Monday, September 8, 2014

The Apocalyptic Views of Armstrongism

The Late Great Planet Earth had its apocalyptic predecessors, but with a big-name evangelical publisher behind the book, its breezy novel-like writing style, and the instability of world events, American Christians were ready for an end-time scenario that would offer some hopeful sign of what the future might bring for them before 1988.

Herbert W. Armstrong’s 1975 in Prophecy!, written in 1956 and illustrated by Basil Wolverton, who also did work for MAD Magazine, is almost indistinguishable from Lindsey’s foray into prophetic sensationalism. Monte Wolverton offers this brief perspective on the apocalyptic views of Armstrong, the Worldwide Church of God, and his late father:

Armstrong thought he had discovered the heretofore lost key to all biblical prophecy, and that the Tribulation spoken of in the book of Revelation would shortly fall on the United States and the nations of the British Commonwealth. Not unlike many evangelical preachers of the early 1930’s, Armstrong adopted a dispensationalist paradigm, with a pre-millennialist, literal interpretation of the apocalyptic sections of scripture — albeit with his own particular spin. The Bible, he taught, predicted imminent worldwide calamities, followed by the return of Christ and a happy Millennium, followed by the destruction of the wicked, followed by the advent of new heavens and earth. . . . As Armstrong’s following grew, so did the threat of a second world war. He believed this was it—the Beast, the Antichrist, and the whole end-time enchilada. Armstrong, of course, was wrong — and this would not be the last time.[5]

Similar to Armstrong, who miscalculated the timing of the “Great Tribulation,” Lindsey was wrong about his prediction that a “rapture of the church” would occur 40 years after the 1948 founding of the modern state of Israel with a near certain claim that the end would take place by the year 2000.[6] Unlike the Worldwide Church of God which abandoned its end-time speculative theology, Lindsey is as convinced as ever that the rapture is just around the corner. Even after most of his predictions did not come to pass as they were outlined in The Late Great Planet Earth, this has not stopped him from creating his own prophecy empire that includes books, articles, CDs, DVDs, and a weekly prophecy update.

Read more at:  Is It Time For Doomsday or for Building A City on a Hill? 


Black Ops Mikey said...

Which is which?

Mad Magazine or 1975 in Prophecy.

The first one's funnier.

Byker Bob said...

We had our own apocalypse last night! Who Knew? At about ten last evening, I was outside, gazing at the nearly full moon. By the time I went back into the house, clouds had obscured the moon. At about two in the AM, I was awakened by some noise which I had correctly guessed was my cat. The arrival of the rains had spooked him. We got 3" between 2:00 and 8:00. The back yard was completely flooded, and I'm nowhere even near a flood plain! The rain stopped just short of reaching the bottom of the sliding glass door at the back of the house. Blessing!

Obviously, the first thing one normally would do in such situations is to turn on the tube, and it was no surprise that the news teams were at various places close to my neighborhood, like freeway underpasses, and normally dry riverbeds, documenting the horrendous flood waters, cars stuck and floating away, and general mayhem! The schools were annonced as being closed, and in the afternoon when I went to my P.O. box, the parking lot was so badly flooded that you could have gone canoeing or kayaking in it.

From what I've seen on TV, some folks to the south of us have suffered major damages to their homes and their cars. News media has billed this as the storm of the century. One bright spot, though. Fortunately, I didn't see Powerhouse Pepper, Lena the Hyena, or any of Basil Wolverton's apocalyptic or Spokesman's Club characters wandering about! That would have been more terrifying than the storm!


Connie Schmidt said...

I printed off the apocalypse picture on the post , and did a "MAD FOLD IN" of it and IT WORKED! ... REALLY! ;-)

Allen C. Dexter said...

That sounds like what happened in Phoenix last night. Is that where you live, BB?

Byker Bob said...

You guessed it, Al! Just got in from a nice night ride up and down one of our normally dry rivers, as a matter of fact. The water is really flowing! I love the awesome power of cascading water. Met some nice people also on their bicycles, out and enjoying the phenomenon, under a full moon, no less.


Allen C. Dexter said...

Here's what I wrote about that on Facebook:

Weather is such a fickle thing. We were expecting great torrents of rain and only got .40 inches overnight and without a single roll of thunder. At the same time, much of Phoenix nearly floated away in the heaviest rainfall ever recorded. Over six inches fell in Chandler, more than they got in all of last year. The airport, just south and a little east of where we lived before moving up here,... got 3.29 inches, and the I-10 freeway just a couple miles from where I first lived was an impassable lake for much of the day and filled with stranded cars.

As for myself, I have no doubts about climate change. Only blind corporate bigwigs who are trying to keep from altering their earth raping policies can claim that climate isn't really changing due to what they are doing. Much the same thing is happening on the other side of the country, and I know from the long life I've lived that it just wasn't like that a few short decades ago.

I feel so sorry for those home and business owners down in Phoenix who didn't bother with flood insurance because they were not, they firmly believed, in a flood prone area. And, they weren't. No one could have dreamed a disaster like this was possible, for some of them, twice in less than a month.

It's like the earth has declared war, but not really. It's just straining to strike a new balance.

Anonymous said...

Brings back memories of one of those "100 year floods" I encountered some years ago.
Some friends and I swam in what was a street a few days before. Such events do seem to give a boost of mental adrenaline. It gave us pause when a we saw a rat swim across our path.

Looking back on the event, I see too much excitement and "YAY FOR OUR BLESSINGS!" (since the waters didn't get into our home), and too little immediate response in helping others, and going swimming instead.
I suppose it was somewhat expected since we were just kids then.
Now, I realize how "f'd-up" it was to think that "God floods others' homes and spares ours because He protects us more" - and that it was totally spiritual elitism to think such a thing.

Byker Bob said...

As go emergencies, rain and flooding are a little different, Anonymous. I found myself watching our own neighborhood all day Monday. It was a very real possibility that the waters could have crested and gotten in my or some of the neighbors' back doors any time during the day, and I had already soaked some towels with what tried to get in the side windows.

But, still, I'm happy for you that our weather problems gave you an opportunity to critcize anyone who might have felt sincere gratitude at being spared, even as we feel sympathy and compassion for whoever did suffer damage. Hope it made you feel better. Your attitude is so heartwarming!


Byker Bob said...

For those interested, a disaster like this isn't like one of those antiquated Feast of Tabernacles things, where people (aided and abetted by the ministry) are sitting in their big tent, gloating over the fact that a hurricane seems to have been diverted to heap more pain and suffering on some bare subsistence sugar cane farmers living on a communist island, one that doesn't recognize or "keep the sabbath".

If you ever find yourself in the middle of a natural disaster, a lot of very human thoughts are going through your head. Whether or not you personally will suffer any loss or damage is hanging in the balance, an unknown as events unfold. You might be looking at your cat, the tiling which not only has intrinsic, but also sentimental value because you and your son carefully and painstakingly laid it throughout your house, the modern style furniture you love and collect, and the plants and landscaping in the yard which you have done over the years, and you realize that at that point in time, all is at risk. That is your own little microcosm. You are also thinking about the plight of your neighbors, whose lives you observe on a day to day basis. And people living near known flood planes, some already impoverished and in "at risk" neighborhoods.

In the aftermath, when the outcome has become more apparent, there is no gloating over the absence of, or minimal damage your own neighborhood may have suffered. The TV screens are filled with images of people who have lost everything, are wading in knee deep water, hot, sticky, no dry place to even rest, the power still out. The elderly retiree who is barely getting by on Social Security, and whose home has just suffered an estimated $80,000 in uninsured damage. The people living on lower ground whose neighborhood (from helicopter perspective) now resembles New Orleans or the Jersey shore following their hurricanes. It is sobering to realize that some have even lost their lives.

The gloating and chauvinism of WCG was a coached or carefully nurtured artificial phenomenon. A much more natural and prevalent emotion is survivor's guilt, or survivor's remorse. WCG philosophy was divisive, and actually removed people from their sense of family and community, in some cases, causing permanent psychological damage. One of the cities most affected and most damaged by the flooding here is known as the population center of Mormon (Christian) people. Also, one of the local mega-churches in one of the valley cities suffered heavy damage. Many people in that neighborhood were seen assisting in the cleanup, and they were not even members of that church or the particular faith involved. These were the faces we saw. If any Christians were gloating, it did not make the news.

No matter what we all believe, no matter how strong our opinions, this, and other occasional damaging events defy all of the mental stereotyping which most of us tend to carry around.


Anonymous said...

About a month ago I was reading my local newspaper and discovered that a severe rainstorm had dumped a huge amount of rain on what was my old stomping grounds.

Thirteen inches of rain fell overnight there, with more than 5 inches in one hour!

Was it a blessing and the Hand of God that prompted me to move away from there so God could give me protection from that awful storm? I don't know!

Anonymous said...

Anon. It doesn't matter! It was nice, and u r safe, and you did not get bitten by a female anopheles mosquito! If you are thankful about it all, why should any of us put you down?

Allen C. Dexter said...

Anonymous (whoever you are) you made a decision for whatever reason you made it and it worked out for your best. That's all it was. No God had a damn thing to do with it.