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Articles for the Benefit of Members and Ex-Members of the WCG

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The Deceitfulness of Herbert W Armstrong

When I came into the Worldwide Church of God (then "Radio Church of God") in 1968, one of the booklets which had caught my attention was The Proof of the Bible. Many Worldwiders will remember this convincing little publication produced by Herbert Armstrong.

For decades, it performed a valuable function of pointing out some of the biblical prophecies which have come to pass, and which could never have been thought up and performed by human beings. What certain OT prophecies predicted, and which centuries later came to pass with stunning accuracy, were proof that the Bible was not the product of the mind of man.

But, what Worldwiders were not told was that the contents of this booklet were stolen by Mr Armstrong from another publication produced by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Their version was entitled David Dare by Earle Albert Rowell, and contained words and phraseology which was almost identical in many places to the one Herbert Armstrong ostensibly wrote! Armstrong adapted Rowell's writing, and put his name to it. He didn't give Rowell or the SDAs any credit.

Besides being dishonest, it was deceitful of Mr. Armstrong to then claim that God had revealed these things to him – a claim which was oft repeated in the WCG to support HWA's alleged apostleship. He maintained that he was "God's apostle on earth" – that he was the only one to whom God was revealing such things, so he was God's mouthpiece to His people.

Many believed him. I did too at the time. I was only 18, naive, and inexperienced. I had no way of checking out his claims. Only much later was I able to come across others who were being used by God, and when I compared "notes", I realised that what Armstrong was putting across was a "con". He was cleverly getting acclaim for himself by what he was saying.

Much later, the WCG withdrew this booklet. They said that it contained inaccuracies, but they did not tell members what those errors were! Perhaps there was an ulterior reason, too, why it was 'killed'!

It may have been Tony Badillo who first revealed in The Rising Star the real truth about who wrote The Proof of the Bible. Like me, Tony was a one-time member of the Radio Church of God. He left many years ago after he learned the truth about HWA's trickery. [This information was reproduced later by a group of ex-WCG folk in England in a small paper called Reunion News. I reproduce what these sources revealed on this subject in a paper which is available from the address at the end.]

Other Work HWA Plagiarised

The Proof of the Bible was not the only publication HWA created by plagiarising the work of others!

It has been shown that the booklet Has Time Been Lost? which HWA produced for his church, was identical in many respects to one which the Church of God (7th Day) produced. It even had the same title!

Tony Badillo asks: "Page, after page, after page, the two booklets read almost exactly alike!.... The question is: WHO COPIED WHOM?"

The answer is revealed in a letter from Attorney William F Reynard, in Denver, Colorado, dated 25th October 1965 to Robert Coulter, of the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day), a Sabbatarian group Herbert Armstrong was once affiliated with, before he was dismissed in about 1931.

A photocopy of that letter is available [see address at the end]. It stated that the original Has Time Been Lost? was produced by the Church of God Publishing House without a claim of copyright placed upon it. Thus, it could be reproduced, but not copyrighted. However, Armstrong reproduced its contents so precisely that it "was next to an exact copy of the earlier pamphlets of the Church of God Publishing House" and then sought to secure the copyright! Armstrong had no right to claim copyright for his 'version' since it was not much different from the original which he plagiarised for his own credit.

Other 'Rip-Offs'

Not only Has Time Been Lost? but several other writings of other authors were used by Armstrong to bolster his self-image. He even claimed divine revelation from God for many of these aspects of Bible knowledge and understanding! He had the gall to appropriate the works of others for his own glory, claiming God had directly revealed such things to him!

He gave not one ounce of credit to the authors whose work he 'ripped off'! That was utter deceit, arrogance and presumption! Those traits are not fruits of one who is a servant of God, but of one who serves himself!

Tony Badillo was perhaps the first to learn about, and be willing to expose, Herbert Armstrong's deceit. He gleaned information from another former Worldwider, Richard Nickels.

Tony Badillo wrote:

Who became known for teaching the following?

1) Saturday is the Sabbath. 2) All the annual holy days of Leviticus 23 are to be kept. 3) Seven church eras. 4) Tithing. 5) The "proper" name of God's Church is the Church of God. 6) Easter and Christmas are pagan. 7) Man doesn't have an immortal soul. 8) The annual holy days foreshadow God's plan. 9) There's only one true Church. 10) Avoid eating unclean meats. 11) Electing church officers is forbidden. 12) Avoid singing "protestant" hymns. 13) The British are Israel, etc.

Who taught these things first? It wasn't Herbert Armstrong!

ANSWER: G G Rupert.

Tony Badillo revealed this:

"Rupert (1847-1922) was publishing his writings in the Church of God's Bible Advocate magazine long, long, before HWA ever came along. Historical researcher Richard C Nickels states: 'Holy Day and British Israel teachings among the Church of God (7th Day) did not originate with Herbert W Armstrong in the 1930's. Such ideas had been presented to (and rejected by) the Church of God leaders in the early 1900's through Rupert and his Remnant of Israel.' [p. 17 Analysis of G G Rupert and his Independent Church of God (7th Day) Movement.]

But how can this be? Doesn't HWA claim that he did not receive the Gospel from man nor was he taught it by man? Doesn't he claim that he, too, like Paul, received it directly from God? And another question: What does this do to HWA's 19-year time-cycle theories? According to HWA, the Philadelphia era started when the Church of God (7th Day) rejected his British-Israel and (later) his Annual Holy Day views. The question is: WHEN, WHEN, WHEN were such views rejected? Certainly not when HWA says so, for this can be proven beyond doubt by looking through old issues of the Remnant of Israel.., and the Bible Advocate! "

Nickels notes: "But Rupert was no ordinary writer. His articles in the Bible Advocate on the Holy Days are amazing. A N Dugger, the editor, allowed these articles to be printed.... Stanberry never accepted the Holy Days but was given a convincing presentation of them in 1913 by G G Rupert!" No wonder that there are eye-witness accounts of employees finding boxes of Rupert's works stashed away in HWA's basement. NOTE: HWA apparently acquired his initial British-Israel views from G G Rupert's writings but later fine-tuned his views when he plagiarised J H Allen's publication Judah's Sceptre and Joseph's Birthright.

HWA wrote The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy but his 'research' was not original, as he made out! He took credit in the eyes of many Worldwiders for this work, yet, he had gleaned it from Rupert, and also J H Allen's book Judah's Sceptre and Joseph's Birthright. Allen wrote his work in 1902, thirty years before HWA's 'masterpiece'. Armstrong "ripped off" Allen's work!

Not only was it deceitful of H W Armstrong to plagiarise the writings of others and claim they were his own, but it was doubly deceitful to then claim GOD had revealed such things to him, and to him alone!

These are the tricks of a man devoid of the Spirit of God and guided by demons! The devil was a deceiver from the beginning. Do you want to follow deceivers? I hope not.

Malcolm B Heap

N.B. We are unable to reproduce here all the illustrations which prove that HWA plagiarised others' material. The complete illustrated article is available from the address above. When requesting printed material, please make a contribution to cover our costs. Thank you.

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Copyright: Midnight Ministries, PO Box 29, Aylesbury, HP17 8TL, UK