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Herbert W. Armstrong

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Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986) was a fundamentalist Christian radio and later televangelist who founded the Radio Church of God (later renamed the Worldwide Church of God) and Ambassador College (renamed Ambassador University after his death). His son Garner Ted Armstrong, rose to prominence in the church, but was later disfellowshipped after a number of scandals, including adultery.

Armstrong was originally in marketing and advertising, having a somewhat successful advertising business based in Chicago which failed during the Great Depression. This advertising background was reflected in Armstrong's writing style, which reads much like the bombastic and sensationalist advertising copy of that time.

Worldwide Church of God[edit]

Under Herbert W. Armstrong's leadership the Worldwide Church of God taught the usual Saturday worship and anti-Catholicism one might expect from a Church of God, Seventh Day splinter group. Differing from the Church of God, Seventh Day, he taught that the holy days listed in the Old Testament (cf. Leviticus 23, Deuteronomy 16) should still be observed by Christians, and that they depicted God's plan for the salvation of humanity. Differing from Seventh Day Adventists, he taught British Israelism and rejected a trinitarian view of God.

Following Herbert W. Armstrong's death in 1986 the Worldwide Church of God fell under the leadership of Joseph Tkach, and then at his death, his son Joseph Tkach, Jr.. Under their leadership, the church rejected many of Armstrong's teachings such as British Israelism, Biblical Holy Days, and Seventh-day Sabbath worship in favor of a more conventional fundamentalist Christianity. This led to most members leaving, some for mainstream Christian organizations, some to form or join preexisting splinter groups, and others to reject religion altogether.

Propagating his views[edit]

Armstrong's radio show The World Tomorrow, which later moved to TV, and his magazine The Plain Truth were heavily into Bible prophecy and interpreting current events in relation to his version of the end times, in which the United States, Britain, and Germany are supposed to play a central role. Unlike many fundamentalist evangelists concerned with the end times, Armstrong did not believe there would be a "rapture". Many evangelical Christians considered his group a cult in the theological sense and compared its theology to the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons.

See also[edit]