Evangelist Garner Ted Armstrong, best known for his “World Tomorrow” program, died yesterday from complications from pneumonia at a hospital near his home in Tyler, Texas. He was 73.
Garner Ted Armstrong
“I know that all of you prayed with all you had as we did here, and fully expected God’s intervention,” said Armstrong’s son, Mark, in a statement. “We cannot fully understand why the healing we begged for was not granted. But God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and He has plans sometimes that we as mortal humans cannot see.”
Armstrong had been hospitalized since late last month, and had previously shown signs of improvement, according to a spokesman.
Armstrong was founder of the Intercontinental Church of God and Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association, and son of Worldwide Church of God founder Herbert W. Armstrong, who died in 1986.
“I know that my dad fully expected that his work will continue, and we all have an enormous responsibility to make certain that his work has not been in vain, and that his voice will not be silenced,” Mark Armstrong said. “His broadcasts will continue, his wisdom and his knowledge will constantly be made available to the church and to the public at large in the unique way only he has been able to explain and portray the truths of God.”
“The World Tomorrow” broadcasts, which aired in the U.S. and dozens of other countries, focused on current news events in the light of biblical prophecy, as it looked toward the “coming kingdom of God.”
For more than four decades, Armstrong interviewed many national and world leaders. During the height of the Cold War, he proclaimed that the Soviet Union was not the main worry to the United States, but warned that a “United States of Europe” under German leadership was the real coming threat.
He also was a strong voice against homosexuality, being precluded in recent years from broadcasting on some stations which disagreed with that message.
Regarding New York’s new high school created specifically for homosexual students, Armstrong wrote on July 30:
“Can you imagine the shrieks of outrage from liberals if some group announced they were opening a new high school for ‘straight kids only?’ Think about it.”
Armstrong wrote dozens of articles and booklets on a wide range of subjects, arguing against the theory of evolution, against world government, and he recently ripped those who keep suggesting Islam is a religion of peace and not inherently tied to terrorism.
“Only a blithering fool can deny the connection,” Armstrong wrote last month. “Apparently, there are plenty of those in the U.N., and in many a national government which struggles against terrorism.”
He also believed the U.S. and Britain are the leading powers in modern times because they are recipients of ancient promises made by God to the physical descendants of Israel, as he claims both countries trace their lineage back to Israel’s son Joseph of the Old Testament.
His published books include “The Real Jesus” and “Peter’s Story.”
Armstrong’s theology differed from that of much of traditional Christianity – or “churchianity” as he sometimes called it.
Among the biggest differences, Armstrong believed:
During a December interview with WorldNetDaily on the history of the winter holiday, Armstrong stood by his long-running statement that “it is impossible to ‘put Christ back in Christmas,’ since He was never in Christmas in the first place!”
“It would be a sin for me [to celebrate Christmas], but it doesn’t mean it’s the unpardonable sin,” Armstrong said, stressing he didn’t feel at all threatened by the holiday.
“I have no more difficulty walking through Beijing at the Chinese New Year and seeing the dragons and fireworks. It doesn’t affect me. … [the Apostle] Paul says the idol is nothing.”
Born in Portland, Ore., in 1930, Armstrong was raised in Eugene before joining the Navy, graduating from college, and embarking on a career in evangelism and analysis of current events in the mid-1950s.
According to the Tyler Morning Telegraph, “Armstrong was seen by an estimated 20 million Americans weekly on television and his radio show was broadcast in five languages to every inhabited continent on more than 300 radio stations.”
For years, Garner Ted had teamed with his father, Herbert W. Armstrong, in evangelism duties, until a falling out in 1978 when the younger Armstrong was excommunicated from the Pasadena, Calif.-based Worldwide Church of God.