Exit and Support Network

Mystery of the Ages (a critical review)

By Kelly Marshall

 

Chapter One - Who and What is God?

Herbert Armstrong knew that if the reader couldn't discern his bogus claims about himself in the first two parts of the book, he has his foot in the door. He knows he has stoked our curiosity, waving these tempting pieces of knowledge in front of our hungry noses, and now he will begin to give us the juicy tidbits. This chapter should be renamed, "Confuse Them With Details," because HWA inundates the reader with a deluge of information so they can't digest it all. This is done so the reader will be awed by HWA's vast knowledge. We begin to think that maybe this man is getting his information straight from God's mouth since he seems to know so much and speaks with such confidence (something we lack at this point because we don't know our Bibles).

HWA spends the first part of this chapter in his usual manner of discrediting any and all authorities for not understanding (his version of) who and what God is. He lumps all of mankind, as well as all denominations, into this category. The second half of the chapter will be spent setting up the reader to examine carefully selected Bible Scriptures to prove HWA's theories correct (which he calls "TRUTH"). He will also begin planting the thought that there is a true church that not only is small, but "persecuted" so anyone who disagrees with him is in alliance with Satan, and persecuting God's only church.

Before continuing, let's try to understand what exactly did we know before coming into contact with this book.

  • Before I read MOA, or had any contact with Herbert Armstrong literature:
    1. I had a thorough understanding of the Bible.
    2. I occasionally read the Bible, but mostly the NT gospels since the other books were confusing and/or boring to me.
    3. I went to church as a kid, and knew that Genesis was the first book of the Bible, and Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, and I knew about Noah's Ark and the Flood; I knew Jesus was in the NT, and that He died for my sins; other than that, I really didn't know that much about the rest of the Bible.
    4. I never read the Bible

  • Before I read any Herbert Armstrong literature:
    1. I knew what an Apostle was. I was fully knowledgeable in discerning the difference between a true Apostle and a false prophet.
    2. I knew Paul was an Apostle, but I never was really sure what that meant, except it was an important title.
    3. As a youth, I learned in church that Jesus had 12 disciples.
    4. I never even heard of the word "Apostle," nor understood what it meant.

  • Before I came into contact with Herbert Armstrong literature:
    1. I fully understood the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
    2. I knew about the Godhead while partaking of the Holy Communion, but I never really understood exactly what it meant.
    3. As a youth in church, I remember hearing about the Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit, but I never understood that they were called the Trinity or Godhead.
    4. I never heard of the Trinity or Godhead.

  • I would say my experience with church history:
    1. Has been thorough; I completely understood the history of the church from the time of Jesus through today.
    2. Has been familiar; I knew something about Catholicism and the Protestant Reformation, the Crusades, Judaism, and Islam from school or church.
    3. Has been scant; I learned in Sunday School that Jesus founded the Church, but I was never really sure what that meant.
    4. Has been non-existent. I knew nothing about it.

The answers to this quiz should give you an idea of what you understood before coming into contact with this book (or any other HWA literature). When you understand how little you actually knew before you read this book, then you can understand why you were easily influenced.

In sales, the motto goes: "When something works, stay with it." We learned that HWA used repetition to implant thoughts in an unsuspecting reader's mind, and this chapter is no different.1 He uses the phrase "WHO AND WHAT GOD IS"2 sixteen times, making sure that this topic, with all his answers, is firmly planted in the reader's mind. Carefully observe the same pattern of logic he uses with this question. He will first discredit everyone, and then point to himself (and will now include the church he founded) as the only ones who understand. He claimed that:

  1. Billions are willingly ignorant (but God is not judging them now) .
  2. Mankind is deceived by a super deceiver (Satan, revealed in the next chapter).
  3. The most highly educated and scholarly don't know who and what God is.
  4. Nobody in the past knew, and nobody today knows.
  5. Man is passively hostile against God.
  6. Only the small and persecuted church founded by Jesus knows and believes (what HWA says about Him, and His true mission).

HWA tells us that not only does man not know anything about God, but that he doesn't want to know, and by this, man is willingly ignorant. He claims his theory is an astonishing truth (p. 33).3 From this, he claims that that "one explanation, only, is possible!" (p. 33). And of course, he is the one who has the only possible explanation! Can you begin to see the pattern?

He pronounces this universal deception as fact, and introduces the notion of an enemy "DECEIVER." Yes, Satan is a deceiver and a liar, that is true, but notice how he carefully lumps mainstream Christians together with unbelievers. He does not teach the Biblical definition of believers (those who accept Christ as their Savior) and unbelievers (those who don't). Instead, he teaches that everyone outside of his church (those who don't believe his particular doctrines espoused in this book) are unbelievers, and deceived by Satan as well. Once they are in a mainstream church, they are called "counterfeit Christians."

On page 35, HWA brings out the fact that education is about memory instillation. But there are two things he fails to point out. One is that much of the memory work done by students is FACT—spelling, reading, writing, grammar, mathematics, chemistry, physics, etc. Without them, the student cannot function in society. Memorizing facts, whether true or false, does not mean that the individuals never grow up and have an opinion! Regardless of what we are taught as children doesn't mean we don't change our views as we get older. (HWA in later chapters will teach that God gave man a "free mind" to think his own thoughts, but here he paints a picture that man does nothing more than accept every error he is taught in school without question.) He avoids giving credit to the many scientists, inventors, researchers, etc. that have made amazing discoveries that have made our lives more comfortable and enjoyable. (Remember, he does not want them to have any semblance of credibility). Second, he speaks against modern education that is espousing evolution4, but fails to mention Creation Science, and the many scientists who are Christians and are not advocating evolution. (Again, the pattern of not giving credit where credit is due is repeated. He doesn't want anyone to go looking anywhere else, except to him, for answers.)

In spite of our educational system, God can save anyone, anytime, anywhere. But HWA isn't interested in revealing this to you—his only interest is revealing the gospel as "the only true message that HWA preaches."

Let's imagine for a moment that HWA is truly God's divine messenger. In Matthew 28, Jesus commissioned His Apostles to "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..." Did HWA do as Jesus commanded when he went before the largest nation on earth? Let's see in his own words what he says:

I did not tell them who and what God is, but I did tell two large and important audiences of leaders what God is very soon going to do—and I announced this forthcoming book… (p. 36)

So God sent HWA all the way to China, not to baptize anyone, nor even teach them about Jesus (or the Holy Days and Sabbath which he insists is vital for salvation), but to promote his forthcoming Mystery of the Ages book. How can these nations be nothing but ignorant if God's very own Apostle doesn't share the gospel with them?

Contrast this with the actions of God's Apostle, Paul. Let's see if Paul was obedient to the Great Commission in Matthew 28 when he enters two great nations at that time. In Acts 17, Paul arrives in Thessalonica. Does he hold back the name of Jesus while visiting this pagan nation?

Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you is Christ. (vs. 3) [emphasis mine]

And when Paul entered Athens, what did he do?

Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? Other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. (vs. 18). [emp. mine]

How can God's modern day Apostle ignore this, especially in this supposed "end time"? On page 37, HWA says that India and Russia know nothing about God. It is evident that he does not acknowledge Christian missionaries who have taken the gospel to India, nor does he recognize the "underground church" in Russia, or Russian Bible Society (P.O. Box 6068, Asheville, NC 28816; the oldest established mission to what is now called the Commonwealth of Independent States). He claims that, "God is not judging them NOW…neither is he condemning them." He continues to state that ancient peoples (Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, etc.) did not know who/what God is, and neither do they know today. Now let us carefully observe a contradiction in HWA's own writings.

On page 32-33, HWA quotes Rom. 1:18-22 (Revised Standard Version):

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew [about] God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools. [emp. mine].

HWA italicized the words "suppress the truth" in order to prove his worldwide conspiracy theory (that Satan controls the whole world's thinking by suppressing the truth through organized religion, education, and government), which will be revealed in later chapters. Right now, HWA is just planting a seed to water later. Without realizing it, he has printed a Scripture that contradicts his own theory that men are ignorant of God!

So let's examine this again: HWA claims that:

  1. Billions are willingly ignorant (but God is not judging them now).
  2. Mankind is deceived by a super deceiver (Satan, revealed in the next chapter).
  3. The most highly educated and scholarly don't know who and what God is.
  4. Nobody in the past knew, and nobody today knows.
  5. Man is passively hostile against God.
  6. Only the small and persecuted church founded by Jesus Christ knows and believes (what HWA says about Him, and His true mission).

The Scriptures reveal that:

  1. What can be known about God is plain to them because God has shown it to them. (Billions know.)
  2. What can be known about God is plain to them because God has shown it to them. (Billions know.)
  3. Ever since the creation of the world (people in the past, people today) His invisible nature, namely, His eternal power and deity has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.
  4. They knew about God (the highly educated and scholarly; in other words everybody), but did not honor Him or give thanks to him.

The Bible says mankind is without excuse, but HWA says they have an excuse. Who are you going to believe?

WHAT IS GOD'S APPEARANCE?

On pages 46 HWA says that "God is composed of spirit and not of visible matter," and then goes on to contradict himself by saying, "God nevertheless does have definite form and shape."

In various parts of the Bible, it is revealed that God has a face, eyes, a nose, mouth and ears. He has hair on his head. It is revealed God has arms and legs. And God has hands and fingers. ... God has feet and toes and a body. God has a mind... If you know what a man looks like, you know what is the form and shape of God,... (p. 47)

HWA received this teaching from the Mormons: "I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image and very form as a man. . . ." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345). HWA is greatly in error. I Timothy says, "Who alone has immortality, dwelling in light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can [dunatai] see to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen." The Greek word, dunatai denotes "capability," therefore no man is capable of seeing God the Father, who is invisible.

THE TRINITY

On page 40, HWA states, "The word trinity is not found in the Bible, nor does the Bible teach this doctrine."5 Does the absence of the specific word "trinity" mean that concept doesn't exist? Let's use HWA's own logic to see whether this holds true: Did you know that the words Millennium, wonderful world tomorrow, family of God, and Government of God (or God's Government) doesn't exist either? Yet every one of these is a major doctrine that HWA espouses as "truth." So using his own methods, it would mean that these doctrines or concepts aren't in the Bible because these specific words aren't in the Bible!

Under the subtitle, "God in Prehistory" HWA springs a surprise on the reader by informing them that Genesis 1:1 is not the beginning of the Bible, but that John 1:1-4 is. HWA makes it seem as if he is revealing unique information, when in reality, Biblical Christianity has always understood about Jesus being "the Word [who] was made flesh, and dwelt among us…" This only comes as a surprise to readers who aren't Bible savvy.

On page 41, HWA intentionally avoids using the words "Holy Spirit" when discussing who "sired" Jesus:

He was made God's Son, through being begotten or sired by God and born of the virgin Mary.

Let's see what the Bible has to say about this:

Mary…was found with the child of the Holy Spirit (Matthew1:18)
The angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. (v. 20)

In order to construct his "Two Personages" theory, he purposefully omits quoting these Scriptures until he can first convince the reader that the Holy Spirit is merely the power of God, and that God is a Family made up of two persons. This is outright deception. HWA made his followers believe that they were using the "whole Bible" when, in fact, they weren't!

Notice that HWA quickly launches into the personage of Melchisedec (p. 42), which he claims to be Christ. We can see that HWA spends a lot of time talking about God the Father, and Jesus the Son, and plainly omits discussing the Holy Spirit. In doing so, he builds a one-sided picture that there were only two Beings in existence since no Scriptures about the Holy Spirit are mentioned. Talk about "suppressing the truth"!

At this point, HWA begins to introduce the God Family concept, and that humans will be born into that family (and become God, which the reader will discover later). HWA lays down another enticing nugget:

That family is composed, now, of God the Father, and Jesus Christ his Son, and many begotten humans who already, NOW, are begotten SONS OF GOD…forming the Church of God. (p. 43)

Although he uses the correct Biblical wording, "Sons of God," he will later attach the incorrect concept that man's incredible human potential is to "become God as God is God." This elite group of begotten humans is, of course, forming the Church of God (but not just any Church of God, as the reader will later discover. It must be the one HWA founded).

Now notice carefully the pattern used in the upcoming text. The word "two" or "Two Personages" will be emphasized, while the word "three" or "Trinity" will be cast in" negative terms. Let's look at these quotes from HWA:

  1. So here we find revealed originally two Personages (p. 41)
  2. Long before anything existed, there did exist two Supreme Beings (p. 43)
  3. Two Persons – not three. (p. 43)
  4. …God's Word reveals….two supreme Personages – coexisted always…(p. 44)
  5. …those two Personages coexisted and NOTHING ELSE did. (p. 44)
  6. Is God, then, limited to only two Persons? (p. 45)
  7. Two can't together except they be agreed….Also, two can't walk together in continuous peace except one be the head, or leader, in control. (p. 48)
  8. …and each of these TWO Persons is God (p. 50)
  9. Finally, in briefest summary: God is a FAMILY composed at the present of TWO Persons of John 1:1-4….(p. 57)

Now observe what HWA says about the Trinity:

  1. But the generally accepted teaching of traditional Christianity is that God is a Trinity…(p. 40)6
  2. The word trinity is not found in the Bible, nor does the Bible teach this doctrine. (p. 40, and repeats this on page 54)
  3. Two Persons—not three. (p .43)
  4. No third Person is mentioned – no "Ghost." (p. 44)
  5. The false Trinity teaching does limit God to three Persons. (p. 45)
  6. The Trinity doctrine limits God to a supposed three Persons. It DESTROYS the very Gospel of Jesus Christ! (p. 51)
  7. The Trinity doctrine, by contrast, is the doctrine of the great false religion called in Revelation 17:5 "Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth." (Once entering HWA's church, the reader will be enlightened that this mother is the Catholic religion, and the harlots are the Protestant religion). (p. 51)
  8. By that doctrine, along with others, Satan has DECEIVED all traditional Christianity. (p. 51)
  9. The generally accepted teaching of traditional Christianity is that God is a Trinity—God in three Persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.7 (p. 51)
  10. How did this "Trinity" doctrine enter traditional Christianity? (p. 51)
  11. God has not limited himself to a "Trinity" (p. 54)
  12. The very first idea or teaching about God being a Trinity began the latter half of the second century—a hundred years after most of the New Testament had been written. (p. 54)
  13. There is only one small passage in the Authorized Version of the Bible that is generally used by Trinity adherents to support the Trinity doctrine. (p. 55)
  14. The Trinity doctrine completely does away with the gospel of Jesus Christ. (p. 56)

Can you begin to see how you were set up to believe that the Trinity is tainted? If you had no background in Scripture, can you see how easily one can become influenced by his negative representation of the Trinity?8

Here is another area where HWA contradicts himself. Notice the argument in point No. 11 above. HWA bases the idea of the Trinity as being false because it was taught 100 years after the NT had been written. If this is how we are to judge false doctrine—by the amount of time that they appear after the NT was written— then what about doctrines that appear 1900 years after the NT was written? Yet, HWA, in his own words, declares that his teachings are true, and we are to believe him, even though his teachings came centuries after the NT was written!

Read: Coping With the Holy Trinity (Don't Reject Things Because They Are Hard to Understand) and Is the Trinity Pagan? [offsite articles]

Now let's examine point No. 12. HWA grossly misrepresents the number of Scriptures about the Trinity by making the reader think that there is "only one small passage" that Trinity adherents use to support this doctrine. If HWA was sent by God, then would it stand to reason that he would tell us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Check out the article: Is the Holy Spirit Only the Power God? to see whether there is only ONE Scripture, or are there literally dozens of them? Once again, this demonstrates how HWA clearly misleads the reader.

II Timothy 3:16 states, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" HWA openly violates this by giving the reader "certain Scriptures" about the Holy Spirit (the ones that prove that the Holy Spirit is merely "the power that responds," the doctrine he promotes). Would God's true messenger hold back any Scriptures? If the Bible says "all scripture is given by inspiration of God," then His messenger would have nothing to fear by giving the reader all of them. That would include all the Scriptures that would depict the Holy Spirit as a Divine Personage. Why would "deceived traditional Christianity" display all the Scriptures concerning the Spirit? Who is doing the deceiving here?

CHURCH HISTORY AND THE QUARTODECIMAN CONTROVERSY

HWA is banking on the fact that most readers of his literature are not familiar with church history. He knows that anyone who is knowledgeable of church history will instantly spot his errors and go no further into his book. But that doesn't bother him, because his focus is on those who are inexperienced in biblical history and are unable to substantiate his claims. He also knows that most people don't have ready access to lexicons, Bible dictionaries, Bible Commentaries, etc., which hinders further research, and that many are easily intimidated by the vast volumes of ecclesiastical references, and probably will not bother to look up the facts themselves, especially if the information he presents looks convincingly authentic. Once HWA convinces readers that these "mysteries" are "truths," he will then convince readers that their lack of historical knowledge is "proof" that these "truths" have been suppressed! It is a very clever set up to the unwary reader. We have seen how HWA exclusively quoted scriptures to support his beliefs about the Trinity, while omitting those that didn't. He resorts to the exact same methods when representing church history.

Before looking at the historical facts, the reader needs to understand that there is an underlying reason for HWA to bring up history in the first place. One of the characteristics of a false religious leader is their "sacred roots," and all Bible-based cults use church ancestry (or apostolic succession) as "proof" of their divine appointment. Once a person enters the group, they will be taught that they can trace their church origins to the day of Pentecost. From there, they will claim to be direct descendants of the original apostles, traceable through history up to this present day. This also positions HWA as the "unbroken lineage" of the apostles, equal to Peter and Paul and, like the apostles, above reproach, and one to whom complete trust is given.

HWA paints a dire picture of early church history. He does this in order to provoke an emotional response. He knows that once a person invests their emotions in a cause, they begin to care and want to take action. He misguides and exaggerates Satan's influence in the church, and paints a picture of cosmic war and ultimate sacrifice—the big, universal, "false church" raging against the innocent "little flock." HWA evokes feelings of fear; i. e., You must be sure this brand (Mark of the Beast) is not upon YOU—lest you suffer the consequences! You better join the small flock and you better do it SOON!9 HWA is engaging in typical sales tactic: Buy it NOW or it will be gone forever—you don't want to miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity! Only he ups the ante with, "Your very life depends on it!"10

What really did happen in church history? Paul was commissioned to preach the gospel to the Gentiles (Romans 15:16; Galatians 2:7-8), while Peter and James concentrated on the Jewish nation. (However, Peter was the first one to go and preach to Gentiles.) But HWA made us believe that Peter was the chief or "head" apostle and all the other apostles reported solely to him. Peter supposedly made all the "final decisions" in the church whenever there was a dispute. This is simply not true, even hundreds of years later in early church history. There was no single ecclesiastical "leader" who made exclusive doctrinal decisions and enforced them on the others. In his journeys, Paul ordained leaders (who were later called "bishops") to care for converts. There were bishops in Rome, Smyrna, Syria, Antioch, Alexandria, Ephesus, etc., and the churches in each area were autonomous. When a bishop had held any primacy, it was over other bishops in his particular region. He deserved the authority because of his age and experience, and he was usually taught directly by an apostle. We will see this more clearly when we look at the writings of early church fathers and historians. So we see the gospel was being spread throughout the known world just shortly after the death of Christ.

It will be worth the reader's time to go through the historical documentation to prove for themselves that HWA omitted large portions of history in order to piece together his contrived theories of the early church evolving into the great false church, Mystery Babylon. It will prove what a charlatan HWA was. The early church fathers actually praised the Trinity—not Sabbaths and Holy Days—as they were being martyred for Jesus Christ. This is quite a testimony, yet HWA wouldn't acknowledge it! Since this is too lengthy to add to this review, be sure and read my research article: Did Herbert W. Armstrong Distort Historical Church Documents.

Only HWA and his authoritarian offshoots make a big deal out of the Quartodeciman Controversy, using it as "proof" that the early apostles were commanded to keep the Passover on the 14th. They do this in order to "prove" that their churches are direct descendants of the early apostles, from which their authority is derived. They intentionally misquote and misrepresent the facts to make their claims seem true. The Passover is the shadow of the reality and that reality is Christ Jesus, our Lord.

The majority of the early church observed the resurrection on Sunday, while a minority in Asia observed the Passover on the 14th. My research on the Nicene Council Concerning Easter is in the research article, Did Herbert Armstrong Distort Historical Church Documents?

HWA claimed he was commissioned by God to bring the "only true gospel" but instead he resorted to misquoting and misrepresenting facts, twisting both scriptures and history in order to deceive innocent people into his organization.

COUNTERFEIT GOSPEL

Who is this fearless and noble "Dr. Arius"? Let's observe the glowing remarks HWA has made about this valiant man:

About the same time another controversy was raging, between a Dr. Arius, of Alexandria, a Christian leader who died A.D. 336, and other bishops, over calling God a Trinity. Dr. Arius stoutly opposed the Trinity doctrine, but introduced errors of his own. (p. 54)
The bracketed words [in I John 5:7-8 in the KJV11] were added to the Latin Vulgate during the heat of the controversy between Rome and Dr. Arius and God's people. (p. 55)

So we clearly see from HWA's own words that this Arius:

  1. Was a doctor from Alexandria
  2. A Christian leader
  3. Opposed the Trinity doctrine
  4. Introduced "errors" of his own
  5. Had God's people on his side as he went against Rome

Is this true? What does history have to say about this man? Believe it or not, this "Dr." Arius is none other than Arius of Alexandria, who is the father of Arianism, a heretical teaching that not only opposes the Trinity, but opposes HWA's doctrines as well! Arius believed the Son (Jesus) was created out of nothing and is a finite being and that He was created before everything else. In other words, Arius contradicts everything HWA stated on page 43:

The only point of the difference in that analogy is that the Word, at the time of John 1:1, was not, yet the Son of God. But he was with God, and he also was God.
Long before anything else existed, there did exist two Supreme Beings, immortal, who ALWAYS had existed.

Herbert Armstrong tells us that God and the Word always existed, and that the Word also was God. But Arius taught that God had always existed, but then created the Word, who didn't exist until God created him! Arius taught that Jesus was not God the Son, but God's first and greatest creation, and that he was used in creating everything, including the Holy Spirit. Arius' teachings completely contradict HWA's teaching, and yet HWA calls him a "Christian leader" (implying that Arius was the true servant of God, while the other bishops who opposed him were instruments of Satan)! Notice how HWA casually admits that Dr. Arius introduced "errors" of his own. Did you catch that? Why would a true servant "introduce errors"? Did Peter, Paul, James and the other apostles "introduce errors" of their own? Yet, HWA paints a heroic picture of this Arius, whose teachings were condemned as heresy at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. Ironically, the Nicene Creed says in part, "We believe…in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten from the Father, only begotten, that is from the substance of the Father…begotten not made, of one substance with the Father…" So the Nicene Creed that HWA vehemently opposes, actually agrees with his teachings more than Arius did!

As an interesting side note, Arius never held the title "Dr."; HWA got this errant title from the Church of God 7th Day (Dugger/Dodd) from which he was disfellowshipped. Arius was merely a priest from Alexandria, under Bishop Alexander at the time. When Alexander died, Arius openly promoted his heretical doctrines. It was Athanasius who succeeded Alexander and held the title Bishop and Doctor. He opposed Arius' false teachings and brilliantly argued against them. HWA insinuates that "God's people" supported Arius' anti-Trinitarian views against Rome. There is no record of a Sabbath-keeping, O.T. Holydays, Jewish-law observing group or sect that supported this "Dr. Arius." If Arius had been keeping these ordinances, then he would have been a staunch supporter of them during the Council of Nicaea, where HWA says the "Easter-Sunday doctrine" was made law. But there is no record of this ever happening. His only crime was promoting a false doctrine of the nature of the Godhead.

This is another instance where Herbert Armstrong bends, not only the Bible, but history, in order to mislead readers.

By Kelly Marshall
Exit & Support Network™
May 2004
Updated October 26, 2012

Next to MOA Chapter Two

Preface | Intro | Chap. 1 | Chap. 2 | Chap. 3 | Chap. 4 | Chap. 5 | Chap. 6 | Chap 7

Footnotes for Chapter One:

1 To understand how effective repetition is simply observe how TV commercials are repeated throughout the day. Most people can all sing a variety of TV commercial jingles by heart even though they don't purchase the products.

2 Herbert Armstrong was notorious with using upper case letters to emphasize and imprint information in our minds. You will see this tactic clearly used throughout the book.

3 HWA belittles higher education for teaching the theory of evolution as fact, while being guilty of the same. He teaches many of his contrived theories as "Truth."

4 The late J. Vernon McGee stated that evolution is actually a philosophy and not a science. It's philosophy being that "there is going to be improvement." (Dr. McGee's edited messages on Isaiah 34)

5 The word "Trinity" may not be in the Bible; however, the Triune God is proclaimed throughout the Bible. Refer to: The Holy Trinity by H. A. Ironside (Uses key verses from both Old and New Testaments showing the Trinity is clearly taught in Scripture.) Also see our article, "Is the Holy Spirit Only the Power of God?" which references many scriptures. There are scores of other words that show biblical truth, but which are not in the Bible; i. e., omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, Holy Bible, etc. (See chapter one, "The Fatal Flaw, Rejection of Christ's Deity," Jesus Christ IS God by Robert L. Sumner.)

6 At this point, the reader is made to believe that "nobody understands" and that includes "traditional Christianity." Once in the organization, anything labeled as "tradition" is considered "an unquestioned practice passed down through generations, and is inspired by Satan, the god of this world." This includes birthdays, holidays, and any religious ceremonies.

7 HWA carefully positions and repeats this sentence immediately after declaring that Satan has deceived all traditional Christianity.

8 Herbert Armstrong's teaching on the denial of the Trinity is very similar to what Jehovah's Witnesses taught. Read: The History of the Trinity: What the Watchtower Doesn't Want You to Know. [offsite article]

9 HWA uses fear to move his readers into Sabbath observance by calling Sunday observance the Mark of the Beast. The Scriptures say that people will worship the image of the Beast and False Prophet instead of Christ. This has nothing to do with what day one worships the Lord Jesus.

10 HWA understands the psychology of building desire and commitment. The more effort a person makes to gain something, the more they will value what they gain. He will also be completely committed and totally submissive to the organization and this is exactly what HWA wanted. Read: How Did Herbert W. Armstrong Recruit People?

11 "The first Greek manuscript found which contained the verse was minuscule 61 which dates to the late fifteenth century. However, three other Greek minuscules contain the verse, 88 (twelfth century), 629 (fourteenth century), and 635 (eleventh century). It is, nonetheless, supported by the Old Latin manuscripts, such as m and r, supporting the reading." (Manuscript Evidence, Less.10, Dr. Thomas Holland) Much more information on the external (and internal) evidence for I Jn. 5:7-8 can be found in the book Crowned by Glory by Dr. Thomas Holland. (read an excerpt from his book) Passages where Father, Son and Holy Spirit are treated as equals include Eph. 2:18; I Cor. 12:4-6; Eph. 3:14-17; Heb. 6:4-6; Eph. 4:4-6; II Thes. 2:13-16; I John 3:21-24; Jude 20,21; I John 4:1,2. (Benjamin B. Warfield, Biblical and Theological Studies, p. 32; quoted in Apostles of Denial, p. 110.)p;


Back to Articles on Grace and Law (and other teachings)