A woman’s personal conviction to begin keeping the seventh-day Sabbath in 1926 would challenge her husband to begin an intensive study to prove her wrong. That study would spawn a new religious movement under Herbert W. Armstrong. A fledgling group would form in 1934, and an audacious media operation would make the Radio Church of God (later re-named the Worldwide Church of God) grow by 30% per year over the next 35 years.
Proclaiming a unique understanding of the Bible, traditional Christian orthodoxy would be challenged, making that church most peculiar indeed.
Internal and external forces would alter Herbert Armstrong’s view of his mission, and especially after Loma’s death, doctrinal and administrative turmoil would stagger the church for the rest of his life. After his death in 1986, the empire would implode, and successors would dismantle everything that the Armstrongs had built.
Was it all just a fantastic, fraudulent escapade—conceived by a lucky and opportunistic salesman—or might it have been a divine Work—God’s own peculiar treasure? If it did begin with God’s inspiration, why and how did it all go so wrong? Is there anything left of it today that has any redeeming value? These are the questions that will be answered, with evidence to suggest that there is yet an enduring legacy of Herbert and Loma Armstrong.