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Herbert W. Armstrong

Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986) was the founder of the Worldwide Church of God and Ambassador College. He built the church from a small base to over 140,000 at his death in 1986. Terms generally used to refer to him and his church include "eccentric" and "controversial," and it was widely regarded as a cult.

Although Armstrong considered himself God's emissary on Earth, and preached a fundamentalist system of moral values, there are persistent allegations that his own behavior did not live up to those values. Most notably, he has been accused of incest with his underage daughter, as well as many other lesser sins. Some followers believe he repented of this, in much the same way as David did, of equal gross sins, and that the fruits of his subsequent life show that.

Under Armstrong, the Worldwide Church of God operated a highly successful PR campaign. Amongst other activities, the church published a magazine, The Plain Truth, and ran a radio station.

Table of contents

Beliefs

The gospel that Herbert W. Armstrong preached, sometimes described as "Armstrongism", was very different than mainstream Christianity stating that the gospel was that the Kingdom of God[?] was coming to the Earth, and that Jesus Christ was to be coming back as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Armstrong's beliefs were a prominent example of British Israelism. He believed that the United States, British Commonwealth and much of the Northwestern European Nations were descended from the Lost Ten Tribes (see Israelites, or the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel).

As well as British Israelism, his doctrines included:

  1. The return of Jesus Christ would occur sometime soon
  2. We are living in the last days
  3. The Sabbath was a commandment that was not done away with
  4. That eternal life was God's gift and works did not save anyone but the works one did show the faith they had.
  5. The Holy Days were also still in effect including the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
  6. That not all who call themselves Christians are saved.
  7. That those not saved, or not called have a resurrection to judgement and will finally learn of Jesus Christ and all who ever lived will come to have the opportunity to know God.
  8. The reward of the saved was not Heaven, but the Kingdom of Heaven with the Government of God being set up on the Earth, for the first time since Satan's rebellion, during the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ on the Earth over those who survive great tribulation.
  9. That those called in this life would receive salvation at the return of Jesus Christ and reign with him 1000 years as kings and priests with Jesus Christ as our elder brother.
  10. After the 1000 years, the Great White Throne Judgement period would occur in which all of mankind who ever lived would appear before the judgement seat of God and would have the opportuity to learn God's way and do his will for the first time ever. This would happen after Satan the Devil is cast into the Lake of Fire so he would decieve the people no more.
  11. The kingdom of God would be handed by Jesus Christ to God the Father
  12. All who rejected God would be destroyed in the Lake of Fire and not burn and be tormented forever and ever, that was Satan's punishment.
  13. That the Godhead was a Family made up of two personages, with the Father, whom Jesus revealed and the Son.
  14. That the Holy Spirit was not a third Person of the Godhead, however, it was the power that eminated from God the Father and Jesus Christ that can be in mankind making us one with them.
  15. That Jesus Christ pre-existed before he was in the flesh as the Word and known to all as the God of the Old Testament.

Allegations of wrongdoing

Most notably, Armstrong has been accused of the child sex abuse[?] of his daughter.

He has also been accused of many other lesser sins.

He has been accused of plagiarism in his book The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, by drawing on J. H. Allen[?]'s book Judas' Scepter and Joseph's Birthright.

To do:

  • allegations of various forms of impropriety, including incest and alcoholism
  • his son Garner Ted Armstrong[?]
  • the splits and multiple successor churches

Revision of WCG beliefs

After Armstrong's death, the WCG renounced many of Armstrong's beliefs, and now considers itself part of mainstream Christianity. The administration has tried to present itself as evangelical, but mainstream evangelicals are not accepting this. They are part of a liberal movement among evangelicals, viewed by some as to the left.

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