Pope Armstrong. Hypocrite on Church Government

This article was first published on the Painful Truth, February, 2012

February 1939 Good News Magazine
-Herbert W Armstrong Argues Against Church Hierarchy


There is not one single HINT in the New Testament of any Church BOARD with authority to rule, to govern, to decide doctrine, or to handle tithes and church finances (the whole church). In the later number we shall devote an article to explaining Acts 15, which certainly sets no such example. Jesus never organized, or re-organized His church! There is NO SCRIPTURE for it! All authority and power to rule is limited solely to each LOCAL congregation. But there is NO BIBLE AUTHORITY for any super-government, or organization with authority over the local congregations! The plain teaching of Jesus is JUST THE CONTRARY! Listen!”Jesus called them unto Him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to RULE over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise AUTHORITY upon them, But so shall it NOT be among you.” (Mark 10:42). The AUTHORITY—the GOVERNMENT—the RULERSHIP—was turned over to the Gentiles for 2520 years—until Christ RESTORES the kingdom at His Second Coming!


How then, did ORGANIZATION, and the idea of CHURCH GOVERNMENT get into the Church? It came out of BABYLON! Spiritual BABYLON—that is, ROME!
The same as nearly all other false doctrines of Satan. In the early 4th Century, Constantine, the Emperor, who officially started SUNDAY observance in the Western World, saw his Empire in danger of disintegrating. At the time a great controversy was raging among the leaders of Christianity, over Dr. Arius’ doctrine concerning the origin of Christ, as opposed to the Trinity doctrine. We quote from Encyclopedia Britannica, (article ARIUS):”This controversy over Arius’ doctrine reached even the ears of Constantine. Now sole Emperor, he saw in the one catholic church the best means of counteracting the movement in his vast empire toward disintegration, and he at once realized how dangerous dogmatic strife might be to its unity. Constantine had no understanding of the questions at issue . . . He summoned a
general council (the Nicene Council). …It was finally decided against Arius. …Constantine accepted the decision of the council, and resolved to uphold it.”
Thus it was CONSTANTINE—the “BEAST”—who injected and introduced into the church the idea of a BOARD to decide doctrine, and to rule.

You can read the whole letter HERE, if you can stomach it!

13 Replies to “Pope Armstrong. Hypocrite on Church Government”

  1. I remember back in ’74 this was passed around. When I read it, I was stunned. There was the truth, and Herb had been gradually perverting it more every year. It was an eye opener.

  2. “How then, did ORGANIZATION, and the idea of CHURCH GOVERNMENT get into the Church? It came out of BABYLON! Spiritual BABYLON—that is, ROME!”

    A bit of obfuscation there. An interesting book to read is Max DiMont’s “The Indestructible Jews”. DiMont’s book is highly acclaimed, not one of the “underground” books, and it points out that “Babylon” extended itself through the laws of the Jews, who became known as Pharisees. If you are a Pharisee then your ministers will be rabbis. The rabbinical priesthood were Pharisees, and the Talmud itself was developed and passed from Babylon after the Jews were held captive there. The only “Whore of Babylon”, by Herb’s “proofs”, would have to be the Jews, since they were the only ones “married” to God.

    In fact, DiMont goes to great lengths to show the connections between Jewish rabbis and “laws of nations” as well as the banking establishment we have today, along with mortgages, and the whole concept of “paper money”. Only the Jews could have “fornicated” with the nations of the earth, since only they were “married’ and committed to the laws of God. Jesus himself went to greast lengths to condemn them in Matthew 23, pointing out that they establuished an elite cadre of experts who “shut up the kingdom of God to men(Luke 11:52)”.

    What most do not realize is that the movement with Jesus was associated disagreed with the rab binical conclusions of those who followed Hillel, who advanced his ideas a few years before Jesus’ time. Hillel developed his “seven laws” of thought that allowed expert intellectual rabbis to equate the Talmud with the Torah. Jesus called them hypocrites, and advocated a government that was open to the people. This is not much different than the same debate in the US, starting with “Marbury vs Madison”, and trying to decide whether the law should be decided by the people, or by an elite group of judges under “judicial review”. Constantine saw his empire disintegrating because Jesus advocated government of the people, and that would not work for a god-king like Constantine.

  3. “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.”

    “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

    -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

    “Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.”

    -Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

    Read more here: http://religiousfreedom.lib.virginia.edu/sacred/vaact.html

  4. Ralph, you have made interesting and cogent points on this topic which I find useful.

    As one heavily involved with science and technologies of various sorts (having designed and built a binary counter from mechanical relays at the age of 13 to teach myself binary), it is my observation that society at its most natural state is analogous to neural networking with interactions at the peer level.

    This particular model always produces the most optimum results the most speedily, all things equal.

    This is not acceptable to despots who see their guiding hand being the one which produces the best solution the fastest. Indeed, if one were to look solely at the goals the despot wants to achieve, it would seem that the despot has the right of it. The problem is that it is never a solution which works for the broad vast majority on a personal level. Colonies of ants and bees may be efficient, but forever locked into an unbreakable system which precludes adaptation as macro environments change sufficiently to make the system break down. Dinosaurs were well adapted to the environment up to 65 million years ago, then kaphut.

    Juries depend on the reasonable assumption which (unseen) has its presumption based on the foundation of neural networking: In the most severe cases consensus must be achieved or the result is nullified.

    At the other extreme, today social interaction has produced chaos where everything is negotiable nonstop. The problem is that there must be boundaries and limits set and discipline in place to prevent a different kind of breakdown in the social system. Generation whine in the workplace has created havoc because they have an entitlement which severely limits productivity. The neural networking model itself breaks down if the interchange is not truly between respected peers.

    As an example of this early model that Herbert Armstrong brought out, the CoG7 has spent the last 5 years developing a booklet “What We Believe” by taking opinions from the membership and working out the differences among them across church congregations. I told them that if they had a cult leader, it could have been accomplished in weeks. The point is that they reached a consensus built on the model which Herbert Armstrong originally proposed. It seems to work for them.

    It is ironic that Armstrong adopted the hierarchical model without consideration of sharing the information and the power among the people.

    I think that the fruit of that has resulted in the splinters there are today. Of course, that’s not the only problem, but there is certainly a strong basis in a strong iron-fisted despot who had terrible judgment because he refused in his arrogance to listen to anyone else but himself.

    It should be evident that it is likely that if Herbert Armstrong had stuck to this original model (for which he did not have the discipline), none of the history of Armstrongism would at all look the way it is today — drenched in his utter narcissistic egotistical selfishness, propagated through despots he so carefully trained to carry on the tradition of self-righteous abusive despotism with absolutely no accountability.

  5. “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

    That’s a great quote.
    I recently wrote to a college professor on the same subject that if a person says he speaks to God, and that God speaks to him, I won’t challenge that fact , though I would have strong doubts. The problem with such a statement would be proof. How would a person go about proving that he actually did have conversations with God? HWA lured us into this process by showing that there was a major divide between general christianity and the brand he taught. How? By logic, by reason, by an appeal to our own common sense. It just “looked right” if you think about it.

    But if it stood to reasn and made sense, there is no reason why any person, anywhere in the group, at any time, cannot add to such knowledge based on reason and logic.This is basically the foundation of consensus thinking, as Douglas mentions above.

    Also, adding to Douglas’ statement, is the Church Turing thesis, named after Alonzo Church and Alan Turing, which states that the human brain is no more than a computer, dependent on the laws of physics. Any Turing machine(the name for Turing’s imaginary universal computer) can simulate any other Turing machine, to infinity.

    IOW, what can be deduced by one brain can be also deduced by any other brain operating by the laws of physics. But if we’re talking about logical premises based on the laws of physics, and it can be proven, brain to brain, by physical laws, there is no reason to assume that such a message ever came from God in the first place. You can simply throw “God” out of the mix, and you still have the same truths, leaving you with Occam’s razor. If a person said “God spoke to me”, that’s as far as he can take it, since all “proofs” will depend on purely physical conclusions that can be achieved without the necessary existence of God.

    Consensus thinking can no more be shown to represent God than a “prophet” who speaks for God. But that simply takes us back to Romans 8:7, Romans 9:16-22, and Matthew 24:23. If any person says s/he has a direct line to God, there is no reason to believe it.

    As Douglas writes:”At the other extreme, today social interaction has produced chaos where everything is negotiable nonstop. The problem is that there must be boundaries and limits set and discipline in place to prevent a different kind of breakdown in the social system. Generation whine in the workplace has created havoc because they have an entitlement which severely limits productivity. The neural networking model itself breaks down if the interchange is not truly between respected peers.”

    Yup, what I call “mechanical” versus “biological”. As armies marched in mechancial lockstep under the Roman banner, Jesus said “consider the lilies of the field”. Within biology, emerging from the discovery of epigenetics, it has been discovered that there is a “consensual” cross-referencing of information between bilogical systems, like the virus, which “cuts and pastes” DNA across species and causes them to adapt to a more diverse set of environmental circumstances, and the cells, which take these DNA templates and manufcture adaptive cells that alter the reproductive strategy of the organism. From the lowest to the highest levels of life, there is a constant interchange of information that allows for adaptation and diversity. “Consider the lilies of the field…”.

  6. there is a constant interchange of information that allows for adaptation and diversity

    Which is what the neural model does. Unfortunately, the Turing model is linear and quite two dimensional and the neural model is 4 dimensional (at a minimum). If we are to believe Roger Penrose, we have not computers for brains, but a more complex system which uses quantum mechanics to “tune” into the Universe (?). This discussion becomes impossible with those of average intelligence. The Johnson O’Conner Foundation shows from its testing that only 25% of the people in the United States has Structural Visualization, without which the visualization of 3 and 4 dimensional space makes no sense. Add to that 23% of adults in the United States are functionally illiterate, it reduces the sample even more by a crossover overlap. It is also unlikely that those who have not had at least some college or university training would ever attain the process skills to comprehend the propositions set forward here.

    Fortunately, no one individual in the matrix needs to be outstanding: That is the beauty of the neural model — the whole is definitely more than the sum of its parts. As you say, Ralph, if Herbert Armstrong could find a truth, so could many others, and, collectively, distributed mass intelligence enabled by the interchange enabled by the Internet should produce a better product of intelligence, even as the “consensual” cross-referencing of information between biological systems.

    Let no one think that I was implying that consensus thinking was representing God. I was trying to make the point about governance of people: If it is of the people, for the people and of the people, it stands to logic, reason and history, that the result is going to be a better government for both the individual and the collective, rather than the oppressive model of despotism. The same is true in business: Let the workers who actually know what they are doing, work things out amongst themselves to resolve thorny problems, rather than dictating a solution from (incompetent) management — as Herbert Armstrong always did.

    The hypocrisy of Armstrong’s stance is evident: He didn’t really mean what he said in his 1930’s model of governance. Even as he was saying that, he was scheming to take over the Church of God Seventh Day to be under his own unique (distorted) vision. His ethic is that of the nineteenth Century Corporate Model: The end justifies the means. Since his end was to usher in the Millennium (assisted in a few small ways by Jesus Christ), any means necessary to accomplish that end was fair game. This meant that he could change his ideas, focus, rules at any point in any way, as long as it contributed to the end.

    Unfortunately, the model suggested by New Testament escatology is that it is the process, not the end which is tantamount. The view is that each person is to prove themselves over a life time what sort of character they have under rather stringent rules on one hand, and making it personal responsibility to “work out your own salvation” in an association of a community of believers on the other.

    It is a convincing argument that Herbert Armstrong never had a clue to what that particular model meant. I believe that he was completely blinded by his own ego and overweaning selfishness. He could not relate to the working man because he avoided the degrading proposition of manual labor. He didn’t make it beyond 8th grade, so he couldn’t understand the intellectual (that of which we are communicating presently) because it was too far advanced beyond his ken. He certainly couldn’t understand the science of it because it is clear that he did not inherit structural visualization and was thus deprived of essential tools for understanding the Universe.

    In fact, in my view, Herbert Armstrong was something of a pathetic useless loser who managed to manipulate people successfully without ever understanding their emotions or relating to them in any way, much like the standard predator of no remarkable ability except to prey on his prey as a parasite.

  7. “The problem is that there must be boundaries and limits set and discipline in place to prevent a different kind of breakdown in the social system.”

    Accurate description of societal breakdown, not only in America, but in the churches of god. They are a reflection of the society that they claim to have no part of.

    “Fortunately, no one individual in the matrix needs to be outstanding: That is the beauty of the neural model — the whole is definitely more than the sum of its parts. As you say, Ralph, if Herbert Armstrong could find a truth, so could many others”

    Without the knowledge to excel beyond the sphere of limited knowledge, Herbert Armstrong was a success as a barbarian in his implementation of church government and oppression of the members. Consider this basic human animal-ism.

    The application of dimensional visualization could serve the membership well in these times of strife. As it stands, the Armstrongist views the world in one dimension (square), that being black and white.

    The complexity of thinking beyond a cube (2nd dimension) is hard for those who have been led by the nose to gain their forced “enlightenment.” The concept of thinking is still confined within the matrix of their believe system and limited education.

    To look beyond, to evaluate claims by others, takes another type of mind. One that can see beyond what has become a horse & pony show within the Armstrong community. To view everything said from the pulpit with a critical eye, to evaluate the source speaking from the pulpit, to logical deductions using past experience and critical thinking outside the matrix of Armstrongism, will free those bound by those religious taskmasters who exploit the ignorant masses.

    The lack of interest in truth and justice will always blind and bind those in abusive mind control religions. In a society where everyone has value equal to others, where everyone works for the betterment of all you can find a degree of harmony and success. But in the churches of god we find oppression and misery equal to what may be found in North Korea.

    The masses worship the leader, they jump when he says to jump. They praise him (idolize) and see him as above all that is human. They see and respond as if they serve a deity. They are blind and naked, marching behind others who themselves lack the cloth of wisdom and the intellect that comes by education. There is little hope for freedom for these people, for they see themselves as enlightened and free. If truth be told,
    “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

    -Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

  8. HWA makes an interesting point in sayi ng that “the kingdom” will be given to the Gentiles. Historically, Jews have been wandering fom country to country, but their laws of commerce and criminal laws have deeply influenced gentile governments. Max DiMont goes to great detail to convey this fact, and indeed the Jews lived quite well with their immunity from oaths of allegiance, but their immunity was dependent on the fact they could lend money with interest, which was prohibited to the newly developed Catholic Church. They did, in fact, bcome the servants of the gentiles, up to and including the fact that William the Conqueror brought with him a contingent of Jews when he defeated the Anglo Saxons in 1066. It was those Jews who began integrating commercial, civil, and criminal law into the general form we recognize as common law.

    1. Ralph, I wondered as I read your postings, what is it that the Gentiles have that the Jews do not? While it is apparent the things Jews contribute behind the scenes, what is it that they do NOT have?

      I believe it is the case that the Chinese invented gunpowder and eye glasses. They also have had rulership over masses of people.

      You speak of the Jews assisting rulers. We get a glimpse of Jews influencing Gentile rulership behind the scenes in the Book of Esther.

      Could it be, I wonder, that one of the things the Jews have been denied over the millennia, given to the Gentiles, is world rulership — and if nolt world rulership, then, certainly, rulership over most of the face of the earth?

      If anything — if true — this seems to be an odd exclusion for a race of people who are unique in maintaining a semblance of a unified race and culture over the millennia.


      1. If you look at history, from Genesis at the Tower of babel onward, the problem huma ns had is that they could organize very well. Once their higher level brains allowed them to reflect on the tings around them, they could start building systems of great achievement.

        The problem is, their organizational skills far outstripped their knowledge of the world, its laws, entropy, etc.

        The Tower of babel story is a direct example. The people organized to get to God, but it was not that God feared they would accomplish it. he feared that, since they had one language and one way of thinking, they would keep organizing and organizing, “leavening” until they had acclerated entropy to the point they destroyed their environment.That is precisely the problem identified in Genesis 11:6.

        I’ll give you a moder n parallel to this: nanotechnology. If we can create nanobots capable of building anything from the atomic level, the first thing they have to do is assemble enough of themselves to build the desired object. HOW DO WE CUT THEM OFF? What if they keep building more of themselves until evertything, including you and I, are turned into nanobots? Accelerated entropy.

        That is a variation of the problem God faced at Babel. By confusing their language, he postponed the problem by forcing them to adapt more directly to their environment. But how to keep them from doing this?

        Enter israel. Philip Slater gave me the parallel to this back in 1974. Cultures, said Slater, in his book “EarthWalk”, develop by “extrudig pieces of themselves into the environment where ea ch “piece”(person) lives alonwe and develops new responses, after which the person, as prophet, returns to the original cculture, which then has the choice of accpeting or klilling the “prophet”.
        Here is the thing: Even iof the “prophet” is killed, the informatin he develops is still absorbed into the culture for future reference. That’s when i realized thateven organisms operate this way at the genetic level. In 1974, I had stumbled onto the beginnings of what would later be called epigenetics!

        From organisms to civilizations, this is the process of development. I wrote Slater http://philipslater.wordpress.com and he said he wished he had thought of it.

        Anyway, Israel was warned not to take part in the “leaven” of other nations. Leaven parallels entropy by expanding a system, causing it to grow and grow until it collapses. Entropy is destructive because energy is consta ntly borrowed from related systems causing greater chaos in those systems. Israel was called out to “inform” those exxpa nding nations such as Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. They were established both to integrate and dis-integrate, to “inform” the empires and break them apart. They acted like Slater’s examples of the prophet, and also as viruses operate in organisms, informing those organisms by creating RNA templates that cause adaptations to the environment, splintering and speciation.

        Even today, Israel is doing exactly what it was created to do, using its developed laws or “dicta” via the Talmud and developing complex integrative principles that continue to “inform” civilizations. That is their purpose. They worked under the control of the Gentile empires, granted immunity because they could loan money at interest, and because their integrative knowledge of law and commerce were unmatched. Magna Carta, in referring to moneylenders or banks, simply says “Jews”.

        Read DiMont’s “Indestructible Jews”. You may be surprised.

  9. James, as you say (by implication), the complexities of leadership lay far beyond the ken of the median of the binomial distribution of human capability.

    I certainly believe that to have the sort of leadership portrayed by, say, President John F. Kennedy, is a unique “gift”, if you please, forged from unique inheritance and experience. He set the course to have man set foot on the moon by the end of the 1960s and that was achieved, even though he was not alive to see it. That vision inspired an economic transformation of the United States (and indeed the whole world) as we pressed forward to experience the frontiers of that which had never been explored before. New inventions were necessary to achieve the goal. We pushed the limits. As a result, today we have ceramics, velcro, even cell phones, borne of the original pure research used as leverage to achieve the goal.

    Today, such vision has died in favor of nonsensical non starters as failed solar panel companies and electric cars (whose batteries — the main expense — fail in one to five years for an optimum maximum of 90,000 miles). An entitled selfish generation whine only want what satisfies them and are unmoved by the vision of being pioneers, sacrificing for the future as once our ancestors left the comfort of their Eastern homes and pressed forward to settle the West.

    The problem is with the leadership. It’s fine to use consensus, but there must be an ignition of human ingenuity, fired by appropriate leadership.

    And when it comes to leadership, Herbert Armstrong failed. He could ignite imagination from the source of fear, which he sought to control. He used subtle fear of losing out on something, such as the fear of loss in achieving his distorted fantasy of the Kingdom of God. Unlike the Chris Pine interpretation of the leadership of Captain Kirk of the 2009 Star Trek Movie, Herbert Armstrong could never trust the competence and commitment of those who followed him to fulfill their roles without micro management. He had to control it all from the top down.

    And we have seen the record of history: Hierarchies always fail.

    Humanity as a collective is far too innovative to remain slaves forever.

    [Armstrongism: Slavery for a lifetime — one life at a time.]

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