Herbert W. Armstrong: An Unofficial Ambassador for World Peace

Herbert W. Armstrong, 1892-1986.

Publisher, educator, broadcaster, humanitarian, “unofficial ambassador for world peace,” Herbert W. Armstrong was an acquaintance and friend of leaders from around the world.

Born in 1892, Mr. Armstrong experienced the advent of the industrial age, the transportation age, the nuclear age, the space age and the information age. He witnessed two world wars and revolutions in culture, economics, warfare and society.

Called into God’s service and away from a promising career in advertising, quite against his will, Mr. Armstrong endured years of poverty and the smallest of beginnings for what would become a gigantic worldwide work communicating God’s message of warning and inspiring hope.

He became a pioneer and then the world’s leader in televangelism and one of the most prominent religious leaders of the 20th century, watched, read and followed by millions worldwide.

Mr. Armstrong established Ambassador College in 1947 in Pasadena, and later founded two more campuses in Big Sandy, Texas, and Bricket Wood, England. Thousands of students were educated by this life-changing institution for higher learning.

In the latter part of his life, Mr. Armstrong met with heads of state and other high officials around the world. In his personal audiences with kings, princes, presidents, prime ministers, emperors, mayors, justices, members of the legislature and other leaders of government, society and business, he became known as an “ambassador without portfolio for world peace.”

When he died in 1986, Mr. Armstrong left behind a church with 725 congregations in 57 countries with a weekly worldwide attendance of 120,000 and 1,200 ministers. Another 210,000 people contributed to the work regularly, and the church received more than $160 million annually—more income than was received by Jimmy Swaggart, Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, Jerry Falwell, or Robert Schuller, all popular televangelists at the time.

Swaggart’s, Roberts’s and Falwell’s programs were aired in 197, 192 and 172 television markets, respectively, but The World Tomorrow with Herbert Armstrong could be viewed on 382 stations and 36 radio outlets around the world.

The church’s flagship magazine, the Plain Truth, was published in seven languages with a worldwide circulation of 8.4 million. The church’s Good News Christian-living magazine had a circulation of 828,000. Added together, these two magazines exceeded the circulations of Time and Newsweek combined.

Herbert W. Armstrong’s Legacy

Under Mr. Armstrong, the church also produced a popular youth magazine with a circulation of 2.3 million, a 32-lesson correspondence course in which more than 2 million people enrolled over its 30-year lifespan, and an array of books and booklets. More than 40 million books or booklets were distributed over the course of Mr. Armstrong’s 50-year ministry, the most-requested of which was The United States and Britain in Prophecy, at 6 million. Between 1980 and 1985, the church distributed 447.5 million books, booklets, magazines, newspapers, lessons and letters. In 1985 alone, it answered 1.1 million telephone calls, received 6.7 million pieces of mail and added 2.1 million new names to its database.

At the end of 1985, as soon as it arrived from the printer, Mr. Armstrong’s final book was requested more than any other. In less than four months, 740,000 people requested Mystery of the Ages, making it the fastest-moving publication the church had ever produced.

Although Mr. Armstrong’s successors would disagree, United States President Ronald Reagan summed up the sentiments of church members and non-members alike upon the news of his death: “Mr. Armstrong contributed to sharing the word of the Lord with his community and with people throughout the nation,” he said. “You can take pride in his legacy.”

Articles about Herbert W. Armstrong

Three Stories
Three Stories
What milk, a woodpile and an overcoat have to do with prayer
HWA at the prayer rock
It All Started at a Rock
Learning to pray like the end-time Elijah
Two male students sitting behind old-fashioned desks with lamps, reading from their books.
Lifelong Learning
How much do you love to learn?
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God’s Interest in Our Young People
Our children have a marvelous future. We have to prepare them for it.
A copy of The Liberty Bell in a park
Unofficial Ambassador and Mayor Work Together for Peace in Jerusalem
Recalling Teddy Kollek’s friendship with Herbert W. Armstrong
Mr Armstrong at ground-breaking ceremony
And God Raised Up … One Man
True religion shows that God works through one man at a time.
16x9(Zalman Shazar)
Zalman Shazar’s Historic Meeting With Herbert W. Armstrong
16x9(Abba Eban)
Why Herbert Armstrong Respected Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban
The miraculous favor to God’s Work given by those who shaped modern Israel is breathtaking in its prophetic scope and impact.
(16x9) (HWA Jerusalem) Herbert W. Armstrong
Chaim Herzog’s Warm Meeting With Herbert W. Armstrong
16x9(Legacy of HWA)
Why You Must Know and Love the Legacy of Herbert W. Armstrong
Learn to see God behind the man.
16x9(HWA meets with Hashemite royals)
Mr. Armstrong Meets With Hashemite Kingdom Royals
16x9 (Why HWA was interested in Judean Leopard)
Why Was Mr. Armstrong Interested in the Judean Leopard?
16x9(Magic Johnson met MWA)
1987:  Guard Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles the ball during a game at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn  /Allsport
L.A. Lakers’ Magic Johnson Met Herbert W. Armstrong
Ambassador College hosted basketball clinic for 300 teens
16x9(Eliahu Elath's meeting with HWA)
A picture taken on October 15, 2015 shows the Dome of the Rock mosque (golden dome) and al-Aqsa Mosque (silver dome) at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City. Israeli security forces deployed massively in Jerusalem as Jews armed themselves with everything from guns to broomsticks, rattled by a wave of Palestinian attacks that have shaken the country.   AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI        (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Remembering Eliahu Elath’s Meeting With Herbert W. Armstrong
The two shared their experiences from that historic event in man’s pursuit of peace among nations.
16x9(HWA Doctor of Humanities)
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Herbert W. Armstrong—Doctor of Humanities
An educational institution in the Philippines respected and highly honored Mr. Armstrong.
16x9(China Libraries) Herbert W. Armstrong
Herbert W. Armstrong Visits China
In 1979, Mr. Armstrong became the first Christian church leader to officially visit and speak with top officials in China.
16x9(HWA in Sweden)
HWA in Sweden
In the closing pages of chapter nine of Mr. Armstrong’s most requested book, he reminds Sweden they are one of the lost ten tribes of ancient Israel.
16x9(Armstrong meets Thatcher)
Margaret Thatcher Meets Herbert W. Armstrong
Historic audience of a lord, a lady and man of God
16x9(HWA Morocco)
Herbert W. Armstrong Delivers the Gospel to Morocco
The gospel began to be delivered across Morocco on Radio Luxembourg in 1953.
16x9(Mr. Armstrong and Senator)
Herbert W. Armstrong Met Senator Wilson
Their conversation and the dramatic events that followed
16x9(Mr. Armstrong on plane)
Herbert W. Armstrong Athens Greece ’83 Speech
Mr. Armstrong’s unheeded warning to Athens’s political, business and finance leaders
16x9(Swaziland’s King Sobhuza and HWA)
Swaziland’s King Sobhuza Befriends Herbert W. Armstrong
Longest-reigning monarch honors ambassador for world peace, stating ‘his contribution is invaluable.’
16x9(Kenya inspired Mr. Armstrong)
How Kenya Inspired Herbert W. Armstrong
Remembering one of the world’s most honored dignitaries and his African legacy
16x9(Mr. Armstrong at the construction site of Ambassador Auditorium)
Why You Must Know and Love the Legacy of Herbert W. Armstrong
16x9(HWA and King of Jordan)
Herbert W. Armstrong and His Contributions to Mideast Peace
This ambassador of world peace placed key focus on joint humanitarian activities with world governments.