|Interior of Hinson church, 1933|
It's one of those factoids COG members tend to overlook. In the Autobiography it reads "It was probably May or June, 1927, when I was baptized. One Sunday evening we [Herb and Loma] attended a service at Hinson Memorial Baptist Church." Earlier he notes: "Next I went to a Baptist minister in Portland [John Marvin Dean], to learn why Baptists believe in baptism. He was courteous and patient, glad to explain his church's teachings. He seemed sincere, though he was later dismissed from his pastorate under accusation of some kind of disgraceful or sinful conduct." Strangely, Herb seemed reluctant to join the dots and come right out and say he had been baptized by a morally dubious Sunday-keeping Baptist. (Quotes from the 1967 edition).
And surely there's got to be some bizarre synchronicity in the mutually tarnished reputations of both Dean and Armstrong.
The Wikipedia article on Herb provides more details:
He was eventually baptized, along with his brother Dwight L. Armstrong, in the summer of 1927 by Dr. Dean, the non-Sabbatarian pastor of Hinson Memorial Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon. It is unknown, however, if he ever joined this denomination. He would later recollect over four decades later that he believed, "On being baptized I knew God then and there gave me HIS HOLY SPIRIT!" Despite his own unique teaching on baptism his own account is noteworthy for the absence of any mention of the process of laying on of hands or a special prayer in the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, which were considered fundamental for membership in the Worldwide Church of God and reason for many a new convert's rebaptism.
|Hinson church, mid-1950s|
There's a separate Wikipedia entry on Herb's younger brother, hymn writer Dwight. Again, Hinson Baptist is mentioned.
Subsequently, both Armstrong brothers were baptized during the Pentecost season of that year by Dr. Dean, pastor of the Hinson Memorial Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon. In the 1986 edition of Herbert W. Armstrong's Autobiography edited by Dr. Herman L. Hoeh, on pages 416-417, it is suggested that Dwight answered an altar call given by his brother in December 1930 in Harrisburg, Oregon, and was subsequently baptized by his brother.Does this mean Dwight was rebaptized by Herb? Sadly neither Herman nor the Armstrong brothers are in a position to explain what happened.
And what about Loma?
Joe Tkach - or possibly his ghostwriter - in Transformed by Truth also noted these Baptist roots.
In the midtwenties... was baptized by the pastor of the Hinson Memorial Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Armstrong once said of this pastor, "The man is the most godly man in all of Portland." There is some reason to suppose that Mr. Armstrong attended the Bible school which was associated with Hinson at that time; this Bible school met at the Portland library at the time Mr. Armstrong was beginning his studies.As the photograph on Banned shows, Hinson Memorial Baptist Church is still there in Portland. One wonders how many members of the congregation today know that "Hogwash Herb" once warmed their pews.