Herbert W. Armstrong bigraphy, stories - Evangelist

Herbert W. Armstrong : biography

31 July 1892 - 16 January 1986

Herbert W. Armstrong (31 July 1892 - 16 January 1986) founded the Worldwide Church of God in the late 1930s, as well as Ambassador College (later Ambassador University) in 1946, and was an early pioneer of radio and tele-evangelism, originally taking to the airwaves in the 1930s from Eugene, Oregon. Armstrong preached an eclectic set of theological doctrines and teachings that he claimed came directly from the Bible. These theological doctrines and teachings have been referred to as Armstrongism. His teachings included the interpretation of biblical prophecy in light of British Israelism, and required observance of parts of the covenant Law including seventh-day Sabbath, dietary prohibitions, and the covenant law "Holy Days".

Armstrong proclaimed that behind world events during his lifespan loomed various Biblical prophecies, and that he was called by God as an 'Apostle' and end-time 'Elijah' to proclaim the Gospel of God's Kingdom to the World before the return of Jesus Christ. He also founded the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, which promoted the arts, humanities, and humanitarian projects.Rader (1980), p. 21 Through his role with the foundation, Armstrong and his advisers met with heads of governments in various nations, for which he described himself as an "ambassador without portfolio for world peace."


Final years

In 1977 Armstrong, then in his 80s, married Ramona Martin, then 38, a long-time member and church secretary who had a 15-year old son from a previous marriage. The controversial marriage would last for only a few years. The Armstrongs separated in 1982 with Herbert Armstrong returning to live in Pasadena full-time, and the marriage finally ended in divorce in 1984. During pre-trial proceedings in the divorce case, Armstrong's lawyers had sought to limit evidence of a sexual nature regarding his prior incestuous conduct but his wife's attorneys said "it was crucial since the church leader alleged Mrs. Armstrong had breached an agreement of love and fidelity."

In his latter years, Armstrong stated that he did not know whether or not Christ would return in his lifetime but did know, based on the sequence of events in the Bible, that the Lord's return was approaching. He had long written of his belief that the primary sign to look for would be some sort of dissolving of the Eastern Bloc alliance under Soviet control, followed by those nations' subsequent incorporation into an eastern leg of a United States of Europe. In August 1985, Armstrong's final work, Mystery of the Ages, was published. He wrote that "time may prove this to be the most important book written in almost 1,900 years" Armstrong, Herbert. "Mystery of the Ages", 1985, p. xii- and called it a "synopsis of the Bible in the most plain and understandable language." It was more or less a compendium of theological concepts, as articulated by Armstrong, which included the notion that God deliberately coded the bible "so that it would not be understood until our modern time" Armstrong, Herbert. "Mystery of the Ages", 1985. p. 6-.

In September 1985, with his failing health widely known, Armstrong delivered his final sermon on the Feast of Trumpets in the Ambassador Auditorium. He spent his final days confined at his home on the college campus in Pasadena, California, on South Orange Grove Boulevard.

Almost until his final days, there was uncertainty about who would succeed Armstrong in the event of his death. The church's Advisory Council of Elders, acting on a clause in church by-laws added in 1981, was to select a successor after his death,Flurry (2006), pg 34 yet Armstrong reportedly worried about the ramifications if certain individuals, such as his son Garner Ted or evangelist Roderick Meredith were selected.Flurry (2006), pg 35Tkach(1997), Chapter 6 Finally, Armstrong opted to select the next Pastor General personally. Armstrong told the Church's Advisory Council of Elders of his decision to appoint evangelist-rank minister Joseph W. Tkach on January 7, 1986.Flurry (2006), pg. 36 Tkach had worked closely with former church executive Stanley R. Rader prior to Rader's retirement from active service with the Church, and had been ordained to the ministerial rank of evangelist along with Rader and Ellis LaRavia in 1979.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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