In fulfillment of his self-appointed Matthew 24:14 commission (And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.), Herbert Armstrong traveled to Beijing not once but twice to meet with Chinese leaders. I found a recording on the Internet of his speech from his first visit to China, 30 years ago this week.
The 26-minute recording (MP3 download) includes an introduction by Stan Rader, a welcome by a Chinese official, and translations between Chinese and English. After all that is taken out, HWA’s speech is less than 10 minutes. Did Herbie fulfill his commission by preaching about Jesus? He talked a lot about societal ills and the dangers of nuclear weapons, but the closest he got to talking about the return of Christ was in his conclusion of his talk:
Some time ago the editor of a weekly news magazine in the United States said in an editorial that now our number one problem is that of survival of the human race. And he said it would seem now that the only hope that we have in the world would be the sudden intervention of a strong unseen hand from some place. Now I have the pleasure to announce to you tonight, not to try to convince you but to announce to you, that what some of the leading scientists say is our only hope [a single one-world government] is going to happen, and that unseen hand is going to appear and we are going to have world peace in our time.
All of the troubles in this world have come from living the wrong way. Having the wrong attitude toward ourselves, toward others, toward one another. And we’re going to come to the time of world peace. We’re going to have a utopia on earth. People will laugh when I say the word “utopia”. Why should it be impossible? Why should we not have it? All we have to do is live the way we ought to, and all of us are going to be doing that and in our time in this generation.
Well I’m not here to convince anybody of anything. I’m merely here to make an announcement. And to tell you that that is coming. And peace and happiness and joy is coming. We’re going to learn the way to live. We’re going to begin to live that way. And it is coming in our time. That is the world’s only hope and that’s what I’m proclaiming around the world. Thank you very, very much. [Polite applause after the translation.]
Now 30 years after he made these statements and 24 years after his death, we can add these statements to the “Herbert Armstrong was a false prophet” column. But Herbie made no mention of Christ, just a vague notion of “strong unseen hand from some place”. And this is backed up by a statement in Mystery of the Ages on page 28:
As I write I recently returned from my second four-day visit in Beijing (Peking),… I did not try to tell them who and what God is, but I did tell two large and important audiences of leaders what God is very soon going to do.
And for that Herbie probably spent for aviation fuel for his jet, bribes, etc several times what my father has paid in tithes during a half-century of being an Armstrongite. But wait, there’s even more. According to Ron Weinland, Herbie ate pork and another source indicates it was at one of those events. “This was the rationale Herbert Armstrong reportedly used when he went to China and ate pork with the Chinese leaders.” Speaking in a sermon from 2002, Weinland said (MP3 download, 19 minutes into file)
… what is the balance? Talked about Mr. Armstrong — eating pork. Once. Before a king. …. Brother, there has not been a man closer to God in the last 100 years than Mr. Armstrong was. And who of us, any of us, has the audacity and the gall to judge and condemn that man?
I do. I condemn Armstrong. HWA invented a religion with elements and even literature plagiarized from others. He siphoned off tithe money from his followers with some forced to borrow money to make it through their third tithe year. He exposed several generations to the fear of his false prophecies. And when it came time to stand up for his doctrine against unclean foods and to explicitly fulfill his “commission” to preach the gospel, he fell down on both counts, eating pork in Peking and being vague on the gospel.
I recall a minister giving a feast sermon in the 60’s about how it was OK to eat pork to avoid offending a host, and then being required give a sermon correcting himself (David Antion IIRC). Hypocritical Herb.
And Ron follows in his spiritual idol’s footsteps with his own version of hypocrisy. Fortunately Weinland’s following is smaller, yet still too large.