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Is Herbert Armstrong Divided?
You Bet He Is.
By: The Watcher
"Is Christ divided? Of course not! But, people ask: 'How can all those different churches be wrong?' But how can they all be right!"
Worldwide old timers will remember this argument all too well. It seemed to be so unanswerable and it was one of Herbert's favorites. He endlessly repeated it with all the boring, compulsive arrogance of the insecure, arrogant, intolerant, ignorant, little hick he truly always was. (And doesn't your heart warm, dear reader, to think how much the thin-skinned little old fart would have HATED to be described in those words and to have his precious dignity stripped away from him?).
To this day, the same argument is being trotted out by the Last Stand, Old Guard of Herbert's True Believers, soon probably to be more extinct than the dodo. But it still means a lot to them, just as once it was awfully convincing to most of us, wasn't it?
In fact, there are a lot of answers to that simplistic argument. And unlike the convoluted maze-like meanderings of Herman Hoeh, the answers are simple enough to understand too.
Remember, dear readers, you are on the Internet and this is Ed's Painful Truth web site. You don't have to sit straight in your hard backed folding chair in some anonymous, cheerless hall and passively swallow all the lies, the screaming, the bullying and the pompous self-regard of all those jumped-up little Hitlers any more. We give you the weapons and the arguments to STRIKE BACK.
1) The churches that follow Christ may be divided, but that doesn't mean His followers are. There is a little something called the ecumenical movement. Something Herbert sneered at for decades.
2) And even before that 20th century wonder, there is the simple fact of the nature of every individual's private faith and belief. Differences in sincere understanding are no excuse for the kind of intolerance that has, in fact, blighted Christian history for a millennium and a half, and which Orthodox and Protestants have indulged in as gleefully as Catholics. So, religious intolerance doesn't respect denominational boundaries. But neither does love and tolerance. There are a lot more broadminded, goodhearted Christians ready to bust their asses to help anyone in the Catholic Church and the mainstream Protestant denominations than you will ever find among the ranks of Herbert's followers. The Watcher speaks with the confidence of 25 years experience on both sides of those fences.
3) The different churches may well be divided in their various creeds and sincere differences in understanding the teachings of the New Testament. But, if God is Up There, He will be judging each individual believer by their sincerity and compliance with the Biblical moral teachings to the best of the individual's ability. Even Worldwide ministers have admitted that the scores of thousands of examples of (apparently) answered prayers on record can be explained that way. In that case, when Worldwide believers get their own prayers answered, they should consider that this DOESN'T mean God is giving them a blank check to condemn all Christians who don't follow Herbert to damnation. It means that, although they are still trapped in the false prophecies and deceptions of Herbert, God is still showing mercy, even to them.
4) Can Christ be divided? Actually yes. People perceive the truth in different ways. Honest differences in interpretation abound. In such cases, when the basic faith of Christianity and its moral rules are being honored, who dares to cast the first stone. After all, its those who judge who are the ones who are going to be judged, the Bible says. Now, where does that leave herbert and his joyously intolerant senior ministers?
5) Was Christ divided in fact? Again, actually yes. Professor Eileen Pagels, author of the classic study "Adam, Eve and the Serpent" about the first three centuries of Christian belief and practice (No "Silent Century" like Herbert claimed, you see) writes how she, like so many of us, longed and looked forward to discovering "THE ONE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED". Instead, she writes, she discovered to her astonishment that Christians were going at it hammer and tongs, not in mutual hatred but in mutual zeal and sincere disagreement from the very beginning. The basic unity and broad consensus that was forged at the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church in the beginning of the fourth century was in large part created to try and end the bewildering chaos of conflicting and competing beliefs within Christian belief that had abounded to that time. In other words, the very time when Herbert claimed there WAS a single "one true church" was, in reality, a world very similar to the American fundamentalist Protestantism of today, of wildly varying, zealous but fiercely competing groups, interpretations, arguments and sects within the Christian mainstream.
6) Even if ALL those churches ARE wrong, WHY does THAT make Herbert RIGHT? Answer, of course, is, it DOESN'T. In fact, one thing we CAN assert with confidence. However wrong ALL those other churches might be, from the Catholic Church on down, HERBERT IS WRONGER. Herbert, remember, was a documented false prophet hundreds of times over, repeatedly condemned by the testimony of his own mouth. His own writings perfectly fitted Jesus' warnings against following the false shepherds who inwardly were as ravening wolves who would strip the innocent flock of every possession they had. He taught an endless number of bizarre doctrines for which there is no justification whatsoever in the Bible. These included: banning all use of doctors (except for himself).He put a ban on all touching during dating (which didn't apply, of course, when he was raping his own daughter). He broke up hundreds if not thousands of marriages if either partner had been married and divorced before - a burden that the Catholic Church Herbert so hated NEVER came up with.
7) And here, dear readers, is the punch line. Was HERBERT divided? He was! And he gets more divided every day. The shrinking corpse of his church, the "body" that Herbert "built" splits almost by the day as we watch with a combination of amusement, schadenfreude and, it must be said bewilderment. Now, why should this be? Because, dear reader, Herbert was ALWAYS divided himself. His teachings were never consistent or permanent. He changed them as it suited him on the spur of the moment, or to suit whatever his crackpot whim of the day was. Thus, the Herbert of 1939 screamed that any attempt to make him conform to the teachings of the local Church of God which ordained him was a monstrous infringement of civil and religious liberty equal to the fascist tyranny of Mussolini. (He didn't mention Hitler A) because he really believed Mussolini would conquer Hitler and B) because he admired Hitler and repeatedly reread Mein Kampf for advice on how to fool his own followers). But the Herbert of 1947 onwards inflicted on his followers and ministers a rigid conformity of brutal harshness far beyond anything the amateurs of the old Seventh Day Church of God groups had ever imagined. Then, after Jesus failed to show up at the time Herbert had appointed for him in 1972 or 1975, Herbert entered his next phase of international respectability. The maniacal false prophecy predictions of the quarter century from 1947 to 1972 and their screaming hostility against the governments of the world were suddenly shelved as Herbert trotted the globe feeding his fat ego by meeting the rich and powerful. He never realized that they only saw him because Stanley Rader was buying diplomats by the bushel to actually come and be bored stiff through Herbert's bizarre presentations. So, in conclusion, what did this DIVIDED Herbert lead to? Why, it lead to a differentiation of market product, of course. The sons of Herbert are out there trying to develop a different Herbert to satisfy every taste, provided, of course, that you want to drink stupidity, lies and poison in the first place.
There is Roderick Meredith, offering you the spiritual drunkenness of "Classic Herbert." And if that spiritual brew isn't strong enough for you, and you crave even more madness, you can go and get hooked on the Malachi Message of Gerald Flurry, who teaches that Herbert's writings are on a par with the Bible. That's "Herbert Double Strength" all right. Then there is the United Churches of God, which David Hulme founded before they kicked him out, which is Herbert without the more manic or embarrassing parts. That's "Herbert Lite". Meanwhile, "Little" Joe Tkach Jr. Soldiers on with the original Worldwide label which now has little from the original beyond its brand name. This is the brew of "New Herbert". There is the microbrewery of William Dankenbring's "Home-Brewed Herbert." And there is even ludicrous Garner Ted Armstrong out there, with all his father's sexual sleaze, arrogance and crazed penchant for mad false prophecies still trying to sell his "Herbert Cola."
Is Herbert Divided? You Bet!
And can they ALL be wrong? You can count on it!
PART 2: THE BABEL EFFECT
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