by Brandy Webb
The other day, I was reading a comment on a blog regarding COGs (Church of God churches) and it basically grouped them all in the term “Armstrongism.” I have heard the term before, but honestly, I have never really looked into what defined something as being “Armstrongism” until reading some derogatory comments regarding COGs.
I am not at all easily offended, and I know a lot of people can’t seem to get over the bad things they went through in the past due to Worldwide Church of God (WCG) and the churches that split off from them. Bitterness is a hard weed to pull out of oneself once it has rooted deeply within one’s soul. However, I never knew that the observance of Sabbath and Holy Days were created by Herbert W. Armstrong. Yes, I am being a little sarcastic here, but seriously, it is considered “Armstrongism” if you believe that we are to observe God’s Holy Days.
Well, I would like to set the record straight. Armstrong wasn’t alive during creation week when God created the sun, moon, and stars to mark His seasons also known in Hebrew as moed, appointed time, place or meeting (Genesis 1:14). This term is the same term in Leviticus 23 when God tells Moses to teach the Israelites about His appointed times/Holy Days. In addition, Armstrong was not there when the first Sabbath was created and sanctified (Genesis 2:2-3). In fact, I am positive that he was not the first Christian to desire keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days either. I can see from the Bible that the Sabbath and the Holy Days were kept in the New Testament by not only Jesus but also His disciples, after His crucifixion (some references: John 7:1-44; Luke 4:16; Acts 13:4; Acts 17:2; Acts 20:6; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29). Never in all their teachings did they teach that they were done away with either.
Another factoid that I want to set right: I don’t keep these days because I believe that they bring me salvation. As a matter of fact, as far as I can tell, at least as taught in CGI, salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned by works, and keeping God’s Sabbaths aren’t going to earn you a place in His kingdom. However, just like a kid does what their parents say to show respect, I choose to do what God says to show Him respect.
I know that if I am keeping these days, and I do not have love, then I profit nothing. Just like if I speak in tongues, prophesy, have great faith, etc., but don’t have love, I profit nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). However, if I love Jesus, I will keep His commandments (John 14:15, 21, 23; John 15:10).
So, with all this said, I have questions for those who think that I observe God’s Holy Days and Sabbaths because I am trying to earn my salvation and because of Armstrong. Do mainstream Christians keep their holidays because they feel like it will earn them salvation? If they don’t, then why assume that people who keep God’s Holy Days do it because they are trying to earn something? And, do they keep them because of the Catholic Church? They are the ones that really popularized the holidays.
My point is, I believe that people give Armstrong way too much credit. There are a lot of Sabbath and Holy-Day keepers that never stepped foot in WCG. There are many who do not even go to a COG. This idea of keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days has been around since God created them, not because Mr. Armstrong made them important. I choose to keep days that I can prove from the Bible to honor my Father and my Messiah, and to be honest, I never feel like they are a burden. They are truly a blessing.