Armstrongism, World Wide Church of God, a Brief
Changes Wrought by Passing of Founder
Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986) founded the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) in 1934. He was an early pioneer of radio evangelism, taking to the airwaves in the 1930s from Eugene, Ore. He later founded Ambassador College and the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, which promoted the arts, humanities, and humanitarian projects. Upon his death the church left his beliefs, for the most part, but splinter groups still follow him.
Some of these groups, often former WCG members, who still follow Armstrong's traditional teaching produce The Philadelphia Trumpet magazine, Malachi's Message, Key of David TV program and others.
Their concepts of God include one infinite, eternal God. Traditional Armstronism denies a tinity, defining God as a "family of individuals." However, in 1995 WCG leaders officially accepted a Trinitarian concept of God and now accept biblical beliefs.
Their concepts of Jesus is that Jesus is God incarnate (in human form). Armstrong suggested that Jesus would return to earth in 1975. Groups following Armstrong's original teachings (Global, Philadelphia, and United Churches of God) say Jesus was not resurrected physically and that is the only one who has been born again. WCG believe that Jesus was raised spiritually and physically. Per Armstrongism the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force. Per WCG the Holy Spirit is God, the third person of the Trinity.
Salvation is by grace (the unmerited favor of God). Whereas Armstrong followers must recognize Old Testament sabbath days, feast days, and dietary prohibitions, such as no pork or shellfish, WCG has abondoned these beliefs.
Per Armstrongism resurrected believers will live on the new earth. Unsaved will face judgement.
Groups like the Philadelphia Church of God and Church of God International still hold Armstrong's views such as deity for mankind, no immortality of the soul, no literal hell, no medical treatment, and Anglo-Israelism. Since Armstrong's death, WCG, which was formerly very cultic, has undergrown many changes toward more traditional biblical views.
By 1968, Garner Ted Armstrong, (the son of Herbert W. Armstrong) was the voice and face of the new television version of The World Tomorrow. It was speculated that with his charisma and personality, he was the logical successor to Armstrong. However, in 1972, the son had been removed from church roles over doctrinal disagreements. He was reinstated, but soon after that he again openly rejected several doctrines and the church government structure, which would lead to him being excommunicated by his father in 1978. Garner Ted moved to Tyler, Texas where he founded the Church of God International and the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association, through which he would soon return to the television airwaves. Garner Ted Armstrong died in 2003.
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