In the 1920’s and 30’s the cutting edge of technology was wireless telegraphy, better known today as radio. Herbert W. Armstrong, an Adventist evangelist, saw the potential of this medium and used it to his advantage. He began broadcasting his unique views of the Bible in 1933. His abilities as a speaker won the minds and hearts of thousands of listeners. Thus was born the Radio Church of God, a religious organization that initially consisted almost completely of a radio audience. Eventually Armstrong’s following grew to become the Worldwide Church of God.[i]
The progression from a small radio broadcast to an on-air “church” to an organized religious body demonstrates the power of electronic media to effectively propagate a message and develop a committed group of adherents. Thus, Armstrongism serves as a prime example of how cults can, and often do, effectively use technology and media to spread their own versions of the gospel. Continue reading →
I am convinced that the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is foundational to all Christian truth. This is a rather bold statement. Indeed, it is rather controversial. There are some Christian teachers who would adamantly disagree with this. They may accept the Trinity as a biblical doctrine, but they argue that acceptance of the Trinity is not essential in order to be a Christian. While I honor their privilege to believe as they do, I must differ with this position most stringently.
I have dealt with this issue in an earlier post. You can read for yourself regarding the question of the necessity of belief in the Trinity. Allow me to summarize my argument for you. First of all, we understand that salvation is experienced in a person’s life by that person repenting of sin, accepting Christ, and coming into a personal relationship with the Lord God. Thus, relationship is at the heart of the Christian experience. In this light, it is important to note the words of Christ in John 17:3, where He declares that eternal life consists of knowing the true God and the true Son of God. In other words, without a relationship with the true God, there is no eternal life. And thus, whether or not God is triune in His nature is necessary for salvation. You cannot have a relationship with a false god and have eternal life. If God is a monarchial, monolithic deity—one God, one Person—then to assert that you have a relationship with a triune God is a false premise. You cannot have eternal life if you have a relationship with a deity that doesn’t exist. Continue reading →
Charles Taze Russell was nothing if not troubled. Much of his life was motivated by fear. It is said that as a young man he would walk the streets of Pittsburgh, writing “There is no hell!” on the sidewalks in chalk. His fear of hell dominated his thinking and profoundly affected his theology. He was also troubled by what he could not understand. What could not be discerned through human reason was unacceptable to him. For instance, the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity was nonsense to him. It is no surprise then that when he founded the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in Pittsburgh in 1884 that the denial of hell and the rejection of the Trinity became hallmark doctrines of this organization. To this day the Jehovah’s Witnesses reject what they cannot understand or accept as rational. Continue reading →
Question: “I have heard that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have made many false prophecies about the return of Jesus. Is this true?” (G. in Pennsylvania)
My Answer: Yes. Indeed, making false predictions about the Second Coming and Armageddon has become part of the culture of the Watchtower. This is not an insignificant issue. Remember what the Bible says in Deut. 18:22, “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.” If someone makes a false prophecy, and they have claimed to be a prophet of God, then they are false prophets and are not to be listened to. Do the Witnesses claim to be the prophet of God? Yes, they do. Continue reading →