"Who Are You?"
The True Story Behind Triumph Ministries!
What is the history and background of Triumph Publishing,
and William F. Dankenbring. Many have wondered. Here
is the fascinating, true story -- the who, what and why behind
Triumph Prophetic Ministries!
William F. Dankenbring
in 1963, some 40 years ago, I was a relatively young man who had just graduated
Once I began writing for the magazines, however, I was moved from Letter Answering to head up a fledgling "Editorial Department" in January 1966. By that time my "by-line" had begun appearing regularly in the Plain Truth and Good News magazines. It seemed I was really "going places," as I had an article in almost every issue of both magazines months on end -- reaching millions of people -- something no evangelist in the church could say, not even Garner Ted Armstrong, who seldom wrote for the Good News.
At one point, I believe it was the Feast of Tabernacles in 1965, when I was still a single man, unmarried, and lonely, and feeling deeply depressed, in spite of the amazing way in which God Almighty and Jesus Christ were using me, and honing and refining my talents, Garner Ted Armstrong stood up in the pulpit at Squaw Valley, and began talking about "unsung heroes" in the Work of God, who labored mightily yet without recognition, prestige, acclaim or reward. He mentioned my name. He not only mentioned it, he went on and on, it seemed, saying that this little known, unsung fellow -- myself -- who had written such powerful articles on prayer, faith, fasting, and many other topics, was worth more to the Work of God than 7-8 men in the field, or even 2-3 evangelists!
Such acclaim, actually, helped brighten my Feast and cheer me up, in spite of my loneliness at the time -- but it didn't make the girls flock to my side.
A few months later, at the ministerial conference in Pasadena, January 1966, he once again mentioned my name before all the assembled ministers, saying I was worth the equivalent to the Work of God of 7-8 "second men" in the field ministry, and announced the formation of a new Editorial Department, where I would be writing booklets, and a book on the existence of God.
Herbert W. Armstrong, who didn't even know me at the time, asked if the young man was present in the room. I slowly raised my hand. He asked me to stand up. So I did, basking in the sudden adulation, acclaim, and the respect of my peers.
However, the sudden rays of sunshine turned to mud a few days later when Mr. Armstrong began talking about handling the "Christmas" issue, saying that under no circumstances should any of God's people have anything to do with that pagan holiday. He went so far as to say that people working in department stores shouldn't even handle "Christmas decorations" or displays in store windows. I had just written an article on "The Christmas Problem," in which I had used Letter Answering Department form letters as a basis for making certain points, and I had written that setting up Christmas decorations in a store, if it was part of your job, was no big deal, and would not be wrong to do.
While Herbert Armstrong was talking about "don't compromise," Richard Plache, a pastor or evangelist ranked minister at the time, strode briskly up to the podium and presented Herbert Armstrong with the December Good News magazine, just hot off the press; he had circled the portion I had written about this matter. Herbert Armstrong began reading it out loud to the entire ministry, and then EXPLODED! In effect, he said, "Who is this young whippersnapper who wrote this? WHERE did he get this? " Ted Armstrong coughed, and said, "He got it from things we've said at Bible Studies." Dr. Clint Zimmerman, then the supervisor over Letter Answering, didn't have the "guts" to admit the information had come from his department's "letter information file."
Herbert Armstrong then said, "From now on I want 3-4 evangelists to proof read and check every word these young men write before it is printed! " So my "glory" of the beginning of that week had quickly turned to mud! Upon leaving that meeting and walking up the hill near the Ambassador College library, David Jon Hill, evangelist who was then my direct supervisor, said to me, "Well, how does it feel to have received your 'baptism by fire'?" Even though feeling remorse, chagrin, and pain, from the humiliating and grossly unfair experience, I couldn't help but grin, and laugh. As far as I was concerned, it was all in God's hands anyway. He raised me up to write; He could tear me down. It didn't really matter; "blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job ). God had allowed it; it would serve His purpose. Then Jon Hill said, "Don't
worry. Just hide under a rock for a few months, and then it'll be all right!" So for the next few months, none of my articles appeared in the church publications!
The Spirit of Jealousy
years later, after much "seasoning," a stint in the field
"ministry" assisting a church pastor in the
The "Curse" of Notoriety and Fame
the sudden notoriety, however, did not go unnoticed by various
individuals. At one point, when I
mentioned to a worker in the television department, Hans Quast, that wouldn't
it be good if we could interview Prince Sihanouk of
whole thing came to an end in June of 1974.
The Church had been having massive problems with defections of
ministers, doctrinal changes were occurring, there was much discussion and
"hope" things would get better.
But those were also the days of the revelations concerning Garner Ted
Armstrong's ubiquitious sexual escapades and rampant immorality. He had been exiled and disfellowshipped twice,
this sordid period, my "morale" was very low. I didn't want to support wicked ministers and
their revolting life styles, ministers who were still in office and showed no
fruits of repentance whatsoever. Ted
Armstrong was still in the "denial" stage of recouperation -- he denied
the sexual affairs, although he had admitted them earlier to a group of
evangelists in his home, even saying he estimated he had had
"hundreds" of sexual partners during his ministry. This inflammatory material was later reported
in the full-color special issue of Ambassador Report, copyrighted in
1977. The striking cover article was
titled, "In Bed with Garner Ted:
The Dachshund Caper
while I was in
thought nothing more of the meeting, and went to
Jon Hill had recommended two years previously, in 1972, to Herman Hoeh that he hire me as his editorial manager for the Plain Truth, when the Tomorrow's World magazine folded. At
that time, I remember sitting down in Herman Hoeh's first floor corner office of the Hall of Administration, where he solemnly asked me, "Why should I hire you? A certain person says I should let you go. Do you believe God has 'called' you to be here?" I was flabbergasted -- aghast. I felt torpedoed -- suddenly, out of the blue, I found myself being called upon to defend myself and my very existence as a writer for the "Work." I began explaining how I did believe God had called me to serve him, my background, and history.
When I was through, Herman Hoeh looked at me and said, "I will go to the wall for you. I will put my own job on the line before I fire you!" Sadly, however, two years later when the editorial department was being restructured, he recommended to the new editor that I could be let go -- he told me it was because he felt I could do better on the outside. I suppose in a sense he kept his word -- his job did go, before my own job!
Thus in 1974 when Art Ferdig once again took up the mantle of the Plain Truth, he approached Ted Armstrong with a list of men he wanted to use for the magazine. My name was crossed off the list. Ted asked him, "Can you do without him?" Art said he could. Ted then said, "Fine. You are in charge. The decision is yours." So in that brief exchange, I was terminated from writing for the Plain Truth and from serving God through employment at the Church -- after spending eleven years there as a full time writer and editor, having written over one hundred articles, booklets, and Correspondence Course lessons!
Cut Loose! The Beginning of Triumph Publishing!
At that time, however, I did not lose faith in God. Rather, with a shoestring and much prayer, I launched an independent publishing company, called Triumph Publishing. The first book I wrote and produced was The Keys to Radiant Health, followed the following year by The First Genesis: A New Case for Creation. Herman Hoeh freely edited both books for me, and even wrote a foreword for the second book.
In the following years, God blessed me in real estate business, and I plowed the money I earned into the publishing, to keep the truth of God's Word alive. I published Creation Book for Children, a full-color book with beautiful pictures of animals, showing evidence that God created them, followed by The Last Days, a book on prophecy, and Beyond Star Wars, a book on earth's cataclysmic past and God's intervention in earth history. In the meantime, I published Raymond McNair's book Ascent to Greatness, when he was having marital problems, which led him to divorce his wife of many years, Leona.
Then, in the early 1980's, I wrote and published The Last Days of Planet Earth: A Survival Guide to the End of the World (489 pages), Overcoming Satan (427 pages), Escape from Armageddon (441 pages), and Satan's Fate, a shorter book. From 1974 till 1985, I published some nineteen books in all, having written nine of them myself!
During those years, the Church remained silent about my publishing activities. It did not object; nor did it endorse what I wrote. Since I was running an "independent publishing business," they said I had every right to do so, and did not stand in the way. However, they also said they could not endorse or "approve" such books, lest it appear they were soliciting business for me. The statement was made that the church was not in the business of approving or disapproving books of independent publishers. The church even permitted me to buy advertising space in the colorful Festival brochures, however, to advertise my books (they wanted my money!).
Nevertheless, as the years went by, the attitude of some in the church began to change -- for the worse. Eventually, the Festival brochures were banned. I began hearing rumors that people at the Festival sites would go to bookstores or markets where my books were on display, and tell others, "Those books are not approved. " The truth is, they were neither approved or disapproved, but the gainsayers failed to add "or disapproved." They made it sound totally negative! Some began saying I had left the Church! But I persevered, serving God. As my name is "William," meaning "helmet of will," "strong will," "iron will," "resolute determination," that is the way in which I approached these trials and tests.
Disfellowshipped and Marked -- Without a Hearing!
A year after the death of Herbert Armstrong in January, 1986, I was issuing another "Triumph catalog" of books and articles, and announced the beginning of a new newsletter to help keep people informed on Bible prophecy. It was to be called PROPHECY FLASH! It was at this time that Joseph Tkach, the new pretentious Panjandrum of the Worldwide Church of God, got on my case for publishing outside the church, as a private publisher, and sent two ministers to my home to inform me that I was no longer considered a loyal, reliable church member -- I was suspended one week, disfellowshipped the next, and "marked" the third week -- without even being given a HEARING!
this happened, I knew there was
something very, very "rotten in
considered unimportant, and simply damned without a hearing!
The Irony of It All
Since that time in January 1987, I have been very busy serving God. The first issue of Prophecy Flash -- about 6 pages long -- came out in March 1987. The total circulation of that issue was about 32 copies! Today, Prophecy Flash averages some 88 pages in length, published six times a year, and the active mailing list is about 3,000 people worldwide.
During the past few years, I have taken a lot of "heat" from various individuals, including Worldwide ministers, who have accused me of "charging for the truth," "bitterness," "Satanic," and one even told people I was "delivered over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh." Others, including Joseph Tkach, have called me a "false prophet," and on and on.
But during these years of persecution, God has BLESSED this Work, with slow but steady growth. Even more than that, however, He has blessed us with wonderful NEW TRUTH and KNOWLEDGE, regarding prophecy, doctrine, the Passover, Pentecost, healing, the truth about the nature and origin of Jesus Christ, and insight into many other matters. For the past seventeen years I have been blowing the "trumpet," shouting the warning to God's people still in Worldwide, as well as Church of God International, and OTHER OFFSHOOTS, that they are in a deadly LAODICEAN CONDITION and need to bitterly repent and "COME OUT" of such sheer apostasy (Rev.3:14-21). No one else has been shouting the warning! God revealed the Laodicean condition of Worldwide to me, and I began writing about it beginning in 1987, the year I was disfellowshipped. Sadly, few took it to heart, at the time.
Growing Doctrinal Confusion
Of course, today the rampant changes in doctrine of the Worldwide Church of God have become noticeable to many others, as well. The WATCHMAN EXPOSITOR, volume 10, no.7, published in August 1993, featured a full-length cover picture of Joseph Tkach with the glaring title: "Joseph W. Tkach Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God Moving past 'Armstrongism' toward mainstream Christianity?" Across the bottom of the cover is the shocking title: "Insiders Report: Worldwide poised to adopt DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY." That was ten years ago, and they have absorbed that doctrine hook, line and sinker!
I have been WARNING of this diabolical apostasy for the past SEVENTEEN YEARS! Inside the magazine are these feature articles: "Worldwide Church of God ACCEPTS TRINITY DOCTRINE," "Leaked WCG Memo Questions British Israelism," and an article contrasting Tkach's new teaching with Herbert Armstrong's teaching on the nature of God, entitled: "To Be or Not To Be . . . GOD?" In one article, entitled "Testimony of Jim Baldwin
Former WCG Elder," the former elder says, "The changes in doctrine/administration were such that I did not know what I believed anymore " (emphasis mine).
In view of the rapid-fire changes in Worldwide, various groups have departed from that church to begin their own new "church." One of the first was the "Global Church of God" led by Roderick Meredith, which has since then gone defunct, replaced by “The Living Church of God,” still being led by Roderick. An attempted coup de tat finished off the Global Church.
What about the “Living Church of God"?
Roderick C. Meredith, evangelist, departed from Worldwide Church of God in December, 1992, after being forcibly "retired." Apparently he had long had doubts about the way the Worldwide Church of God was being led, and had secretly made plans to incorporate his own church, the Global Church of God, when the time was right. A year previously on the telephone he expressed to me his undying and complete loyalty to both Joseph Tkach and his son Joseph Jr., and even said he hoped that one day I would return to the Church! Yet apparently, even then, his words were only a smoke-screen, belied by his actions a year later!
Roderick Meredith, of course, was a long-time evangelist in the Worldwide Church of God, one of the first evangelists ordained. Strangely, once he left Worldwide, I called him on the phone, thinking it would be good to get together for lunch and renew our friendship. But he wanted no part of meeting with me, as I was later to find out, and said he was too busy at the time to get together, but "later." Since then he has been busy building his own church, and trying to get as many members as he can to leave Worldwide to join in what he calls "God's End Time Work"!
Many church members, not trusting Flurry, and appalled at the backsliding of Worldwide under Joseph Tkach, are moving over to Meredith's church. I applaud their efforts to remain faithful to God's truth, and believe that they are really sincere when they blast the doctrinal errors and heresies of Worldwide. Raymond McNair, my old friend, has joined him in Global Church, and the Church seems to be sky-rocketing in growth. Excellent articles have appeared in his World Ahead magazine, and in their "Global Church News."
However, not all was truly well in the Global Church of God, either. For some reason, Roderick Meredith took it upon himself to attack me privately, in conversations with individuals from coast to coast. To one person he said I had made several "false prophecies." He was referring to the fact that in fall of 1990 I, like virtually everybody else, thought that Saddam Hussein would put up a much stiffer resistance to the armies led by the United States in the short Gulf War. I thought casualties would be heavy on both sides. I admit that I was mistaken. This, however, was speculation on my part -- not anything I claimed was "direct revelation" from God!
But when it comes to prophecy, is Roderick Meredith himself immune from mistakes? The truth is, he himself made a serious wrong prophetic prediction while serving as an evangelist of the Worldwide Church of God. In a1966 article in the Plain Truth, Meredith noted a spectacular Bible event which was to happen in 1972. I quote the article:
"What was 'The meaning of Hitler's fake suicide?' Meredith asked.
'It's meaning could SHOCK an awed and astonished world within
the next five to seven years! Its meaning could precipitate the END
of this present age and the second coming of Jesus Christ! . . . It is
a most interesting date because Bible prophecy indicates that the final
attack on the U.S. and Britain by this coming 'Beast' power could easily
be launched perhaps as early as the spring of 1972 -- or earlier if this
final work of preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is cut short'
(May 1965, p.45)."
In his first newsletter to the Global Church of God readership, Meredith maintained his interest in Bible prophecy, challenging others by saying:
"God insists that His servants the prophets will understand and
fearlessly teach what the future holds. If teachers cannot see the
revealed future, then are they true servants of God?" (Global Church
News, vol.1, no.1, p.5, quoted in Watchman Expositor, p.22).
Judging by Meredith's own words, then, one must ask: Is he a true servant of God? His own predictions, in his 1965 article, were as wrong as can be. His prediction of World War III by the spring of 1972, of course, fell flat as a pancake!
Since early 1993, Rod Meredith promised members of the Global Church of God that they were seriously going to address the question of Passover and Pentecost. This was to be done at the ministerial meeting in the summer, but got pushed off the calendar. It was to be done at "doctrinal meetings" before the fall festival, but again got scrubbed. Then members were promised it would be investigated right after the Feast. It never happened. Some said there was no hurry, and recommended that they didn’t address those questions for another 2-3 years, but concentrate on building the Church, at the present time.
On the Day of Atonement, 1993, Rod Meredith lashed out viciously against those in his congregation who were "Judaizing," and returning to "Judaism," and said that the religion of Judaism is just as pagan and bad as Catholicism! He gave no proof or evidence to support this wild claim, but thundered his denunciation of Judaism -- which he does not even understand and has never even begun to research -- and caused one young lady in his congregation, a Jewish girl, to get up and leave, tears streaming down her cheeks!
Global Church of God is now “history.” Several members of their Board of Directors did not like the direction Roderick Meredith was steering the Church, and attempted to pull a “coup.” Rod left the church, took the mailing list with him, and wrote to all the members explaining how he had been bushwhacked, ambushed, and removed from power in that Church. Interestingly, 80 percent of the membership agreed with him and also left the church, and they formed up the “Living Church of God.” It held fast to all the doctrines they had previously had, and everything inherited from Herbert Armstrong.
I lament what has become of the Worldwide Church of God, since I was disfellowshipped in 1987, seventeen years ago, now. I lament also what seems to be happening to the off-shoot groups which have come out of Worldwide, to set up their own organizations, but not truly repenting of their sins or returning to God and His Laws!
I weep for the once-beloved Church of God! I weep for the sad and deplorable state into which its remnants have fallen! As Jeremiah wrote,
"I have heard a voice as of a WOMAN IN TRAVAIL, and the anguish
as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of
Zion, that bewaileth herself, that spreadeth her hands saying, Woe is me
now! For my soul is wearied because of murderers" (Jer.4:31).
The Time to Repent Is NOW!
Will any of the end-time "branches" of God's Church repent, before it is too late?
The evidence does not look good. God has commissioned me to "cry aloud, spare not," and show His people their sins (Isaiah 58:1-2). I have been shouting and thundering the warning for SEVENTEEN YEARS, now! But there is strikingly little evidence anyone is really listening -- not even Roderick C. Meredith! Therefore, I must appeal beyond the ministry, and go straight to each individual MEMBER himself or herself!
But in a long, hour and one half long telephone conversation, back in 1993, with a man who was helping organize the Global Church of God down in Florida, Meredith lambasted me for most of the entire conversation, dredging up things from many years ago -- things I had never given any thought to at all. To the gentleman on the phone, Rod Meredith unloaded a truckload of accusations and incriminating rhetoric, accusing me of plagiarizing ideas from ministers in the 1970s, and running back to my office to write articles using their material! He even accused me of having taken his old article entitled "The Seven Laws of Radiant Health" and plagiarizing his title and contents in a book I wrote in the middle 70s entitled The Keys to Radiant Health. I was thunderstruck when I heard these accusations. I felt literally bowled over. All these years I had thought of Roderick Meredith as a "friend" -- as a fellow laborer with Christ. I had no inkling or even the slightest suspicion of his suppressed feelings of anger, resentment and hostility!
As to his allegations, copyright laws state that you cannot copyright a title -- that's a fact any writer ought to know. However, my book was entitled The Keys To Radiant Health, not "The Seven Laws of Radiant Health." Thirdly, my book was about 250 pages of material on heart disease, cancer, nutrition, exercise, vitamins, VD, principles of healthful living -- nothing remotely like his little 3-page article. Obviously, not one iota of my book was plagiarized or purloined from his article!
Rod Meredith was told by this man, 'You really need to get together with Mr. Dankenbring, it would be very good for you two to get together." Meredith replied: "I will NEVER get together with that man! "
When I heard of this, I couldn't believe it. My mind was reeling -- whatever had I done to offend this individual long ago? I could think of absolutely nothing. Then it began dawn on me and I began to wonder -- could it be that years ago he really smarted to see a young man like myself writing up a storm of articles for the church publications, when he could barely get an article in edge-wise? Was this the problem? Was he possibly jealous, letting his emotions boil over, and resentful of my writing ability? Had his pride as a “great iron-lunged evangelist” gone to his head?
But why? Why make all these ridiculous accusations? Paul wrote, "For all seek their own, and not the things which are Jesus Christ's" (Phil.2:21). Obviously, Rod Meredith felt very bitter toward me, or he would not have said these things. Yet I didn't feel any bitterness or resentment toward him at all. Over the years, I thought of him as a fellow human being, learning lessons like the rest of us. I never put him on a pedestal. I knew he had his weaknesses, and sins which he needed to repent of -- his foolishness, his ill-fated remarks about Leona McNair, wife of Raymond McNair who was divorced by him.
The fact is, I published the book The Incredible History of God's True Church, by Ivor Fletcher's which spoke highly of Rod Meredith's pioneer years in the Worldwide Church of God, then known as the Radio Church of God, especially his stint in England where he established the European office.
According to the man in Florida, Meredith did have at least one compliment of me, if I could call it that. He admitted to the man that I was the most prolific writer they ever had at Ambassador College or the Work. The man rejoined, "Well, if he was so prolific, then he wouldn't need to steal other people's material, as you claim." Meredith had no answer to that.
In the course of the telephone conversation, Meredith told "Mr. S.": "I'll never get together with him! " He did promise, however, to read my articles on Passover and Pentecost (they've been sitting in his files for many months!) and study them! But will he really? I can only wonder. Judging by present appearance, it appears obvious that Rod Meredith and the Global Church of God are not really sincere in taking an honest, objective look at these foundational issues!
It has been said that Roderick Meredith knows how to dish it out -- but can he take it? Can he himself take correction and rebuke? The apostle Peter took public rebuke from Paul, and later called him a "beloved brother" (see Gal.2:11-14; II Pet.3:15).
Paul wrote to the Galatians, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another" (Gal.5:14-15). Paul admonished the Colossians, "But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, evil communication out of your
mouth. LIE NOT one to another . . . Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowls of mercies, kindness, HUMBLENESS OF MIND, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things, put on CHARITY [LOVE], which is the bond of perfectness. And let the PEACE of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful " (Col.3:8-15).
Regardless of who we are, and what our station or position in life, God says, "BE YE THANKFUL. " It is not a spirit of gratitude and thankfulness to bitterly revile and drudge up dirt on a brother in Christ. As far as talents, calling, and abilities go, God inspired Paul to write, "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Rom.11:29). God chooses us, and puts us in the body of Christ, "as it hath pleased him" (I Cor.12:18). As Paul wrote, "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all" (verses 4-6).
The things each one of us does, or accomplishes, in the body of Christ, if we are truly inspired by Christ and truly serve Him, is done by the power and inspiration of the Spirit of God. It is not right for one "brother" in the Church -- the spiritual organism which is the real "body of Christ" -- to judge another, as Paul plainly declared (Rom.14:34, 10-13), and as Jesus the Messiah so clearly pointed out (Matt.7:1-2).
To accuse a brother falsely is to damage his reputation and sully his character. It is the very same thing as damaging the reputation of Jesus, and sullying the chacter of Christ Himself! To viciously smear and attack a brother in the church is tantamount to attacking Jesus Himself, our Saviour, Redeemer, and Messiah! Jesus Christ declares, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have DONE IT UNTO ME " (Matt.25:40).
Jesus also declared: "O generation of VIPERS, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That EVERY IDLE WORD that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matt.12:34-37).
Is prophecy being fulfilled? Paul warned the Philippians, "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and others of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of LOVE, knowing [and accepting the fact] that I am set for the defense of the gospel" (Phil.1:15-17).
There are many who have attacked me, since God used me to raise up Triumph Prophetic Ministries, in January of 1987. I have been ridiculed, slandered and bad-mouthed by Gerald Flurry of the so-called "Philadelphia Church of God." I have been called "false prophet" and other diatribes by various individuals in the United States, Canada and elsewhere. Ministers in the apostate Worldwide Church of God have persecuted, ridiculed, and ridden roughshod over me for years, ignoring and rejecting the truth God has revealed to me and others, and continuing in their mad-cap dash to purgatory and tribulation. It truly saddens me that Rod Meredith would join in with those who attack, demean, and insult me, and ignore this Work of God and treat me with cavalier disdain and ignominious contempt.
Why Envy a Right Work?
Wise old king Solomon wrote, "Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit" (Eccl.4:4).
As for me, I seek unto God, and to Him I commit my cause, my name, my reputation, my work, and my life (Job 5:8; Prov.16:3; Psa.55:22; I Pet.5:6-7). For envy the priests delivered up Christ to be crucified (Matt.27:18; Mark 15:10). For envy the sons of Jacob sold their brother Joseph into slavery (Acts 7:9). But God was with him. The Jews were filled with envy against the apostle Paul, and the success of his preaching, "and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming" (Acts 13:45).
Paul wrote to Titus, an evangelist of God's Church, "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another " (Titus 3:3). James, the brother of Jesus Christ, wrote in his epistle, "Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy [or, enviously]? " (James 4:5).
"I'd Rather Be a Doorkeeper"
Personally, I am not an eloquent speaker or “hunk.” I am not a Sylvester Stalone, an Arnold Schwartzneger, or some Hollywood star or hero. I am not an impressive-looking executive of a major corporation. I am just a lowly, unworthy, plain servant of God. I am like the proverbial "doorkeeper" -- not an exalted position, but close to the House of God, the Temple! As the Psalmist wrote, "For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness" (Psalm 84:10). The marginal rendering is, "to sit at the threshold." It means literally "one at the threshold," such as a beggar asking alms, or a passer-by looking in. Even a lowly position in the House or Work of God is better than feasting in the temporary "tents" of the self-serving, self-important "wicked"!
Herbert Armstrong admitted many times during his life that he did not have the gift of wisdom. Understanding he had, he said, but God never gave him wisdom. His track record in the ministry certainly bears out the truth of that self-analysis. One of his greatest errors, in retrospect, was ordaining men to the ministry out of Ambassador College when they were still children! In the early years, several students were ordained as "evangelists" in the Church, even though they were still wet-behind-the-ears, untrained, inexperienced. In the Old Testament, the law of God stated that no priest was to be ordained to office before age thirty (Numbers 4:3, 23, 30, 35, 39, 43, 47). Jesus Christ began HIS OWN ministry at the age of THIRTY (Luke 3:23).
If even the Messiah Himself wasn't ready to preach until age 30, then WHY, O WHY did Herbert Armstrong ordain immature, unseasoned, inexperienced young men into the ministry, even as evangelists, in the early days of the Church? These included Herman L. Hoeh, Norman Smith, Roderick Meredith, Raymond Cole, and Raymond McNair. Every one has failed to live up to their potential. Some have led seditions and rebellions spiritually; some have compromised and serve Joseph Tkach and his "new spiritual agenda" returning to "Babylon"; others have virtually "given up the ghost" spiritually and caved in to pressure to conform; others have "retired"; but is there even one valiant true man of God among them, today, who has held fast, stood firm, and "endured"?
Paul admonished Timothy to ordain no one until they were ready and qualified -- "not a novice, lest being lifted up with PRIDE, he fall into the condemnation of the DEVIL" (I Tim.3:6). The Greek word for "novice" here is neophutos, and means, "newly planted," "young convert," "neophyte."
Of course, all this is really "water under the bridge" -- or should be. The past is dead and buried -- or should be. Regardless of the mistakes of the past, isn't it time God's people forgive and forget imagined "slights" or "insults," and get on with DOING the TRUE Work of God -- teaching and proclaiming HIS TRUTHS faithfully?
The apostle Paul wrote: "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and REACHING FORTH unto those things which are before, I PRESS TOWARD THE MARK for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil.3:13-14). He went on, "let us therefore, as many as be PERFECT [MATURE], be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you" (v.15). God help US-- all of us -- to understand the TRUTH, to LOVE THE TRUTH -- and to do the right thing!