pdf of The Plain Truth – May 1985 e-Book of The Plain Truth – May 1985 link to The Plain Truth – May 1985
The Plain Truth – May 1985
The Plain Truth – May 1985
Men Did Not Teach Me What I Preach

from Herbert W. Armstrong

Letters regularly ask, “Were you ever a ‘Jehovah’s Witness’? Members of that organization have told me you once were.”

Although I have stated positively and definitely in The Plain Truth that I never belonged to the group known as Jehovah’s Witnesses, it seems that some continue spreading the claim that I once belonged to them.

Let me once again make the truth plain.

I have never been a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have never in any manner, shape or form, had any remote connection with them. I have never had any fellowship with them.

I have never attended any meeting of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have never had any kind of fellowship with any of their leaders or members.

I did not learn any of God’s truth from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have, of course, read some of their writings and their books, and I have been glad to find that they have certain truths, as most all groups have (though often mixed with errors), but God had already revealed these truths to me long before I read of them in their literature. I learned nothing that I believe and teach from this organization.

I learned God’s truth directly from God – through his Word – the Holy Bible. I say unto you, as the apostle Paul said:

“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ… But when it pleased God, who … called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him” to the world, “I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood” – neither went I to any group but I went directly to the Word of God, and on my knees asked God through his Spirit to open my understanding – to correct me, reprove and rebuke, and instruct in his truth and his righteousness – “… then after three years I went” to some of the humble of God’s people in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, and preached to them beginning in 1931. (Please compare with Galatians 1:11-18, Revised Authorized Version.)

My ambition and zeal was not persecuting God’s true Church, as was Paul’s, but climbing the ladder of business success and making money. God struck me down three times successively, by taking out from under my feet the businesses I had started, wiping me out, financially. Then God brought me to the study of his Word by causing me to try to refute the eternal validity and good of God’s spiritual law, which he had revealed to my wife, and which I at first bitterly opposed.

During that six-months’ study of more than 14 hours per day, I read very little literature favorable to the law, but I read everything I could find which opposed it – but mostly I studied – just the Bible! After six-months’ intensive study I was forced, in honesty before God, to swallow the most bitter pill of my life. It literally “killed” me – and I died – surrendered wholly to God, gave my life henceforth to him to use “if he could.”

I had been brought up from birth in the Friends Church (Quakers), though I had never been converted or begotten as a child of God, and at age 18 I strayed almost wholly away from all church interest or attendance, and devoted my whole energies to business. I had passed age 30 when God forced me into this study of his Word, and total surrender to him and his rule over my life.

From then on, I studied the Bible on my knees. Time after time it corrected me. Repeatedly I had to suffer reproof, and acknowledge I had been wrong in my beliefs and desires. God chastened and corrected me repeatedly, not only through revealing his truth in this way, but by continual circumstances. I had been conceited. But now by bitter experience, by suffering, by circumstance and by God’s Word, I was brought low and humbled. I began to experience the unmatched joy of learning truth new to me, as God little by little, yet more and more, revealed truths so wonderful they produced real spiritual joy. For the first time in my life I found what happiness really is!

God launched me in his work in 1934, and after my first evangelistic effort in a church in Harrisburg, Oregon, I experienced the greatest thrill of my life so far, upon realizing lives had been brought to repentance, to surrender to God, to faith in Jesus Christ – converted – changed! Truly it is more blessed to give than to receive!

That process of being corrected, of growing in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, has continued, now, lo these many years – more than a full half century! And it is still continuing. God grant it shall forever!

No, men did not teach me what I preach to you. I was not taught of men, but of God! I do not speak to you by authority of men, or any humanly organized church of men – but in the name, and by the authority of Jesus Christ, the living head of the true Church of God!

These words of Christ, which he received from the Father – the very words and gospel of Christ that I speak and write to you – they are spirit, and they are life!