Tuesday, May 12, 2009

HWA and Healing

In his 1952 booklet Does God Heal Today? Herbert W. Armstrong condemned medicine as idolatry. One heading was entitled "Medicine Condemned as Idolatry".
[Under the heading "The Pagan Origin of Medicine"] The Gentile nations had many gods. They had their gods of medicine as well as their gods of war. They had medicine men or doctors. Their method was to go to these human doctors who would use their medicines and their drugs and then they would pray to the god of medicine, and, they believed, the god of medicine would cause these medicines to heal. Now there, my friends, is where medical "Science" (falsely so called) came from. From the heathens....

[Later under the heading "How People Today Misunderstand". The link between medicine and paganism that HWA would have us believe exist is stated quite plainly here.] So many seem to believe we should go to the doctors, then pray for God to cause their medicines to heal. They assume God raised up medical science and blesses it and works thru it. But this is merely the same old Pagan practice of idolatry, tho very few realize it today. Truly all nations have been DECEIVED into practicing Pagan idolatry believing it is true Christianity! For the real Christian who has faith in God there is a better way!
Was there really a better way? Is HWA correct in his understanding of this topic?

Instead of medicine the believers were instructed to trust in God and healing will come. HWA taught that it was always His will to heal (as though the author of over two hundred false prophecies would understand matters such as these).

What was the result-the fruit that this doctrine caused? The Ambassador Report exposed the results--the true fruits--that this doctrine caused. After all Jesus did say,
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7.)
(Jesus was discussing the results of their teachings, not church membership growth as HWA would have us believe.)

What was the fruit?
"So the child is a vegetable and can't move anything except her eyes and is lying there when she could have had a normal life. It's too late. You can't go back and change that. Now, does God lay that at the door of the entire church? Is that Mr. Herbert Armstrong's fault?" (Garner Ted Armstrong, ministerial meeting, March 7, 1974.)

The preceding tragedy occurred after a young couple with a very sick child decided, based on the Worldwide Church of God's teaching and their minister's advice, to abandon confidence in modern medical science and instead "trust in God." The consequences of that decision were, as Garner Ted indicated, not only tragic but quite permanent. Unfortunately, the case is not an isolated one. (John Trechak, "Modern Moloch").
More on this subject may be seen in the linked article. It also reveals how one church article The Origin of Medical Science by Donald G. Wofford which declared that Satan was the pagan god of medicine and condemned vaccines, calling at least some them "monkey pus".

Thus it can be shown that this doctrine has caused increditable suffering and astonishing harm to his followers.

This is no doubt one of the worst abuses that HWA inflicted upon his eternally abused flock.

Where did HWA get this deadly superstition that medicine is idolatrous?

HWA would have us believe that Loma became dreadfully sick and nearly died, but she saved only by divine intervention. This foundation story may be seen in Chapter 18 of his Autobiography. It served to entrench the belief of the uselessness of medicine among his followers. After this story he relates how he studied the doctrine of healing in this manner.
And now came a new subject to study, and new enlightenment. We entered into it with vigor and joy. We searched out everything we could find in the Bible on the subject of physical healing. We discovered that God revealed Himself to ancient Israel, even before they reached Mt. Sinai, under His name "Yahweh-Ropha" which means "The Eternal our Healer," or "Our GOD-HEALER," or, as translated in the Authorized Version, "The LORD that healeth thee."

He revealed Himself as Healer through David: "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who HEALETH all thy diseases" (Psalm 103:3). And again: "Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. Their soul abhorreth all manner of food; they draw near unto the gates of death. Then they cry unto the Eternal in their trouble, and ... He sendeth His word, and HEALETH them (Psalm 107:17-20).

Then I made a discovery I had not read in any of the tracts and literature we had been sending for and gathering on this subject. Healing is actually the forgiveness of transgressed physical laws just as salvation comes through forgiveness of transgressed spiritual law. It is the forgiveness of physical SIN. God forgives the physical sin because Jesus PAID THE PENALTY we are suffering IN OUR STEAD. He was beaten with stripes before He was nailed to the cross.
And so HWA taught that since sicknesses are produced by physical sins only God is to be allowed to heal sickness, even though he knew faithful believers could very well die just like his elder son. HWA interpreted the scourging Christ underwent as being taken in order to atone for physical sins. Is that really so?
Referring to the verse in Isaiah 53:5: "...and with his stripes we are healed," the late J. Vernon McGee takes us to I Peter 2:24 which says, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." Then he asks the question, "Healed of what?" He goes on to answer, "Peter makes it quite clear that we are healed of our trespasses and sins." Jesus came to be the Great Healer--but the Great Healer heals of sins. (Vol. 3, p. 314; Vol. 5, p. 695)
Thus it can be seen that HWA's fleshy understanding of healing was in error.

HWA writes in Chapter 18 of his Autobiography that he "made a discovery I had not read in any of the tracts and literature we had been sending for and gathering on this subject." What were these "tracts and literature" that he and Loma were studying? In his 1952 booklet he wrote that "But this [medical science] is merely the same old Pagan practice of idolatry, tho very few realize it today." Who were these "very few"? Did they include others not involved in Armstrongism?

Could they have been sources such as these?
"Readers of The Golden Age know the unpleasant truth about the clergy; they should also know the truth about the medical profession, which sprang from the same demon worshipping shamans (doctor priests) as did the ‘doctors of divinity.’" (Golden Age, Aug. 5, 1931 pp. 727-728)"...

"medicine originated in demonology and spent its time until the last century and a half trying to exorcise demons. During the past half century it has tried to exorcise germs." (Golden Age, Aug. 5, 1931, p. 728) [From Jehovah's Witnesses and Blood - History.]
Just like HWA the Watchtower Society at the time HWA became religious viewed doctors as being derived from paganism and ultimately Satanic. From 1921 the Watchtower Society banned vaccinations. In one 1939 cartoon, which may be seen here, vaccines were labeled as "calf pus", "horse pus", "cat pus", and "dog pus". This is very similar to how vaccines were denounced by WCG as "monkey pus". In the April 16, 1984 issue of Time magazine the following is reported:
Herbert W. Armstrong, leader of the Worldwide Church of God, calls vaccines "monkey pus" and likens the use of physicians to worship of pagan gods.
This "monkey pus" assertion may also be seen in the previously cited Ambassador Report article in connection with Wofford's article.

The Watchtower Society abandoned this vaccination ban in 1952, ironically the same year HWA unleashed his infamous and deadly 'healing' booklet upon his unfortunate followers.

Considering the other links Armstrongism share with the Jehovah's Witnesses it seems highly likely that this is the real source that HWA used to concoct his doctrine of death. So even this doctrine seems to have been plagiarized. He certainly was not the only man of his day to imagine that medicine was somehow wrong. This is yet another "revealed truth" that others were aware before he came onto the scene.

This is a terrible, ghastly ongoing tragedy created by a man who can only be described as evil. Proof that HWA was a false minister of God. We most emphatically do not need to follow his abominations to find God. Let us be free of him and of this false doctrine.


  1. Another thing to consider is that, in the late 1800s, doctors were mostly herbalists and what we could consider today "alternative health" professionals. They had the beginnings of science and modern medicine, but nothing even close to what we have achieved in the 21st century.

    Unfortunately, "the truth once delivered", must be "held fast to", in the Church of God groups, which is why "alternative health" remedies and such are still the mainstay of most long-time members. Use a doctor for "mechanical repairs", i.e., set a broken bone, remove a burst appendix, etcetera, but certainly not for anything beyond that!

    That's why the church taught in the '80s, at any rate.

  2. Argh. That's WHAT the church taught in the '80s. Preview doesn't work for me, it wipes out the comment. :-P Have I mentioned lately how much I hate Blogger's new comments system??