Born: July 31, 1892
Died: January 16, 1986
Member Since: 1928
Herbert W. Armstrong founded the Worldwide Church of God in the late 1930s, as well as Ambassador College in 1946, and was an early pioneer of radio and tele-evangelism, originally taking to the airwaves in the 1930s from Eugene, Oregon.
Well greetings everybody. You're living in a world that is just filled with religious confusion. I wonder if you ever stopped to think about how many religions we have in other parts of the world. We don't think of them much here in the United States; Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Hinduism, the Moslem religion that fills the Arab world, and spills over into a great deal more, especially in Africa. Then the religion of Christianity, that pretty well engulfs the world, but especially in Europe and America and South America. The largest religion in the world is the Roman Catholic religion. And if you take what is called Christianity, including the Protestant religion, it is really by far, bigger. Dual Challenge Proof God Does Exist? Foundation of All Knowledge Questions the Worlds Intellectuals Can't Answer
Now you might have thought that some religion like Buddhism or Confucianism would be larger, because they are the religions over in India; and well, Hinduism in India, and China and nations like that, that are far more populous nations, and so many more people than there are here. But the Christian religion, as it is called, is by far the largest.
Now in the present series of programs I have been asking, "Where are we to find the one true religion? And how can you be sure? How can you know? How can you prove it?"
I mentioned before how my wife had taken up the seventh-day Sabbath. Now to me that was the absolute acme of religious fanaticism. And the first thing I thought, just because I'd been successful in business, the first thing that I thought was; what will all of my business associates and my business contacts and my friends say? I thought if they found my wife had gone into religious fanaticism that would just be a terrible thing. And I think that when anyone hears of God's truth that's about the first thing they think of; "What'll all my friends say?" Because usually you find you have to give that all up if you're going to come to the real truth.
Then I was challenged on this theory — doctrine, whatever you want to call it, of evolution. Now evolution has been accepted in all of the so-called academic and the intellectual circles as if it were true. And indeed they believe it's true.
Well I devoted a very intensive study, it was like I was fighting for my very life. And indeed I really was, but I didn't realize it then. I was fighting to hold my marriage, because I didn't believe in divorce. As a matter of fact, in my family, there had been no divorce and remarriage anywhere within the family of my in-laws, or cousins, or aunts, uncles, anywhere that I can think of. There had never been such a thing. And of course I was pretty well going along with what I'd been taught ever since childhood.
Anyway it took me six months before I came to the answer. Now, as I went into evolution, my head began to swim. I found they had some convincing arguments. But later I found that's precisely what they were - arguments. And I began to doubt whether there is a God. And I began to realize I never had proved whether God exists.
I'd been taught it ever since I was a child, or a baby as far back as I could remember, I'd been brought up in church, in Sunday school until I was eighteen, and then I dropped out and lost all interest. And to me, you know, I just took for granted that there was a God. And now I began to wonder. I said, "Well I've never really proved it. How can I be sure that there is a God?" I decided I had to know. Now I had delved into the writings, of course, of Darwin, and Spencer, and Huxley, and Haekle, and Lyle, and Vogt, and Chamberlain, and all of the other great authorities on evolution, and as I say, they had arguments.
Well I had arguments about the Sabbath question, but they didn't seem to faze my wife - not a bit. She said she found what she had in the Bible. "Well," I said; "The Bible says; 'Thou shalt observe Sunday.'" And she said; "Well, how do you know? Did you ever see it there?" I said; "Well no," I said; "I don't know much about the Bible. You know I lost all religious interest when I was eighteen."
And I remember that in Sunday school I was in a boy's class, and we started from little boys, and we all grew up until we were all around the age of seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, together. And we had just, for years, had gone through the book of Proverbs, and we'd go through it and we'd start all over again. And we never did go into the regular so-called quarterly lessons, such as the Sunday school quarterlies contained. And I had always taken it for granted there is a God.
Do you know it came to me, why do people believe what they believe? Nearly everybody believes. In fact most of you people, you believe just what you've always heard. You believe what you have read repeatedly and consistently. Now another thing, people believe what their peers believe, that is the people around them. Children believe what other kids their own age believe. You parents think they believe what you have - don't kid yourself, they believe what the other kids believe. And you'd better be aware of that, and counteract it, if you want to see your children brought up in the way they should be.
Now, of course, there is another reason people believe what they want to believe. Or let's reverse it and say; they refuse to believe what they don't want to believe! Now most people are like that, and they're like the old saying that; 'A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.' And that is very, very true, and that's according to human nature.
Well, my mind had to be washed clean of everything I had believed, because my foundations were just simply falling apart from underneath me until I had nothing to stand on. If I couldn't believe in God, what could I believe?
But just to make a long story short, that was a very intensive study. And I proved, because I delved into other works of science. And there was one scientist, it was a Dr Moore, he believed in evolution, that is he went along with it. But he found plenty of discrepancies, and he had plenty of arguments against it, and he was very, very convincing. And yet because it was the popular thing, I think Dr Moore just went along with all of the others at that time. But again, as I say, to make a long story short, I not only proved the existence of God, I completely disproved the theory, or the hypothesis, of evolution. I found not only that God does exist.
The next question was — well, you see, in order to answer my wife's question I had to start in the book of Genesis. That's where you start with the Sabbath. And evolution also starts with Genesis and creation. You see evolution is the atheist's explanation of the presence of a creation without the pre-existence of a Creator. How did the creation come? And the atheist is left with, sort of in a vacuum, he had to get some answers. So they figured out this doctrine of evolution, and it's their attempt to explain it. Now there have been thousands of young men, and growing into maturity, and all through their lives in the realms of higher education, that have devoted their lives to that kind of study. So it's a very complex thing. And they have about ten million, and one hundred and one thousand different arguments, I never stopped to count them.
Incidentally, let me just say that I have a booklet here: 'Does God Exist?' I'd like to send that to you; and there's no charge at all. And there are two sections of it. One is, let me just read a little of it to you:
'Can the existence of God be scientifically proved? Where did the first LIFE come from? Can we know whether God possesses MIND power?' Then some of the subheadings; 'I Questioned God's Existence', and secondly, 'Don't Assume - KNOW!' Be sure, next; 'I Found PROOF!' Then next; 'Which God?' Next: 'Creation Without a Creator?' And next subheading; 'Amazing New Knowledge of Science.' And the next is a question; 'Has Matter Always Existed?'
And then follows another section on; 'SEVEN PROOFS THAT GOD EXISTS'. Seven scientific proofs. Now if you have never proved it you should. Don't go on just assuming that either God does or does not exist. But get the proof; be sure you know that you have a solid foundation under you. And I'm glad to offer you this booklet. No charge, 'Does God Exist?' I'll be very happy to send it to you.
Well now at last I had a firm foundation under me. I had decided, you see, before, that I was going to study into all of these religions. Now I knew that the other religions, that I mentioned awhile ago, the Eastern religions of Asia, and of Africa, and other nations, I knew they all had their sacred writings. And I decided I would go into that, as well as the Bible, which are the writings of so-called, supposedly, the Christian religion. At least that's what I thought at the time.
I really — well I'll come to that a little later, I found out a little bit differently as I went along. However they have adopted the Bible. Let me just say here, the Christian religion is attempting to read what they believe into the Bible. But it did not get their religion out of the Bible! Now that ought to knock you over. And it did me, it really did. That was one of the most shocking things I ever found in my life. I think I've mentioned before, one of the first things I noticed in the Bible was in Romans 6:23, I believe it is:
"...the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23)
Now that just shocked me, I said; "Why the wages of sin is eternal life in hell-fire! But it's not death, because you never die there. You keep burning, burning, and burning, you never burn up." Well look, you know, one thing I never stopped to think. I'll tell you now, if you can show me any kind of material, whether it's a human being, or any kind of material, that will burn, and burn, and burn, and never burn up, I'll raise and pay you one million dollars. Now if you want to become a millionaire, there's a good way to do it. Just produce something, and give it to me that'll burn, and burn, and burn, and never burn up. Because I'll make several million out of that! Anyone that can have that, he can become rich in a hurry. Because a lot of people — if they didn't have to buy any more fuel, they just had something that would keep giving them heat and fire, and burning forever, and ever, and ever. Oh, what a wonderful thing that would be.
Well I proved the Bible is the inspired word of that God whom I had proved was the Creator of all that is.
So I really fished for it all over, but I'd never studied the Bible before. But I soon found there are a lot of things to help you in a study of the Bible, like a concordance. It'll give you every word in the Bible and where you can find it. All you have to do is have a word, and you can find where it is in the Bible through this concordance. So I began to check up a lot of these things. I found this about:
"...the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life..." (Romans 6:23)
Now I said; "I don't need a gift because I'm an immortal soul, or I have an immortal soul." So I began to look up the word 'soul' in the concordance. And I found two places where the word is used where it just says in the same words:
"...the soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezekiel 18:4,20)
A soul will die. Then I found that God had said to Adam; "that if he took the forbidden fruit he would die." (Genesis 2:17 paraphrased) Now He didn't say; "Your body will die, but you'll go off to heaven." Or something like that. He just said; "You will die", the conscious man.
So as I say, my head really was swimming for a while. But I finally found that what the churches were saying is just the exact identical opposite, in most important cases, of what the Bible says. Now that is a shocker; that ought to knock anyone off the so-called Christmas tree! But then I had to find out how wrong I had been. And as I say my mind was swept clean. I had taken a beating. I had been conquered!
You know I think that most people who call themselves Christians, and profess Christianity, do you know how I think they came into it? I don't think they came into it the way I did. I don't think they found they had to take a beating, and to eat crow so to speak, and to admit how wrong they were. I think they have seen, perhaps they've heard me preach, they've heard our message, they've read our literature, and they say; "Well now that makes sense." And indeed it does; it does make sense.
And they say, "Well now, that sounds right to me. And so, I'm so good, and in my goodness I'm going to accept that because it's right, because it's good." I think most people have never come to really repent. I think most people that even claim Christianity, and let me tell you, all of you listening to me, you had better examine yourselves and see how did you come to believe what you believe.
I began to realize that I had just assumed what I believed, and now I had to prove it. And when I proved it, I found what I didn't want to believe. And I came to believe what was proved, whether I wanted it, or whether I didn't want it.
You tell me any founder of a religion, or any leader, worldwide leader of a religion who ever came to his belief like that? Go ahead and tell me, write me, tell me, I'd like to know, because I never heard of one. That isn't the way most people come to what they believe at all. They don't prove it, and prove it even against their own wishes and their own desires.
But my mind became into a condition where it was swept clean! And where I saw the Bible was the Word of the Creator God. That it is absolutely infallible , and that I could rely on what it says. Now I had a solid foundation under me. And from now on I just had to study — what does it say?
Now I hear a lot of discussion these days about being liberal or conservative. I wrote a man who was concerned about that question just the other day. And I said; "Well I'll tell you, I don't claim to be liberal or conservative. I just believe what the Bible says. Jesus Christ is the living Word of God, the Bible is the written Word of God, and it is Jesus Christ and His Word in writing. And I believe what it says. If it says; "...the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23) I believe it's death, and not eternal life in hell-fire.
Now I just came to believe these things, because I proved it! I'd proved the existence of God. I had proved the authenticity and the authority of the Bible. Well, as I say, I think that's a pretty rare experience; you might check it with your own.
Well I found that there is a God and that God did put us here, and I found there is a reason. But have you ever heard that reason? Do you know why? What is the purpose of life? Where are we going? And what is the way? And what are the true values? And why is all humanity so busy chasing the false values? And why are we having all of the troubles we are having in this world? What is the cause? What would be the solution?
Do you know that's something that science can't answer? Do you know that that's something that no religion has ever revealed to you? Do you know that that's something they can't teach you in any university in the world? And do you know why? Because they are ignorant, they don't know. Now that's quite a challenge, but I throw out that challenge. And I dare you to try to prove I'm wrong or false in that.
Now the question is then that I came to want to know, and I want to give you now some proof. I started to give you seven different proofs on what is the one true Church. Because I had read where Christ said that; "...the gates of the grave would never prevail against His Church." (Matthew 16:18 paraphrased) — it must be around somewhere. And yet I had found that the churches, as far as I knew, were reading their beliefs into the Bible and not getting their religion and their beliefs out of the Bible. So where is the one true Church?
But first I wanted to know, what is the one true religion? Now of course I mentioned a lot of religions. I forgot to mention about Communism which believes there isn't any religion, and any God at all. And they just believe in plain atheism. And they say that religion is the opium of the people, and I think that some of the religions are. Indeed I think they're right about some of them.
Well, it's incredible that all of these religions, now listen, because this is one of the most incredible things you ever heard, come out of the mouth of a human being! No man ever talked like this! All of the religions in this world — what is religion? It is the relation of man to his God or Creator. And there is no religion, except the one true Church, that knows Who and What God is. That ought to knock some of you clear back on your seats.
Anyway, I think there could be nothing more jolting than to think that, of all of the world's religion, when religion is the worship of God, or the supernatural, that there is no religion that knows, as such, Who or What is God. And even in Christianity there's only one Church; and that's the original true Church that Jesus Christ Himself raised up in 31 AD.
Now the intellectuals of Athens, way back in ancient Greece, and you know the real intellectuals in the world in those days, were in Greece, and especially in Athens. And a group would always meet up on Mars Hill. I haven't been up there, but I've been just across the Areopagus and other places, anyway I've been all around and seen it many, many times. And the apostle Paul happened to be over in Athens. And there were people there, and I'd like to read you his experience. Here were people that had their religion. These were the intellectuals, they were the scholarly people of their time. And, let's see, we'll begin here in the eighteenth verse:
"Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered [Paul]. And some said, What will this babbler say? [And] some [said, Well] He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and they brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest ...? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: and we would know [whereof] what these things mean." (Acts 17:18-20)
Of course they were probably sneering, they were sarcastic, they weren't going to believe a word, no matter what he said, one way or the other anyway:
"(For the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and [he] said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things [you] are too superstitious [superstitious, they were ignorant, and yet they were the intellectuals]. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with [the] inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD [they did not know who God is]. Whom therefore [Paul said, whom therefore] you ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is the Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands [out of physical buildings of stone, or brick, or wood, or clay, or whatever]; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he [had need of] any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things [He's the source of life, the source of breath, that's where your breath comes from]; And hath made of one blood all the nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds unto their habitations;" (Acts 17:21-26)
And so on. Paul was not taken back. They tried to make fun of him, they tried to ridicule him, but he just said; "I perceive you are so ignorant." And let me tell you, the men who are the most highly educated, and the most intellectual men in the world today, are actually the most ignorant. Because they practically all believe something that is a myth, a fable - this doctrine of evolution. It is their foundation, it is their approach, it is their starting point. They view everything through it as the eyeglasses through which they see everything. And they're bound to get it all out of focus, looking through a false eyeglass like that.
Well in my initial six months study of evolution and the Bible my mind had been opened. And I did not know, I had not proved, but I looked into this. As Paul said, and here's what I found, Paul said pretty well who God is - these verses twenty-four to twenty-six that I just read. Let me read it again:
"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he [had need of] any thing, seeing he gives to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all the [people and the] nations...[on] earth." (Acts 17:24-26)
Now whether you're black, white, or yellow, or pink, or polka dot, or whatever — one blood. That's what we're all made of.
So I leave that with you until next time.
Dual ChallengeI mentioned on another program of how I was challenged years ago. It was a dual challenge and it was a very upsetting challenge, both of them were. It drove me into a very intensive study.
Proof God Does Exist?Anyway it took me six months before I had the answer to that. Now my study didn't stop then. But I had proved the existence of God. I had to go by what had been proved to me, to be the exact inspired word of the living God. I proved that God lives, that God is the Creator, and that He's the Great Designer, the Creator.
Foundation of All KnowledgeNow I had a solid foundation under me. But I had to eat a lot of crow. You know I had to come to find out that the Bible didn't say, 'Thou shalt observe Sunday.' My wife had said; "Have you ever seen it?" And I said a while ago; "No, I didn't know anything about the Bible." "Well," she said; "You show it to me and I'll go back to Sunday."
Questions the Worlds Intellectuals Can't AnswerNow the question came; why are humans on earth? How did the human race come to be here? If there is a God, did He put us here, or did we just happen? The evolutionists say we just happened, that there was no one that put us here. There isn't any God.