Wednesday, February 28, 2018

God Family Doctrine Originated from Russellite Watchtower Cult

I avidly read J. Phillip Arnold's article about "Who Taught Herbert Armstrong?" in the last issue of The Journal, pp. 24-32. It was mentioned in Banned by HWA. I have long suspected that there was a connection with Charles Taze Russell's original Watchtower Society and the God Family doctrine.

Back in 2009 I was reading about the Jehovah's Witnesses to learn more about what HWA taught. I learned that the first leader of the Watchtower Cult, Charles Taze Russell, actually taught the God Family doctrine. The idea appears to have been in the air in that particular milieu. (Though, of course, that is no longer the case in that particular organization today.) Reading that I could not help but wonder if Russell was the source for the God Family doctrine, instead of Mormonism as some have proposed. I posted this thought at the time as may be seen in the links above.

Reading Arnold's article in The Journal I am now more firmly convinced than ever that Russell, not Mormonism, must have been HWA's source for the God Family doctrine.


J. Phillip Arnold also mentions that Ambassador College featured copies of Zion's Watch Tower magazine in its library. Back in 2009 a comment posted on this blog mentioned that very same fact.


Also J. Phillip Arnold's assertion that HWA adopted the God Family doctrine around 1943 discredits one claim Roderick C. Meredith made in a sermon he once gave which I watched once. He claimed he was there in Ambassador College when the God Family doctrine was "discovered" by HWA's organization. He said this teaching began after they read in Genesis 1:26 that God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness," and from that they eventually concluded that humans are supposed to be God beings as fully God as God is God though of a lower rank.

If Arnold's claim is right then Meredith was wrong. He was not there when they "discovered" this idea. HWA adopted the idea about four years before Ambassador College started. If Arnold is correct then Meredith was completely wrong to claim that he was there when they began to teach the God Family doctrine.

Also LCG publishes a booklet by the late John Ogwyn entitled God's Church Through the Ages which claims that the God Family doctrine only began to be taught in the spring of 1953.
Throughout its history, the Church of God has been non-Trinitarian, never accepting the formulations of the early Catholic councils as a valid guide for Christians. 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. (John Ogwyn, God's Church Through the Ages, p. 48.)
If Arnold is right then Ogwyn was also wrong to make that claim.


J. Phillip Arnold also cites Russell as the source of the doctrine of the Great White Throne Judgment. I never suspected that the doctrine of the Great White Throne Judgment actually came from the early Watchtower Society. So now we know.

(This post is based on a comment of mine posted on Banned by HWA.)


  1. Some years ago I read an article claiming not only the HWA didn't copy the God Family doctrine from the Mormons, but the Mormon doctrine substantially differed from HWA's version.
    Another article showed that HWA's "deification of humans" was also flawed; rather, just as Gentile believers are "grafted in" to Israel, believers are "adopted" by God.

  2. The surreal thing is that we once accepted this practically blasphemous “doctrine” as being both reasonable, and true. Being God as God is God. But, then I must remember that Origen (early church father) believed that we humans are the fallen angels, mercifully being given a chance at redemption by a loving Father. Seems there is never a shortage of extrabiblical speculation!