Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Is "Armstrongism" an accurate name for the COG movement he founded?

Over the decades there have been countless books and articles published about the Worldwide Church of God that was founded by Herbert Armstrong.  Most of these books call his movement "Armstrongism" because he was the founder who claimed to have received revealed knowledge directly from God.

Brandy Webb, of the Church of God International takes exception to the phrase.

The other day, I was reading a comment on a blog regarding COGs (Church of God churches) and it basically grouped them all in the term “Armstrongism.” I have heard the term before, but honestly, I have never really looked into what defined something as being “Armstrongism” until reading some derogatory comments regarding COGs. 
I am not at all easily offended, and I know a lot of people can’t seem to get over the bad things they went through in the past due to Worldwide Church of God (WCG) and the churches that split off from them. Bitterness is a hard weed to pull out of oneself once it has rooted deeply within one’s soul. However, I never knew that the observance of Sabbath and Holy Days were created by Herbert W. Armstrong. Yes, I am being a little sarcastic here, but seriously, it is considered “Armstrongism” if you believe that we are to observe God’s Holy Days. 
Well, I would like to set the record straight. Armstrong wasn’t alive during creation week when God created the sun, moon, and stars to mark His seasons also known in Hebrew as moed, appointed time, place or meeting (Genesis 1:14). This term is the same term in Leviticus 23when God tells Moses to teach the Israelites about His appointed times/Holy Days. In addition, Armstrong was not there when the first Sabbath was created and sanctified (Genesis 2:2-3). In fact, I am positive that he was not the first Christian to desire keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days either. I can see from the Bible that the Sabbath and the Holy Days were kept in the New Testament by not only Jesus but also His disciples, after His crucifixion (some references: John 7:1-44Luke 4:16Acts 13:4Acts 17:2Acts 20:61 Corinthians 11:23-29). Never in all their teachings did they teach that they were done away with either.
A person commenting on the story had this to say about why Armstrongism is an accurate word to describe the movement:

Armstrongism was the teachings of Herbert W Armstrong that many could not be verified with the Bible but they can be refuted with the Bible. The doctrines of his church could be liken to a potluck where some vain person sampled everything that was offered and claim they were all his. He borrowed some of the beliefs of the Catholics some from the Baptism, and some from secular beliefs and teaching, such as the modern-day identity of Israel, he even borrowed or should we say stole beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist who for the most part he condemn. Armstrongism was based on new revelations that he only had access to. The number one doctrine that was kept hidden was to convince the people to support his personal business better known as the Worldwide Church of God. 

Herbert Armstrong claimed the everything he taught was a direct revelation from his God.  that included Sabbath keeping, Holy Days and the teaching on unclean meats.  Then in his arrogance and vanity, he started adding to those "new beliefs" hundreds and hundreds of peripheral teachings. When families started being ripped apart and lives ruined, the church appropriately was called Armstrongism.  They were his own unique teachings alone that were not part of the New Covenant.  Those teaching where then further bastardized by the likes of Rod Meredith, Gerald Waterhouse, James Malm, Bob Thiel and many others who took things to the extreme.


Anonymous said...

The core of Armstrongism is members being robbed of their adulthood by it's 'ministers' and treated like irresponsible little children. That is still the case. The holy days and other religious additions are incidental. This is the elephant in the room the Herbie defenders keep pretending doesn't exist.
Armstrongism robs members of their lives. Herbie worshippers, please explain?

Mickey said...

With as much emotional baggage as I can set aside, Armstrongism is just a label that addresses a particular grouping of ideas. In an impartial sense most groups have labels that differentiates them from others in a larger group. There is Calvinism, Wesleyans, and Lutherans, and so on. Each of these groups describe themselves as their own unique type of Christian. However the Armstrongist run afoul of this by insisting that depite the larger context they are the only ones who are entitled to call themselves christian. Thus they expect the rest of society to uphold their point of view and are offended whenothers don't play along and allow that point of view to stand unchallenged. Whew! Keeping it impartial takes a bit of effort :)

Miller Jones said...

I can well understand why some folks would like to distance themselves from any association with Herbert and Garner Ted Armstrong or their teachings. Moreover, pointing out that many of those teachings had a history prior to their adoption by Herbert and can be defended with arguments which he never employed, cannot change the fact that he was the person who gathered them together into the little bundle which most ACOGs recognize as "THE TRUTH." Like it or not, this entire movement is permanently linked to the man who founded it: Herbert W. Armstrong. Hence, Armstrongism would appear to be an appropriate moniker for the movement for most people.
As for the bitterness, that is funny! Anytime someone leaves the movement, they have allowed a root of bitterness to well up within them. Anytime someone points out flaws or problems with the system, they are bitter and angry. Anytime someone challenges one of their leaders on some statement or teaching, it has to be related to some past mistreatment or slight. It has to be bitterness or revenge seeking - It couldn't possibly have anything to do with flaws or errors in the theology!

Ed said...

Each individual doctrine used by HWA to construct his religion was borrowed from other religions. In that sense it is not accurate to name his religion "Armstrongism". However is you look at what he put together in its totality and how it was presented it was uniquely a religion built by "Armstrong" therefore it is accurate to call it "Armstrongism".

Anonymous said...

Truly true! There are those who will get all bent out of shape and cry, "Foul!" when the term "Armstrongism" is used to describe teachings that have descended from the crooked shack that Herbie built.
However, in my experience the term is usually applied justly: It's NOT used for the SDA church, Judaism, or other groups that are 7th day sabbatarian, even though the Radio Church of God came about because of one of Herbie's famous ego-fueled hissy fits when he split from the SDA because he had to be top dog.

And while we're at it-
What about how some get all bent out of shape when "Mister" Armstrong is referred to as Herbie ?
Methinks some have an inordinate reverence for the cult-leading schmuck whose teachings and directives caused countless more deaths than Charlie Manson's ever did. What's up with that? Charlie was a lightweight compared to Herbie...

I've never noticed anyone getting perturbed when "Mister" Manson was referred to as Charlie!

Anonymous said...

The Jewish/Gentile Christian food fight between Peter, James and John and the self ordained, hallucinated Cosmic Christ of Paul, who claims in Galatians that his gospel is the one and only received from no man being called from the womb, will forever cloud "what must we do to be saved?" question.

No one can accuse the gods, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, of having good communication skills. Tens of thousands of true churches, all different in practice and belief, attest to this.

Anonymous said...

The only constant in so-called "Armstrongism" was Armstrong himself. His doctrines changed over the years. As in Orwell's 1984, today's orthodoxy could become tomorrow's heresy, simply by Herbert's say-so. To use Herbert's own language, "Armstrongism" wasn't the message HWA preached, it was a message about HWA.

So, it's not even proper to think of it as a "movement." A movement implies an ideology and a goal. HWA, however, set up WCG as a corporation sole. The purpose of HWA's religion was to put more and more money under HWA's control. That's not a "movement" any more than George Soros or Justin Bieber are the heads of "movements."

Pared down to its basics, "Armstrongism" amounts to this: "Treat Herbert Armstrong as if he were the High Priest of the ancient Levite tribe, pay him the money that would have gone to the Levites, and let him be your authority about which Levitical strictures are still in place. Don't worry about that other High Priest who died on the stake; He won't have authority to rule over you until another 5 - 15 years have gone by."

Byker Bob said...

We must realize that whatever label would be chosen to describe the movement, those still inside of it would never feel that the label could be accurate unless that label were something similar to "the truth", or "God's Church", and further, unless those of us who had left it acknowledged that we had "fallen away" and were "bitter" because we knew that the "Lake of Fire" awaited us.

Yet, who amongst us would have anything negative to say about it if it had been simply a collection of people who kept the sabbath and holy days, tithed, and restricted themselves to clean meats? We would freely admit that that set of beliefs were in no way originated by, unique to, or constituted "Armstrongism".

To get to "Armstrongism", to have that unique set of imposed circumstances, you must add failed prophecy applying British Israelism, German Assyrianism, and African Canaanism to the Books of Revelation and Daniel. You must further take the theory of 6,000 years for man, one thousand years for God, and combine genealogies and math equations to "prove" that the end is now. You must embrace the theory that the seven churches in Revelation are actually eras, and assign the "sweet spot" (Philadelphia) to the era while Herbert W. Armstrong was presiding. You must add totalitarian "government from the top down" which always majors in the minors, and which, if you refuse to accept it or speak out against, constitutes the foulest of blasphemy. You must adapt a world view around you in which everything you see is a sign of the end times, and/or is rooted in paganism. You must accept the premise that "God's ministers" have greater authority and power than any other authority that exists on the face of the earth.

For the sake of brevity, I'm just warming up here, but am I getting close? To be an authentic Armstrongite, although some are capable of restraining themselves to function in polite company, you must also have contempt for all others who hold different views, to consider those people as "deceived", material for the second resurrection, or in worst cases the Lake of Fire.

The minister who wrote what is quoted above is attempting to appeal to reason of those still participating in Armstrongism. He is cleaning up and glossing over the evils which I just enumerated. To anyone who ever passed through the Armstrong movement, he appears to be pretending that he does not know, ie "wearing blinders", advocating ostrichism, and treating members as mushrooms.

But, what would we expect him to say? He wants to co-opt the concept of "truth in advertising", to redefine it to his own purposes and advantages, in an order to reaffirm and resell the system to those who embrace the mindset. It's what they do.


Opinionated said...

Funny that these acog leaders never talk about the holy days having their roots in paganism. Yes, that's right. Canaanite agricultural celebrations.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Well I personally prefer CoHAM, but it just hasn't caught on and that's a shame. It's much more descriptive to call it the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia -- that way there isn't any confusion.

But Armstrongism is much easier than G.G.Rupertism. That is probably a better defining term, but sheesh, who's going to use that. For one thing it is really esoteric. Even though Rupert was the source of everything in the CoHAM (except the meaning of the Last Great Day -- really, anyone could figure out it wasn't to dance the Hora!) and we do mean EVERYTHING (the books and pamphlets by Rupert must have been dog eared and worn out in the Central Library in Portland when Herbert Armstrong got through with them, and make no mistake -- he started there and it isn't clear how many other sources he read because he didn't seem to use anybody else's material beside Rupert's) -- it's clear that Herbert Armstrong really didn't have any religious ideas outside of Rupert's, adapted to the Church of God Seventh Day.

That was the problem of course. Herbert Armstrong, in his infinite wisdom and all knowing knowledge, decided that the Church of God Seventh Day leadership was deficient, even though they HAD finished high school and mostly had advanced degrees in religious studies. He was the one who was deficient and in his ignorance (and alcoholism) rebelled to start his own church where he didn't have to be subject to any one else.

Armstrongism portrays not just G.G.Rupertism (should I copyright and trademark this?), but portrays narcissistic hubris. That was the mark of Herbert Armstrong and Armstrongism not only embodies the teachings of Rupert, but also represents the utter arrogance and narcissism of Herbert Armstrong.

The teachings of G. G. Rupert included British Israelism, which Herbert Armstrong elevated to doctrine so entwined with his teachings that in the 1950s no one could be baptized without embracing it. Herbert Armstrong set it up as his primary idol, insisting that British Israelism is the key to prophecy. It isn't of course, and that is why we have such a legacy of failed prophecies from Herbie.

For the most part British Israelism is necessary for the CoHAM sects because that is their identity. Some marginal exceptions exist, such as Tom Mahon, but he's pretty much one off. We have seen the tragedy of an Armstrongist who tried to abandon British Israelism. David Hume has never been the same since suggesting it. Of course there's the Church of God Big Sandy with David Havir, but with a caveat: Yes, David Havir and Dixie Cartwright know British Israelism is stupid, but the hypocrisy is that they allow their other ministers to espouse it and there's a sermon of prophecy by one of the ministers on the website which is absolutely about British Israelism. As Dixie has said, the purpose of the CoHAM is to have a place for people to get together and socialize, sort of implying that God, the Bible, Sabbaths and the Feast Days are simply a medium to keep the groups together for no other reason than to prevent the pain of separation of people familiar with one another but having nothing else in common with the possible exception of being boozing alcoholics.

All in all, it seems clear that we are stuck with the term 'Armstrongism' instead of CoHAM, but it is a convenient shorthand to impart recognition of the moronic stupidity of a failed social group.

Anonymous said...

It amazes me how the cogs Always label people as bitter that are critical of their organization, you are hurt by them you are bitter, you try to expose them you are bitter, you leave them you are bitter, you disagree with them you are bitter,you are angry at their actions you are bitter, you call the movement armstrongism you are bitter, they destroy people psychologically for life and the people are labeled, you guess bitter,as Mr Meredith would say "don't get your feelings hurt" if you do it's all your fault. Do they call their children bitter when they are hurt and upset do they say their wives are bitter if they upset her what about their parents their dogs, I doubt that, the only persons feelings that don't matter are the lowly members (they must be dead and not alive).

Connie Schmidt said...

The Cog 7th Day , on a doctrinal basis , was the basis for HWA's Sabbatarian , unclean meats, no Xmas, soul sleep and the bulk of other beliefs. There were even those who kept the Holy Days in the COG7 at the time (contrary to HWAs contention that only Loma and he were doing them). British Israelism came from JH Allen's book.

The unique thing that can be called "Armstrongism" is top down, centrally controlled government in a hierarchical system. This is the uniqueness of Armstrongism and Armstrongism alone.

Anonymous said...

Connie as usual is right. What I would add is that "Armstrongism" is taking doctrines that are true an easily (for the most part) proven in the Bible and then over emphasizing them. The Sabbath, Holy Days, not eating pork were non issues during Christ mission. To make us "special" COG's have idolized, worshiped the Sabbath, Holy Days etc. What a Church teaches is mostly affected by over focus on certain Truths, and de-emphasizing others like Grace, Mercy and Love. These are also taught, but as an example, a sermon on Grace (which are few) will focus on how the Law has not been done away.

The major flaw in "Armstrongism" is how Christ was de-emphasized, put to the back of the bus. The idolization of the Armstrongs and their top dogs below them is taught against in the new testament, but was rarely covered in church. Vanity as sermon subject in my experience was avoided, because it would draw attention to the ministry. Satan's problems started with his own vanity.

Black Ops Mikey said...

No, no, no! You all have it wrong!

Armstrongism is all about visiting the fatherless and widow in their affliction.

Pure religion and undefiled.

When our children were young, Sabbath afternoons we would go to a retirement home to visit the widows. It brought such joy to them and, for many of them in their 80s and 90s, forestalled their becoming institutionalized. There was an elderly widow in the church at the rest home and we did come primarily for her, but we did spend time with the other widows there. They looked forward to the visits.

Everybody does that, right?

Byker Bob said...

Sorry everybody, but I just can't help myself with this little humorous observation. If I were Jesus, knowing every last little detail about the Armstrong movement, I think I'd be saying to myself, "That's supposed to be my bride??? What a skag!!!!"


Hoss said...

Just as "Calvinist" is a term to describe churches based on beliefs following a particular formula, "Armstrongism" can be used for the core eclectic teachings put together by HWA.

I remember one website that described HWA as "the great sifter of teachings" - he did look at various sources, and teachings that passed his "tests" were considered "revealed" to him. As Ralph Orr mentioned in his history of BI in the WCG, there is a problem with the validity of HWA's "tests".

Whether or CGI feels it's an unfitting "label", they did at least have roots in Armstrongism. And so did what is now GCI.

Anonymous said...

There are MANY whackadoodle aspects of Armstrongism!

I think one of the funniest is how people "observe" the FOT "Herbie-style" and pretend that they're actually following the Bible's instructions.
That's freakin' hilarious!

Anonymous said...

The unique thing that can be called "Armstrongism" is top down, centrally controlled government in a hierarchical system. This is the uniqueness of Armstrongism and Armstrongism alone.

Not correct. Have you not ever heard of the Catholic church? Or the Mormon church?

Former Elijah Forum Member who saw the light said...

Armstrongism is an accurate name as his worshipers follow his biblical spin on scripture whilst not believing the plain words of scripture.
Armstrong and minions insisted the bible was not translated correctly here or there, or that commas were in the wrong place in order to spin the view on certain verses. In fact they changed the meaning of many verses to accommodate the beliefs of HWA.
Garner Ted went right along with most of it.
Hymn lyrics were changed to fit with silly beliefs! "In the beauty of the 'autumn' Christ was born across the sea".. the fact that Jews would not have been in their hometowns during holy day seasons never seemed to bother Herbert who also somehow believed that sheep with their foot thick woolen coats could not be outside in 40 degree weather in the winter and who actually believed that we really know when Nimrod's birthday is.
A man who quoted Jewish fable to serve his purposes. He called Christmas the day of the Sun without bothering to tell his parishioners that the Sol Invictus was invented long after Christmas as a way for pagans to discredit Christ.

Ever the rebel, Herbert danced to his own tune just to be different. Those of us who followed him did so because of booklets and preaching . Sure we proved all things in the booklets but not all things as they stand in the bible!
We accepted that the rebellious Herbert was right on the face of it and that everyone else was a liar.
We ignored the reports (by 3 credible witnesses.. grandson , brothers family and the state of Arizona) of incest and incessant commercialism and greedy buying of idols and gold to grace one of his many mansions.
We ignored how he lived just as high on the hog as any of the TV evangelists and kept on giving him money to spend on himself.
His profligate son was a nut that didn't fall far from the tree.. a sexual libertine is not someone God would employ as a minister.

You know, I could go on and on for a long time piling things up that are both smelly and trashy but let this suffice for those who are open to truth.
The rest will hold fast to their own self righteousness anyway.

Yes, Armstrongism is a very apt word for this man who built his 'work' on the goofy heresy of Scoffield and Darby and the Millerite movement,

Former Elijah Forum Member who saw the light said...

Anonymouse 10:21AM..
both Catholics and Mormons have lay people who perform functions not dependent on Rome.
Individual parishes have a degree of autonomy in preaching. Rome is not quick to disfellowship over questions.
All Mormon men hold the priesthood and can anoint and preach. All of them.
In Armstrongism only those at the tip top hold power and will cut off anyway who disagrees in any respect no matter how trivial.
No questioning is allowed.

RSK said...

It is the specific combination and emphasis of doctrines that were labeled Armstrongism. He himself originated very little, strictly speaking. The term refers to the amalgamation of doctrine assembled by him, and the crediting to him by its followers.

Anonymous said...

"The unique thing that can be called "Armstrongism" is top down, centrally controlled government in a hierarchical system. This is the uniqueness of Armstrongism and Armstrongism alone."

Connie, you may have led a very sheltered life, religiously speaking.
A person above mentioned Catholicism and Mormonism, but those are just small tips of a larger religious iceberg.

"Top down, centrally controlled government in a hierarchical system" is one of the many concepts that Herbie copied from others, and is VERY far from being unique!

You are forgiven, Connie. Ex-members of destructive cults tend to have brain farts every now and then.

Anonymous said...

Armstrongism is a very real thing. It goes right along with other titles, like fundamentalism, eveangelicalism, etc. It's a collection of dogmatic teachings that became systaematized and set a particular grouping of similar sects apart. The phenomenon began with one man, Herbert Arnstrong. It just follows that the overall thing would be called "Armstrongism."

Allen C. Dexter

Anonymous said...

For many people in the churches of Christ and independent Christian churches, "Campbellite" is a pejorative term, though Alexander Campbell was an important figure in the history of the Restoration movement. I would prefer to respect them by avoiding a moniker that offends them. Wouldn't you, Miller? But what about those of us who recognize HWA was a self-serving cult leader who did great harm to a lot of people, recognize that there was much abuse of authority by many of the WCG ministers, and recognize that HWA and GTA were morally corrupt, narcissistic men, yet we are in the COG groups and still believe many, though not necessarily all, the doctrines taught in the WCG? Are we Armstrongites? Should the name Armstrongism be applied to our religion? It's a pejorative moniker to us. But does that matter to you, Miller? Should the way we feel about our religion being labeled "Armstrongism" make any difference to you? Or do you feel we are the exception to the rule when it comes to the importance of not trampling on others' feelings by using offensive monikers? Would you use "Muhammedans" for Muslims? Many of them consider it offensive, you know. You'd probably condemn Rod Meredith if he were to use it! By the way, you created a stereotype with your "Anytime" statements. I don't believe anyone in our particular association of groups fits your stereotype. But I don't imagine it matters to you that you're painting with such a broad brush. --TK

Anonymous said...

Thanks, BB. According to you, then, I'm not an Armstrongite, though I attend a COG group that's associated with other COG groups. I do hear a little British Israelism now and then and a little speculation on prophecy, but none of the other things you mentioned are accepted by any of us, to my knowledge. I personally reject British Israelism and deification the way HWA taught it. I do believe in the deification of man, but it's more along the lines of deification as taught by CS Lewis or the Orthodox Church; you'll never hear me saying man will become God "as God is God." I know lots of other COG people who agree with me on these things. Many of us also reject the idea that the second goat of the Atonement ritual represents Satan, though that's not a big deal one way or the other. So it seems to me that, to you, we're not Armstrongites. Thanks for not giving us that label! But let's face it. Some ex-WCG folks are less charitable, for whatever reason. Maybe their experience was so hurtful that they can't help but put the "Armstrongism" label on any group that still keeps Sabbaths, festivals, etc., etc., and is in historical succession from the WCG. That's just a fact, and I think that's what the author of the article posted above encountered. --TK

Hoss said...

Armstrongism has some prominent features, but there are other groups with these same features, so it must be seen more collectively. It does have a unique collection of core beliefs.
And Loma's Dream is considered by some to be another fundamental element. Trying to recapture true Armstrongism, CCOG is the only splinter I know that is pushing a "started with dreams" approach, to the extent that part of Loma's dream was about CCOG...

Byker Bob said...

Sheltered people? Well, I guess that if someone believes that pastoral abuse in Armstrongism is only as bad as one might typically find in Catholicism or Mormonism, then maybe it's easier to also excuse and live with the wacky theories, and false prophecies, and remain in the HWAcaca.

You can always find incidents involving abuse in any group. The question becomes whether those are prolific, affecting the majority of the members. In terms of per capita abuse, Armstrongism ranks amongst the worst. And I've got all manner of friends from various religions. How many can say that they have a Kurdish Zoroastrian friend?


Miller Jones said...

If I were having a personal conversation with you and knew about your distaste for the term, I would not employ it. I would not intentionally hurt or offend anyone in a one on one setting. For me, there is a profound difference between private communication in this regard and public commentary. I respect your right to publicly make clear what offends you, but I also reserve the right to myself to do the same. My comments were expressed as my personal observations about the topic of this post - my opinion. If I attempted to fashion my public comments so that they never offended anyone, they probably wouldn't be worth reading; and it is almost certain that they would not accurately reflect my opinion. Thus my point about the moniker of Armstrongism stands - This particular package of beliefs is rightly linked to the person who packaged them.

Connie Schmidt said...

Commenters above:

Perhaps I was unclear. Of course I realize that there are other religious hierarchies, i.e.. Cathlolic etc. , so don't be so smug that I am a schmuck! LOL!

So let me reword this... what makes Armstrongism unique in the Sabbatarian community of churches, (there are many, such as Seventh Day Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, COG 7th Day etc) is STRICT top down governance, with complete monetary control from a central location.

Byker Bob said...

Several random comments. First, let's face some things that we can't make go away. Whatever label a critic of something or someone applies and uses is very likely to be offensive to the people who believe that that their stuff is either above criticism or should not be criticized.

How could it be that the name of a person whom people revere could possibly take on a pejorative, and therefore offensive, connotation? That only happens because they were taught that they are not following a man! Labeling it and them with his name is offensive because they believe that what he taught came from God's mouth to their ears through him, and more specifically that the man himself was not the originator. In other words, to them, using the term "Armstrongism" appears to be a deliberate and hostile attempt to reduce or desanctify their beliefs.

And yet, you've got to call it something, so that you can succinctly identify it for the purpose of even discussing it. We certainly can't call it "the truth", because those of us who criticize it have proven that it cannot be such, making it the height of disingenuousness for us to call it "the truth" or "God's Church". We'd be thought to be patronizing or mocking if we used those phrases anyway.

I also agree with Miller regarding consideration and human decency. If I even suspected that someone I met were an ACOG member, first, I'd actively avoid discussing religious matters. In my mind, my thoughts would be that here is a person who believes flagrant error, and is most likely being abused by his or her church. In fact, his words and opinions are no longer even reflective of him as a human being, but what you are hearing is totally his programming. I'd be hoping that somehow eventually he realized that he was part of a toxic cult, but with a deep appreciation of how easily I could offend him, and not wanting to drive him in deeper, I'd be walking on eggshells, and measuring my words to him very carefully.

Unfortunately, these are not luxuries which we have here! As a community, on a daily basis, we indulge in an educational process, doing a post mortem on our experiences in (apologies for any offense) Armstrongism. You guys are coming to us! (And we welcome you!). We're not hiring detectives to learn what halls and buildings you are renting, and picketing or confronting you at your church meetings. We wouldn't do that! Most of us, if we ran across a sacred names group that tithed and kept the sabbath and holy days, we wouldn't automatically assume that their group was an ACOG derivative, without further information. They could be splinters of the greater Adventist movement. We know not to mislabel people who never heard of HWA as Armstrongites just because of certain similar doctrines.

But, at the same time, we must name and define what we are discussing, and frankly, "Armstrongism" is as inoffensive a descriptive as we've ever found. For several years now, it has been the final product of an evolutionary process which started because of our desire to be inoffensive. The word itself is not a bad word.

Bottom line is that on a public blog or forum, the most offensive statements and ideas can also be the most thought-provoking ones. They can be the very key to investigating further, and for a seeker of the truth, that is of paramount importance!


Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Sorry to chime in late on this discussion. I agree with many of the commenters who have already posted.

To me, "Armstrongism" is an accurate adjective to describe a belief system - THE belief system to be more accurate of the Radio/Worldwide Church of God during the life of Herbert W. Armstrong from 1934 to 1986. It encompasses the entire package starting with the ONE TRUE CHURCH to Connie's observation of top down government and financial control. Its all the doctrines and booklets including "WHO WILL RULE SPACE?" and the pipe dream "THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF TOMORROW - WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE?"

It's the entire package with legs - British Israelism, Holy days, Sabbath, unclean meats, hair length on men, skirt lengths on women; etc. etc.

Armstrongism is a belief system and I believe the adjective describes it fairly and well.

Lake of Fire Church of God

nck said...

I would say Armstrongism is a variant of Sabbatarianism (if that means something).
It is Sabbatarianism flavored through the Millerite awakening movement and the rise of capitalism after the 1929 crash and the sudden impact of the American Empire after WWII.

I guess we here (all 14 of us) know what is coined by the term Armstrongism. When one starts to define it "until" 1986 one excludes all the successive nutcases. Which from an intellectual standpoint would be ok too, since I am pretty sure that HWA would have nothing to do with 99,9% of the nutcases that claim to have succeeded the throne.

The first time I thought about what constituted Armstrongism was in the late eighties and early nineties when it seemed all Sabbatarians were engaging in communications with the Armstrong Media Empire and perhaps unite under one umbrella. It was then that I started thinking about what "we"should retain as a legacy amongst those that believed the same more or less.

As I recall in my version it would have retained the "sense of urgency" and its media attraction. Probably in 2120 a Sabbatarian group will be much alike then making use of Virtual Reality technology and 3D printing of World Tomorrow type of Cities while propagating the erradication of world hunger through Cargill and Monsanto profitting from the force of the "Unseen Hand."


Anonymous said...

A year ago, I read a book about abusive Christian churches, and strict top down governance is common. The real issue isn't the top down governance as such, but rather that it should stop at the member level. The ministers are not to lord it over members faith, and are not to lord it over members lives. Their role should be that of teaching, the giving of advice if requested (with members having the right to reject the advice), and confronting and rebuking criminal behaviour.
In fact, members 'job description' and rights are given in the parable of the talents. The ministers disagree with Christ, and insist that every talent given to members is the rightful property of the ministers. The ministers label this grand theft of members lives 'administering Gods government.' In substance, they are administering Satans government.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

nck said, "When one starts to define it "until" 1986 one excludes all the successive nutcases. Which from an intellectual standpoint would be ok too, since I am pretty sure that HWA would have nothing to do with 99,9% of the nutcases that claim to have succeeded the throne".

MY COMMENT - nck, I thought about the Splinter Armstrong COG franchises when I wrote my post. None of them, to my knowledge, keep the pure classic Armstrongism belief system (1934 to 1986) that we experienced. Each one has deviated from the classic brand in some way or another. Inadvertently, my last sentence also defines Armstrongism as a "brand" - a brand of religion.

Perhaps the 700+ Splinters can be bucketized by brand - So we have branded Classic Coke (pure Armstrongism under HWA, maybe splinters such as Church of God the Eternal & Ritenbaugh's group); Coke Light (UCG & host of others); New Coke (Flurry, Malm, LCG, Thiel, etc, etc. ); Cherry Coke (the extreme nutjobs like Weinland). Some splinters can't be bucketized - I listened to the Late Ken Westby several times while he was alive for personal reasons as he was my local Church Pastor in Washington/Baltimore in the 1960s/1970s. He sounded nothing like the Ken Westby I remembered in terms of what he preached, and he certainly didn't preach "Armstrongism".

I couldn't agree with you more when you state "I am pretty sure that HWA would have nothing to do with 99,9% of the nutcases that claim to have succeeded the throne". Now that is the Plain Truth. Furthermore, I have read and heard statements from Mr. Armstrong in his last few years of life stating "THE WORK" in this age would end with him, and that the Church mission of Matt. 24:14 would be fulfilled with his life, and then the end shall come. He didn't specify a time, but in one of his last years of televised broadcasting (early 1980s) he did say something to the effect that if we don't see all these things happening in the next 10 to 15 years, you know he was a false minister and the truth was not with him.

Lake of Fire Church of God

Black Ops Mikey said...

The one really BIG thing unique within all the other characteristics associated with Armstrongism that people have completely ignored is that Armstrongism is a cult based on the focus of Herbert Armstrong idolatry, pretending to keep the Sabbath, Holydays, clean and unclean meats, with an autocratic hierarchical dictatorship, tithing, personal opinions raised to doctrine, is that it is a collective society containing a disproportionate segment of boozing alcoholics. The Founder was a boozing alcoholic, his son, second in command was a boozing alcoholic and most of the scattered wolves with their covens of sheep are also boozing alcoholics, along with a great percentage of the 'sheep'.

For many addicted to this horrible abusive cult, recovery begins when they stop drinking. Their minds clear up. They start to perceive what's wrong with the leadership and with the group and they leave.

You won't find a lot of sociology studies on boozing alcoholic societies. One wonders if the sociologists have something to hide and protect. Nevertheless, there are great segments of societies which have suffered under the domination of alcoholic abusers. Armstrongists need to recognize the possibility that they might be alcoholics and they must stop drinking immediately once and for all. If you need education on the topic, go look at for a guide. Of course, some will need medical help, especially if they are in the third and final stage of alcoholism just before death: One of the warning signs is hypoglycemia (of the which any number of you in the Radio Church of God / Worldwide Church of God in the 1960s and 1970s are familiar, even as you made a cottage industry in brewing wine and beer, and in a few cases, distilled the stuff and made the really hard stuff).

Herbert Armstrong founded a cult and the center of that cult was eating and drinking, the drinking part was in defiance to the standard practices of the CoG7 and that may have been a factor in his chafing to be free from any authority or control of those who would be his superiors in that organization.

Who knows whether or not there would have been incest if he had not been a boozing alcoholic. Dr. James Milam certainly opens up that possibility in his book, "Ending the Drug Addiction Pandemic: Discovering the Liberating Truth". Many people who are boozing alcoholics have moral turpitude because of their alcoholism and so it might be possible that if Herbert Armstrong didn't drink alcohol, he would not have been such an evil immoral man. Who knows what other effects abstinence would have had on him -- and on us.

This is a topic that everyone wants to avoid, but it is vital for the recovery of quite a large unknown segment of Armstrongism.