Why does Bob Thiel quote Herbert W. Armstrong?

Herbert W. Armstrong


Received the following in an email:

Herbert Armstrong. I notice you quote him a lot at COGwriter.com Sometimes i wonder why COG people do this? I ask this because i have noticed as i try to share the truths of God with people online anytime someone connects a COG to WWCOG, they will bring up how the WWCOG and Armstrong had false prophesied multiple times.

There are several reasons that Herbert W. Armstrong or materials from the old Radio/Worldwide Church of God, of which he was Pastor General, are cited here.

But first, consider that all humans are flawed:

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)

The Bible makes that clear and even mentions serious sins that some of God’s servants have had (such as King David’s adultery & murdering, plus a wrong prediction by the Apostle Paul come to mind).

As far as false prophecies go, Herbert W. Armstrong had misunderstandings related to WWII and sometimes pointed to dates that he should not have–and we do not attempt to defend his errors. To his credit, however, he asserted that he was not a prophet. And as far as the internet goes, I have addressed many of the accusations against him in article titled: 17 Accusations and Truthful Responses About Herbert W. Armstrong. Plus also in another article titled: What is Armstrongism? Are Some Dismissive of Original Christianity?

People can choose to believe the truth or lies.

We in the Continuing Church of God, believe that God used Herbert W. Armstrong to raise up the Philadelphia era of the the Church that Jesus discussed in Revelation 3:7-13. We believe God used him to restore various truths that the true church lost by the early 20th century (see The 18 Restored Truths: Do You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made?).

The Continuing Church of God believes that we best represent the continuation of the Philadelphian part of the Church of God. Herbert W. Armstrong is one in the list of successors we trace our history through (see Continuing History of the Church of God).

So, Herbert Armstrong (or other Radio/Worldwide COG writers) is quoted to show that we continued the basic teachings that he did related to the Philadelphian era of the Church. Plus, we also do this to show that much of what we teach was taught by an earlier COG (which is also why we quote early 2nd century COG writers, like Polycarp of Smyrna). Many people, including those with a COG background, often do not realize what was taught on various matters–hence quoting those sources helps demonstrate that we in the CCOG are continuing with those teachings.

We have also restored more details and truth as would be expected in these last days.

Furthermore, we are also doing what the Apostle Paul wrote:

21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

What does that mean?

It means that if Herbert Armstrong taught something we believe the Bible or various facts support, we are happy to present that. We do not exalt Herbert Armstrong or anyone else above scripture.

We strive not to teach error and do not teach that what Herbert Armstrong wrote is not subject to correction. The Bible, not Herbert Armstrong, is the standard that we go by.

Despite organization changes, successively and doctrinally we are NOT a new church. We teach Laying on of Hands succession from the apostles. We clearly trace our history from the Book of Acts to present (see Continuing History of the Church of God).

Therefore, we often quote Church of God leaders, not just from the New Testament, but also those from the second century A.D. to present. We do this to demonstrate the consistency of the doctrines of the true church as well as to show what “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) was in the period immediately after the death of the last of the apostles.

I, Bob Thiel, do not know everything, nor does anyone else. The Bible teaches, “in a multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 24:6)–Herbert Armstrong’s writings are among those I read for possible counsel. His writing style is still of interest to many–and is a method to use to reach some (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:20-22).

Now, let’s see what Herbert W. Armstrong taught related to himself and the Bible:


(Herbert W. Armstrong, Plain Truth magazine, Sept. 1963, Personal p.1)

Now, the same 1963 issue of the old Plain Truth shows a bit more for that quote from Herbert Armstrong:

Don’t believe me – BELIEVE YOUR BIBLE – BELIEVE GOD! I always say…check up! Listen without prejudice, with open mind, then check up–go to your BIBLE, and BELIEVE what you read there. (Armstrong HW. Personal from the Editor. Plain Truth. September 1963.)

That is great advice. And we would tell Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, LDS, and everyone else the same thing. Here is my own slightly expanded version of the above:

Don’t simply believe me Believe what the Bible really Teaches Believe the Truth Prove all things – Believe God!

And I will take it one step further. Irrespective of how any may view the role that God has for me, unless I am directly quoting the Bible, or preface a statement to something of the effect of “thus saith the Lord,” I am NOT necessarily stating anything that is not subject to later correction. We who are truly part of the Church of God only accept as inspired the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament and no other document. Therefore, although other current and historical documents/articles/books/booklet/posts by various Church of God leaders throughout history often have value, as they generally also tend to contain personal opinion, we do not consider that any of them are on the same level as sacred scripture, and hence believe that they can contain error.

As suggested earlier, Herbert Armstrong’s writing style often conveys many points in an understandable manner. A manner that we do not feel that we must re-word. A manner which provides variety. Hence, he is quoted.

Plus, none of us are experts in everything. Hence, citing others who have more expertise or perhaps a better way to say something helps the listener learn better. It also helps with time constraints to quote something when it is pertinent.

As mentioned before, he and/or the old Radio/Worldwide Church of God literature are quoted here is to show that certain points covered at COGwriter.com are consistent with the them. Hence, we truly are continuing those teachings. Teachings that groups outside the CCOG sometimes have forgotten or neglected to teach.

Still another reason for various quotes is to point out that the general prophetic outline that Herbert Armstrong taught is coming to pass.

For some examples, the old Iron Curtain fell, Germany reunited, the Europeans have their own currency, the United Kingdom has left the European Union, the Europeans are working on building a unified military, relations between the Europeans and the USA are straining more and more, the USA is in decline as a world power, etc.

Another reason to provide quotes is that many anti-COG sources on the Internet sometimes misrepresent what Herbert Armstrong taught.

Related to one, GotQuestions.com (who still has not corrected something I brought up years ago), we put together the following:


The physical head of the old Radio/Worldwide Church of God was the late Herbert W. Armstrong. What he taught has been derided as “Armstrongism.” What were some of those teachings? Was the old Worldwide Church of God some type of weird cult or did it strive to contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints? Is “Armstrongism” improperly maligned and falsely described at GotQuestions.com? Are concepts such as the tribes of Israel, ‘soul sleep,’ and three resurrections unique to Herbert W. Armstrong or were they long part of original Nazarene Christianity? What about various holidays and Christianity? In this video, Dr. Thiel goes over his early experiences with “Armstrongism” as well as gives scriptures about persecutions that would affect Christians.

Here is a link to the sermonette: What is Armstrongism? Are Some Dismissive of Original Christianity?

Many do not understand true, original Christianity, so they bash/misrepresent Herbert Armstrong and/or teachings that he had.

In the CCOG we have never taught that Herbert W. Armstrong or any COG leader was the standard, the truth in the word of God is.

Herbert W. Armstrong changed his position on various matters and never claimed infallibility. Nor do we.

But, as a continuation of the true apostolic Church of God, we in the Continuing Church of God believe it is helpful to quote recent as well as ancient COG writers for their perspective and insight, as well as to show continuity.

All who profess Christ should, “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

The reason that we quote the Bible and other COG leaders is to help show that we do.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

What is Armstrongism? Did Herbert W. Armstrong raise a new faith or promote the original Christian faith? Here is a link to a related video: What is Armstrongism? Are Some Dismissive of Original Christianity?
Herbert W. Armstrong, the Philadelphia Church, & the Mantle Herbert Armstrong claims God had him raise the Philadelphia up. Are there reasons to believe that the Philadelphia mantle in now within the CCOG? Here is a link to a related sermon: Herbert W. Armstrong and the Philadelphia Mantle.
Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18? Does any church have the confirmed dream and prophetic signs of Acts 2:17-18? Should one? Here is a link in the Spanish language: ¿Tiene la CCOG confirmadas las señales de Hechos 2: 17-18?
The 18 Restored Truths: Do You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made? Some have said healing, others other subjects, but probably the first change had to do with eliminating being part of the Philadelphia era. This article documents what those changes were and compares the Tkach list of restored truths to Herbert W. Armstrong’s list of restored truths. It contains many quotes from Herbert W. Armstrong. Here are links to a related two-part sermon: The 18 Restored Truths: 1-8 and The 18 Restored Truths: 9-18.
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. Two sermon-length videos of relaled interest are available Physical Protection During the Great Tribulation and Might Petra be the Place of Safety? Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
Who Was Herbert W. Armstrong? How is He Viewed Today? Includes quotes from the 1973 edition of The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong and explains who he was and how he should be viewed today.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders? Two related sermons are available The Work per HWA and the Bible and Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work.
17 Accusations and Truthful Responses About Herbert W. Armstrong He, even after his death, keeps being improperly maligned–here is the truth on these matters.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example? Here is a related sermon video: Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong: Reformers with Differences.
Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, did Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority? Statements from him changing and/or discounting 18 books of the Bible are included. Do you really want to know the truth?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3
from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation. There is also a version in the Spanish language: Las Siete Iglesias de Apocalipsis 2 & 3.
1. The Ephesus Church Era was predominant from 31 A.D. to circa 135 A.D. The Church of James, Peter, Paul, and John, etc. Here is a link to a related video sermon: Ephesus Church Era.
2. The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D. The Church led by Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, etc.Here is a link to a related video sermon: The Smyrna Church Era.
3. The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D. An especially persecuted Church. Here is a link to a related sermon video: Pergamos Era and the Antichrist.
4. The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D. The Church during the Inquisition. It claimed succession from the apostles. Here is a link toa related sermon: Thyatira, Succession, and Jezebel.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses some early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, CG7-Salem, Jerusalem 7DCG, and COG-7th Day-Denver.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy. See also Do You Hold to Any of These Laodicean Prophetic Errors?
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to four related sermons:  The Fantastic Gospel of the Kingdom of God!, The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. There are links to literature is about 100 different languages there.

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