Thursday, 8 February 2007
Chipper calls a Foul
And Horace begat Herbert, and Herbert begat Ted, and Ted begat Mark...
What would Great Granddaddy Armstrong, a moderate Quaker, have made of his son, grandson and great grandson's religious entrepreneurial skills? We'll never know.
But it seems Mark “Chip off the Old Block” Armstrong has some thoughts about his grandcestors. Here's what he wrote recently.
False prophets and dangerous “holy men” are emerging in greater frequency these days. And now as bad as it hurts to recognize it, for the deception falls closer to home, there are several church leaders who parade the likeness, or their purported previous connection to my Grandfather, Herbert W. Armstrong as justification to administer yet another type of theocracy and systematic brainwashing over their followers. Some have even claimed divine authority and taken divine titles upon themselves to demand absolute, unquestioning loyalty and obedience from their followers. This is, I believe, a very frightening and dangerous development. My Grandfather would never have approved of many of the things that have been said and done in his name.
It reminds me of the Jim Jones tragedy. Jones, who claimed direct communication with God, forced about one thousand followers to drink poisoned Cool Aid. It was a hideous disaster that should forever serve as a stark lesson.
You’ll also remember the terrible outcome of the David Koresh movement.
The prospect that my Grandfather’s legacy might be used to foster a cult of “man worship” is contrary to everything he stood for. It is contrary to everything we stand for, and contrary to what my Dad, Garner Ted Armstrong, taught. “Never check your brains at the door,” my Dad said many times. We are free moral agents with God’s Word as our guide. Any time someone begins to exalt himself above the Word of God, or twist scripture to elevate himself to the level of divine authority, you had better think twice. No, you’d better run!
If you look down through history, or look at the incredible corruption, treachery and bloodshed that has been perpetrated under the supposedly “divine authority” of those who claimed the “primacy,” it should be a chilling and lasting reminder.
As my Grandfather and my Dad faithfully taught the acknowledgement and honor only to Jesus Christ, so we still do the same today. My Dad’s book The Real Jesus has had a profound effect on most who have read it. That’s because it showed, from the Bible, that Jesus was a man’s man, contrary to the effeminate and strange way he has been portrayed by the mainstream “Christian” organizations. The truth, thankfully, is pretty plain and straightforward. The laws of God stand regardless of man’s attempts to change them, and regardless of any man’s, or organization’s attempt to enforce them. It is not up to man to make God’s judgments. It is not any man’s place to inflict punishments on anyone who fails to live up to God’s standards or some man’s interpretations of those standards, for that matter.
This organization, the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association, will never engage in “authoritarian” pronouncements or make demands upon anyone. When I see the Armstrong name being used for such purposes it makes me sick. And I fear for people who had such great admiration for my Granddad, that they would give their minds over to someone who claims to speak for him.
The actual apostles, who were taught by Jesus Christ Himself, warned against men who would claim divine authority and said, as did the Apostle Paul in II Corinthians 1:24, that even the apostles themselves did not have “dominion” over the people’s faith, but were to be helpers of their joy. Look it up and read it yourself. It’s hard to find either much joy or any truth in the whacked-out pronouncements of today’s weird “holy men.”
We can be grateful that Chipper has publicly distanced himself from the tactics of Flurry et al. And there are some things in what he writes that many of us might utter an 'amen' to. Yet the fact remains that Grandpappy and Dad were ruthless manipulators par excellence. Mark's attempt to portray them as something else defies the facts. Is there any splinter group that doesn't require their members to “check your brains at the door”? Maybe I've missed something, but the Age of Enlightenment seems to have passed COGdom in a wide detour.
Mark Armstrong's assurances are welcome, but not particularly relevant. ICG is a blip on the landscape, a minor group which is irrelevant to most of Armstrong's inheritors. The politics of governance in ICG is hardly all sweetness and light either, the tiny group has been ravaged and torn under Chipper's own leadership; hardly the high moral ground.
(To suggest Ted's laughably facile book, The Real Jesus, had a "profound effect" is debatable, unless the effect was to misinform or misrepresent. The Armstrong Jesus was always a crude caricature, best suited for comic books rather than historiography.)
We all want to think well of our forebears, but reality can be cruel. While Mark Armstrong is still sponging a buck out of his father's reputation, it is scarcely credible when he summons a bowl of water to wash his hands in denial of the past.
Labels: ICG, Mark Armstrong
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I am reminded of the many eulogies I have heard spoken for various deceased relatives. One uncle, I was breathlessly told, cried every time he saw the movie Lassie. I sat there wondering if the old boy had bet against the dog.
Obviously, the way Mark Armstrong thinks of HWA or his father greatly differs with the way the rest of us feel. I’m not sure exactly what Mark did prior to running this cult for his mom. But it is his mom’s thing and he’s just trying to do his best. I don’t know what I would do if I were in his shoes. We could say that telling mom & the unemployable, disabled brothers that they can take their moth eaten scam and shove it, would be the honorable thing to do. But that wouldn’t make him much of a son or a first born, would it?
That he is in anyway departing from the script is to his credit. And a warning from him might mean something to those still lost in the PCG or RCG, whichever is his target. Better late than never. Better from him than from a lot of places I can think of.
Mark Armstrong said:
"The prospect that my Grandfather’s legacy might be used to foster a cult of “man worship” is contrary to everything he stood for. It is contrary to everything we stand for, and contrary to what my Dad, Garner Ted Armstrong, taught. “Never check your brains at the door,” my Dad said many times. We are free moral agents with God’s Word as our guide. Any time someone begins to exalt himself above the Word of God, or twist scripture to elevate himself to the level of divine authority, you had better think twice. No, you’d better run!"
I remember Mark only as the teenager racing through the Big Sandy camp grounds at the fall Feast and letting the camp captains, who stopped him for speeding, know who he was.....
"an Armstrong", as he drove off.
I also remember how his grandfather was put on the same pedestal as God.
Government from the top down was implied to mean God, Jesus and Herbert Armstrong. And most of the time Jesus was left out of that picture.
This was not a cult?????
I did take his daddy's ( GTA )advice.
As a free moral agent, I reclaimed my brain and 'ran' out that door several years ago.
God's word is my only guide now.
No 'free' literature from any church org. is worth the price of the slavery it entails of having to bow down to any man claiming to have
I would like to say to Mark Lax, who said " Better late than never"
I see it as " too little, too late"
Mark A. knows better than any of us about the heritage of
his 'grandpa and pa '.
The fact he is using his dead dad to perpetrate that legacy is deceitful, unchristian and denigrates the name of Christ
If "man worship" of HWA is wrong, shouldn't the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association change its name?
If not, what's the difference?
I can't even imagine what it must be like to be Mark Armstrong. He certainly was born into and lived through some incredibly unique circumstances. As he reached maturity, his grandfather's church was in full bloom, at it's peak. Being the oldest son of Herbert's most viable offspring, having your dad and grandfather internationally known, must have been a very heady experience. Any human in those circumstances would probably feel as if they were growing up under a microscope, with nowhere to hide, no privacy in which to develop ones own identity in life.
Further, growing up with some special needs brothers would be unique and challenging of and by itself. Finally, watching the power struggle in your family, your dad discredited and disgraced, yet striking out on his own to continue to do the only thing he was trained to do, must have been difficult to deal with. I imagine that Mark loved both Ted and Shirley, and hated to see what all of this put them through.
I watched Mark grow up, to a certain extent. I watched him openly rebel, although he also played the family game, attending Ambassador College. By the time he was a student, I was no longer attending AC, but was still in the headquarters area, and saw and heard about many of his activities.
We all have our wishes as to what some of the principals involved in the ACOG movement might do with their lives. Personally, I'd like to see them come clean and to walk away from a toxic system which has done so much damage to so many people. I never really liked HWA. Fear was the operative word for my interactions with that man. On the other hand, I've gotten into much hot water before for openly admitting that I deeply admired GTA on a number of levels. Mark, I was more or less ambivalent about. In retrospect, though, I surely would have hated to have walked in his shoes.
Trudie said: I see it as " too little, too late"
Where there is life, there is hope. One can only hope that Mark continues down this line. A full confession of past abuses would be nice. But Mark Armstrong isn’t really responsible for those—although he certainly was a beneficiary.
It would be way too much to ask him to apologize for the weird behavior of his grandfather and henchmen. In his father’s final, more mainstream manifestation, GTA was a self styled ‘social critic’—sticking to gay bashing, Islam bashing and evolution bashing. Still Luddite, but progress. That Mark, as successor in interest, is even touching the cult subject is a positive sign. It may have more to do with the demographics of the ICG than anything else, but I will take a sign of progress from whatever place it may shine.
Oh, wait. The WCG did the same anti-cult bit years ago and today they are an anti-cult ‘resource’. Oh yeah, and the Scientologists actually own the Cult Awareness Network. Ok.
For no intellectually defensible reason I believe Mark Armstrong means what he says. Maybe it’s just sentiment on my part or a mere hope that something good can emerge put of this fiasco.
"Chipper calls CGI Foul"
Thirty-five ministers of the Church of God, International met in Dallas for a conference February 9, 10, and 11. The conference was organized independently of the Tyler headquarters after repeated requests for a conference were refused. Local congregation hosts and brethren were welcome at the conference, with an average of about 100 attending each meeting...
The main purpose of the conference was to determine what to do about the bad name that the Church of God, International and the Church as a whole are receiving from the activities of Garner Ted Armstrong since the Tyler board of directors has not decided to remove him.
Vance Stinson and Mark Armstrong spoke for 12 minutes each on behalf of CGI headquarters. Stinson read six letters that opposed the conference and Mark Armstrong explained why he felt only his father could make the CGI broadcasts. They left shortly after speaking.
After much discussion, the final Sunday morning session was devoted to drafting the statement...It was signed by all ministers present—68% of the total CGI field ministry. Though the document does not specify action if the recommendations are not accepted, members discussed forming a new "international" group or working as locally autonomous congregations.
Just prior to the conference, seven CGI ministers and 3 other members were able to see the Robertson (massage) video. The ministers were Chuck Beyer, Topeka, Kansas; Bill Fowler, Wichita, Kansas; Ian Hufton, Tyler Texas; Jim Ingle, Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri; Tom Justus, Springdale, Arkansas; Gary Porter, Pocatello, Idaho; Bill Rollins, Des Moines, Iowa. The minister that we spoke with confirmed that the video was as the Robertson suit alleges...
that was 10 yr ago(?) this weekend....my how time flies.
"Thirty-five ministers of the Church of God, International met in Dallas for a conference February 9, 10, and 11. The conference was organized independently of the Tyler headquarters after repeated requests for a conference were refused."
Not exactly. A CGI conference was scheduled before the Dallas conference was planned. Some believe the outcome of the official conference would have been different had it not been for the divisive nature of the Dallas conference and the outrageous behavior of some of its participants.
Further, the CGI held two regional ministerial conferences prior to the general conference. Both were for addressing the problem regarding GTA. GTA was at one of them.
yes....Ted was willing to step down, but then Shirley got hold of him, and his whole demeanor changed...
got pretty ugly, based on what a couple of attendees told me.
OK. So the behavior of the CGI conference participants was supposedly outrageous, but not GTA's filmed conduct with the Tyler masseuse which was the raison d'etre for the conferences in the first place.
Too bad we don't have tapes of HWA doing daughter Dorothy(!), or GTA in bed with AC coeds and the women of the WCG. Some WCG behavioral double standards between what is permissible for the ministry and the laity might have been understandably avoided.
I am curious to know what explanations Mark gave as to why Garner Ted was the only chosen CGI son of the apostle or 'holy man" to make those tapes.
It's all very simple, they have no shame, no scruples and they live in a make believe world - kinfolk or not. The dynasty is gone but the make believe world still exists in the minds of those who created it.
Hop on the Armstrong Merry-go-round
kids and go round and round until you reach that World Tomorrow and the end of your make believe world.
Look! Up the fairway there, it's the exit, if you can only reach it before dark, maybe there's hope and you might escape the make believe world.
Any time someone begins to exalt himself above the Word of God, or twist scripture to elevate himself to the level of divine authority, you had better think twice. No, you’d better run!
Jesus Christ has always put His Presence in His own Holy Day! If Christ is IN you— He, in you, can keep no other day now! And IF you, having read the truth in this booklet, now make excuse, or rebel, and refuse to keep holy Christ’s Holy Day, then on His infallible authority, I say to you that He is not in you!
HWA invokes "inffallible authority"!!
"OK. So the behavior of the CGI conference participants was supposedly outrageous, but not GTA's filmed conduct with the Tyler masseuse which was the raison d'etre for the conferences in the first place."
GTA's filmed conduct (and the lawsuit filed against him) was also the raison d'etre for the two official field conferences and the general conference. The question was never on whether or not GTA's immoral behavior was outrageous--of course it was!--but was on whether or not he could continue his ministry and, if so, to what extent. Differences of opinion on issues like this do not necessarily indicate corruption on either side.
Is it just me or does Chipper looked like his face took a beating from daddy?
Maybe its just bad lighting. But that photo of Chipper is uglier than Meryl Haggard.
The dude lived life, and always pushed the envelope, bet on it!
During my first or second week on AC campus, there was a series of absolutely earsplitting explosions outside 360 Grove. I went out the back door and into the courtyard between 360 and 380. There were some garages towards the back of the property, used as a storage area for janitorial supplies. An arched alleyway cut through the middle of the garages, leading to the parking lot in the rear.
In the middle of the archway, stood a pre-teenage Mark Armstrong. He was placing an entire box of five rolls of red pistol caps on the cement slab, and then detonating them with the blunt end of a baseball bat. The archway, much like a tunnel, amplified the explosions.
When I saw who was responsible for the noise, I just shook my head and went back to the dorm. It would have been absolutely useless to take any further action. Eventually he ran out of caps, and went home.
I have read these various article that these Armstrong churches write....ALWAYS about ARMSTONG! You can count HWA or GTA mentioned time and time again, what would Armstrong say or do??? and such. How many times does Jesus name come up? FEW! UGH!!! Don't you get it!? It is ABOUT JESUS NOT ARMSTRONG! Armstrong is mention many more times than Jesus is ever mentioned. I pity these Armstrong fan clubs. I belong to the Jesus fan club myself!
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