OF RELIGION Field Guide to the

Herbert W Armstrong In His Own Words


The Myth & The Man

Questions about the Myth–Answers from the Man

Why question The Myth?
If you are unfamiliar with the ministry of Herbert W. Armstrong ("HWA"),
you may wish to click the above link to some  background material relevant to this page.

This material is part of a Field Guide profile of The Worldwide Church of God (WCG) Under Founder Herbert Armstrong. Click here to go to the main page of the WCG profile.


The following is from a list of questions regarding Armstrong's ministry. To see the other questions on the list, click on the link at the end of this page. Please Note: Red highlighting has been added to some sections to call attention to certain phraseology. CAPITALIZATION for emphasis was all in the originals as written by Herbert Armstrong. He was addicted to the use of capitalization in all his writing. All quotations are by HWA unless otherwise noted.


Q. 4     Didn’t Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) only start referring to himself as an Apostle in his last few years?


Member Letter 3/29/57

[Regarding Feast of Tabernacles plans]  ONE PARTING POINT! It seems God's people sometimes GET CARELESS,  and nearly every year, we have to hear of some accident that has occurred, which INJURES someone who is a member of God's own flock!  BRETHREN—DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN THIS YEAR! I call upon all  of you in the name of Jesus Christ, as God's Apostle, and your  Minister, BE CAREFUL!


Good News magazine  June-July 1958    (Herman Hoeh)

GOVERNMENT in Our Church

... How plain it is that GOD rules our Church. The congregations are ruled by the elders, who are ruled by the evangelists, and they are ruled by the apostle who is ruled by Christ who is ruled by God! All offices are appointive, by a superior office. It is government from GOD down to each individual member in the Church.


Q. 5 Didn’t Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) preach the True Gospel to world leaders just as Paul did in the first century?


Member Letter 7/30/73

God has shown me HOW to present it [his gospel]... as a sensational NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT that affects their country... in such a way that their newspapers will PUBLISH THE NEWS—PRINT WHAT I SAY… I believe I can proclaim this true [Armstrong’s] Gospel as something SO NEW—so  STARTLING—so SENSATIONAL—that it will get big headlines in newspapers…"

"It’s NOTHING LIKE what missionaries have taught in those countries! They will not recognize any connection WHATEVER. It will not appear as anything competitive to THEIR religions.

In Japan it will be thundered to them as direct from the CREATOR OF THE JAPANESE PEOPLE.  I will not say anything against their religions.  …

THAT’S OUR COMMISSION! Just the ANNOUNCEMENT of the soon coming KINGDOM OF GOD.. of course I must reveal this great announcement to these heads of state first…"


The following are comments on the above quotation by Marion McNair, one of the first men to be ordained as an evangelist in HWA's Radio Church of God. He left the organization and wrote the book Armstrongism-- Religion or Rip-0ff?


From page 60 of that book:


Did the TWELVE APOSTLES, when they came to the attention of rulers, hide the fact they represented Jesus Christ? Did they not say, when confronted, "… we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard… and they spake the word with boldness…" (Acts 4:19-20). Verse 2 of this  chapter shows exactly what they preached—"The resurrection of the dead through Christ Jesus."

But Armstrong does not represent Christ to the Japanese. He thunders to them as direct from the CREATOR of the Japanese people. Whatever false god they have in their minds is the one they will "believe" is sponsoring Armstrong. It could be Buddha, Confucius or the Imperial god (Shinto) but not Jesus Christ.

Is that what our Lord instructed? Did He say to go to a nation "in the name of its  god"? But rather through Paul, "… whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…" (Col 3:17)

… Jesus said, "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words… of  him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh…"

Christ wants His ministers to speak boldly in His name. He did not say, "Go ye therefore unto all the world and SNEAK the Gospel into every nation."



From THE JERUSALEM POST  newspaper 8/24/76


Jerusalem Post "Weekly" section, page 5

Herbert Armstrong has shuttled in and out of Israel and the Arab world in the last few years at a rate that would leave Henry Kissinger breathless.

Flying in his own executive jet,  the 84-year-old fundamentalist church leader and philanthropist has visited Israel alone 50-60 times since 1965. He has visited almost as extensively in Arab countries. Unlike  Kissinger, he has offered his Israeli hosts neither bitter truths nor hard alternatives—only goodwill and money.  It is an offer neither side has been able to refuse.

Mr. Armstrong’s current visit is in connection with a $250,000 contribution for a playground in Jerusalem’s Liberty Bell Garden…

… A decade ago, Mr. Armstrong began investing a substantial portion of the church’s wealth—each of its 80,000 heads of households tithes his income to the church—in charitable, educational or cultural projects in foreign countries. Since that time, he and Mr. Rader have been spending about two-thirds of their time abroad, generally meeting with the leaders of the countries they visit before deciding on a project. ..

The fact that religious Moslem states permit the foundation to operate in their territory—not to mention Catholic, Buddhist, and Shinto states—lends support to Mr. Armstrong’s claim that the church’s charity is unaccompanied by any attempt at proselytizing. "Fifty years ago I was sold on the idea that it was more blessed to give than to receive, " says Mr. Armstrong. "I’ve been putting that idea to work."


Compare the above Jerusalem Post comments to the following by HWA. This is him explaining why coworkers needn’t respond to urgent media appeals that year to send money to aid starvation victims in the Biafran famie.


Coworker letter  2/27/70

"THE APPEAL WAS TO TREAT THE EFFECT, NOT THE CAUSE!… THIS WORK OF GOD is DOING SOMETHING BIG AND IMPORTANT TO STOP THE CAUSE—to PREVENT MORE BIAFRANS from starving… you are having A PART  in spreading Christ’s Gospel… Right HERE is the MOST IMPORTANT WORK ON EARTH TODAY… GIVE generously as you are able.. The way to DO SOMETHING about the starving and dying in Biafra, India, Egypt, and other such areas suffering evils, is to DEAL WITH THE CAUSE, not the effect—to HELP IN THIS GREAT WORK OF THE LIVING CHRIST!"


 Member Letter  12/18/79

We arrived [in Red China] on Sunday evening, December 2nd. On Monday evening I spoke for about a half hour at a banquet in my honor, attended by prominent members of the government and their wives. Tuesday evening I spoke again before the Diplomatic Corps, including ambassadors—many with wives—representing 76 (SEVENTY-SIX) other nations from all parts of the world, beside a number of high-ranking Chinese...

[HWA, quoting a memo by Stan Rader about the meetings] ... "The Vice-Chairman undoubtedly had been advised of your strong comments Monday night and again on Tuesday night. I believe that he knew full well that the United Europe and the cataclysm that would follow were directly connected with your comments about the 'Strong Hand from somewhere' that would save mankind from complete destruction and would be man's salvation and only HOPE."


 Ministerial bulletin  6/3/75

Some weeks ago I authorized the formation of a new FOUNDATION—named the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation. It has become a necessary adjunct to this worldwide dimension of getting Christ's TRUE Gospel to the nations through heads of government…[a] whole new phase of the Work.

... One thing has been a serious handicap and caused me and my touring team no little embarrassment. We have had to say that we represent either Ambassador College, or Worldwide Church of God.

... This new Foundation is giving us great added prestige, credibility, and favor. It is something NO ONE CAN CRITICIZE. It doesn't sound 'religious' !



Q. 6     There may have been problems in later years, but wasn’t Ambassador College at one point "God’s College," created by the miraculous intervention of God and the boundless faith of its founder, Herbert W. Armstrong?


Introductory comments by the Field Guide webauthor on the documentation to follow:


If Ambassador College (AC) was considered nothing more to its supporters and students than "another religious school," a place for "church kids" to go instead of to their local state university so they wouldn't be exposed to the evils of evolution and porno novels in English class, then there would be no need to investigate its history.

If it was just another denominational college where young adults forged friendships, made memories ... had a "good time"... and learned some good stuff and prepared for a career while there, there would be no  impetus to question "what went on there" so long ago and far away.

However,  AC was "sold" to tens of thousands of tithe-paying, sacrificial-offering-paying, True Believers  as "God's College." Based on "God's Ways." Training "God's Ministers." Led by "God's Apostle" and "God's Leaders." Preparing young adults to be the "cream of the cream," to go back to local congregations of the Radio Church of God (later the Worldwide Church of God) and be the leaders of the "Church Today and the World Tomorrow."

There are many folks—including AC graduates—who honestly want to know ... Was it really "God's College"? Do they owe allegiance to those "ministers" who were trained at "God's College"? Must they continue, even after the institution is gone—allowed by God to crumble— to give allegiance ... and tithes ... to those trained there by "God's Apostle"? And do church leaders of groups descended from the Worldwide Church of God  have the "right" to demand loyalty ... and tithes ... from folks as the "inheritor" of the mantle of the man who created "God's College"? Was it created by the miraculous intervention of God and the boundless faith of its founder?

You are invited to view the following "Coworker Letters" sent out by Armstrong to his followers during the period when the college was being instituted, and come to your own conclusions. (All CAPITALIZATION for emphasis was in the original letters.)


Coworker Letter August 1947

Co-Workers, the work of God stands AT THE CROSS-ROADS!  It is in it's greatest crisis.  The fate of Ambassador College hangs in the balance.  We have not more than TEN DAYS to get STARTED on the structural changes, or it will be TOO LATE to start the college this year.  The crisis is NOW!  We are all going to answer in the judgment for what WE do, each of us, as OUR part in this crisis, NOW!  God surely blesses those who serve Him well!  NEVER has this work so direly needed large and generous offerings of $1,000 and up to MANY thousand dollars.  Several of you are ABLE, if you permit God to make your hearts willing.  Lay up treasure in heaven, while you may, and see how God blesses you for it!  And, again, NEVER has the need been so great so that the widows' mites will help so much as now.  Let each give as God has prospered and made possible, generously, even at sacrifice, as you are able -- and PLEASE RUSH IT AIR-MAIL, in the enclosed envelope!



Was that true? Will folks "answer in the judgment" for how well they responded to a financial appeal from that man in 1947?


Coworker Letter October 1947

This means EVERY SINGLE CO-WORKER MUST NOW STRETCH TO THE VERY LIMIT OF SACRIFICE AND SELF-DENIAL, in a supreme effort, with me, to raise this money at once.  We must ALL pitch in, to the limit of our ability!  I must now ask YOU, and EVERY single co-worker, to rise to the supreme effort to send in the very largest sum you possibly can, as a very special emergency gift for this great work at this time.  It's WORTH sacrificing for!  This world is marching on at a faster and faster pace toward IT'S DOOM! ...

...  few of our co-workers have helped us up to now by LOANING us money they have felt they could not GIVE ...  One has borrowed money on some property he owned, and we are making the payments to him to pay his bank, as the payments and interest come due.  Some have sold bonds, or securities, and loaned us the cash, to be paid back in the manner that fits the needs of each one in each case.  We need now to borrow several thousand dollars more on this basis....

If you can LOAN the work anywhere from one to ten thousand dollars—or even $500 or less, please SEND THE MONEY AT ONCE AIR- MAIL, stating in your letter how you wish to be repaid—whether beginning now, or a year or two or more from now—whether by the month, or quarter, or how -- and in what amounts each payment.  If you want interest, tell me what rate.  As a minister of Jesus Christ I must say to you that God, in His Word, forbids Christians to receive interest from Christians—the whole interest and usury system is condemned in the Bible.  But Israel was permitted to PAY interest, and even to RECEIVE it from Gentiles, so a Christian can PAY it if demanded, or receive it from a non-Christian, if he deems that circumstances warrant.  I could never RECEIVE interest from any of you, but God does permit me to PAY it if you, after I have mentioned this Bible teaching, desire it—so just state your own wishes in the matter.  So if you can borrow money FOR us on some security you have—on property, or on securities or other investments—or if you have bonds to sell, or savings you can put to work for God, getting it back, if and when you need it, please send the money at once by return mail, stating how you want it repaid, and I will immediately make out a note binding our corporation to repay it on whatever terms you state, and mail it to you.  And WITH it, send the largest offering you can GIVE.



Coworker Letter  December 1947

YOU, dear Co-Worker, are not going to be permitted to enjoy your home, your freedom, your present privileges and pursuits, many more years.  Just a few more years—perhaps six or seven—perhaps twelve or fifteen—and a re-united Fascist-Nazi Europe will STRIKE—America's great cities will be blown out of existence in one night without warning...

I tell you, ON THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST, IT IS COMING!  Many of you NOW, are in financial condition to DO A LOT MORE than you are doing for GOD'S CAUSE—to help me get out this Message over the air, and in print—to help me train and prepare talented, able, consecrated young men and women for THEIR part in soon carrying this vital message to THE ENTIRE WORLD—into EVERY NATION!

One consecrated co-worker and his wife are mortgaging their home in order to place a few more thousand dollars in this mighty work that more millions may be warned!  At first I shrank from accepting money under such conditions -- but when we remember that in a few years NONE OF US will be living in our present homes—EVERYTHING material we possess now will be swept away from us, and we shall then be either in that haven of safety under God's divine protection, or else dead or in slavery worse than death—and when we consider further that this brother and his wife are not deprived of their home, but merely PUTTING IT TO WORK FOR GOD'S GREAT CAUSE, while they enjoy it and live in it, too—then it appeared in a different light, and we could do nothing but accept it, to use it for God's honor and glory...

TIME IS SHORT!  It is fast running out!  Soon we shall come to the time of the prophesied FAMINE OF HEARING THE WORD OF THE ETERNAL—the time when world forces will no longer PERMIT the preaching of God's Truth!

No man can know exactly how long.  This much we DO KNOW—it is now NEAR, even at the very doors, according to prophecy—it will strike DURING THIS PRESENT GENERATION—it cannot now be more than A FEW YEARS...

I know that TIME IS SO SHORT, there was not enough time to delay the opening of AMBASSADOR COLLEGE even one more year. That is why God moved with MIRACLES to make the IMPOSSIBLE happen for us, so we could start, as we did, this fall!...

This work needs your greatest sacrifice—it needs all you and every other co-worker can give. It needs MORE than you can give—it still needs the LOANS from many who are in position to put money they may need later INTO GOD'S WORK where it can be WORKING FOR GOD until needed, when we can pay it back.  Especially do we need more LONG-TERM, and LARGE loans—that is, of from one to ten thousand dollars—even more, over a long period, not to be paid back for two, three, five years or more.



Was it true in 1947 that "in a few years NONE OF US will be living in our present homes—EVERYTHING material we possess now will be swept away from us, and we shall then be either in that haven of safety under God's divine protection, or else dead or in slavery worse than death—"?


No matter how  "sincere" Herbert W. Armstrong was in his pontifications at that point, he was dead wrong. And all those people who mortgaged their homes to support the beginning of Ambassador College because they believed his false prophecies that there were only "five to seven... or fifteen" "years to go"... sold their own family's future financial security for an illusion.


Was it, after all, "God's College"?


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Unless otherwise noted, all original material on this Field Guide website
is © 2001-2011 by Pamela Starr Dewey.

Careful effort has been made to give credit as clearly as possible to any specific material quoted or ideas extensively adapted from any one resource. Corrections and clarifications regarding citations for any source material are welcome, and will be promptly added to any sections which are found to be inadequately documented as to source.

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