Exit and Support Network

How I "Proved" Herbert W. Armstrong
Was God's Apostle

When one claims to hold a special, elected office, how do we prove that person is speaking the truth? I thought I'd share some of the methods that I had used to PROVE to myself that HWA was, indeed, "God's True Apostle."

(Note: Includes section at end with quotes from Herbert Armstrong showing that he claimed many times that he was "God's Apostle," or "Christ's apostle.")

#1 He was God's Apostle because an AC graduate told me so.

How many of us, when we first entered Worldwide Church of God, actually knew what an apostle was??? I sure didn't. I had to ask this same Ambassador College graduate to explain what that meant. He told me that Herbert W. Armstrong was "God's chosen end-time Apostle" and how the Bible prophesied of his coming. He was the "end-time Elijah" who would lead us to the Place of Safety before God's Kingdom could be established.

#2 He was God's Apostle because the minister's wife told me he was.

She said that the Bible even prophesied his name! She quoted Jeremiah 21:5 "with a strong arm," and said it was actually "Armstrong" backwards! Doesn't it make sense that God would give the names of all His prophets in the Bible? "Wow! Incredible!" I thought, "Amazing how this scripture, which was written thousands of years ago, could be so accurate in naming Herbert Armstrong as a future apostle.

#3 He was God's Apostle because the ministers said so.

I listened with rapt attention as the ministers expounded upon God's Government and how it was from the top down. God was at the top, Jesus Christ was next, then Herbert W. Armstrong. Then it flowed down to the evangelists, regional directors, ministers, elders and deacons.

#4 He was God's Apostle because he met with world leaders.

God opened the doors for HWA to meet world leaders and preach the gospel, I was told. He was to "preach the gospel to the world as a witness, then The End will come." And he was the only man on the face of the earth today that was doing this.

#5 He was divinely appointed by God because his autobiography said so.

The dream that Loma Armstrong had about the three angels was positive proof that they were handpicked by God. [Read: Myths About Loma Armstrong which describes this dream.]

#6 I believed it because everybody around me believed it.

There were doctors, lawyers and teachers attending. I thought that if it got past them, and they found it to be true, then it had to be true.


So that is how I proved that HWA was "God's Apostle." I believed it because I was told it was true by other people who were under HWA's employment! I believed it because HWA printed literature that said this was true. Is that how you came to believe that he was "God's Apostle?"

Now let's go back and examine these points:

#1 He was God's Apostle because an AC graduate told me so.

I didn't know what an apostle was, so I believed what I was told instead of finding out for myself. I didn't know that apostles were those who had received their commission directly from Jesus (Gal. 1:1), personally saw Jesus Christ after His resurrection, expounded and wrote Scripture (John 14:26; 16:13; Gal. 1:11-12) and had the power to work miracles (Mark 6:13; Luke 9:1-2; Acts 2:43). That is how Peter, James, and Paul and the other disciples became apostles. They were personally instructed by Jesus and had the badge of an apostle. Knowing that, I failed to ask, "How did Mr. Armstrong obtain the title of Apostle? How was he personally instructed by Jesus? Who appointed it to him? If God appointed this title to him, when and how did this happen?"

I accepted HWA's "apostleship" without further investigation. What about credentials? Does it stand to reason that a man without a theology degree can make up his own theology? I never checked to see if HWA had any degrees or any qualifications to teach the Bible. If one were having brain surgery, doesn't one make sure of the surgeon's qualifications? Or does one check out his qualifications and credentials? If you won't hand over your physical life to a surgeon who isn't qualified, then why do you hand over your eternal life without closely checking out who your spiritual leader is?

#2 He was God's Apostle because the minister's wife told me was.

Did the verse in Jeremiah 21:5 really prove HWA by name? One only needs to read other translations to find out the word "strong" can be translated as "mighty," so a "strong arm" could easily be translated as "mighty arm." So this verse proves nothing. When you read the verse in context, it further proves that this was taken out of context. In fact, all the prophets of God are called by name in the Bible (Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, Isaiah, just to name a few). If God is calling a modern day prophet to do such an important end time work, wouldn't it make sense that He would give us his exact name as He had done in the past? Why should we try to bend a Scripture in order to extract a name that was never there in the first place? Does God play these kinds of cryptic "word search" games with the Scriptures?

#3 He was God's Apostle because the ministers said so.

If the ministers are trained by HWA, paid by HWA, doesn't it make sense that they are going to teach whatever HWA wants them to? They wouldn't hold biased opinions, would they? How long would they last in the ministry if they said that D. L. Moody or Charles Spurgeon, for instance, was also chosen of God? So our belief was formed only because those over us, who were on Armstrong's payroll, told us that "it was so"--week after week, year after year.

#4 He was God's Apostle because he met with world leaders.

We were given splashy brochures entitled, "Herbert W. Armstrong, Ambassador for World Peace" (not Ambassador for Jesus Christ, nor God for that matter). The high quality paper stock used in these brochures was impressive. The photos of HWA with a real live king, queen, or prince made everything seem so legitimate. But does having one's photograph taken with a world leader actually make him an "Apostle"? Donating large sums of tithe money to third world projects, gifts of Steuben crystal, and the leader's photo on the front cover of The Plain Truth magazine is what gained him an audience. It was money that opened the doors, not God.

#5 He was Divinely Appointed by God because his autobiography said so.

I never questioned how someone was actually appointed by God. Aside from believing what he said about himself in his autobiography, I never delved further into this. Why did God wait until 1950 years before "calling" him? Why do other deceptive "cult" leaders make the same claim? Who could verify beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Loma Armstrong wasn't making it up or hallucinating? Haven't we all had dreams that seem realistic, only to wake up and discover that it was just that--a dream? Can that be used as "evidence" or "fact" of one's calling to an apostleship?

#6 I believed it because everybody around me believed it.

I thought the lawyers would have enough legal savvy to understand whether a group was legitimate or not. What I didn't know was that everyone around me believed it because they came to believe it the same way I did! They believed what paid employees of HWA had to say about him, they believed what Herbert Armstrong said about himself, and they believed it because 500 other people around them believed it, too!

Conclusion:

If Herbert Armstrong truly was God's chosen leader, then he should be "above reproach." So if he was above reproach, why is there so much written about him that proves otherwise? I know the old argument: "David sinned but was a man after God's own heart. And Paul and Peter sinned, too." Yes, as men they did indeed, but they never made mistakes in their inspired writings. How many false prophecies has HWA uttered? (I heard it was over 200!) How many doctrines were changed? Why can't "God's Apostle" get it right the first time?

The argument that "Satan makes up all those lies against God's Apostle just to get you out of The Church" is another fallacy. Why is it, that if you or I go to court, or get arrested, and our wrong deeds were recorded on legal documents or the newspaper, they would be considered legitimate, truthful information about an event that actually took place. So if "God's Apostle" goes to court or gets arrested for drunk driving, and there are actual documents to prove it, why do we excuse it as "Satan attacking God's Apostle"? Is it because we want to believe so badly that he is who he says he is??? Why? Because it hurts to admit that we could be wrong, but wrong we are! We have to stop living in denial at some point.

Don't hold on to a man or a man-made organization. Hold on to Jesus. Jesus is the only one who can save you! Why would God do away with the Levitical priesthood and rent the veil so you could have direct access into the Holy of Holies and the presence of God (because of the death of Jesus), only to insert that priesthood between you and Him, 1950 years later?? Does God work this way?

I hope the above information will help you to learn from my mistakes. May it spare you from the many false christs that Jesus said would come. The Bible tells us to investigate claims thoroughly--to enquire and to test--whether these things are true. Remember, truth disturbs error--truth does not disturb truth! Don't be afraid to investigate and to prove to yourself, whether one is a false prophet. Asking questions is not a sin. One should not be made to feel that they are questioning God, or lack faith, or have a "bad attitude." You are making sure that your eternal destiny lies in safe hands. Nobody should bully or belittle you for it. God's servants can stand up to any scrutinizing. False prophets can't.

By Lindsey
Exit & Support Network™
January 12, 2003

"We automatically believe the expert or follow those in authority. This is true even if the person is not and cannot be an authority, but is only perceived as such. We react automatically, without thinking, because an "authority" says so. Deceptive groups put people in a position where the recruit cannot think straight and then are manipulatable: fatigue, information overload, sensory overload, etc." ~Thomas R. Yoder


Herbert Armstrong claimed many times that he was "God's Apostle" (a. k. a. "Christ's apostle") (Caps by HWA are not used)

Notice just a few quotes of his: (bolding ESN's)

"I call upon all of you in the name of Jesus Christ, as God's Apostle, and your Minister, be careful!" (March 29, 1957 Dear Brethren letter)

"Naturally, it is incumbent on me as God's Apostle, to protect His 'sheepfold' He has placed under my care." (July 31, 1978 Dear Brethren letter)

"And please state in your letter, in your own words, that this money is your endorsement of my apostleship, and the money is to be used for defending God's Work as I, Christ's Apostle, deem best." (January 14, 1979 Dear Brethren letter)

"But I am the chosen apostle of Jesus Christ and in His name" (March 14, 1980 letter to Roderick C. Meredith from Herbert W. Armstrong)

"God calls the Church to back up His apostle and get His message to the world..." (March 19, 1981 Dear Brethren letter)

"Now Jesus Christ, through His chosen apostle, is going to rule on this question once and for all!" ((Pastor General's Report, November 2, 1981 and Worldwide News, November 16, 1981; "How Subtly Satan used make-up to Start the Church off the Track.")

"The author, Christ's apostle, can say emphatically that the apostles, evangelists, pastors and elders could not carry on the work of God without the loyal backing and continued encouragement of the lay members." (Mystery of the Ages, 1985, p. 267)

"And finally, Christ's apostle sends out monthly a mimeographed Co-Worker letter to all members and co-workers reporting on progress in the work, current activities and needs." (Ibid., p. 269)

Related Articles:

Why Herbert Armstrong Couldn't Have Been God's True Apostle

Why is it Difficult For Exiters to Question Herbert Armstrong?

"None of God's Servants Were Perfect" (for those who like to use this reasoning)

Where is the True Church?

 

"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
~II Corinthians 11:13-14


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