So go out under the stars some clear night—try counting as many stars as you can see and think of the billions of stars scattered across the vast universe which you cannot see—and then meditate on this awe-inspiring purpose for your life and thank God for it! Then, get down on your knees and begin to zealously do your part to make it all possible!What a fabulous promise that "God's Church" offers to those who will accept them.
A part of the cult of personality of Roderick C. Meredith, which I have discussed before, is the emphasis placed on the fact that he was there when "God's Church" discovered the God Family doctrine.
This assertion may be seen in their "Church History" booklet God's Church Through the Ages:
However, in modern times, it was not until the spring of 1953 that Mr. Armstrong and the other ministers began to develop a clear understanding of the biblical teaching that God is a divine Family into which converted human beings will be born at the resurrection. At first, they attempted to prove this understanding false, from the Bible. Instead, they found this vital truth reaffirmed throughout God’s Word. Though this understanding was the clear implication of much that had previously been taught, Mr. Armstrong and the others found it challenging to accept this simple—yet profoundly important and overwhelming—truth. This key teaching of Scripture—that we can be born into the Family of God—is perhaps the single greatest truth that God restored, through Mr. Armstrong, to the Church of God.A more detailed account of this moment may be seen in Roderick C. Meredith's January 16, 2005 Co-worker letter.
At this special time, thinking back on the inspiring life and service of Herbert W. Armstrong, I cannot help but remember the late spring of 1953 when I sat in the graduate class under his immediate guidance. For right in front of our eyes, Mr. Armstrong began to postulate and finally to fully understand the awesome purpose for human life.In a sermon I heard Meredith said that HWA one day approached his students and used Genesis 1:26: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness". HWA used this verse to suggest that God is reproducing himself. Now this scripture refers to the act of the creation of Adam at that moment. To stretch this out to suggest that this refers to a later act of creation that occurs (6000 years) later seems utterly preposterous.
As far as we know, no other man and no other church in modern times has grasped the fact that the great God of creation is in the process of making true Christians His full sons!How can he say that? What about the Mormons? Or are they excluded because they first started that doctrine before "modern times"? The Mormons also teach a similar doctrine saying that believers will become God beings. They have been teaching this since at least 1844. Because of this fact it is often asserted that HWA plagiarized the God Family doctrine from them.
God is making those who are fully surrendered to Him into a Kingdom and Family of Spirit Beings who are totally capable of ruling this world and teaching all humans the entire way of God!He then uses various verses in John 17 to try and support the God Family doctrine as is often done in Armstrongism. After that he writes the following:
As I sat there with Mr. Armstrong and with Herman Hoeh, Raymond Cole, Richard David Armstrong, Kenneth Herrmann and my uncle, Dr. C. Paul Meredith, I began to realize that Jesus Christ was indeed inspiring our discussion and revealing to us a transcendent truth of tremendous significance. Over several weeks of discussion, Mr. Armstrong directly asked those of us in this class to challenge him—to disprove him if we could—on this exciting "new" truth that seemed almost "too much" to grasp at first glance. We tried.Did these Ambassador College students really prove the God Family doctrine? What about these verses here?:
How can the obvious meaning of these verses be denied?Isaiah 42:8: "I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images."Isaiah 43:10: "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me."
Isaiah 44:6: "Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God..."Isaiah 44:8: "Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any." (From Mike of Mike's Enlightenment Page.)
But, as the class continued through that spring of 1953, Herman Hoeh contributed a number of key scriptures and concepts which simply added to the validity of what Mr. Armstrong was beginning to realize. As I was already in earnest preparation for teaching a class on Paul’s epistles, I was able to explain how certain inspiring statements of Paul also added to and amplified this vital understanding. It was an exciting time. In the years since those hearty discussions, it has become increasingly obvious to me that God led His servant, Herbert Armstrong, to a full understanding of one of the most inspiring truths ever revealed to mankind. This revelation by God to Mr. Armstrong—through His Word—was certainly a major highlight of Mr. Armstrong’s life!This God Family doctrine is nonsense. Mr. Felix Taylor Jr. also shows the scriptural unsoundness of this doctrine in this excellent post.
Here is the nail in the coffin of my belief in the God Family doctrine in my study in 1991. Continuing on page 104 [of The Armstrong Empire by Mr. Joseph Martin Hopkins], "The vision of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 goes completely against the doctrine that men can become God. The Apostle John describes,Once again the God Family doctrine has been proven to be scripturally untenable. The Bible does not support it. Mr. Taylor continues:
A great voice from the throne saying, "Behond, the dwelling of God is with me. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God Himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death sall be no more...for the former things have passed away"(vv.3-4)
Far from being identified with God as God, the redeemed are described as being in fellowship with God while at the same time remaining distinct and seperate beings. Verse seven promise that "He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be HIS GOD and he shall be MY SON"--a flat contradiction of the teaching that the destiny of the faithful is to be God."...
Another reason why I reject the God Family doctrine is that that [it] produced hierarchial government (and when I speak hierachial, I mean "papal" not "episcopalian" like the Anglicans and Episcopalians have).If there will be billions of God beings then they will have different levels of authority. I have commented on this elitist tendency within Armstrongism before. As LCG minister Syd Hull once put it, the Church will be the Wife, but those saved afterward are just the children, for Jesus Christ cannot come back to an incomplete wife.
And so the God Family doctrine stands as totally discredited. Why should we believe this unsupportable and elitist doctrine?