Casual listeners to the majority of the offshore radio stations of the Nineteen Sixties may have assumed that all of the sponsored religious programs that were being broadcast, all delivered the same sort of message, while begging for money from listeners.
But that is not true at all.
While the majority of these paid programs were affiliated with well-known Protestant Church denominations that may have been rivals with each other, they were mostly variations of church services that might be heard on Sundays. But one of those programs did not fit into that description at all, because it was mostly a polemical monologue delivered for half an hour each day. In some instances it was broadcast by the same offshore radio station more than once a day, and without that paid program in their schedules, many of the offshore stations would not have received enough income to stay on the air.
But that was not the only difference between the other religious broadcasts and that of Herbert and Garner Ted's spoken word program called 'The World Tomorrow'. Because apart from a closing Hollywood instrumental jingle-bed over which a well known Hollywood announcer gave out a mailing address in London, there was no music to be heard, and there was never an appeal for money. There were constant offers of totally free literature that could be obtained with a simple request, and sometimes listeners were told that they could not pay for it, and if they tried, their money would be sent back to them.
However, that was not the only difference between the message delivered by Herbert and Garner Ted, versus 'all the rest'. That difference can be explained with one word that has religious overtones, and it is the word 'gospel'. According the secular dictionary, that word is derived from the Anglo-Saxon term which means "god-spell" or "good story", and it has been further explained as "good news". It is the interpretation of that message in that "good news" that reveals the differences between Armstrong and Billy Graham.
The question is "good news about what"?
The traditional message that preachers such as Billy Graham usually trot out, is a line referring to "good news about the Kingdom of God", and that of course triggers (if you can be bothered to ask), "what is the 'Kingdom of God"? The majority will then get into the airy-fairy blather about "the life of Jesus" and an ethereal explanation relating to "heaven", whatever that is, and of course it requires a further interpretative stream of words that varies from preacher to preacher.
But Armstrong took that same word "gospel", relating to "good news", to mean something entirely different.
Armstrong did not preach about the past life of a person called "Jesus", nor talk about "going to heaven". Armstrong's message was about a coming world government in a "wonderful world tomorrow" when there would plenty of everything necessary for all human beings to live on Planet Earth in peace and harmony with each other, and this utopia would last for a thousand years. Presiding over it all would be a returned Jesus acting as the "King of kings and Lord of lords" - the Messiah once proclaimed in song by Handel the composer.
But there was a catch.
Before the good news could kick-in, a nuclear World War III was in the offing - but not initially involving the communists in Russia and China, but a revived Roman Empire dominated by another German Fuehrer.
The foundation of Armstrong's message was essentially to be found in two different Bible verses. The first one is found in the 'Old Testament' of the Bible, and it contains the "good news" which Armstrong incorporated as the illustration shown on his Ambassador College logo:
The text under the illustration says "The lion shall dwell with the lamb and a little child shall lead them in the world tomorrow." It is a transliteration of Isaiah 11:6 which reads "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them."
The second foundational verse, the horrific one, came from the 'New Testament' in the Book of Matthew, chapter 24, and verse 14: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
So it came down to interpreting the meaning of the word "gospel". Billy Graham, the "Lutheran Hour: Bringing Christ to the Nations" and all of the other offshore radio religious programs mainly heard on Sundays, said that it was about the life and times of Jesus, the Christ. But the Seventh Day Adventists and their "Voice of Prophecy" program were nearer to Armstrong's version because in the early days both they and the church that Armstrong originally joined called 'Church of God', had split-off from a common trunk of ideology and then split again and again. But in the way that Armstrong delivered his message, his methodology was unique.
His warning began on the radio and in print before World War II. That is when he thought that Benito Mussolini, who said that was going to rebuild a version of the Roman Empire, was going to become the world dictator and destroy both the UK and USA. But when Hitler eclipsed Mussolini, Armstrong began to preach that Hitler would be defeated, and that Russia would never attack the USA, and that a United States of Europe would emerge and include many nations that had been a part of the USSR, and which would then collapse. If Britain joined this new United Europe, it would leave before World War III began, because the United Europe would accomplish militarily what Hitler's Third Reich failed to do in defeating both the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
All of this began to shape up during the Cold War years. Billy Graham came to London and hired an advertising agency run by two brothers. One of them worked on the Graham account, and the other one worked on the Armstrong account.
By 1956 when the Suez Crisis shook the USA and UK diplomatic relationship, a young Jocelyn Stevens became disgusted with Prime Minister Anthony Eden for giving in to threats in the United Nations by both the USA and USSR. That is when Armstrong published a frightening booklet called '1975 in Prophecy'.
This booklet was illustrated by sci-fi writer Basil Wolverton who was both a founding trustee within Armstrong's organization, and an artist who regularly worked for 'Mad' magazine and his work also appeared on the cover of 'Life' magazine. This booklet predicted that famine and drought would come about due to what is now called 'Climate Change' or 'Global Warming'.
Armstrong promoted scientific works fighting pollution and the mass-marketing of foods that are deprived of vitamins. In other words, long before all of the clamour going on today about pandemics; climatic disasters and over population, and before the UK even got into Europe, Armstrong was warning the world about all of this back in 1956, and before that, beginning in the year 1934 on the radio and then in print.
Meanwhile, not only did Armstrong come to the UK and establish a college (situated between St Albans and Watford in England), but he did so at the same moment that Charles Orr Stanley and a lot of his associates began working towards creating the alternative broadcasting system that Armstrong required to deliver his message of warning to the British Isles.
This is what the Armstrong radio log looked like for December 1966:
Tomorrow: How Billy Graham and Herbert W. Armstrong interpreted the same chapter and verse of the Bible in two different ways, with Armstrong viewing it as part of his Divine mission to create offshore radio stations that could cover all of the British Isles.