Why Gerald Flurry Founded Armstrong International Cultural Foundation

Why Gerald Flurry Founded Armstrong International Cultural Foundation

Trumpet

Reviving the humanitarian organization established by Herbert W. Armstrong promoting world peace.

In 1968, King Leopold of Belgium requested to meet Herbert Armstrong. That meeting began a history of Mr. Armstrong building bridges of friendship with world leaders and supporting cooperative projects with the aim of “helping people help themselves.” One of the first such projects was an archaeological excavation at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount in association with the Hebrew University and Israel Exploration Society.

Additionally, around this time mobile schools were established to educate Thailand’s mountain people, and worldwide expeditions were conducted by the King Leopold iii Foundation. These initiatives led to the establishment of a new and necessary dimension of the worldwide work Herbert Armstrong led.

Writing to Church members on June 5, 1975, Mr. Armstrong announced, “Some weeks ago I authorized the formation of a new foundation—named the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation [aicf]. It is non-profit, dedicated to serving humanity worldwide. It has become a necessary adjunct to this new worldwide dimension of getting Christ’s true gospel to the nations through heads of government.”

Established in March that year, the foundation received “added prestige, credibility and favor” as the non-religious organization was “met with great and favorable response,” he wrote. aicf was nonsectarian and legally independent of both Ambassador College and the Worldwide Church of God.

As a tool of the aicf, Mr. Armstrong engineered and authorized production of a new bi-monthly magazine titled Human Potential. This limited-circulation publication was intended for royalty, presidents, prime ministers, government officials and dignitaries with whom the aicf had established strong ties. These ties extended to all corners of the globe, from Britain and Europe to the Mideast, Africa, Asia, and North and South America.

Human Potential’s content was altogether different from the Church’s mass-circulation international newsmagazine, the Plain Truth, and its Christian-living-focused Good News magazine. Its content addressed the purpose for man, his incredible potential, and how peace will come to Earth. “It will reveal what science cannot, what religion has not, what education doesn’t teach. It will have a larger size page, fully-illustrated, in full-color,” Mr. Armstrong added.

Human Potential was financed in a similar fashion as the famed and notable National Geographic. It was not funded by the tithes and offerings of Church members sent to support ministerial services, pastoral operations, the World Tomorrow television program and the Plain Truth and Good News, but rather by tax-deductible paid memberships of aicf supporters.

By Oct. 29, 1976, Mr. Armstrong announced to co-workers a name change for aicf’s periodical for world leaders: Quest Magazine. The publisher of Sports Illustrated and the Smithsonian, along with the editor of Time, Life and Harper’s Magazine, were hired to increase the quality and circulation of the foundation’s flagship publication.

In addition to Mr. Armstrong’s goodwill visits with world leaders, aicf supported “activities ranging from benefits for handicapped children to major cultural events; from agricultural research to hospitals; from archaeological excavations to parks for children” (Plain Truth, February 1979). These broad horizons of humanitarianism included the use of Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, California, hosting cultural programs, international exhibitions, nationally televised music specials and archaeological exhibits.

aicf was so beloved and internationally respected by the world’s leaders that upon the death of Mr. Armstrong in January 1986 their messages of condolence called with a collective voice from all corners of the globe for the legacy and work of this honored ambassador for world peace to be continued.

Tragically, those appointed by Mr. Armstrong to perpetuate his humanitarian efforts to extend goodwill and promote world peace among all nations ignored the request of emperors, kings, presidents, prime ministers, sundry ambassadors, diplomats and high government officials to continue Mr. Armstrong’s legacy. After closing the Ambassador College campus and seeking to profit from the sale of the college’s assets, Herbert Armstrong’s successors even threatened to bulldoze the campus jewel, the “Carnegie Hall of the West,” renowned Ambassador Auditorium. The early ’90s saw the aicf crumble to defunct status and with it the plea of world leaders to see it continue.

However, there was one man who dreamed of reviving the foundation’s legacy and honoring the collective call of leaders of world governments and other influential leaders to continue the good works of aicf. In December 1989, Gerald Flurry founded the Philadelphia Church of God in Edmond, Oklahoma, serving the spiritual needs of those who sought to hold fast to the truth. He restored all the basic Church doctrines as proven and taught by Mr. Armstrong. In 2001 he founded what has since become known as Herbert W. Armstrong College in Edmond, Oklahoma. That same year he additionally founded the Philadelphia Foundation as the successor to the former foundation established by Mr. Armstrong.

In 1996, those who should have, yet who refused, to perpetuate aicf along with all aspects of Mr. Armstrong’s labor, sued Mr. Flurry and this publication’s sponsor, taking them to court in an effort to stop the publication and free distribution of Herbert Armstrong’s master work, Mystery of the Ages. As recounted in Stephen Flurry’s exposé of that court case, Raising the Ruins, those who should have continued the work of aicf following Herbert Armstrong’s death actually worked in a concerted effort as their avowed “Christian duty” to silence and bury all memory and honor of the legacy and work of Mr. Armstrong. In 1998, during the midst of this battle, Gerald Flurry revived the aicf’s performing arts concert series as established by Mr. Armstrong, then housed in Ambassador Auditorium, in 1974. In 2008, Mr. Flurry broke ground for Armstrong Auditorium, the successor to Ambassador Auditorium, to become the home of the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation concert series.

In 2003, the Worldwide Church of God, ironically founded by Mr. Armstrong but now controlled by his critics, ceded copyright of 18 essential works of his to Mr. Flurry and the Philadelphia Church of God. Request your free copy of Raising the Ruins to learn more of this epic victory.

The following year, in 2004, the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation obtained the crown jewels of Ambassador Auditorium—a 9-foot Hamburg Steinway concert-grand piano and two Baccarat crystal candelabra commissioned by the shah of Iran to celebrate the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian Empire—all to be housed in Armstrong Auditorium upon its grand opening in September 2010.

Today, the $25 million Armstrong Auditorium hosts one of the finest performing arts concert series in the world. aicf has been revived, acknowledging the heartfelt pleas of this world’s leaders to continue the humanitarian work of Mr. Armstrong.

“Greetings, friends! What is the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation?” writes Mr. Flurry in the foundation’s prospectus, received by its thousands of global supporters. “We are an international humanitarian organization dedicated to serving the cultural and educational needs of people everywhere. The concept behind all of the foundation’s goals and activities is twofold: 1) that man is a unique being, possessing vast mental, physical and spiritual potentials—the development of which should be aided and encouraged, and 2) that it is the responsibility of all men to attend to and care for the needs of their fellow men, a precept professed by the vast majority of religions of the world—appropriately summed up in three biblical words: ‘Love thy neighbor.’ Out of this understanding we seek to aid and support projects around the world without respect to race or religion.”

Following its humble beginning back in 1996, the revived, reborn and refreshed aicf under Mr. Flurry’s direction first set about to serve the Mideast kingdom of Jordan by collaborating with the Al-Hussein Society (ahs), perpetuating the support Mr. Armstrong gave it.

Initially established in 1971 to assist King Hussein’s government in running orphanages, eight years later the ahs became focused on specific contribution of services for rehabilitation and education to citizens facing physical challenges.

The Armstrong International Cultural Foundation then lent support to the Petra National Trust, with its vision and mission of conserving, preserving and sustaining the historic city and joined in supporting its “projects and programs to safeguard and maintain site significance and integrity for Jordan and the world.”

Currently, the foundation supports various activities in Israel such as maintaining the Liberty Bell Park in the center of Jerusalem, which was a special project originally undertaken by famed Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek and Mr. Armstrong. Additionally, the foundation has strengthened bonds with the city’s mayor, officials of government, education, media, archaeology and those engaged in humanitarian efforts. For more about this historic collaboration, request a free copy of A Warm Friend of Israel, which chronicles the long and storied friendship between the leaders and citizens of Israel and Mr. Armstrong.

The revival of this partnership through the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation has most notably been evidenced by the exclusive premier exhibit at Armstrong Auditorium of historic finds from the palace of King David, discovered by acclaimed Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar, granddaughter of Dr. Benjamin Mazar. Evidence of the legacy of Dr. Mazar’s long friendship and cooperation with Mr. Armstrong and aicf is now being perpetuated via the connection between Dr. Eilat Mazar and the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation. The unique world premiere display of the seals of the ancient Prophet Jeremiah’s captors, as recounted in Jeremiah 38, at Armstrong Auditorium attests to this. Some of the most significant artifacts ever discovered in Jerusalem remain on display through October 16 this year in Armstrong Auditorium, America’s newest and finest performing arts facility.

Armstrong International Cultural Foundation founder and chairman Gerald Flurry’s dedicated efforts across the past two decades involving various countries and cultures are proof that he is honoring the request of emperors, kings, queens, princes, presidents and prime ministers, along with a myriad of dignitaries from around the globe who met and worked with Herbert Armstrong and the foundation during his life. Through these efforts, the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation continues its contribution toward bringing about understanding between all peoples in the march forward to soon-coming world peace.

Request your free copy of the prospectus of Armstrong International Cultural Foundation to learn more about its humanitarian work and how you can lend your support to its ongoing works and activities.

To read more articles by this author, click here.

Russian Patriarch Calls Putin Era a ‘Miracle From God’

Russian Patriarch Calls Putin Era a ‘Miracle From God’

Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images

In many ways, Putin has taken Russia back to a time before the rise of the USSR—back to when the country was an imperial autocracy ruled by the czar and dominated by Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

Thanks to kgb friends, the Russian Orthodox Church and a few bands of bus-riding zealots who voted at more than one polling station, strongman Vladimir Putin claimed victory in Sunday’s presidential election.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has made no secret of his support for Putin, whom he regards as the guarantor of the country’s stability. “You have played an enormous personal role to set the course of history in our country,” Kirill told Putin last month during a meeting with other religious leaders. “I would like to thank you.”

The arch patriarch of Moscow and All Russia then went on to say that Russia managed to overcome the chaos following the breakup of the ussr “thanks to a divine miracle and with the active assistance of the leaders of our country.”

In many ways, Putin has taken Russia back to a time before the rise of the ussr—back to when the country was an imperial autocracy ruled by the czar and dominated by Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

Recently, Putin’s United Russia political party introduced a bill to the Duma that proposes a tenfold increase in fines slapped on those who are caught insulting religious beliefs. This piece of legislation was proposed in response to an incident where five masked members of a feminist group performed a “punk prayer” attacking the Orthodox Church for its close ties to the Kremlin.

In return for such religious protection, the Patriarch Kirill and his Orthodox hierarchy have done all they can to grant Putin spiritual legitimacy in the eyes of the Russian people. Indeed, Kirill has gone even further than this in his efforts to consolidate Russian control over the people of Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia.

The Texas-based think tank Stratfor has indicated that Putin is explicitly using the evangelization efforts of the Russian Orthodox Church to get the people of former Soviet states to look to Moscow for leadership.

Interfax reports that the Moscow Patriarchate has been particularly inspired with Prime Minister Putin’s idea to set up his own “Eurasian Union,” modeled on the European Union. “I hope the Eurasian Union will enter the history as one of the strongest international associations,” said the head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, in an interview filmed last year.

Some political commentators are starting to draw parallels between the Eurasian Union and the Soviet Union, just as other commentators are drawing parallels between the European Union and the Nazi empire. As disturbing as these parallels are, however, one may have to look even further back in history to see what is truly transpiring on the world scene.

As Herbert W. Armstrong long predicted, the European Union is morphing into a final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire (a German-dominated dictatorship bound together by the Roman Catholic religion). Likewise, Putin’s Eurasian Union represents an attempt to morph the vast stretch of land from the Carpathian Mountains to the Pacific coast back into a final incarnation of Imperial Russia (a Kremlin-dominated empire bound together by the Russian Orthodox religion).

Expect a great clash in the near future as these empires compete for global dominance. For biblical proof of this coming clash, read our booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.

Stratfor vs. Anonymous, WikiLeaks

Stratfor vs. Anonymous, WikiLeaks

Dreamstime

There’s a profound difference between the motives of such as Stratfor’s CEO George Friedman and those who lurk behind the facades of Anonymous, WikiLeaks and VroniPlag.

“As we return to normal operations, we know that the hackers may continue to attack us in other ways, specifically with spam e-mails meant to create confusion and chaos. Unfortunately, this is part of the new reality in which we operate” (Stratfor, February 29).

Well done, Dr. George Friedman and Stratfor for taking a stand against the perverse intimidation of those plagues of our information age, the hackers, the leakers, sundry diggers for dirt and meddling instigators of confusion!

Back in the 20th-century age of print media, especially during the immediate pre-World War ii years and on through that war, the term “fifth column” became fashionable. Encyclopedia Britannica states that “fifth-column activists exploit the fears of a people by spreading rumors and misinformation, as well as by employing the more standard techniques of espionage and sabotage.”

In today’s age of the mass spread of information technology, the fifth column is likely to be comprised of sallow-faced, anonymous, cowardly individuals punching away at a keyboard, dragging a computer mouse across the desk, staring at a video screen. Such deviants are intent on trashing either an organization or its members by hacking into their primary records and sources of information. Simply put, they are common, basic thieves.

In our society it has been a generally respected practice in journalism that one’s sources of information are sacred. Journalists have gone to jail for refusing to identify their sources in some cases. Within the police and security systems of any nation, intelligence gathering has from its earliest beginnings guaranteed the protection of informants.

True statesmen have always honored a basic code of seeking to withhold information that is too sensitive to reveal publicly for risk of harming public morale or for reasons of national security. These we term “state secrets.” I remember conversing years ago with Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies’s private secretary and asking him what he thought was his boss’s greatest strength as a national leader. He responded, “Sir Robert knew what to tell the people and what not to tell them.”

The general challenge to civilized society today is that the overthrow of certain absolutes that underpin the moral standards of the state has led to an assertion that “transparency” in the exchange of information should govern all—that the nation, its institutions both private and public should bare all before the public, notwithstanding the risks to state security.

But it’s not just this naive, utopianist, liberal philosophy that is at the basis of the actions of the likes of such 21st-century fifth columnists as Anonymous, WikiLeaks and VroniPlag. Theirs is a far more sinister motive. It is the destruction of either individuals, their character, or of whole enterprises whose very existence is at odds with their warped sense of the world.

Where is the logic, let alone the morality, in seeking to expose the “secret” sources and methods upon which an intelligence-gathering enterprise depends for its existence, while the fifth-column perpetrator hides behind a mask refusing to identify itself, its own methods or its sources?

This is a classic hypocritical double standard.

Not only that. The “revelations” of fifth-column propaganda—a mixture of truth and error classically designed to confuse the target audience—can lead to the perpetrators being manipulated by enemies of the state so as to greatly damage national security.

Time was when giving aid or comfort to the enemy was considered a treasonous act punishable by death.

Now the official “leak” has become an integral part of our increasingly corrupted systems of government, business, banking and politics. The definition of what actually constitutes an act of treason against the state has been greatly blurred.

In our research for various articles for the Trumpet, we have freely used and quoted from information disseminated by Stratfor since the 1990s. I have had the privilege of meeting George Friedman and his charming wife, Meredith (a fellow Aussie), on more than one occasion, interviewed Dr. Friedman on camera in his Austin offices, and participated in a panel discussion with him also on camera at the same location.

We published Stratfor’s exposé of the Kosovo “massacre” in the Trumpet in 1999. At Herbert W. Armstrong College, in our International Relations class, we freely use Stratfor’s well-researched material.

The Trumpet news staff draws on the best of available private intelligence and media sources to keep informed on the real news of the day. Among these sources we rate Stratfor up there with the very best.

Herbert W. Armstrong College is first and foremost a character-building institution. If there’s one thing we admire in a human being it is sterling character. Character of a type that will look adversity in the eye and face down those who seek to destroy rather than to build up.

In a recent message to Stratfor subscribers, Dr. Friedman stated (February 27):

Stratfor has worked to build good sources in many countries around the world, as any publisher of geopolitical analysis would do.We are proud of the relationships we have built, which help our analysts better understand the issues in many of these countries through the eyes of people who live there.We have developed these relationships with individuals and partnerships with local media in a straightforward manner, and we are committed to meeting the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct.

The “highest standards of professional and ethical conduct”—the extreme opposite to the tawdry behavior of its attackers, who, as Friedman correctly observes, are guilty by their words and actions of acts of “a deplorable, unfortunate—and illegal—breach of privacy” (ibid).

I for one will not be digging around in any of this information stolen from Stratfor and published by any arm of the press or mass media. They will publish to their shame.

The Trumpet is a magazine of integrity, committed to publishing the plain, unvarnished truth. We support both individuals and enterprises of upstanding character which contribute something of real worth to society.

From our personal experience, Stratfor’s ceo George Friedman and the organization which he leads are both in that category.

Shady, cowardly organizations such as Anonymous, intent solely on destroying legitimate enterprises, or those motivated with the intent of destroying a person’s good name and character such as VroniPlag, or on stealing and publicizing sensitive government data such as WikiLeaks, are a blight on society.

They need to be condemned and dealt with as such.

Ireland to Hold Referendum on New EU Treaty

Ireland to Hold Referendum on New EU Treaty

Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images

The Irish have voted ‘no’ before. There’s a good chance they’ll do so now.

Ireland will hold a referendum on the fiscal treaty agreed by 25 out of 27 EU nations in January, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny announced February 28.

The announcement was a surprise, as EU leaders tried to design the treaty so it would not trigger referenda. However, Ireland’s attorney general, Máire Whelan, said that “on balance” Ireland’s constitution requires one.

The referendum won’t stop the new treaty—it goes into force once 12 nations have approved it. But Ireland has a history of throwing a spanner in the works of EU treaties. It voted “no” to the Lisbon and Nice treaties, having to be asked again before it got the ‘right’ answer. This time, Ireland has said it will not hold a second referendum if the answer is “no.”

A no vote would cause the European Union to fracture even more. The United Kingdom and the Czech Republic have already opted out of the new treaty. The referendum could force Ireland to follow suit. This would put the EU in a tough spot. The Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says that if Ireland votes no, the whole fiscal compact could fall apart. He writes that “it would be politically untenable to create a new eurozone structure that left one member in limbo.”

“The fiscal compact has totemic significance in Berlin, and any sign that the package is fraying may harden opposition in the Bundestag to further emu rescue measures,” he writes. A “no” vote could cause the whole compact to be torn up and a new agreement made, perhaps with an even smaller group of nations.

If, on the other hand, Ireland votes no and EU nations decide to leave it behind, the EU would also be further down the road to the 10-nation superstate that the Trumpet has long forecast.

Either way, a no vote would clearly demonstrate that even without the UK, such a large group of EU nations cannot push quickly toward integration.

Soon, a much smaller, core group will push toward much closer union.

Serbia Officially a Candidate for EU Membership

Germany forces Serbia to make concessions over Kosovo.

Serbia was official recognized as an EU candidate nation at a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels, March 1. Serbia was widely expected to become a candidate last December, but Germany blocked its accession. This time, Serbia was made an EU candidate nation with Germany’s blessing, after Serbia made several significant concessions.

Candidate status does not mean that Serbia is an EU member, nor does it guarantee it will become one. Turkey became an official EU candidate in 1999, yet it is still not an EU member. But it does give Serbia some immediate advantages, the most tangible being around €200 million a year from the EU.

But to get this, Serbia had to make some significant concessions, mainly over Kosovo. Kosovo will be allowed representation in several regional groups, and Serbia agreed to work with Kosovo on border control.

Serbian opposition leaders accused President Boris Tadic of treason for making these deals, saying he was surrendering Kosovo, which Serbia still claims.

Dragan Todorovic, leader of the Serbian Radical Party, the second-largest party in Serbia’s parliament, said that Tadic’s concessions amounted to “de facto and de jure recognition of Kosovo.”

Using the carrot of EU membership, Germany has persuaded Serbia to make significant concessions on Kosovo for little in return. It has acquired some money, but is still years away from being in the EU, if it ever makes it. EU membership is seen by many in Eastern Europe as a sure path to prosperity and security. Expect Germany to continue to dangle this carrot in front of Serbia.

Gas Price Hits New Record

Gas Price Hits New Record

Getty Images

Is this a sign of recovery, or the opposite?

Gas prices hit a new record high yesterday. According to aaa’s website, the average cost of a gallon of gas is $3.73. February’s record high gas prices follow the records set in January.

If the rising price was due to the economy drastically improving and Americans using more gasoline, it might be a good sign. However, evidence indicates the opposite is the case.

In January, U.S. drivers used almost 10 percent fewer gallons of gasoline than they did the year prior, according to the Oil Price Information Service. In total, Americans use about 334 million gallons per day—an amount that has plummeted since the 2008 peak of 398 million.

The Los Angeles Times reports that current gasoline usage is plummeting to levels not seen in 12 years. This is all the more astounding when you consider population growth and the fact that 31 million more vehicles are on the road now than in 2000.

But if demand has dropped, why is the price soaring?

There are two reasons. First, U.S. consumers no longer set the price of fuel. Gasoline is traded in the global marketplace, and Americans are competing directly with consumers in Asia and Europe. If other people are willing to pay more, then American refiners can choose to ship the fuel to the highest bidder.

The second reason is more ominous: global credit expansion and dollar devaluation. In an attempt to stave off another economic collapse, central banks around the world, especially the Federal Reserve, are printing and lending money at record rates. All the extra money is designed to increase demand and thus get consumers and businesses spending again.

But the Fed’s plan may be backfiring. All the money printing and debt expansion is driving up prices of all kinds of commodities—including gasoline—but not because the economy is rapidly growing and people are driving more. Instead, the money printing is eroding the confidence in the dollar, and thus its purchasing power is declining.

Expect much more economic volatility in the months and years ahead. Popping debt bubbles and dollar devaluation will play a massive tug-of-war as deflation and inflation ravage the economy and people’s pocketbooks.