Friday, April 29, 2016

HWA: Baptist Church Where He Was Baptized "by the most Godly man in all of Portland."

"Hinson Baptist Church in Portland Oregon where HWA was baptized in June of 1927 . HWA later declared the pastor at the time to be "the most Godly man in all of Portland"

This is the Baptist church in Portland, Oregon where Herbert Armstrong was baptized by a Baptist preacher.  Something that so many in the Church of God gloss over.    Courtesy of Dennis Diehl.


DennisCDiehl said...

Not a return compliment HWA ever received I suspect. Well maybe from RCM since the proper order of godliness was God...Christ...Mr. Armstrong.....Garner Ted....MYSELF (RCM) and a few other (can't think of who) leading Evangelists..."

As I sat in the Portland Library today where this all started, I found a bit more closure (it comes in bits and pieces at times) admit the Buddhist proverb..."Sometimes in life there is nothing left to do but have a good laugh" is true. It's just a story and none of us are our story. It's just something we have. I know full well that if it had not been this one, it would have been something else and probably similar for me with a different cast of characters and experiences.

Someone told me once that "you know..we write our script before we incarnate." I told them that next time I was going to insist there be no drinking while writing it. :)

DennisCDiehl said...

Nice follow up at Ambassador Watch

Byker Bob said...

I surely wouldn't have written a script that had my parents buying into and subsequently dragging my siblings and I into a bizarre cult! That was a horrible and painful twenty year detour with zero redeeming value. Absenting all of that, the aptitudes that led towards my career and the natural attraction to pretty ladies, music, and somewhat dangerous things might have still have been present, but who knows? These things might also have been mitigated by an undamaged, and less raging spirit as well. As I've noted elsewhere, in the aftermath of 1975, it was quite a rush attempting to undo all of the damage, and to make up for the time which was lost, to find and become my real self, rather than the attempted rewrite which had been imposed. Sadly, most of the people who are still inside have been stamped with the personality of HWA, and continue to unknowingly act in that valence, with the fear, suspicion, prejudices, and paranoia that he and his minions have imposed upon them.


Unknown said...

The Baptist minister's full name was John Marvin Dean. Interestingly enough, Dean was actually from Pasadena CA!

He was removed from the pulpit by his board of deacons, around July of 1929 for "behavior unbecoming to a minister". It had something to do with his time of serving parallel to his ministry at Hinson Baptist and his time at Western Theological Seminary, which was a co-ed institution. Apparently he had involvement with some of the female students, or at least that was what was being implied by many major newspaper articles that ran the story all over the western United States. It was a huge scandal.

More things change, the more they stay the same!

Anonymous said...

BB it's true that people were influenced by the Armstrong personality, but that's true outside the church as well. Couples adapting each others mannerisms is the norm. But the church did have more than its fair share of killjoys.

DennisCDiehl said...

Thanks for sharing that BB. I grew up Presbyterian so deliberately chose WCG as a "think too much maybe" kid. It seemed right at the time. I was a "fixer" and along with naive and idealistic was the perfect guy for the ministry. I also went to AC to be a minister and had been accepted by another theological school over which I chose it. It has taken decades to really say that I now am much more my authentic self. It's a journey and can't be gotten from a booklet.

Connie, personally I have found ministry a very unnatural and almost creepy position to put a man or a woman. It expects too much from normal human beings who think that the magical Holy Spirit will take away all the pulls and tugs a minister finds himself "forgiving and counseling others" over as congregants. It's a fear, guilt and shame machine if there ever was one. People scorn the fallen pastor but not the fallen congregant and being forgiven , understood or tolerated in such a lofty position, as men count loftiness, is not going to happen. It's as fake and unhealthy mental, emotional and spiritual environment as one could imagine especially it is supposed to be just the opposite. It makes one wear a mask, as do most and then pray to God no one makes you take it off or it doesn't fall off.

Anonymous said...

603.06 I do not believe it wrong to wear a mask providing, providing, one is growing as a person. If a person is verbally abusive, but at church services is polite and respectful, good. But it should be a stop gap measure until constructive habits are built.
Many of the sermons are about pressuring people to wear a certain mask (eg., 'genuine out going concern') in order to exploit that person. Where are the sermons on justice???

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Under the Banned by HWA Post "Is LCG Having a Demon Problem?", Black Ops Mickey said, "Herbert Armstrong lied (what a shock!). He was baptized by a Sabbath keeping minister by the name of A. H. Stith. Paul Woods confirmed that for me in 2008 and Stith's daughter witnessed the baptism".

MY COMMENT - Only until I read Black Ops Mickey's recent comment did I realize that Herbert Armstrong's baptism by a Baptist minister was in dispute. As I previously stated in that thread, after exiting the WCG I asked my family who remained in the Church how HWA's baptism by a "worldly" Baptist minister was valid. No answer!

I surmise that this A. H. Stith was either a COG7D or SDA minister thereby keeping the Apostolic succession pure in COG circles (although WCG never considered SDA as "God's true Church" even though the parent Sardis era COG7D splintered from the SDA movement).

This is actually a very important factual dispute in the origins of Armstrongism and its brand of religion that needs further investigation. I wonder if the Baptist Church kept and still has records of their Baptisms dating back to HWA's time?


Byker Bob said...

Again, and as usual, some good thoughts and insights from you, Dennis.

I also became a fixer, quite literally. Only, in my case, it is a fixer of machines. That is often stressful enough, because although people's lives are not involved, their livelihoods and businesses are. Customers expect one to be somewhat of an all-knowing "Superman" type. The mechanical element is pretty much a constant, but the electronic aspect is constantly being upgraded, and requires continual study. Applications constantly change. But, the work is both challenging and fulfilling.

If I were granted another lifetime, most likely I would choose an education and career in engineering, in which I was involved in the actual design and fabrication of the equipment.

AC was supposed to be a one size fits all application. A technical person like myself was presumed to be teachable, and capable of being made over into a ministerial type who would then be capable of preaching an end-times gospel and feeding a flock for a couple years. Apparently, all the admissions committee looked at was the pre-entry test scores, and the recommendation of one's local minister. The type of make-over that was then expected was so foreign to me, and even laughable, that I was relieved and happy when I found myself working at the AC Press. It just seemed like a totally natural fit. They sold the place, and then it shut down, but by that point, my career was launched. AC had unwittingly provided me with a fairly lucrative career.


Stephen said...

Thanks for this, Dennis. And thanks too to Connie for that interesting P.S.

Frankly, unless you posit a valid apostolic succession, I don't know why baptisms or ordinations necessarily mean anything at all. Even then, it seems dubious that most (if not all) lineages of supposedly apostolic succession would attain. And that's supposing that Jesus and/or the said apostles even existed, which is not certain. From an historiographic perspective, the venerable Jesus Seminar has famously resulted in broad disagreement rather than consensus in trying to paint a historical portrait of the itinerant apocalyptic preacher, known not from historical record, but only from the ancient superhero comic book of which he is the star.

Furthermore, the concept of apostolic succession itself seems indistinguishable from regular ol' "pagan" superstition. Why should anyone rationally expect that:
1) A person might be possessed with the mystical juju of a "holy spirit", and if a person were, how might that be reliably diagnosed?
2) Assuming (1), that someone with said "holy spirit" might be contagious through mystical ritual acts,
3) Assuming (2), that transmission of said "holy spirit" might be successful 100% of the time, regardless of the individual character of each person in a supposed lineage. (For example, if a person happened to be an incestuous child molester, would that person be an eligible receptacle for this "holy spirit" or as we called "conversion.")

Such reasoning ought to be sufficient to cut the entire COG movement off from serious consideration as a place where superstitious, esoteric, mystical "truth" might be found. Either that or it should be sufficient to conclude that it matters not who performs the mystical rituals of baptism or ordination. Any random homeless man in front of the 99 Cent store ought to be able to do the same for me as John Marvin Dean, Herbert Armstrong, or Gaylyn Bonjour.

However, if one does not expect astrology, divination, augury, astral projection, clairvoyance, psychic reading, or even the superstitious guesses made by people of other cultures or religious faiths, then why should they expect the superstitous guesses made by the adherents of the faith common to one's own culture to necessarily be beyond question or doubt, such as it's gods, "holy spirit," angels, demons, baptisms, or ordinations.

Anonymous said...

You're right, Dennis. Even though I was never ordained, while I was an assistant pastor and counseled by mail, In many ways, I did wear a mask and that mask got old. Supposedly, the "holy spirit" had made me different from my old self, but as I look back, nothing really changed except for the normal maturing porcess every normal individual goes through. That maturing eventually led me straight out and to where I am today. That is the thing I'm most satisfied with today as I look back on my life. I didn't hold onto the dillusion. Allen C. Dextedr

Redfox712 said...

Thanks for sharing this information. Never saw that church before.

Byker Bob said...

Back in 2001, it was "news" that HWA had been baptized by a Baptist minister, the product of new research. While we were all members in good standing with WCG, and what was later called + (meaning the emerging splinters), apostolic succession had been preached as a verification that the laying on of hands had transmitted the Holy Spirit in an unbroken chain throughout the "True History of the True Church" right back to Jesus Christ Himself. Most members had assumed that since COG-7 was the "Sardis" era, and HWA's baptism had been into the "True Church" through that group, that he was indeed part of that unbroken chain of the laying on of hands. Within the church itself, members did not as a rule subject the autobiography to any sort of critical analysis. We often glossed over conflicting facts, taking what was preached at face value.

Now, in 2016, we learn of two baptisms. One by a Baptist preacher, Reverend Dean, which would seem to remove any personal responsibility HWA might have had to the authority of COG-7, and apparently one by COG-7 pastor A.H Stith, which would seem to preserve the so-called apostolic succession, and any implied authority that COG-7 had over HWA. This must be very confusing to current stalwarts, who believe that HWA as the quasi-biblical character, "God's Apostle" was pure as the driven snow.

At best, we have a mixed message, one that is based on obfuscation, and proves nothing concrete. The issues which have been raised strongly suggest that HWA felt no sense of authority from, or personal responsibility to either group, but instead, simply used each event to his personal convenience as circumstances might demand, in either substanitiating his "authority", or in explaining away his rebellion and apostasy. It appears to be a clever cake and cake eating too rationalization or maneuver.

Any way you look at it, HWA was not what he said he was. He was simply not reliable as a source of restored truth. I would go so far as to say that he was the Dr. Bobby Thiel of his day, although endowed with a higher degree of intelligence, and much more poise and media savy. With examples such as HWA's, is it any wonder that any janitor today believes he is worthy to start and lead his own ACOG franchise, to take tithes, and exercise authority?


Anonymous said...

"although WCG never considered SDA as "God's true Church" even though the parent Sardis era COG7D splintered from the SDA movement)"

It is my opinion that hwa/wcg looked upon "cousins", or "predecessors" as "withered branches of the same tree". Most of you are too strict in your application of the terms "true church", "or apostolic succession."

Even the Catholic Church which is probably the only body that can prove 2000 years of succession was considered a withered branch, not something completely new.


Anonymous said...

One should look at the "True Church over the ages" as a Holding not unlike Berkshire Hathaway.
It shapeshifts from Textiles into Insurance. Non of the former officers can recognize the current shape but all the officers can claim succession and all share its ultimate purpose and culture non claiming the originality of the services it provides. Or IBM going from machine production into services. Look at the big picture. Not at how the "laying of hands exactly matches the doctrines or culture of a corporation.


Anonymous said...

Where's Aaron Dean's selective memory when you need it? He could no doubt put it all in its proper perspective and clarify how a double baptism was actually necessary so that Herbert W. Armstrong could be sure that God had specially called and chosen him to be the head, DIRECTLY UNDER GOD AND JESUS CHRIST, of the church, since that's what Herbert himself decided had happened.

It's unknown, however, whether Herbert's understanding of that central truth occurred in the B.C. (Before Coitus) or A.D. (After Dorothy) period of his ministry. Again, we should await Aaron's clarification sermon before concluding anything for ourselves.

Byker Bob said...

It does not matter if we attempt to rehabillitate HWA/WCG on a philanthropic or corporate level. HWA will always be remembered as a flaming asshole who exploited people and ruined their lives. Armstrongism, and what was deceptively claimed to be a succession of similar entities throughout the past 2,000 years of history will always be the savage vehicle, the primary tool of HWA with which he accomplished his dastardly deeds. The horrendous bad overwhelms any small good that might have beenaccidentally accomplished. And, given the lasting damages, one cannot separate the bad doctrines and theories and prophecies from the good. It is all part and parcel of the same hot mess, an illegitimate and mostly evil legacy, not unlike those of Adolf Hitler or Charles Manson.


Anonymous said...

Well, if you admit other Christians exist, Christian enough to baptize you, then you might lose out of tithing money.
Pretending to be a Levite so you can appropriate money only due them can make you a rich boy.

Anonymous said...

"one cannot separate the bad doctrines and theories and prophecies from the good"

I must ponder this remark for the next few days.

Right after WWII the USA tried to disect and understand the tenets of Nazism in order to denazify Germany and the populace psychologically. After a while efforts were halted for various reasons that most people know of. (Cold War etc)

Not many people know that one of the reasons the effort was halted was because it hit home to much. They found that it also consisted of an amalgamam of many doctrines that the entire Western Culture is founded upon. To ridicule or diminish all of its tenets could lead to the total collapse of Western culture. (for example nazi germanies industry and production method was pure Fordism, that's why Ford had many production plants there, Joe Kennedy, Ford (whom hwa was proud to have met) and hwa were very much men of their time.)

Armstronism as a complete amalgamam should probably not be rehabilitated. To properly disect it however is not to rehabilitate. There is Mormonism, Scottish Presbyterism, Calvinism, A lot of Quakerism ("Goodbye Friends"), even Catholocism, American Imperialism, (Kuhn and Rader's Jewishness), Hoeh and dr Rea's, Buddhism and mostly 80% Scottish rite Freemasonry. (Vikings bringing Celts to the Americas) , ISLAM, Submit Submit Submit etc

The abuse/spanking of children in childrearing was very much a cultural experience (embraced by people born in that period and place and time.)

Billions of people believe in at least one or more tenets of Armstrongism.
But I agree it is the combination that makes it odd.


Redfox712 said...

LCG has released a new website that presents the Armstrongite dogmas while obscuring the fact that LCG has made it.

They even have a "Do Not Donate" page.

Maybe some LCG members should take that advice from LCG to heart and stop sending tithes to LCG.

Anonymous said...


You said, "Billions of people believe in at least one or more tenets of Armstrongism."

Jesus! How far out can you get, nck?

It can also be said that "Billions of people believe in at least one or more tenets of masturbation."

Should we also include the billions of people who believe in drying themselves off with a towel. (Which Herbie wrote about)???

Byker Bob said...

That's supposed to constitute some sort of validation or create a mandate? Coincidentally believing in one or more tenet? Isolated commonalities would do nothing to equate us wih Manson or Hitler, and they certainly do nothing of the sort with regard to old Hog Jowls. Just because Charlie Manson and I both urinate and defecate does not make us kindred spirits.


Anonymous said...

"How far out can you get, nck?"

As far as being a "jew unto the jew" etc.

As far as the commonalities I am just willing to take it one step further than the money involved and simply claiming that "all photo opps were bought".
A lot of different characters have pointed at the Universality of WCG's old message.

Really the Greek bishop of Jerusalem had no need of AICF money to bestow the Constantine Cross on AICFs figurehead. And I'll not repeat all the other examples I've given in the past.
The Lebanese UN diplomats recognized the common believe in "the Devil" as a commonality.
What Thai recognized something ot work with. Far out?

Just because CM and us urinate and defecate makes us prone to many (psychological) commonalities.
That's why "supposed" contact with alien intelligent life would alter the psychology of mankind altogether.
Btw WCG used the Earth Zoom in photo before all of its video productions. Not WCG of course but hat single (1969) picture altered the psychology of the entire earth populace in a flash. Since it was the first time mankind was able to look at "mothership" earth from the outside in. Followed by the first Mars pictures beemed to the Auditorium. These are all powerful testimony of the search for mans commonality buried in crazy 18th century understanding of the use of make up or 1950's understanding of the use of the paddle in child rearing.

No commonalities with Charles Manson? Ask the nice wardens of Abu Ghraib who changed as the circumstances changed. Not personally accusing, just making a point on human commonality.
I was just saying that "Goodbye Friends" is defenitely Quaker.

No I am not willing to put Humpty Dumpty together again, he's broken.
I'm approaching it from a policy perspective. In the political arena some pundits exloit the (submit) part in Islam, while working with a constituency that submits itself in the same manner in religious fervor (although tea party is out next round so it seems). So yes I like at looking at the parts that constitute the whole.