The Growth and Influence of the Worldwide Church of GodThe Worldwide Church of God began in 1934 as a very small and insignificant work, but since then it has mushroomed in size, power , wealth and outreach, until now millions weekly are being influenced by it's message. This rapid growth can be attributed to several factors. First, its presses turn out a tremendous volume of attractive, yet free books and pamphlets. The monthly Plain Truth magazine has a circulation of over three million. Second, the growth of this group is stimulated by three colleges, which have first-class facilities. And third, this cult has reached millions through the effective use of both radio and television.
As this cult has been growing in size, it has been multiplying its influence. any person or cult which claims the Bible as the highest authority, as does Armstrongism, will make inroads into the true Church of Jesus Christ. Most cults thrive on those they convert out of Christian churches, whether they be liberal or conservative in theology. The immature and carnal are most easily drawn away by the new and devious "winds of doctrine" (Eph. 4:14. However, even believers who have some knowledge of the truth can be affected, since it is not simply ideas of men that are being propagated, but rather perversions of doctrine that finds its source in the Wicked One and his followers (I Tim 4:1)
Armstrongism follows the course of every other cult. It too claims loyalty to God and His Word with the result that it takes both people and money away from the valid work of God. It also brings confusion into the church as it mixes some truth with great portions of error.
This rapid growth and influence of the Worldwide Church of God makes imperative a detailed study of it. With the increasing number of cults, splinter groups and religious organizations,it is impossible for any individual to carefully research all these various groups and still carry on his regular occupation. Since very little study has been devoted to this rapidly growing cult, this book hopefully will help meet a need in the realm of apologetics. To effectively combat error, the error itself must be known and understood.
The Purpose of the Study
The general aim of this study is to analyze and present the system of teachings known as the Worldwide Church of God, or better known by the name of its founder, Herbert W Armstrong.
The first and primary purpose of this study will be to give a systematic presentation of the doctrines of Armstrongism. The emphasis will naturally fall upon the major areas of doctrinal deviation, rather than on areas where a position is taken close to the orthodox one.
The second aim of this book will be to present the orthodox, biblical position on those major areas of erroneous teachings found in Armstrongism. It is not enough to simply declare its views heretical, but it is also necessary to present the scriptural position based on solid exegesis and sound hermeneutics.
This study will briefly analyze the hermeneutics of this movement, as a third purpose. It will attempt to discover what guidelines were used in arriving at its interpretations.Fourth, another goal is to is to look at the origins of this group in order to see what religious thought and groups influenced the theology of the Worldwide Church of God. All cults claim to have come into existence directly at an impulse from God, either through revelation or illumination. It will, therefore, be one purpose to discover how this cult and its teachings came into existence.It is not our purpose to attack individual personalities or damage the character of any. Since this movement is so closely tied to its leading personalities, it will be necessary to make reference to them, but the intention is that of analyzing doctrines not personalities.
The Influence of Seventh-day Adventism
It is noted previously that Herbert Armstrong was affiliated for several years with the Church of God (Seventh-day), which is an offshoot of Seventh-day Adventism. The influence of Adventism is readily apparent by comparing quotations from Armstrong's writings and those of Adventist writers, and Mr. Armstrong himself admits studying much of their literature.
(below is a list of SDA teachings that HWA borrowed. In the book the heading below is followed by HWA teaching on the subject))