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Second Thoughts: Our Philip

Author: Thomas White | Editorial Department, Living Church of God

For the most recent Living Education assembly, we watched a video about Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, and if you’ve been a part of the Church of God for any significant amount of time, you’ve heard his name.

He’s been talked about in sermons, sermonettes, publications, telecasts—he can seem more familiar than certain contributors to the Bible.

Because Someone Guided You

In Acts 8, when Philip asks the Ethiopian if he understands the scripture he’s reading, his candid reply is, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” That one sentence reveals that even if God is calling us, we can’t come to a deep understanding of His truth just by reading the Bible. We need help. We need teachers, like the Ethiopian needed Philip.

I’m sure that’s not a surprise to you. Everyone in the Church can think of someone who served as their mentor in the things of God. We’ll always feel a deep connection to those people—God used them to either shape our lives or change our lives. Whoever comes to your mind as the person who taught you how to obey God, that person is your Philip, and you’ll never forget your Philip.

But you don’t just have one Philip. Actually, there’s a Philip you and I share—one that every single member of God’s modern Church shares, in fact. In an attempt to make that resonate a little more profoundly, let’s quickly play a game I just made up, which I’m going to go ahead and call…

Six Degrees of Mr. Armstrong

Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong

It’s like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but hopefully a little more meaningful. Ready? I’ll go first.

Who taught me the truth of God? That would be my mom, in the most fundamental sense. Okay, so, who taught her? Her dad, my grandpa. Who taught him? Well, originally, Mr. Garner Ted Armstrong, who my grandpa heard preaching the Gospel on the radio when my mom was a tiny kid. And who taught Garner Ted Armstrong the things of God? His parents—one of whom was, of course, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. So, between me and Mr. Armstrong, there are really only four degrees of separation.

Your turn.

Maybe you didn’t grow up in the Church. Maybe you’re here because you saw a telecast, or read a magazine article, or befriended a Church member. But whoever introduced you to the truth of God, the right way of reading His word, I can almost guarantee you that there aren’t more than six degrees of separation between you and Mr. Armstrong—because many were his students.

So yeah—people still talk about him, and will continue to talk about him, because you never forget your Philip. And however any of us came into God’s Church, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong is our Philip by no more than six degrees.

Thomas White headshot

Thomas White was one of the onsite Living Education students for the 2018-2019 semesters. He also has a Bachelor’s Degree in English. Thomas currently works as an Editorial Assistant for the Living Church of God. According to his wife, he eats pizza in entirely the wrong way.