Herbert Armstrong's Biography (Books)
Herbert W. Armstrong (31 July 1892 - 16 January 1986) founded the Radio Church of God which was incorporated 21 October 1933 and was renamed Worldwide Church of God 1 June 1968, as well as starting Ambassador College (later Ambassador University) 8 October 1947. He was an early pioneer of radio and tele-evangelism, first taking to the airwaves on 7 January 1934 from the 100-watt station KORE Eugene, Oregon. Armstrong preached what he claimed was the comprehensive combination of doctrines in the entire Bible, in the light of the New Covenant scriptures, which he maintained came directly from the Bible. These theological doctrines and teachings have been referred to as Armstrongism by non-adherents. His teachings included the interpretation of biblical prophecy in light of British Israelism, and required observance of parts of the Mosaic Law including seventh-day Sabbath, dietary prohibitions, and the covenant law "Holy Days".
Armstrong proclaimed during his lifespan that, behind world events, loomed various Biblical prophecies. In late 1951, Dr. Herman Hoeh (a then recent graduate of Ambassador College) said, with conviction, that Mr. Armstrong was "an apostle", one sent forth with the same commission as the early disciples were given, to preach the good news message. Mr. Armstrong oftentimes said that, like John the Baptist (Elijah), he was a voice preaching in a spiritual wilderness of religious confusion. For this reason he was considered to be both an "Apostle" and end-time "Elijah" proclaiming as God's representative 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. 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."
During the 1950s and 1960s, the church continued to expand and the radio program was broadcast in England, Australia, the Philippines, Latin America, and Africa. In 1953, The World Tomorrow began to air on Radio Luxembourg, making it possible to hear the program throughout much of Europe. The beginning of the European broadcast provides the context of a booklet published in 1956 called 1975 in Prophecy! In this book Armstrong put forward a controversial vision of what the world could look like by 1975--featuring illustrations of mass burials and tidal waves destroying cities. Overall he thought that World War III and Christ's glorious return were at the doorstep and that world peace and utopia would follow. Armstrong believed that God had exciting plans for mankind that would see the end of such wars--though the message went far beyond an earthly utopia.
On January 5, 1968, the Radio Church of God was renamed the Worldwide Church of God. Shortly before, the church began to broadcast a television version of The World Tomorrow. The program would eventually expand to 382 U.S. television stations, and 36 television outlets internationally, dwarfing televangelists Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Oral Roberts, and Jim Bakker. By this time, Garner Ted Armstrong, the son of Herbert W. Armstrong, was the voice and face of the program. It was speculated that with his charisma and personality, he was the logical successor to Armstrong, but doctrinal disagreements and widespread reports of extramarital sex led to his suspension in 1972. After initially changing his behavior he returned, but these issues resurfaced, coupled with his challenging his father's authority as Pastor General, resulting in him being permanently "disfellowshipped" (the church's term for excommunication) in 1978.
Herbert W. Armstrong's Bibliography:
- Mystery of the Ages
- Pagan Holidays--or God's Holy Days--Which
- Proof of the Bible
- Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath?
- The Incredible Human Potential
- The Missing Dimension in Sex
- The Seven Laws of Success
- The United States and Britain in Prophecy
- The Wonderful World Tomorrow
- What Is Faith
- What Science Can't Discover About the Human Mind
- Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast
- Why Marriage - Soon Obsolete?
- Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong vol. 1
- Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong vol. 2