The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God
Joe Tkach Jr. The Bearded Armstrong Basher


                                                                                                                            December 20, 1995

Dear Ed,

 Thank you for your recent letter. I am and have been fully engaged in correcting the mistakes of the past. I am widely known as the “bearded Armstrong basher.” Apparently such comments have not made their way to your neck of the woods. And, for this I am glad, because it is not my intention to acquire a reputation of throwing rocks at people.

Perhaps, it will be of interest for me to share the kind of responses I am receiving to my article in the Worldwide News. I am receiving many thanks for the apology, often accompanied by comments that they know I am not the one who is responsible for the past. A few have even had the graciousness to offer me an apology since there is no one around to make one to me. Then, there have been a few who indicate that any sort of apology is a sign of weakness.

Your reply is unique in that it the only one to be dissatisfied and asked for more detailed apology, moreover, to list specific details of Herbert Armstrong’s sinfulness. I am somewhat surprised that you would assert that I am hiding Herbert Armstrong’s sins.

Perhaps, you did not mean to direct such invective towards me personally. Perhaps, you are speaking from your own anger and pain. Perhaps, I misunderstood some of your comments asserting that I must degrade and condemn Herbert Armstrong or be guilty of the abuse and deceit. At least, I register surprise since I have always enjoyed a warm and friendly relationship with you.

I would hope that you would reconsider and come to agreement with the fact that God has not called us to serve as investigative reporters for a church version of the Equirer. I first read Scott Peck’s book, People of the Lie in 1988. I recommended it to the ministry and others, as well as using the theme of the book as an illustration in the Ministerial Refreshing Program in 1988. the author is discussing people who are demon possessed and makes a call for colleagues to empirically research the cause of evil. Am I to understand that you have reached the conclusion that Herbert Armstrong was possessed by demons?

God requires that I exercise prudence in leading people to repentance and to faith in our Lord and Savior. The method you are suggesting would only drive people away from the new relationship that many are establishing with Christ. Paul did not condemn Peter when he grossly erred in his behavior with the Gentiles. He told him of his errors face to face and then wrote about the error. It was a defining moment in the early history of the Church.

Herbert Armstrong is dead. We cannot point out his errors face to face. We can correct them, as we have and are doing. We can and have apologized for the serious flaws in doctrine. At the risk of sounding as though I am defending him (which I would not do), generally, Herbert Armstrong was nothing like Rod Meredith or Dave Pack. However, we are to lay our suffering at the foot of the cross. All of us who are heavy laden are to take our burdens to Christ.

Since you found Scott Peck’s first book to be of value, I encourage you to read two of his other books, The Road Less Traveled and The Different Drum. Both are about spiritual growth and the psychology of love. I found them to be interesting and insightful.

I was not part to your conversation with Carrol Miller so I cannot comment on it. Thank you again for sharing your opinions with me and I look to the next occasion when I can enjoy your company.

                                                            In Christ’s service

                                                            Joseph Tkach




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