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Herbert W. Armstrong's Ministry #1

The First Years


In the interest of correct Church of God HISTORY I reproduce the
following (Keith Hunt).

CHURCH OF GOD (Seventh  Day)
P.O.BOX 33677  -DENVER, COLORADO 80233  -PHONE (303) 452-7973

Re: The Herbert W. Armstrong Association with the Church of God
(Seventh Day)

     Mr.Herbert W. Armstrong began his search for "truth" (in
earnest) back in the fall of 1926 after his wife, Loma, had
embraced the seventh-day Sabbath message as the result of the
witness of a Church of God woman.
     Mr.Armstrong to that time had considered his wife's
acceptance of the Sabbath as an indication of "religious
fanaticism." So he set out to prove her wrong. In the spring of
1927, Mr.Armstrong accepted his wife's views as correct.
     It was about that time that Mr.Armstrong entered into the
Church of God fellowship. According to Mr.Armstrong, he felt that
the Church of God in Oregon embraced the truth and the testimony
of Jesus, but it was a fruitless work. So he has contended that
he and Mrs.Armstrong maintained "a detached fellowship."
     That "detached fellowship" did not prevent Mr.Armstrong from
accepting a ministerial license from the Oregon Conference of the
Church of God (Seventh Day). The Oregon Conference was an
affiliate of the organization which at that time was
headquartered in Stanberry, Missouri. The ministerial document
was issued in about 1931. Back in those days state conferences
were empowered by the General Conference to grant ministerial
licenses, with the General Conference granting credentials. The
General Conference was composed of state conferences, each of
which was an association of congregations. The state conferences
were totally dependent on the General Conference offices for
their authority.

[Some folks have inquired of the Armstrongs' membership status.
The Church of God did not ever issue ministerial documentation to

     In 1933 the Church of God (Seventh Day) suffered a severe
schism, dividing right down the middle. The half that severed
(both in members and ministers) established their headquarters in
Salem, West Virginia. This new organization was headed by Andrew
N. Dugger, who had served as President of the old conference from
1914 to 1928 and as editor of the "Bible Advocate" from 1914 to
1932. The two divisions reunited in 1949, establishing new
headquarters in Denver, Colorado. A small number of dissidents
remained separate from the re-organized body, and kept a skeletal
work in Salem.

     Mr.Armstrong gravitated toward the Salem movement. He had
aligned himself with A. N. Dugger, thus following Elder Dugger in
that association.

     By 1934, Mr.Armstrong had accepted appointment as one of
"the seventy," a group of ministers and church leaders who were
charged with "the message for the last days." (Note: The Salem
organization was built on the premise that it re-established
Scriptural organization: a board of twelve set the spiritual tone
of the Church; the body of the seventy was to be the "elite" of
the ministerial staffs the "seven" were charged with the
financial oversight of the operation.) 

     Mr.Armstrong was granted ministerial credentials at that
time. It was also about this time that Mr.Armstrong began a
radio-broadcast ministry which he identified as "The Radio Church
of God," and which he later contended to be independent of the
Salem body's support or endorsement. Interestingly enough, the
Salem body was publishing his reports and articles at the time,
so apparently they did not share his understanding. He was
carrying the highest documentation that the Church bestows.

     During the ensuing months and years, Mr.Armstrong began to
take an outspoken view on his understanding of British Israelism
and the Hebrew feasts. The brethren encouraged him to present to
the ministerial body as a whole his views on those subjects,
rather than to continue preaching and promoting most forcefully
his personal position.
     It was at Detroit, Michigan that Mr.Armstrong's material on
the Hebrew festivals was presented. The ministerial body gave
full treatment to the positions of Mr.Armstrong and a majority
rejected the doctrine as unscriptural. But Mr.Armstrong was most
insistent and continued to present his viewpoints in an
antagonistic manner.
     So, in 1938 the Salem organization revoked Mr.Armstrong's
credentials. Official records show the doctrinal dispute to be
the reason for the severance.

     As an addendum to this letter we'd like to offer a summary
of copies of letters on file at the General Conference offices
regarding Mr.Armstrong's affiliation with the Salem movement
successive to the 1933 division.

     The first of these letters is a form letter sent to all
those men who were requested to participate in the highest
ministry of the Church in those days (to whom credentials were
issued). In this letter which Mr.Armstrong signed and therefore
indicated his support, the Salem organization required each
minister's allegiance to "the Constitution of the Church of God,
with world headquarters at Jerusalem, Palestine," and current
offices in Salem, West Virginia. In that form notice is included
the following: 

"Will you please record this my acceptance, and have credentials
issued to me, according to my ministry in the body?

Herbert W. Armstrong
1142 Hall St., Salem, Oregon."

     A second letter was a confirmation from Mr.Armstrong dated
January 29, 1934 and sent from Eugene, Oregon, in which 
Mr.Armstrong indicated his willingness to embrace the work of the
Salem organization and in which he accepts appointment to "the
ministry of one of the seventy, which you can submit to the
Twelve [the Twelve Apostles]."

     A third letter from Mr.Armstrong dated August 15, 1934
briefly states: 

"I feel that my views and my stand, and what I preach, are in
harmony and accord with all these '40 points' [to wit, the '40
points of doctrine as outlined in the Constitution of the Church
of God [Salem, West Virginia]'.

     A fourth letter over the signature of C.0.Dodd, then General
Secretary of the Salem body, acknowledges the appointment of
credentials to Mr.Armstrong.

     The last two pages of material that have been made available
to our files from the Salem body deals with early reports from
"The Bible Advocate and Gospel Herald" which at the time was
the official publication of the Salem body. These reports detail
Mr.Armstrong's work in the Salem affiliation from March, 1936 to
July 1937. And the latter of these two pages dates ministerial
minutes that account of Mr.Armstrong's dissociation from the
ministerial body, along with the grounds for that dissociation.


Entered on this Website January 2008

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