Saturday, January 15, 2011

GTA: "A Combination of Captain Kirk and Paul Harvey"

Battle of the engineers in the World Tomorrow, Part 1

Richard Krajewski

1/14/2011 8:25 AM EST

There was a television show in the 70's that became very popular, though you'd be hard pressed to find even one copy of it intact today.  It was The World Tomorrow, a religious program that, at that time, featured the charismatic and handsome Garner Ted Armstrong.  The program had a following of millions of people worldwide, perhaps largely because of the captivating and mesmerizing delivery of Mr. Armstrong.  His style was a dramatic combination of Captain Kirk and Paul Harvey, delivered with an entertaining bit of sarcasm and sense of irony, punctuated by an occasional weighty pronouncement worthy of a Shakespearean actor.  So engaging was he that he even appeared on an episode of Hee Haw, and, later in his life, on Oprah Winfrey (as most great thinkers eventually do). It didn't matter that the church he represented at that time, the Worldwide Church of God, had predicted World War III would begin in 1972, with the “United States of Europe” overthrowing the United States of America.  It didn't matter.  You'd watch anyway.  At least until Garner Ted and his church got into a fight and Garner Ted pretty much disappeared.
 Rest of article is here:
Battle of the Engineers in the World Tomorrow Part-1


Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Interesting that Garner Ted is still remembered. Perhaps the author of the article is a child of the WCG.

Garner Ted is somewhat of a tragic character in the WCG story. I honestly think GTA knew the obvious flaws of the church, and wanted to reform them but his father wouldn't allow it. Of course, GTA did not meet the qualifications to be a minister given he was having sexual affairs with a multitude of AC coeds.

I think there would still be a WCG today as we remembered it if Richard Armstrong had not died in the auto accident in the 1950s. After Richard's death, Garner Ted became heir apparent and he took on more responsibility and became the public face of the WCG.

In a church consisting of "weak and base things", "not many mighty now are called", I think we were all very proud of the notoriety Garner Ted Armstrong achieved as the Church's public face. He made the Church very credible at the time.

However, as the author points out, the fight between GTA and the Church (HWA to be specific) ultimately sentenced GTA into obscurity. With both sons gone, Herbert Armstrong had no heir apparent in the Armstrong family line to inherit HWA's fear religion business.

One other personal reflection since my grand father was an early radio listener of HWA and Plain Truth subscriber from the early 1950s, I believe the WCG (reformed)and Ambassador College both should have survived as its own unique religious entities with its own doctrine and tradition. Somehow the Seventh Day Adventists have been able to accomplish this since the 1850s. I say this because many good people contributed and sacrificed their entire lives and their entire life's savings for this Church. It shouldn't have been in vain.


DennisDiehl said...

It was difficult not to like Ted if you knew him. He never wanted to be where he was but probably using his talents in other more normal pursuits.

He did however stall in his understanding of so many things that we have learned since the 70's, his peak. His sermons towards the end were like time warps and never reflected new understanding of science and such topics as evolution and theology. Perhaps he read and thought more than he let on.

Since sarcasm is anger turned sideways, I suspect he felt trapped.

I've told the story of how when I was 18, Ted stopped in the middle of a sermon and went nuts on someone in the audience to whom he said..."If you don't like me or like it here, then get out!!!" Dead silence..whoa...I thought. On Monday morning, the Dean of Students took me out of Freshman Bible class and took me to Ted's office. His FIRST words to me were..."Did you know I was talking to YOU!!" "Why do you hate me..?" Ummmm...what's going on here....long story..ha.

NO2HWA said...

Dennis! You are such a bad boy! ;-)