Saturday, April 15, 2017

Why HWA Banned Easter (Pascha)

HWA banned Easter (and other mainstream holidays like Christmas and birthdays) to keep his followers isolated and alienated from mainstream churches, the competition in HWA's eyes. By insisting that Easter was a tool of Satan this alienated his followers from mainstream churches and made them socially dependent on him. If one had to avoid churches that celebrated Easter then where were they to go? In this state of despair HWA insisted to such persons through his radio and TV broadcasts, booklets and representatives that they should join his organization and pay tithes to it. Most of the COGs imitate HWA's stance on this matter.

There is no need for Christians to refuse to observe Easter. HWA gave his followers the induced phobia that to celebrate Easter would incur (HWA's) God's wrath. This manipulated those who trusted him into abandoning mainstream churches and joining his organization.

He and his imitators say with disgust that the name Easter is derived from the name of a pagan Germanic goddess. That objection ignores the fact that in Greek, the Romance languages, the Slavic languages and others Easter is not called that at all but is called Pascha or its equivalent, the same word as used for the Jewish Passover.

This ploy worked quite well for HWA. He built a wealthy organization with a vast income partly from people who had been persuaded that they could not worship in churches which celebrate Easter. But this does not work so well for the COG groups today since they have been around for decades now and the Internet has made it easier for people to easily access much more information about the COGs than was possible in the heyday of HWA's organization.

It is clear that HWA did not know what he was talking about. When Christianity began to gain acceptance among non-Jews it was decided early on that Gentile converts did not need to become Jewish to become Christians as is inferred in the Council of Jerusalem described in Acts 15 so they did not need to be circumcised to become Christians or celebrate the Jewish festivals described in Leviticus 23. Not needing to celebrate the Jewish festivals since they were not Jews it is no wonder that they would worship in remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in a yearly festival which in Greek and many other languages had the same name as the Passover, namely Pascha.

We do not need to live in fear that celebrating Easter will incur (HWA's) God's wrath. There is no reason for Christians not to celebrate Easter. Let us enjoy this Christian celebration without fear.


  1. As you point out, Herbert Armstrong did it to isolate members. Isn't this the same ploy used by Kim Jong-in?

    Herbert Armstrong wanted to stay in power. He wasn't above using every means possible. Given his narcissism and borderline personality disorders, the mere thought of being isolated and abandoned was unacceptable.

    Ironic if you consider he was going to dump the entire membership of the WCG in favor of being with his 'eight Japanese sons' who would have dumped him in a moment when he no longer could wine and dine them.

    Herbert Armstrong was an arrogant greedy obsessed despot. It's a good thing he didn't have more influence than he did.

    1. HWA, always the imitator. Mao Zedong had threatened the CCP that he would go back to his native Hunan province and start the revolution over again.

  2. Yes, another case where English suffers from its Germanic roots, and the Normans didn’t fix it. Interesting how modern Greek and Italian use the names Hebrew Passover and Passover, while Spanish uses Passover and Resurrection Passover. And of course the French, Paque (as in, apparently, David C. Paque) and Paques.

    The Polycarp/Anicetus controversy was addressed some time ago too; Rome moving Passover to Sunday apparently had nothing to do with paganism. From an old article (possibly in Ambassador Report) the move was due to a local custom (which may have been a predecessor to Lent) Passover and that event overlapped, and so Passover was moved.

    Some who consider the KJV “infallible” reckon the use of “Easter” (Acts 12:4) is correct, and argue that Herod was celebrating the pagan festival Easter. And I heard that from a Southern Baptist.