Worldwide Church of God History
Reviewing the 1970's era aids in connecting and analyzing the strategic events that have unfolded in the Worldwide Church of God. This is a transcript of the message (See RE-2) given by Kenneth Westby,1 former WCG evangelist, and is helpful for exiters of Worldwide Church of God, or any of the authoritarian splinters.
Certain evangelists and ministers in the 1970's showed they were willing to stand up for truth and the Word of God by confronting the abuses, double standards, cover-ups and destructive doctrines that had been destroying countless families. What happened? They were accused, slandered, called "servants of the devil" and terminated, or disfellowshipped.
More info about the 1970's era is covered in ESN's 1996 letter to author Janis Hutchinson; "Recapture True History" (OIU 2, Pt. 1); Robert Gerringer 1975 Letter to Charles Hunting; and Armstrongism: Religion or Rip-Off? (An Exposé of the Armstrong Modus Operandi) by Marion J. McNair (especially see chap. 17: "Doctrine--Battleground for Division" in the book).
Other testimonies which have exposed exploitations by WCG and leaders are: Richard Plache; "My Story" by C. Wayne Cole; "Firing & Disfellowshipping" by David L. Antion; Communiqué From The Council Requesting Garner Ted Armstrong's Removal and Jack Kessler 1981 Letter.
During the 1970's doctrinal issues were brought up time and again to the Armstrongs--many of the same doctrines that WCG many years later began changing when they said they began "studying into these things." David Covington in his 1996 resignation letter to Tkach, Sr. stated, "Almost all the doctrinal issues now being discussed were reviewed during the 1970's by WCG administration and suppressed when Herbert W. Armstrong put the church 'back on track.'"
UPDATE: In April 2009 Worldwide Church of God changed their name in the United States to Grace Communion International.
Note: A few non-pertinent comments (especially toward the beginning of the message) have been omitted.
Most of us became a part of the Worldwide Church of God not because we wanted to serve men, but out of personal loyalty to God and respect for His Word. But I think, after a period of time, there was sort of a conditioning process that took place in many lives where the respect and honor they had toward the Word of God and God was somehow diverted. The respect they had toward God after awhile became transferred to the human leaders or the human "head" of the church and the respect they had for the Word of God transferred to the "Work." So after awhile it was the human leaders and the "Work" that was looked to, even in some cases before God. I don't think any would have maybe admitted that, but it was a subtle type of thing that took place over a period of time, a period of conditioning that was quite subtle, but nevertheless very strong. And some, after a few years in the Worldwide Church of God, found that they had more loyalty to the organization and to men than to the Word of God. This was brought out, of course, when many doctrinal contradictions became very apparent and the people were willing to follow a man rather than the plain Word of God, and this is truly unfortunately.
So let's now get into some of the issues and take a look into the drama that was worked out in the lives of hundreds and hundreds of people over the past several years. I think we can certainly draw some powerful Christian lessons from the whole episode and I hope our confidence and faith in God and in sincere people of God will be strengthened more than it ever has in the past.
No Criticism Allowed in WCG:
Because of the very heavy authoritative structure in the Worldwide Church there were never clearly open avenues to discuss the problems facing the church, doctrinal problems, any vehicles for in-house, frank, open, constructive criticism.2 Often criticism was labeled as being "disloyal." Or, if people ever presented it to the Armstrongs, they were usually labeled as "servants of the devil," or "demon possessed," or "attacking the Work," or some type of character defamation was quite often indulged in. Frequently individuals who crossed the Armstrongs were fired on the spot. And this type of authority intimidation had its effect on open, honest communication. Many at the highest levels, and at times in the past, tried to be forceful with what they felt was a right point, or against some evil, or some mistake that was being made in policy. But they were usually put down promptly, or intimated, as far as their jobs were concerned. Some individuals who had worked closely with Herbert Armstrong had been fired not once or twice, or three times, but sometimes a half a dozen to a dozen times, and of course, re-hired later when they showed some type of contrite attitude, or maybe when Herbert Armstrong cooled down from the emotion of the time. But this type of authority intimidation definitely did stultify openness and candor. And at the management level of the church, at the higher levels of management, middle management, meetings were always considered disloyal if anything of a negative, or even constructive criticism, was brought up.
Open Meetings Began:
Through the Regional Director structure and through David Antion's leadership, for the first time, we felt free to face the problems and try to figure out solutions without thought of being disloyal or something, because we wanted to serve God. Most of us were in those positions because of our zeal. I had been in the ministry for many years myself at the time. Now I have actively served in the ministry for approximately 11 years, including my ministerial training; it's up around 15 or more years. And we were there in those positions because of our zeal and, in many cases, distinguished service of the past. We felt we had a responsibility toward the people and we had to deal with that if were going to be leaders in the church. So in our meetings we openly discussed the issues. They were not known just to us; they were known to most of the ministry, but now we were able to discuss them openly.
Some of the issues were, of course, the 1972 fiasco where Herbert Armstrong had set dates, year in and year out, for many, many, many years, prior to that time, targeting 1972 as the date when the church would flee to the place of safety, when World War III would break out. And, of course, 1972 came and went. This underscored the fact that in the past several years many in the ministry and in the church were coming to see that there were serious errors in our doctrines and prophecies, and that there was some shameful mismanagement in the churches and colleges' affairs.3 The past forty years had seen a long series of prophetic errors that had underscored a lack of real, basic Biblical understanding. It became extremely injurious to the church that so many based and planned their entire lives and their finances on these prophecies of Herbert Armstrong, often compromising their own family and compromising their example to the world, such as the 1972 affair.
I remember in the 1930's Herbert Armstrong was prophesying that Mussolini was leading us to Armageddon, as could be seen by the earlier Plain Truths. And then in the 1940's it was Hitler who was going to be the great Beast. Then in the `50's Hitler was still believed to be alive, but it was the seven times prophecy of Leviticus 26 that would leave the U. S. highways desolate in 1965, and World War III in 1972.4 And up until just a matter of months prior to 1972, Herbert Armstrong still thought there was better than a 50/50 chance we would flee in `72.
In the `60's, of course, the 19-year time cycles were emphasized, and these were basically based around Herbert Armstrong's private life. Absolutely no Biblical proof for it. And I've heard various analogies, all of which have been proven false. But how many lives were damaged in the meanwhile? How many people were compromised? How many eyes were taken off Christ and placed on dates? [How many] put confidence in an organization and an interpretation of a man? But the scars of 1972, of course, are going to linger in the lives of brethren and ministers for a long time to come. People who didn't buy homes when they could have, because they gave their money to the church; they felt there wasn't time left. They didn't save money, they didn't invest wisely in the future as a good steward; a good steward, following the Bible should do. To educate and train his children, provide for his family, take proper care of them.
Double Standards at Headquarters:
During these times, the brethren were continually being told to "tighten the belt," to "sacrifice," to go borrow--even at the banks--for another "crisis in the Work." Yet all the while there was this nagging double standard taking place, while the brethren, methodically, every month, paid their way into poverty in many cases, paid their way into penury, compromised their family's future, neglected their little children, set a miserable example for concerned relatives, and even to neighbors. Yet all the while those at headquarters and at the two other church campuses were being elegantly furnished in the finest of style, far above what would be considered normally first class. They were moving into $100, 200, 300 thousand dollar homes, and in some cases, like Garner Ted and Herbert W. Armstrong had three homes apiece, plus vacation cabins and retreats. And the combined assets and furnishings of those homes the Armstrongs had would have to be figured in the millions. This obvious double standard between the lifestyle of the hierarchy at headquarters and how the common sacrificing brethren were living from check to check became upsetting to those of us who were in the ministry. This high living basically took place--this jet-setting of the Armstrongs--took place in the late `60's and then really accelerated into the `70's.
Those of us who were busily going from house to house, visiting God's people were counseling ministers about the plight of the people, the financial plight and some of the other issues like divorce and re-marriage, were quite concerned when we saw what was taking place at headquarters and yet we saw how the people were. Yet, we saw what was continually required of them, and when suggestions were made to ease the burden on the people, they were rejected out of hand, given absolutely no priority in the spending of monies, or the concern for doctrine.
The college campuses had become virtual country clubs for the leaders, building expensive $100,000, $200,000 handball courts, fancy, padded locker rooms for the elite, and for the rest of the brethren out there, they were criticized and told don't, well don't buy physical things. Yet those who were leading the work were practicing a double standard. While the finances were, of course, being squeezed out of the brethren --they were being bled white--the Armstrongs were forming a fleet now of multi-million dollar aircraft equipment. All these many other lavish expenditures were always justified as being "necessary for the Work."
Well, this is just one of the areas of concern. But people were beginning to take a second look, particularly those in the ministers at some of the prophecies and blunders of the past. Herbert Armstrong prophesized China would attack India and it never happened. He prophesized Britain would not join the Common Market, but it surely did. And one prophecy after another proved false. It was becoming evident to all of us one thing for sure that Herbert Armstrong wasn't a prophet, yet there never was any apology made to the brethren for the mistakes that had been made, no honest candid remarks saying, "Well, brethren, I led you astray," or "Brethren, I am sorry. I'm sorry I placed such emphasis on these things." The brethren were once again reprimanded, once again told that they had set dates, and that they did these things, and Herbert Armstrong was, of course, exonerated.5 Well, there were so many doctrinal problems facing us that prophesy was just one. It showed the basic weakness of the organization. Its stress was on dates, on following a man, or a man's interpretation and not on the pure Word of God.
The Garner Ted Problem Not Handled Honestly:
Also about that time there was developing quite a credibility gap. Garner Ted Armstrong had been kicked out of the church by his father, and this only through much coercion and pressure from others. Then there was the subsequent cover-up, and none of this was handled in what could be considered an honest, Christian fashion. And those of us who were closer to the inside and knew the true facts involving the case saw some terrible scandalous handling of the Word of God and most, even to this day, have not been told the truth. The only little bit of truth that has gotten out in many areas has gotten out through the secular press, which was always ridiculed by the Worldwide Church6, but in this case told largely the truth of the matter. David Antion had originally brought the facts about Ted indiscretions, problems, long-standing sins, to Herbert Armstrong, and then waited patiently one year before Herbert Armstrong finally acted and put his son out of the church. And then only because he felt he had to because of the tremendous pressure. Then he was brought back very prematurely and there was never the supposed time of repentance fulfilled that he was supposed to have fulfilled.
But it became hard for us during this time--I say "us"--the regional directors and I'm sure many in the ministry, as well, who did know the truth--most were kept in the dark. But for those of us who did know the truth it was difficult for us to stand up and represent headquarters' policy; difficult for us to give the party line when, in fact, we knew the party line was not the truth. The reasons given for Ted's absence was that he was "overworked," which nothing could be further from the truth, because of this recreating, jet-setting lifestyle. And that he was just facing some kind of a "nervous breakdown" and the truth of the matter was never honestly dealt with. Instead, ministers stood up in the pulpit and told the people these things, which, of course, were not the truth.
HWA's "Commission" to World Leaders:
It was at this time, too, that Herbert Armstrong was now energetically beginning what he called "the greatest effort in the Work," "the new phase of the Work," this going about seeing world leaders on his jet aircraft. This was a very expensive maneuver and it's one that he said was the "great, new breakthrough in the Work" that this was "the way the world was going to be warned" and this was a "commission"--to fly in and give a little speech, and then fly out, and that nation now and all its people were warned and they could be summarily destroyed now by God in the coming holocaust without any blood put upon us. It was this very naïve interpretation of the Bible, basically the applying of Old Testament, prophetic analogies to a New Testament ministry; that in the O.T. certain prophets warned nations of impending physical calamity and they warned them for their physical deliverance. This type of an O.T. prophet's commission was now appropriated to Herbert Armstrong in the New Testament where it did not fit, nor was it properly interpreted at that. Many at the leadership level totally disagreed with this interpretation of the "commission."
Doctrinal Issues Become the Catalyst to Stand Up Strong:
At this time the Regional Directors began to logically process and categorize the problems we were facing. We tried to start off with some of the small ones we could handle first. Study projects were assigned that we could study and look into, whether it was authoritative, rank structure; whether it was the tithing problem, divorce and re-marriage, any number of important issues that were being faced. Reports and suggestions were beginning to be made. We discussed in long meetings, lasting many, many hours, and sometimes agonizingly. So the problems we were facing, and certain realities, became quite obvious. We had no authority to change a thing and the Armstrongs were not open to input from below unless it agreed with them. The ministry and the brethren, basically, were not priority items with the Armstrongs.
The doctrinal questions became the catalyst that I think gave all of us the strength and courage to stand up strong. And 1973 was the catalyst year and this year many major doctrinal problems came to the floor as never before. Divorce and re-marriage was one. Our multiple tithing system was another; healing, Pentecost, church eras, church government, commission of the church, "we only" syndrome, identity of Israel, and others. We had to deal with some of those.
Many ministers were put in the dark and many were contentious to preach the party line and would not entertain a questioning thought, thinking that would be disloyal. They were content to follow men, take orders, and many were even totally oblivious to the needs of the people and the doctrinal questions. But this wasn't true in all quarters. Some of the regional directors attempted to keep their pastors informed, taking a risk in so doing. This was one of the risks I took as I openly shared with my pastors the doctrinal issues being discussed, the problems, and the honest situation of the work at the time. Many of them could see that we were coming to some kind of a decision in the future, that we were coming to some kind of a moment of truth when we are going to have to find out once and for all, are we going to honestly serve God and the people, and put those priorities first?
Take the divorce and re-marriage issue, for instance. Here we had a doctrine that was totally unmanageable to administer. It involved the lawyer-like delving into each one of these complicated, and sometimes embarrassingly frank details of prior marriages, cases without...so many personal complications it would take teems of lawyers operating with a clear set of rules to ever come up to that kind of unified decisions. Yet our local ministers were put in this position where they had to decide who was bound to whom, and then they had to encourage the individuals to, in order to "obey God," separate. This often included moving a state away. Many of us sat in living rooms, their eyes filled with tears, as we separated mother from father, and child from parent, and it was very agonizing. When it became quite apparent to us that something was really wrong with this doctrine...is this the kind of fruit? The fruit was not good of the torn-up lives and the misery of these "spiritual widows" who now lived the single life the rest of their days and tried their best to take care of their children and were supported by a dole amount from the church, which was supporting this doctrine. These men which were now languished as bachelors, or they were "free" to marry, they were match-mated by the local minister, or some others, and encouraged to get married.
We anguished at this type of a doctrinal clause; we knew something was wrong, but not quite what. Then as we began to study into the subject it became very apparent that our teachings were grossly wrong. Some tremendous assumptions had been made on the part of Herbert Armstrong, some very poor scholarship and a strong stand on Matthew 5, the understanding of porneia, and this was the basis of Herbert Armstrong's doctrine on that subject that many of us had assumed it was true, and I think it was our fault for assuming that in the first place. I'm sure it was.
But nevertheless, now that we saw it was erroneous we were not going to continue any longer to tear daughter from father and son from mother and separate husband and wife. This was something that had to be faced immediately, plainly and quickly, and we couldn't "have patience" on this subject as we were asked to, but it was something that had to be faced. So we can see some of these doctrinal issues were forcing a moment of truth, forcing a time for us to frankly to stand up and be counted.
The Tithing Issue:
Tithing was another major issue...where our people were paying what some of us had found to be unscriptural. First, second and even third tithes, and this was greatly injurious. We were putting burdens upon the people. The Word of God talks about putting burden upon the people and not lifting a finger to take them off [Matthew 23:4; Luke 11:46], but yet putting more upon them.
Some have said we contrived issues and just made up all these issues. This certainly is not the case. Most of these doctrinal problems were clearly communicated to the Armstrongs; sometimes on a number of occasions. It was done verbally, it was done in print.
Memo to GTA Concerning Third Tithe Issue:
So let me just quote to you from a memo I sent to Garner Ted Armstrong in May of 1973. It's dated 5-31-73. The title of the memo is "POSSIBLE SCRIPTURAL ALTERNATIVES TO THE PRINCIPLE AND FOR ADMINISTRATION OF THIRD TITHE."
Quoting now from the cover memo to the lengthy 7-page memo on third tithe, which proved firstly that it was unscriptural and secondarily that our people were already paying a national third tithe through taxation welfare related programs and that this was an extra burden that need not be put upon the people. Quoting now:
Attached is a lengthy memo from me suggesting we change our policy on/in administration of third tithe. I feel we need the change for a number of very important reasons as the memo will explain. I'd like to see the church make the changes now for the right reasons rather than later with embarrassment and under pressure from the world. The point of this memo is to illustrate that our members are already paying a national third tithe in the form of welfare related taxation used for the stranger (that is, unemployed persons), fatherless, widow, and Levites. We are adding an extra burden upon our people that I do not feel necessary in these New Testament times. In spite of the few advertised cases, most of our members have to downgrade their standard of living in the third and sixth years. Many of our people have had to sell their homes or get a cheaper car, or do without many needed items, or go get a loan. Finances are a major concern issue among our people, It could develop into a moral problem. A change in our third tithe policy could help avert problems if we act quickly. New Testament scriptural proof for a third tithe policy is absent. The church needs to make a judgment on it.
We have gone over the three inch thick 1974 U. S. budget book [which I might add here comes out a year or so in advance every time] to get some taxation facts and breakdowns in welfare type programs. Most of that information I do not include in this write-up as it will easy to demonstrate our people paying at least 2.86 in national or state third tithe items. [That 2.86 annualized figure that third tithe breaks down to.]
I hope it is helpful and I will be happy to do more work on the subject if you are interested.
This was the cover memo to my third tithe 7-page write-up. Throughout the memo many Scriptures were used to prove the point of the unscriptural basis for third tithe and also I strongly throughout the memo that they remove this unnecessary burden from our membership to get in harmony with the Word of God and out of concern for them. This memo was prepared by many back here in the Washington region besides myself. We all contributed and worked with it together and I put it together finally and sent it to Ted Armstrong. Needless to say I received absolutely no acknowledgement or no response.
Shortly after the memo was sent in, I had dinner with Ted Armstrong at Mount Pocono during the Feast of Pentecost and discussed the same basic subject with him at that time. What was especially disheartening was that much of this third tithe money as being spent on luxury items for the leadership, for airplanes, for expensive houses, and many other such personal indulgences. There was absolutely no way you could justify a New Testament servant ministry living in such a high style above its people and knowingly levying this heavy tithe upon them when the evidence showed that it was unscriptural, and certainly whether it was scriptural or not, the use of those monies was unjustified and certainly paid disgrace to honesty. Those tithes and offerings were given in good conscious to do the work of the Lord and not to pad the pocket or insure some type of a king-like lifestyle for certain elite rulers.
Money Not Used to Build Churches:
During my Pentecost 1973 dinner with Garner Ted, I expressed to him the plight of the brethren, the financial burdens, our people didn't have local church buildings. This was a horse that seemed we were always getting on and every time it turned up dead. There were absolutely no priorities for it other than lip service and time and time again people would say, "Oh yes, we are going to do this," or Herbert Armstrong would hold the carrot out in front of all the members, saying, "Well if you give to this property fund so we can build a new monument out here in Pasadena, we'll get church buildings for all you people."7 Of course, it never took place. And, as millions and millions have poured into these school buildings there for these young students, the brethren out here who were footing the bill for all this had to meet in the Odd Fellows Hall, or be moved around from week to week from one rented hall to another because of hall conflict.
This was a problem we were having back here in a couple of our church areas where they could not rent a permanent hall to meet in. Sometimes in four weeks they would meet in four different halls. This was extremely discouraging to the people. It was without cause. Those of us in the management knew that the money was available to build buildings. I presented a plan, architectural drawings, showing that a whole lease-option-buy program for building churches could be inaugurated immediately with very little outlay. Over a period of time, everyone of our churches throughout the country could have a basic, utilitarian, practical building of their own. This was presented to David Antion to discuss with the Armstrongs, or Ted Armstrong, and every time, of course, lip service is paid, but absolutely no action takes place, because it's not a priority issue. The background feeling of the Armstrongs was that, well, if the people got their own church buildings, they would get their eyes in their local area and they wouldn't give enough money to do the work, which, of course, means support their projects.
Faith Placed in Men Instead of Christ:
At that dinner with Ted Armstrong I also told him that I felt we as a church, we as ministry, had oversold the Armstrongs as personalities and were guilty of establishing a personality cult. I felt it would be a whole lot healthier for our members to look just to Jesus Christ as the leader and more emphasis on following Christ rather than on following human leaders. I told him that because of the fact that he was recently kicked out of the church, I just underscored the fact that many people had put trust in men and then when they saw men dashed upon the rocks, as it were, it really shook their faith because it ought to have been in Christ and not in men.
Many others besides myself were instrumental in bringing issues honestly to the floor. Of course, we were penalized for it.
Memo to GTA Concerning Doctrinal Crisis:
Another memo sent to Garner Ted Armstrong, as well as David Antion, was from Jim Morrison (one of our directors here in the Associated Churches). This memo was dated July 31, 1973. It's entitled, "DOCTRINAL CRISIS: THE NEED TO FACE CRUX ISSUES."
Quoting now from the memo:
As many of us realize, we are now in the midst of perhaps the greatest crisis in the recent history of the Church of God. I am referring not to the financial situation. That is a remote, distant second, or maybe even third consideration. I am talking of the doctrinal crisis that many of us have seen developing for many, many months and is now fully upon us. The issues are major and monumental, paling into insignificance a single issue such as divorce and remarriage, or healing. The question is whether we will face it before it publicly blows in our face.
The time when our energies, our time, our emotional concerns have been largely devoted to financial matters, and organizational problems involving the mechanics of getting out the gospel, we find ourselves in a doctrinal and spiritual crisis. I'm convinced there can be no solutions to our financial and organizational problems unless we face the crux issues.
The thrust of the memo was the point that we do not really understand the New Covenant and this, of course, is crux to understanding the rest of the doctrinal issues that were facing the church; such things as make-up, or healing, and certainly tithing, and the identity of Israel--and on and on you can go. They all tie directly into the New Covenant, the New Testament, which is what Christianity is all about.
At the end of the memo Jim Morrison, his last two sentences, stated:
Someone must be willing to raise the questions--in faith--that God will guide us to a proper conclusion. At this time, nothing I feel is more urgent and more important.
As usual, no response. Other memos, were, of course, sent, too.
We in the ministry were not inventing the problems. They were there. Now, for the first time, we were just honest enough to admit them, or at least have the vehicle where we could discuss them and see them plainly and come to some conclusions and recommend some action. It was this area that we came to our decision that a moment of truth must come.
One of the researchers at Pasadena, Harry Eisenberg (sp), had written a paper on tithing during this time, in which he demonstrated that tithing was not obligatory under the New Testament. He was told plainly not to circulate that paper. It was threat with his job, if he did.
Years prior to that time, another faculty member brought up the make-up subject. The faculty member was fired and was labeled as "demon influenced." All he had done was showed that the church's interpretation of certain Old Testament verses was wrong.
Pentecost became an issue with many of us in the ministry, not so much as to the importance of the day itself, but rather the way it was being handled. This underscored the overriding issue of church government, because Herbert Armstrong stated that he alone had the right to determine which day was Pentecost, which day of the week it was to be observed on. We did not feel any man had that right. The Bible plainly spoke thousands of years ago as to what day of the week it should be kept on. Why should all the members in the church cue up behind a human leader and wait for him to give his proclamation when we have the Word of God to live by? We see no such example of this in the New Testament. So it was the means of handling doctrine that became of concern to us.
The healing booklet, as well, was a source of great concern. The booklet was recalled about 7 years or so ago, right after Mrs. Armstrong's death.8 Herbert Armstrong said that he was going to re-write the booklet personally. He wouldn't let anyone else do it, and yet the church was kept waiting around for him to get around to writing it up.
In the meanwhile, the old healing policy was basically taught that doctors were evil, that it was breaking the commandment on idolatry to go to a doctor and not trust in God. Christians who did go and get operations and all were basically regarded as "second class Christians." There was a tremendous double standard in this area. This is one of the many areas where double standards were so evident, where those "in the know" like those at headquarters, including Herbert Armstrong, other evangelists, took prescription drugs, had operations, received medical advice and treatment, and so on.9 Yet the people were living another way and taught by their local pastor another way. This information wasn't wrong to do these things was never communicated. Or the feeling was that if...principles along the line of letting people make their own decisions relative to doctors was communicated, it was basically that if one was weak he could go to a hospital or he could go a doctor. I know of dozens of cases where families let their children die who could have been saved. Others who refused a transfusion, or something, to a child, and the child to this day is retarded. Until the church more recently changed its decision on this subject.
Of course, no apology was ever given. Booklets were recalled right, left and center, and no explanation was given. The booklet on Who is the Beast?, 1975 in Prophecy, The Proof of the Bible, the healing booklet, and many others were recalled, many because of doctrinal errors. Yet no apology ever made. For instance, the right day of the Pentecost observation was brought to the attention of the Armstrongs over thirteen years ago by Ernest Martin. [Note by ESN: Ernest L. Martin died January 16, 2002] Of course, this was rejected out of hand. Criticism of Herbert Armstrong's book--that he plagiarized basically from a Protestant work--on The Proof of the Bible was shown to be in error. Not, of course, the Bible, because let me tell you right now it's not in error. It's just one of Herbert Armstrong's interpretations of an Old Testament prophecy--a couple of them--that are basically in error. Not the Bible. It stands pure and clean as it was originally given. But, nevertheless, he refused to accept that, but the booklet was finally recalled.
But this is the way doctrine was dealt with. It was only if somebody was willing to put their job on the line, or had to be fired, or the work was under pressure from the press, or some type of pressure from outside, would be the only way doctrine was faced up to and a decision made. And then generally it would be one of expediency for financial considerations and for the retention of authority, rather than for the good of the people, or even honest to the Word of God.
Pt. 1 | Pt. 2