to Start the Church Off the Track
How Satan began injecting liberalism into God's Church
Herbert W. Armstrong
FOR THREE YEARS the living Christ has been working to put His Church back on the track! But how did the people of the living God get off the track? How did the whole world first get off the track?
Was mother Eve, the very first woman--a direct creation of God-- insincerely evil? Did she have evil motives and intentions? No, Eve was DECEIVED! Undoubtedly she thought she was doing right. The forbidden tree, after all, "was GOOD for food," and it was "pleasant to the eyes," and, Satan had assured her, she would really not die. God knew better than that--she was an "immortal soul." And besides, Satan had said, it would make her a god intellectually--it appealed to her intellectual VANITY. She couldn't see anything wrong with it. So "she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat."
Thus the WHOLE WORLD was started off the track. And Satan is still at it! "The devil and Satan...deceiveth the whole world" (Rev. 12:9). The apostle Paul feared "lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted..." (II Cor. 11:2).
Do you think that same wily Satan could not deceive people in God's Church today? Of all the people on earth, WE are the very ones he wants most to deceive! He has the rest of the world deceived already. And remember a deceived person does not know he is deceived--else he would not BE deceived!
Yet Satan did get to our wives today! They certainly had no evil motives, even as mother Eve had none. Had they not repented and accepted Christ, and come into the Church? There were no evil motives or intentions. They, too, saw "no harm in it." They themselves, would "LOOK GOOD" to the world. Make-up on the face would be "pleasant to the eyes." And it was intellectual to follow intellectual liberals in the ministry (NO LONGER) who reasoned that this little detail and that little point could be interpreted to see "no harm in it"--and, after all, if we don't see any harm in it, isn't it all right to do what the world does?
It was all done so SUBTLY! That is how Satan works. Now let's understand what DID HAPPEN!
How far does God compromise with SIN? God had the POWER to wink an eye at SIN and forgive sin outright, without having to sacrifice His only begotten Son. But God did not compromise one millionth of an inch with sin. Rather than that He "gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not PERISH."
God's Church, the now imminent Bride of Christ, is not going to rise to meet the returning Christ in the air with painted faces and plucked and repainted eyebrows!
How cleverly, without our suspecting it, did Satan influence leading ministers to derail the Church in many ways!
I want, now, to take you brethren through a history of this seemingly minor question of female make-up as it progressed during the 50's, 60's, and 70's in the Church. Brethren, CAN WE remove prejudice, vanity and self-will from our minds and OPEN OUR EYES TO GOD'S TRUTH? We are not going to face God in "THE JUDGMENT" like the world. WE ARE FACING IT NOW! Judgment has begun at the House of GOD! You and I are being judged NOW.
Some of us have weakened. Some of us have been caught off guard. I am human like all of you, and I was caught off guard and without at the time realizing it, ALLOWED this liberalism to creep stealthily into God's flock! I now repent of that and the living Christ leads me to do what He inspires me to do to correct it and get this holy Body of Christ BACK COMPLETELY ON THE TRACK. For we have not been fully back on the track even yet!
This may be somewhat of a minor question, yet it was used by Satan to help derail the Church! It is only one of a number of points that led us off track.
This question was raised in the Church in the mid-fifties. In the July, 1955 GOOD NEWS, the following under my by-line began on page one under the headline, "What the Church Ruled on Make- up."
"The question of lipstick and other forms of make-up had to be settled. Some in the Church held very definitely that 'make-up is wrong; it's worldly.' There was in some cases an attitude of prejudice and accusation against those who wore it."
So actually the question was first raised by women who felt face- changing was wrong, not by ministers. The next paragraph continued, "But others insisted, 'I can't see any harm in wearing make-up.'"
Many articles followed on the question. These articles covered many specific points and specific Scriptures. There was an effort to get to every detailed point or question, even in "the gray areas."
But we need to learn that God's Law is a PRINCIPLE to be applied. It has to do first of all with an ATTITUDE OF MIND.
The Church RULED AGAINST THE USE OF MAKE-UP based primarily on specific "do" and "don't" Scriptures, rather than the application of the PRINCIPLE of God's Law.
We did make the mistake of applying God's spiritual Law as the world applies man's laws. The average policeman today has to enforce six times as many specific laws as he is capable of remembering. I am reminded of the comic strip "There Ought to Be a Law." Every day someone thought up a reason for making a new specific law to cover some new minor infraction. It depicted the ridiculousness of the system of man's laws.
Actually, God's spiritual Law is expressed in just one simple four-letter word--"LOVE". We apply that law to given circumstances.
Jesus, for example, "magnified the Law and made it honorable." At Mr. Sinai He, as YHWH, expanded it into ten points--the first four defining the PRINCIPLE of love toward God, the last six love toward neighbor. From there it expands in principle to cover any and every question that may arise.
But when and how did this thing of SIN begin? It all began with the super archangel, the cherub Lucifer. He was "perfect" in his ways from the day God created him. Then iniquity (lawlessness) was found in him. His heart was "lifted up" in VANITY. This violated LOVE in the form of obedience and submission to God. A spirit of competition entered his mind. He said, "I will ascend into heaven (God's throne). I will exalt my throne above the stars (angels) of God." SELF-exaltation, vanity, jealousy, envy, rebellion against authority, competition, desire to "GET' and "TAKE" seized his perverted mind.
Sin, spiritually, is self-centeredness, self-exaltation, desire to be beautiful, vanity, coveting, desire to GET and TAKE, to exalt the self, jealousy and envy, competition, oft-resulting violence and war, resentment and rebellion against authority.
These are the PRINCIPLES of spiritual SIN. There is also the matter of physical sin--transgression of physical laws. Often physical sickness and disease result from this transgression. While Jesus paid the death penalty for our spiritual sins by His shed blood, He also paid the penalty of physical transgression of laws that operate in our bodies and minds "by His stripes." Many do not seem to understand that healing is "forgiveness of sin"--this physical sin--because Jesus paid the penalty in our stead "by his stripes."
But the Church, in the 1950's, still GROWING in knowledge as well as in numbers, ruled on make-up based on specific Scriptural "do's and don'ts"--as we then interpreted them. Actually we came to the same right ruling. A very few women argued a bit, but I remember specifically of none who rebelled and left the Church. As near as I could observe our women were happy to leave their faces as the Master Designer made them.
The Church was being blessed and growing--up to about 1968. For 35 years God had caused it to grow at the phenomenal and unmatched rate of 30% average increase per year. Then, beginning 1968, Christ the living Head of the Church, began to send me to capitals of nations all over the world. I was unable to give day-to-day management at Headquarters. Sin entered the Pasadena leadership. The Church stopped its phenomenal growth. I had to deal with sins near the top in 1971 and 1972. In the spring of 1974 a ministerial rebellion, led to a considerable extent by two top-ranking ministers at Pasadena, resulted in some 30 or more ministers leaving the Church.
In early fall of 1974, my son caught me on the run as I was leaving for Tokyo and Manila, where I held a big campaign. It was a time when certain "scholars" among our leaders were engaged in "doctrinal research." I had not realized until later that most of them were actually researching to try to prove Church teachings were in error, rather than to discover truth. I admit now and repent of the fact that, not realizing the real motive, I approved this doctrinal research team.
My son said this team had found we had the wrong meaning of four such detailed specific Scriptures, and the use of make-up was OK.
Those who know me best know I have a single-track mind. That is, I can concentrate deeply on one subject at a time, but when my mind is on one subject, I often do not really "get" something said to me. I was handed a short statement regarding those four specific Scriptures. I had especially based much of the decision on Isaiah 3:16 and contextual verses, and on the Adam Clarke Commentary of it. I took the note with me. On the plane, I typed the brief statement that appeared on page 522 of the October 23, 1974 "BULLETIN." I did not return to Pasadena for several weeks.
In my absence my brief statement appeared with my signature under it. WHAT I NEVER KNEW UNTIL NOW was that, after my signature, Mr. Wayne Cole, then director of Pastoral Administration, added a few pages giving the new liberal watered-down reasoning, changing the truth of God.
Satan master-minded this in such manner that it all APPEARED under my signature, as if I fully approved all that followed my signature--when in fact I never saw it until the day before yesterday. It was subtly handled and KEPT FROM ME. I did not and never would have approved of what Mr. Cole without my knowledge published under my signature.
Even now, at this late date, I learn that this "about face" altering of a decision THE LIVING CHRIST put into His Church caused great consternation among loyal ministers and members in Britain. But by this maneuver of Satan, the people of God's Church started off the track.
I say "started off." For watering down of God's truth on healing, the Sabbath, and many more vital doctrines followed in its wake.
But as Satan maneuvered to start ALL HUMANITY off the track in the garden of Eden, so in these latter days he maneuvered to use the women of God's Church to start the END-TIME Church off the track. And the whole Church was deceived!
At the time my son came to me with the report that the Adam Clarke Commentary was in error on Isaiah 3:16, my mind was primarily on other things, and I made a hasty decision without fully weighing the matter. I have come to realize this. I HAVE DEEPLY REPENTED OF IT. I now correct it before the entire Church.
Brethren, let's get one thing straight at this point. Jesus Christ chose and has been using a HUMAN instrument to lead you. Will you blame Jesus Christ for that? HE is infallible. HE makes no mistakes. But WHO among you could He choose as His instrument to lead you who is already supernaturally divine and unable to make mistakes? He took me with my single-track mind, and used me in STARTING this Philadelphia era of God's Church. He has used me, in spite of a few mistakes, in BRINGING ALL OF YOU INTO HIS BODY, THE CHURCH. He revealed HIS TRUTH to me and through me to YOU! And now He is using me as His instrument in CORRECTING a mistake, and LEADING YOU BACK ON THE TRACK! Thousands of you have written me saying you are behind me 100%. ARE YOU?
Jesus Christ through me has been GETTING US ALL BACK ON THE TRACK, ready for His return to earth as the KING OF KINGS, and Lord of lords. The Church, as HIS BRIDE to be spiritually MARRIED to Him, is to rise to meet Him in the air as He descends. Women of the Church, do you think Jesus Christ will say to me, "SEND A PROCLAMATION TO ALL WOMEN IN THE CHURCH TO PREPARE FOR MY COMING. TELL THEM TO GO TO THEIR DRESSING TABLES, PLUCK OUT THEIR EYEBROWS, PAINT ON NEW ONES HIGHER ON THEIR FOREHEADS, AND USE COSMETICS TO MAKE UP THEIR FACES TO MEET ME IN THE AIR."
No, dear people, I don't think He will have me make such a proclamation. But rather, "Wash the dirt off your faces! CLEAN UP your faces!"
Now JESUS CHRIST, through His chosen apostle, is going to RULE on this question once and for all!
It was through me He ruled on smoking. At the time only MEN smoked. No specific detailed Scripture says: "Thou shalt not smoke." But I knew, in the spring of 1927 when I was converted, that GOD'S LAW is to be applied to given circumstances according to its basic PRINCIPLE. I asked myself, "WHY do I smoke?" To please God? NO! Because other men in Satan's world do? Yes. To please the five senses? Yes, the sense of SMELL! Does it express LOVE TO GOD? No! Love to neighbor? NO! To some it was offensive. For my health? No. I knew it was harmful to whatever extent. It was a worldly habit. I quit. Through me Christ caused His Church to turn from smoking.
Now apply GOD'S LAW to make-up. WHY do women use make-up? To please and glorify GOD? No. God is Master DESIGNER as well as Creator. The world seems to think God did not design women's faces properly, and they try to do a better job of making up their faces than GOD did. Does make-up PLEASE GOD? HIS Spirit says to me, IT IS DISpleasing to Him! (And, like the Apostle Paul, I think I have the "mind of Christ.") To EXALT God? No, rather to exalt SELF, which debases God. IT IS PURE AND SIMPLE VANITY, and God knows it is, even if some women are self-deceived and protest it isn't. It is done to glorify the SELF, not to glorify GOD! It certainly does not humble the self. One woman says it is an ornament of dress, and she doesn't feel dressed up without it. GOD says, "whose adorning...let it be...the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit" (I Pet. 3:3-4). Let it be HUMILITY, exalting GOD.
Do women do it because other women in the world do? Emphatically, YES, even as I once smoked because other men did. It is done to BE LIKE THE WORLD. But of the world--even its religion, specifically the Christian religion, God says, "COME OUT OF HER, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of HER PLAGUES" (now soon to come) (Rev. 18:4) One woman says, "But since it is considered an essential part of good grooming by people in the world, it does help me feel better dressed.
Another woman thinks make-up sets 'AN EXAMPLE TO THE WORLD IN THEIR APPEARANCE." Jesus said, "Ye are the light of the world....Let your Light so shine before men, that they may SEE your GOOD WORKS," not the paint on your faces!
A woman says, "I don't wear make-up to change my appearance," but another woman who writes the same thing wears so much that when I mentioned having received a letter from a woman saying that, a leading headquarters minister replied, "If I were a betting man I'd bet I could tell you who wrote the letter." "Who do you think?" I asked. He named her. How did he know? Because she wears so much make-up it stands out and several noticed and mentioned it!
Some women will say it is adornment, and they mention how God adorned Israel. LET'S LOOK AT THAT SCRIPTURE A MINUTE!
It's the 16th chapter of Ezekiel. It begins: "Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations." The ABOMINATIONS of Judah is the subject. Then God speaks symbolically of Israel and Judah as a newborn female child who grew up. She grew up polluted by the world, and at the time of love, God adorned her. HOW? God uses apparel as a symbol of righteousness. Here He used the symbol of covering her with the FINEST apparel and adornment--HIS LAW--which is finest in spiritual character. The apparel and jewelry mentioned are not mentioned to approve worldly adornment, but indicate the finest quality in CHARACTER, as measured by God's spiritual LAW. God mentioned only the finest in material adornment to typify the finest in spiritual adornment. BUT HE AVOIDED INCLUDING FACE PAINTING!
The BEAUTY God lavished on Israel was SPIRITUAL beauty-- of HIS WAY OF LIFE--the way of His LAW. This spiritual beauty went forth over the world (verse 14). Then what? "BUT THOU DIDST TRUST IN THINE OWN BEAUTY AND PLAYEDST THE HARLOT" (verse 15 and on).
WHY did I smoke? I had to be honest about it and I quit, and taught the Church to quit. WHY do women use make-up? Shall they be honest about it--or self-deceived into arguing their way to be like the world?
There are TWO reasons, and variations of those two reasons, and GOD, who knows human hearts better than we know our own KNOWS THIS. They are: VANITY, and desire to be like the world God calls us out of, or so to appear to the world.
One woman candidly said she would rather have a good-looking face than a knowledgeable and understanding mind. She would rather have facial make-up than God's righteousness. That was many years ago. She made her choice. She no longer believes there is a Creator God. Now she is coming into old age, and all the facial make-up can't help her look beautiful. She has NO HOPE for the future!
One of the hardest tests I had to win to be converted, in the spring of 1927, was the thought, "If I accept God's TRUTH, what will all my former business acquaintances in the world think?" I knew I had to GIVE UP caring what they think, and be concerned about what GOD thinks! I had to be weaned from former ways, thoughts, beliefs, and people of the world. The woman who dreads giving up make-up must give up former ways.
Now, finally, let's again LOOK at these specific Scriptures that some use to JUSTIFY vanity and worldliness--though they may deny any vanity or worldliness.
Isaiah 3:16: In 1955 I used an error in the Adam Clarke Commentary which implied painting the eyes. It was when my son come to me with evidence that the commentary was in error about eye paint that I wrote the short note that appeared over my signature in the October 1974 BULLETIN which was used to change the entire Church teaching on make-up. I did not then examine the other three passages used following my signature, nor did I KNOW even that those things were printed, or that orders went out to all ministers compelling them to read every word before their congregation AS IF it had my approval. Actually it DID NOT have my approval, or even my knowledge. It was an attempt to put this liberal approach over on the Church BEHIND MY BACK and without my knowledge.
But look now at the entire context in which Isaiah 3:16 appears:
Chapter 3 is talking about these LAST DAYS of this age. The DAY OF THE LORD is approaching (verse 12 of chapter 2). Then, beginning with verse 12 of chapter 3, "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them"--certainly true TODAY.
Verse 16, "Because the daughters of Zion (meaning our people Israel or the Church today) are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks, and wanton eyes (glancing wantonly with their eyes-- RSV)...." In other words flirting and enticing men--which things do ACCOMPANY face paint. This general theme continues into chapter 4, where we read in verse 4, "When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion...." So even if verse 16 of chapter 3 does not speak specifically of make-up, it DOES speak of the things associated with it and that accompany it. It does show graphically the attitude and spirit Satan will have injected into our women of TODAY. Primarily IN THE WORLD of Israel as it is today, but also as it has infiltrated into too many of our dear women in God's Church!
God commands, "COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, AND BE YE SEPARATE, saith the Lord" (II Cor. 6:17) for "ye are the temple of the living God" (verse 16).
Ezekiel 23:40: I quote from what Mr. Cole (now disfellowshipped from the Church) appended after my signature to APPEAR to give it my approval:
"'And also you sent for men to come from abroad; a messenger was sent to them and indeed they came. For them you bathed yourself, made up your eyes and adorned yourself with jewelry. You sat upon a stately couch with a prepared table before it....' This is in the context of the adulteries of Israel and Judah as the spiritual brides of God. Their schemes for attracting lovers are being described."
Now that certainly DOES NOT set a GOOD EXAMPLE for the women of God's Church today! Yet this effort to introduce LIBERALISM and COMPROMISE WITH SATAN in God's Church, went on to ARGUE: "Notice the things mentioned. The woman bathes. She decorates herself with jewelry." (This statement OMITTED DELIBERATELY the EYE MAKE-UP!) "She sits on a couch before a spread table, waiting for her lover." Then comes the SUBTLE QUESTION: "Are these things wrong in themselves? No, not in the proper place and context--such as marriage."
O, women of God's Church! Did you let that subtle TWIST mislead you, as SATAN wanted to mislead you?
This passage is deliberately showing something wrong in BOTH ATTITUDE, INTENTION, and MEANS OF DOING IT. And here, in the BULLETIN of GOD'S CHURCH, without my knowledge or approval, was printed a subtle and MISLEADING TWIST on GOD'S SACRED AND HOLY WORD! I did not know this was being printed--BUT I APOLOGIZE BEFORE GOD FOR IT!
This passage DEFINITELY DOES SHOW EYE MAKE-UP, which is one part of modern make-up, is WRONG IN GOD'S SIGHT! It shows an attitude unacceptable to God!
Jeremiah 4:30: Get the context: Jeremiah sees a vision of DESTRUCTION coming in our day as a result of our peoples' worldly SINS! It's talking about things DESPISED by GOD! Speaking to OUR PEOPLE (nations) today, God says: "And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson..." Crimson is a bright purplish-red color, the same as scarlet. The RSV, the Moffatt, and the New International Version all translate this word as "scarlet"--precisely the color of the great whore of Revelation 17:4, decked out in purple and scarlet. Purple is the color of royalty. Scarlet that of prostitution (see Webster's Dictionary).
Now proceed, quoting from Jeremiah 4:30: "Though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life."
This passage shows modern Israel, before Christ's coming, in the prophesied imminent captivity of our very people, using the methods of a harlot, figuratively seeking to attract allies. The United States is doing that. The recent Congressional battle over the sale of military weapons to Saudi Arabia, in order to "buy" that country's support against Russia, is an example. American wooing of Iran in the recent days of the Shah was another example. And the result was precisely as this prophecy says--they SEEK OUR LIFE!
It is using the illustration of the methods of a prostitute to make ourselves attractive for our own purposes. IT DOES NOT SHOW GOD'S APPROVAL, BUT THE VERY OPPOSITE!
Yet this LIBERAL misteaching said of this verse: "Is scarlet wrong?" And also, "But is it the thing which is wrong--or only the wrong use?" This Scripture was illustrating THE WRONG USE, and as women use it IN A WRONG USE! If you have a cloth decoration in your home of green, or blue, or scarlet, or pink, THAT IS NOT A WRONG USE! But the illustration of Jeremiah 4:30 is SHOWING A WRONG USE, and the "scholarly" analysis in the 1974 BULLETIN was a "scholarly" TWIST on God's Word USING HUMAN REASONING to get around a very plain 'THUS SAITH THE LORD!" It was an effort to use "scholarship" to ask the subtle question, "Is it really wrong" and to see how much you can get away with!
II Kings 9:30: Queen Jezebel is pictured in the Bible as perhaps the most evil of women, especially in the worldly and evil attitude sense. This passage says that "Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window." She is portrayed in God's Word as an evil-intentioned woman. She "PAINTED HER FACE," yet this "scholarly" attempt at watering down God's teachings stated "In any case, the question is again whether her use of make-up is any more wrong--of and by itself-- than her adorning her head." IS that the question? IT IS NOT! God here shows you an evil-minded woman setting a wrong example. Again I say to you, it is not a matter of "HOW MUCH CAN WE GET AWAY WITH" or "Can we use human reason to do as the world does--to LOOK as the world does--rather than what GOD SAYS?"
This effort to bring make-up back into God's Church ended by saying, "Make-up has definitely been grossly abused. But it is the vanity which is wrong and not necessarily the grooming." The argument here is that grooming is not vanity. But it is the EXTENT and CHARACTER of the grooming that can be wrong--and the motivation of it.
My mother and grandmothers did not wear make-up--nor did your great-grandmothers of the same era. How did it get into our mid- and latter-20th century society? FROM PROSTITUTES!
When I was a young man, NO DECENT WOMAN, EVEN IN THE WORLD, SMOKED. But prostitutes did. Then cigarette manufacturers used subtle advertising to induce women to follow the prostitute example--for manufacturers' profits!
Look, finally, at SIN.
It all started with SATAN, when he was the cherub Lucifer.
Again look at HOW SIN BEGAN--with LUCIFER. God had created him perfect, and he was in all his ways, TILL he SINNED. HOW? His heart was lifted up IN VANITY because of his BEAUTY (Ezek. 28:15- 17). Being BEAUTIFUL or the desire for it led to VANITY. SELF- glorification! His mind went to his BEAUTY, in VANITY. Of course he would have denied having vanity just as mortals today.
Satan introduced SIN into humanity through a woman, mother EVE. She was MISLED, deceived. She didn't deliberately WILL to do wrong--to lead her husband into the first SIN! She was deceived, as our women have been today. Go back and read the beginning paragraphs of this article. It is precisely the way Satan has been getting to our women today.
Women do not use make-up to PLEASE GOD today--for I can tell you ON HIS AUTHORITY it is NOT pleasing to HIM!
Satan used human reason and make-up and WOMEN to START the ball of LIBERALISM AWAY FROM GOD and TOWARD SIN to rolling in the Church beginning October 1974.
Finally, I repeat, sin, spiritually, is self-centeredness, self- exaltation, desire to be beautiful, vanity, coveting, desire to GET and TAKE, to exalt the self, jealousy and envy, competition, oft-resulting violence and war, resentment and rebellion against authority. These are the PRINCIPLES of spiritual SIN.
Christ is GETTING US BACK ON THE TRACK!
(signed) Herbert W. Armstrong