Saturday, February 2, 2019

Former Church of God (Seventh Day) president discusses Church of God history and Herbert Armstrong

Robert Coulter

"...Mr. Armstrong and the CG7
Mr. Coulter talked extensively about Worldwide Church of God founder Herbert W. Armstrong and Mr. Armstrong's relationship with the CG7.
He referred to Mr. Armstrong's statements that, although he was ordained in the CG7, he was not a member of the CG7.
"It is kind of unusual to claim to be a minister of the church in which you are not a member," Mr. Coulter said.
Mr. Coulter proceeded to mention points of what he considered evidence that Mr. Armstrong was indeed a member of the CG7.
In Mr. Armstrong's autobiography, he noted, Mr. Armstrong wrote that he was ordained to the ministry in the CG7 by the authority of the Oregon State Conference.
In that same book, Mr. Armstrong reproduces a picture of the second certificate of his ministerial license.
Nothing but the truth
"Now he makes this statement," Mr. Coulter said of Mr. Armstrong: "I was ordained by, and under the authority of, the Oregon Conference of the Church of God, separately incorporated; not by the Stanberry, Mo., headquarters.'
"As far as that goes," continued Mr. Coulter, "that's true, but it doesn't tell the whole truth."
In his autobiography, Mr. Armstrong wrote: "I had never joined the church whose headquarters were at Stanberry, Mo."
Mr. Coulter sees two possibilities to explain puzzling statements by Mr. Armstrong about his CG7 membership or lack of it.
"Mr. Armstrong showed a pretty serious lack of understanding of our polity, of our organizational policies of the Church of God (Seventh Day). He did not seem to understand. It might be that he didn't realize that the Oregon State Conference operated under the auspices of the Stanberry."
"The other possibility is that he didn't want to admit being a member of a church that he came to hold in contempt."
Mr. Coulter emphasized that he believes Mr. Armstrong held the CG7 "in a certain derision or contempt ... He certainly was not willing to admit to having had much of a relationship to it."
Sometime between Mr. Armstrong's conversion in 1927 and his baptism, "he would have had to accept membership in a congregation of the Church of God (Seventh Day) because when you become a member of our church you become a member of the conference. You do not join [only] a state conference. You do not join the general conference directly."
Even a person who was considered to be an "isolated member" would still technically have to be an official member of some local congregation, Mr. Coulter said.
"When Mr. Armstrong received a ministerial license from the Oregon State Conference, he was receiving it by the authority of the general conference, because the Oregon State Conference, even though it was incorporated locally, was actually authorized and operated under the auspices of the conference whose headquarters at the time was Stanberry, Mo.
"So either he was ignorant of that or did not want to admit it. That's the only explanation I have for that."
Severed all ties?
Although Mr. Armstrong "gives the impression" in his autobiography that by 1933 he had severed all ties with the CG7, "here is something that I don't think is revealed," Mr. Coulter began.
He said Mr. Armstrong was a close associate of Andrew N. Dugger and that Mr. Armstrong looked upon Mr. Dugger as a mentor.
In 1933 Mr. Dugger "led a rebellion in the Church of God (Seventh Day)" after failing to gain office during a conference of August 1933. "On Nov. 4, 1933, Andrew Dugger and several colleagues organized a separate conference at Salem, W.Va., to compete with the conference at Stanberry, Mo., which was the original one organized in 1884."
Mr. Dugger and friends tried to create the illusion that the new Salem headquarters was the legitimate successor to the original organizers of the CG7, Mr. Coulter said.
"As evidence, [Mr. Dugger] used the name General Conference of the Church of God, and he issued a volume of the magazine that carried the same volume and number as the magazine that was published in Stanberry, Mo."
Set apart
The new Salem conference could boast of several "unique features" that set it apart from the Stanberry conference, Mr. Coulter said, "and this is where Herbert Armstrong comes into play here."
Salem organized around a structure that Mr. Dugger called "Bible or scriptural organization." This terminology referred to a board of 12 men whose objective was to oversee the spiritual life of the church.
The Salem-based folks elected a board of seven men to conduct the business of the church.
They identified 70 elders, ministers or evangelists "who would go out to carry out the gospel endeavors of the Church of God (Seventh Day)."
They stated that the church's world headquarters was to be in Jerusalem.
They decided to "appropriate apostolic succession for its authority to govern in this manner and to function as it was supposed to function...."
"...Clean and unclean
Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Coulter continued, did not receive his credential immediately because "there were some ministers in the Salem organization who needed to have him clarify his position on the clean and unclean foods."
When Mr. Armstrong replied that he believed in abstaining from unclean meats for health reasons but not because he believed eating unclean meats was a sin, the conference issued his credential.'''"


Byker Bob said...

HWA’s deceptive activities (as outlined above) became a pattern for the later splinter groups, as each “leader” attempted to reinvent themselves and credential themselves convincingly soas to steal their own followings.


Anonymous said...

Looks to me whether it is HWA, Mr. Dugger, Thiel, Pack, Flurry or any church leader, the problem is "I want to be in charge." If I am chosen or appointed leader I stay, if you don't accept me as fearless leader I will start my own group with me as numero uno.

Tonto said...

Herbert Armstrong had a selective memory on many topics. The autobiography was revised over the years, and reedited after his death as well.

It is interesting to note the differences, as was originally published in the PT Magazine in serial form.

In the original PT edition, it says about 1931...

"But I do remember the ordination itself. It was one of those once in a lifetime experiences, like being married and being baptized. Only this seemed to me to the the most momentous event of my entire life.

Non only the MINISTERS (emphasis mine) present, but all the brethren - as many as could get their hands through to my head- laid their hands on me- on my head, shoulders , my chest and my back"

He then goes on to say that he was ordained by the Oregon Conference as a separately incorporated body, and not by Stanberry.

HWA later in life would omit the fact that there were ministers who ordained him at the event. However, these ministers WERE ordained ministers of the Stanberry group!

I believe that HWA wanted it to appear that he had no provenance or history with a church group, and just appeared as a chosen one by fiat, and not by the hand of men. Sort of like Jesus.

He never truly acknowledged that the core truths of Sabbath, Clean/Unclean, Soul Sleep and more , came from the Church of God Seventh Day, but through his own research. This is rubbish!

HWA wanted to lay claim to "discovering" the 7 annual Holy Days. This is nonsense too. John KIesz a minister friend of HWA in the COG7 was keeping the Holy Days before HWA, as were ministers GG Ruppert, and C.O. Dodd as well.

HWA ideas were seldom original, and even the US and BC concept was plagiarized by him as well.

Until his death, HWA in nearly all of his rambling sermons, was still holding a grudge against what he termed "The Sardis Church" and was quite mean about it.

Here was a guy, not even 4 years in the faith, and just 35 years old when he showed up, already trying to be the guy who calls the shots, judging the brethren of the COG 7 as "hicks, farmers and plain people" and not wanting to have any guidance or direction from experienced , decades in the faith ministers. So much for HWA submitting to "church government".

Well , even HWA used to say "Judge by the Fruits" . Fast Forward to 2019...

COG 7 Day, 200,000 members and growing rapidly, WCG - Non existent COG Splinters Combined - 25K en toto on a good day.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Well written analysis Tonto!

Interesting that Herbert Armstrong rebelled against the government of God in the true Church which HWA later in life admitted that CG7D was also God's church albeit Sardis era.

I never understood how HWA could be a credentialed minister of the Oregon Conference and yet he claimed not to ever be a member of CG7D. It made about as much sense to me as him being baptized by a Baptist minister not of the "True Church" line.

The dead Sardis era Church of God Seventh Day doesn't look dead to me. The only dead Church I see is the Worldwide Church of God and its harlot daughters the splintered Armstrong Churches of God. Karma! What goes around comes around.

Of course, this observation kicks the door open for any HWA wannabee preaching successive Church eras to proclaim the WCG/ACOGs to be a continuation of the Sardis era despite HWA's denial of association, and that his work is the one true Philadelphia era.


Anonymous said...

What catches my eye is HWAs statement that unclean meats should be abstained for health reason, but is not a sin. This is typical Pharisaic nonsense. Sin by definition is that which harms or destroys. Sin and morality has been divorced from reality. No wonder that there is so much moral confusion in Herbs churches. This robs members of moral confidence and boosts minister power.

Byker Bob said...

Of the current 200,000 COG-7 members, I wonder how many are actually former WCG members. That would be an interesting study in and of itself.

When the Tkach corrections hit, so many members dove for cover. Some of the divers were doctrinal-refugees, and others were looking for assylum from the dictators. COG-7 would have provided sanctuary for both, and on a scale of 1 to 7, logic would dictate that it would be better to go Sardis than Lao (I myself don’t believe in church eras!) One can’t imagine that any Hitlerian WCG ministers would attempt to be recredentialed as COG-7 ministers. They would simply not fit in, and would lose much of their status while taking a pay cut.


Anonymous said...

hmm, i wonder if 10 years from now we will still be talking about armstrongism...

hmmm, i wonder if 10 years from now anyone will even remember anybody from this blog...

Anonymous said...

LOFCOG, please consider that Christians are told that the Jews hold the oracles. It doesn't make sense, then, that they would be mistaken about the year we are in. On the Jewish calendar, we are in year 5779. That means that if there's a 6000-year plan beginning with Adam, we have 221 more years to go. If God pressed the re-set button and started again at the Flood, we may have as many as 1650 years beyond that. If you believe in church eras, these longer time-frames make much more sense than the HWA version which originally squeezed the final two eras into fewer than 70 years.

Anonymous said...

COG 7 Day, 200,000 members and growing rapidly

In the USA, most of COG7's growth is coming from former WCG/splinter people, whose presence is generally very disruptive to the church. Where COG7 is thriving is among Central American people exiting other Protestant sects.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:19 I most certainly thought it would all be a faint memory by this point in time when I first became involved in Armstrong internet discussions in 2002. I can clearly remember the names or screen names of those with whom we had discussions back then, and in the time which has passed since. There has been considerable information shared over the years on the internet, information that has been nothing less than soul-restoring. We also had fun and some lasting friendships were initiated.

So, yes, so long as there is any form of Armstrongism left, there will be critique and discussion which is directly proportional to the size and scope of the Armstrong remnant. When Armstrongism no longer exists, there will most likely be discussion amongst the old internet friends which have been built, only we will be discussing other topics. At the very least there will be email exchanges.

Anonymous said...

so long as there is any form of Armstrongism left, there will be critique and discussion which is directly proportional to the size and scope of the Armstrong remnant.

With that in mind, would anyone here enjoy participating in a poll?

Which LCG HQ Ministers Have The Biggest Egos?

Tonto said...

ANON AT 1:23--

Very few people from Armstongist Churches have found their way to the COG 7th Day in the USA. It is true that they tend to be "bad church citizens" and most do not last very long. The culture of the COG7th Day is too mellow, cooperative and loving for former WCG adherents.

I can only think of a couple of former WCG ministers who have gone to COG 7, and finding a home. One was named (spelling incorrect) as I recall Richard Whitenfeld or something like that.

The US church growth in the COG7 has come primarily from hispanic immigration. Many of the USA COG7 churches are spanish speaking. The COG 7 can claim some 40,000 members in Mexico alone.

Anonymous said...

1.19 AM
The average age in some of the splinters is mid 70s. So 10 years from now, members will be dying off like flies. Within 20 years, most members will be dead.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, just skimmed the article and comments looking for CITATIONS to where Coulter's remarks and other data be found, i.e. original sources. Did I miss something? This is critical if you want to actually convince anyone who isn't already convinced.

NO2HWA said...

4:58 It was from a closed FB page for Radio/WCG Alumni, but a quick word search takes you to The Journal as the source.

Hoss said...

10 years from now

Writing a thesis has been likened to transferring bones from one graveyard to another. I remember contributing to COG-critique blogs over 10 years ago, and encountering some people who contribute here. In 10 years some of us will still be digging up and reburying the same old bones.

clean and unclean

HWA didn't seem to accept obeying a command unless he understood and accepted a reason for it. In the original PT version of his Autobiography, HWA describes his take on the clean and unclean meats issue, and an account of his rude, brash and mocking behavior of letting a CG7 know exactly what that was. I can imagine HWA's reaction if he had been confronted like that.

Unknown said...

From The Elder ::the Old Church of God of the New Covenant
Thank you : When the next person of the WWCG Joseph T the next Head of the church called upon the Old Church of God of the New Covenant to seek the understanding of when we went out of Jerusalem just before 70AD to the British Island and then to the United States in 1700 He was so at peace when He read how we had never kelp the Sabbath, or and Holy days after Jesus had went to the Cross , He told the Elder that Herbert was wrong, and He had been wrong, and hoped the God would forgive Him. He only ask one more question , and it was can anyone be the church and the elders said the church is in the people not a school, or just one man, and yes all human have to come to Jesus to be His just as John 3:16 says, and the church has one head and He is alive the grave could not keep Him , His name is Jesus. The Old Church of God the one that Paul was at war with when He was Saul, but not the only Church for there are many under the Cross, The Elder. see us on the Web for the first time.

Anonymous said...

Tonto on February 2, 2019 at 3:59 PM said...“Very few people from Armstongist Churches have found their way to the COG 7th Day in the USA. It is true that they tend to be 'bad church citizens' and most do not last very long. The culture of the COG7th Day is too mellow, cooperative and loving for former WCG adherents....The US church growth in the COG7 has come primarily from hispanic immigration. Many of the USA COG7 churches are spanish speaking. The COG 7 can claim some 40,000 members in Mexico alone.”

Oh, Con woman, you do seem to be working hard at the old womanly art of deception. It might even be working a little bit. You do seem to be deceiving your own self.

When one of its own tiny little congregations bickers out and flickers out, COG(7D) members attend at SDA churches where they are “bad church citizens.”

The COG(7D) is more than mellow. That mellow yellow is the look of death. It is a DEAD church.

Of course any new COG(7D) people are Spanish speaking. Americans are not joining that DEAD church.

Of course the COG(7D) can make up all sorts of numbers in other countries. Just never in the USA.

Byker Bob said...

Do you know any COG-7 members, personally, 9:08? It’s doubtful because Armstrongites are not allowed to have any close friends outside of their own little group(s). How do you know that these COG-7 folk don’t have a sincere relationship with God? We only had HWA’s biased and self-serving word that they were Sardis, and therefore dead, and his opinion was based on the fact that he could not persuade them to follow him, and what he described as “new truth”. In other words, from another perspective, they stuck with the faith once delivered to them, the faith that apparently was working for them. If people are going to make changes, they generally leave the things in their lives that are not working or are causing damage.

Why do people insist on applying HWA’s standards to COG-7 as if he were the ultimate authority? From all other accounts, they seem to have and understand Christian love and Christian fruits more deeply than the Armstrongite splinter group which departed from them. They simply would not descend with HWA into all of the legalism! Let’s be frank and call a spade a spade!


Anonymous said...

Anyone have actual documents to share with this stuff in it? All the here say doesn't convince most people. Also I've been suckered too many times by weak arguments to even care until I see the actual proof.

I have a copy of his biography... What pages should I compare with which other versions that actually will show intent to deceive?