The following letter from C. Wayne Cole, director of the ministry and personal assistant to Herbert W. Armstrong, is reprinted from the July 31 Pastor's Report by request of Mr. Armstrong. I have known Ted Armstrong a long time. In the late 1930s — now 40 years ago — we chucked rocks at the same woodpiles behind schoolhouses where Mr. Herbert Armstrong was speaking to small groups of Church of God people. On several occasions during recent years. Ted has reminded me of this long-standing personal relationship.
Dick Armstrong was one of the best and closest buddies I ever had. We were inseparable friends during the early 1950s while students at Ambassador College. Dick and I spent four or five days in San Francisco in the spring of 1951 so we could be with Ted as much time as possible before he headed for Korea on board the aircraft carrier Ameitam.
I love Garner Ted Armstrong. He is not my enemy. We have been brothers in Christ and personal friends. Personally, I have no ill feelings toward Ted even now.
But, fellow ministers, what Garner Ted Armstrong is now doing is wrong. It is not to be respected nor accepted! Ted has now embarked on an act of bold defiance against the Work you have committed your lives to, against our (God's) human leader and Ted's human father. Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, against his own foundations in Christ (because without God's Church, Ted Armstrong would have been nobody so far as the Church goes, with no position or authority as a minister), and against our great God in heaven.
The move by Ted Armstrong to branch out on his own, to set up his own organization, his own church, is a deliberate act of rebellion and defiance against the very Church of God, against the Church that traces its history right back to the days of Jesus Christ, the Founder of our faith and way of life.
Fellows, any act of challenge and/or defiance against this Church is an act against the authority by which you and I derive our authority to serve as ministers and servants of God!
Where did Garner Ted Armstrong get his authority to serve as a minister of Jesus Christ? Does he have any right or authority to present himself as and to conduct himself as a minister of Christ other than by the authority of God in this Church, which ordained him into the ministry? No!
How many times have we heard Ted say that he believed he was ordained by a man who was ordained by a man who was ordained by a man who was ordained by a man and so on, all the way back through the earliest apostles and to Jesus Christ Himself. I first heard this concept expounded by Ted, and I believe with all my heart it is true!
Mr. Herbert Armstrong was ordained by ministers who were ordained by ministers of Jesus Christ and so on. It was Mr. Armstrong who ordained Ted into the ministry of the Church of God.
That authority, which was (and is) vested within the apostolic office held by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong by which Ted was ordained and blessed with the power of the ministry, has not changed nor been transferred to another
What now gives Ted, any more or less than any of the other ministers who have gone out from among us over the years, the right and the authority to repudiate and utterly reject God's authority vested in His Church in an endless succession from the very first century? The simple fact is, he doesn't have any!
Whether we like it or not or whether Ted likes it or not, he is now rebelling against Jesus Christ and God the Father. He is in opposition to the very Work of God. God says "rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft" (1 Samuel 15:23). And Ted is now in rebellion.
It is especially saddening to realize that Ted has in the past been perhaps the strongest voice in the Church denouncing the very concepts and practices he is now pursuing!
Listen to a few of the very well spoken words of Garner Ted himself.
The April 2, 1974, issue of The Bulletin (which went to ministers and key administrative personnel), beginning on page 55, contains Part II of the January, 1974, ministerial conference notes. I quote excerpts of sessions by Ted from these notes:
"My father can never get to the place where he dare not fire Garner Ted. He just can't! If he ever does that, he's lost control. I don't let myself, and I won't get into a position where I dare not fire somebody or move somebody around in a job or an office if I must, under me, to do my job. I just won't do it! Otherwise we don't have an organization left. We've got nothing then, fellows" (top of page 62).
This is very well said. When a man is in a position of authority, he must have the courage to make the often difficult and sensitive man-power decisions. It is commonly understood in business that people-problems, especially man-power and personnel decisions, are frequently the most difficult ones an executive ever faces. But he must make them.
And further, often a manager must make traumatic personnel moves or perhaps even fire employees based on his own gut-feelings and perception without the so-called "reasons for cause," which may be readily and easily explained.
In the same Bulletin, Ted discusses at length the agonizing decision President Harry S. Truman made in relieving Gen. Douglas MacArthur in 1951. Ted said in reference to Harry Truman: "You'd better admire the salty old character. He took more time to make the decision to relieve MacArthur than he did to decide to drop the atomic bomb on Japan, but he did do it!"
Did Mr. Herbert Armstrong have the authority to relieve Gamer Ted Armstrong of his executive duties in this Work? Most assuredly he did!
And he did so after very careful, prayerful counsel and after much delay allowing time to be sure, time for conditions to change and allowing time for God to make His answer absolutely plain and certain.
Why was this decision made? To put it succinctly in just a few words, Mr. Herbert Armstrong, God's apostle, came to see he had no choice. There was "cause" for his decision. Mr. Armstrong saw clearly that the "house was divided!" There was confusion in the Church. God's leadership through the one God had selected, trained and anointed as His apostle was being challenged in the right to make final decisions. God's spiritual office, proven by decades of fruits and blessings, was being challenged by one who had derived his responsibilities from that office and should have been submissive to it.
In the Los Angeles (Calif.) Times newspaper article this past Sunday July 30, Ted is quoted as saying: "From henceforth I will bow my knee to no man." If those were indeed his words that is a powerful and frightening statement! Does that sound like Ted continues to respect the office whereby he was allowed to have a part in God's Work?
What happened to the attitude behind the words Ted preached to us? Quoting again from the April 2, 1974, Bulletin, page 65, Ted said: "But, I'm going to be part of this Work until God Almighty Himself makes a decision otherwise. And as long as Herbert W. Armstrong is alive there's only going to be one signature on a paper that says I'm not in God's Work, and that's his!"
That paper and that signature now exist!
Ted continued to say: "I pray with all my being that God never allows anything to happen to that man. I want him alive, healthy, well, vital and dynamic so long as God wants this Work to go on."
This Work is and shall continue to go on. Mr. Herbert Armstrong is alive, well and dynamic. But now, tragically, the Work shall go on without Garner Ted Armstrong unless or until he should deeply and bitterly repent before God with fruits of repentance borne before his father for his contempt and open rejection of this Work.
In the Pasadena Star-News this morning, July 31, Ted is quoted as saying: "If God does not bless the effort that I am making, then it will be an indication that it is His will that I go into some other type of employment and profession."
This statement is totally contradictory to many statements made clearly revealing Ted's former deference to his father's authority. As recently as the January, 1978, ministerial conference, Ted has publicly stated his submission to the spiritual office of his father.
He said to the entire ministry that it would be his happiest moment — and these are his direct words — when he would have no administrative responsibility; that he did not ask for the job; that Mr. Armstrong asked him to return to an administrative job and placed him there; that he did not want it — and still doesn't.
Ted then strongly emphasized, "If I leave this Work — don't follow me. I know the lesson of Absalom. I know that if I ever lift up my hand against God's anointed, I am dead. I believe that with all my being. The quickest way for me to destroy myself is to attack my father. We should all follow the biblical example of support and of loyalty."
Ted stated that if he were ever put out, he would never darken the door of any church; would never call a member. "I have proven again and again that never, to the point of a rusty bayonet halfway through my heart, will I lift up my hand against God's anointed. My father is God's anointed. God has preserved his life. I will support, preserve and protect him. Never has anyone seen me try to align forces, influence others around me to so much as lift their little finger against that man. And they will never see it. They will never see it. I have been striving as diligently as I know how to fulfill the biblical examples of loyalty, and I am going to strive to continue to do it. I have said publicly to the area coordinators if I cannot write a deep lesson of loyalty to my own father... how could I ever expect loyalty on down the line. If I were ever disloyal then I could not expect loyalty from you under any situation."
This is a direct quote from Ted to all of you just a few months ago.
We all believed those and many other similar statements.
But now, Ted is going his own independent way, bowing to no man and leaning to his own determination of whether or not "God blesses his efforts" and trusting in this as an indication of being right or wrong. Evil, wrong and selfish and rebellious motives may prosper, but they are no less wrong and rebellious.
Remember, fellow ministers, earlier this year when these traumatic events began, Mr. Herbert Armstrong did not fire Ted. He did not stop Ted from radio broadcasting and initially did not stop him from making telecasts.
I and others know this to be true because we read the letters sent by Mr. Armstrong to his son stipulating conditions of Ted's continued services to the Church.
Near the first of May Ted was relieved of his executive duties and asked to devote his full-time to those areas be does best, that is radio broadcasting and writing. The weekly telecasts were to be canceled as soon as contractual arrangements allowed, but Mr. Herbert Armstrong clearly stated that after some time for discussions and reformatting he wanted Ted to continue with television work.
Rumors began to spread very quickly, however, that Ted had been deprived of the right to do the radio broadcasts. This was not true.
Subsequent events, letters and meetings between Ted and his father ultimately brought Mr. Armstrong to the place that he disfellowshipped Ted. Even after disfellowship Mr. Armstrong offered to have Ted receive support in consideration of his years of service. This was not an attempt to buy silence but rather a genuine concern on the part of Mr. Armstrong for Ted's care and support.
Now, here we are today, fellow ministers. Our trials and difficult jobs continue. But, hopefully, we have internalized our faith, dependence and dedication to God. We are here to stay! This Work is where we found the "pearl of great price." And, this Work will go forth in disseminating and announcing this core message of good news and hope for all mankind!
What Ted needs to do right now is come to see that what he is doing is the total antithesis of everything he has stood for, preached and taught us. My prayer and hope is that Ted will repent of his rebellion against God, God's Work and God's chosen servant.
I would love to see Ted and Shirl and any others who may have joined them restored as my brothers and sisters in Christ! Wouldn't you?
That is our prayer and our hope. But, meanwhile, this Work of God goes on. Thanks for all that each one of you is doing in your loyal service to God.