my message I put the reputation of the organization before the honor of God, when I know that God owns the world and "those who dwell therein" as David said in Psalm 24. I allowed my feelings and communication to be harsh, when in reality I do have confidence that He will “complete a good work” in us as Paul said to the Philippians. His honor is always more important than our organizational concerns of the moment, and I trust He will accomplish what we cannot seem to do ourselves.

I want to apologize to the elders who submitted their ballots in all honesty, knowing that I don't have insight into the prayer, fasting, and sincerity with which you fulfilled your privilege at the GCE.

I want to apologize for posting a negative judgment of "another man's servant." I am reminded in the cool of the day that God tells us not to do so. He reserves the right to judge His servants according to His perfect justice and in His time.

As apologies go I suppose it does the job, but it's hardly fulsome is it? In fact, it almost seems to be what in this neck of the woods (Australia/New Zealand) might even be termed a "Clayton's" apology. It's certainly extremely "preachy."

Special thanks to the sender.

For the Record

I've learned that Joel Meeker has issued an apology to the Elders' Forum for his ill-tempered posting attacking Aaron Dean and the General Council of Elders. The person sending the information notes that reporting this would be "a fair follow-up."

Agreed. Anyone got a copy that they can forward on?

Monday 2 June 2008

Five Blogs I've Never Read and Never Will

It's one of those 'tag' games that race through the blogging community like influenza. It started with the rather precious challenge to list five blogs that make you think. Dr. Jim West, the biblioblogging Baptist bulldog, pulled it inside-out and relaunched it as five blogs to never read, and having tagged the Most Reverend Dr. N. T. Wrong, the good bishop then saw fit to pass his blessing on.

The task is a difficult one given the wording. Obviously I have seen (if not read in any depth) each of the monstrosities listed below, otherwise how else to know the deep things of Shaitan? In any case, it's a 60/40 split between non-COG and COG contenders --- interestingly Bishop Wrong chose to list one of David Ben-Ariel's on his list of horrors, a deserving choice. Anyway, here's mine.

1. The Watchmen: Christian and Patriotic Views from Ulster. I somehow don't think this fellow means patriotism in the Beatles sense of "Give Ireland back to the Irish," and I doubt he's a Guinness drinker either. And who the heck is this Spurgeon guy?

2. The Blog of Concord. Bad art and obscure monologues currently featuring the Smalcald Articles, ick!

3. A Painting that Preaches Christ. The spurting blood, the devilish misuse of Bach, the sheer unrelieved kitsch of it all... liebe Gott!

4. Against the Hirelings. Tom Mahon's blog... (no sign of a promised portrait.)

5. The Surprising God. Largely the work of the not-so-surprising Ted Johnston.

So, now to pass on the meme: Gary Scott and Felix Taylor, both of whom have fine, thoughtful blogs, consider yourselves tagged ;-)

Ronnie's End Game

One of the more bizarre aspects of Weinland's End Game is the calling down from heaven of the wrath of his god on those who oppose him: the skeptics, scoffers and naysayers (i.e. anyone with a modicum of common sense.) Here's what Ronnie said just last Sabbath.

"If what I say weren't to come pass and I was a false prophet -- What a blessing that would be.... some of you yo-yos who like to attack and distort and twist things... And by the way I want to mention that your progression of I said would start on you is already progressing more and some of you already know it. I know of one individual specifically here not too long ago -- a little worried about their health. There are several of you out there that should be worried about your health. You think it's just coincidence??? Amazing." (Quoted on Don't Drink the Flavor Aid)

What he said at the start was that he'd call down cancer on those who mocked. Amazing indeed!

This man is a Christian? This is a man who brims over with the fruit of the spirit? This man is God's chosen servant, a minister of Jesus Christ, the leader of the Two Witnesses?

Yeah, right!

It was Bill Ferguson, the Ekklesia webmaster, who beat me to the logical inference from all this. Ronnie is a witch doctor. Bill has updated the beanie portrait to illustrate this fine, godly characteristic... very apt.

You've got to wonder though: is the guy fully compos mentis? Can his sheer nastiness be explained as a congenital character defect, or has the strain simply taken its toll on his mental health? I can only see two options: either he's a delusional sociopath in need of institutionalizing, or a calculating, tithe-farming Elmer Gantry. Initially I tended to the latter view, but now I'm not so sure...

And what does it say about those who still follow him? How could you sit through this sort of thing - as part of your Sabbath worship - and still pretend to be a begotten child of God?

Meantime "J", the author of the Shadows blog, says it best: Ronald, keep your word.

That is, if he's capable of it, and the men in white coats aren't needed first. Now there's a health issue to be concerned about.