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The spiritual adulteration was so shrewdly implanted in the Church that, when he gave the referenced sermon in 1978, Mr. Armstrong had not yet uncovered some significant aspects of the apostasy. He later said it took about four years to uncover all the primary aspects of it. To the end of his life, however, as you will hear in several of his ’84-’85 sermons, he was not sure if he had uncovered all the more subtle practices of the apostasy on the “operating level” of the Church/Work, where he could not personally monitor. Nor was he sure he had completely rooted its subtlest influences, often unrecognized by the individual, out of many ministers and members. In his sermon Mr. Armstrong specifically identified only a few of the liberal apostate doctrines he had by then uncovered; he more fully described the extensive apostate doctrine in other sermons and letters to the Church at that same general time and later.1
Also of vital historical context regarding the sermon, Mr. Armstrong gave it knowing he had no choice but to disfellowship Garner Ted, and some other very popular ministers; in Ted’s case this was performed just after the sermon. Ted’s last communication with him, a few days before the sermon, threatened to utterly ruin Mr. Armstrong in the public and before the membership, through a media blitz capitalizing on Ted’s powerful media recognition and insider contacts. Ted also asserted that, by his years of de facto rulership in Pasadena, his extensive networking throughout the ministry, and how overawed many members were by him, “the die was already cast” that much of the ministry and the great majority of the membership would follow him.
Mr. Armstrong knew such advantages in Ted’s hand, coupled with persuasively fabricated scandal and alluringly “easy” doctrine, gave him good reason to believe he could wreak the devastation he threatened; further, uncompromising condemnation of liberal teaching would certainly offend ministers and members even beyond the many whom Ted might take. Indeed, Mr. Armstrong strongly suspected it was true that a considerable number of ministers and members found Ted and other particularly glib liberal ministers more impressive/persuasive overall than him.
1 Some who listen to the referenced sermon may wonder why Mr. Armstrong, in the midst of condemning the liberal conspiracy, heatedly rebuked certain personal attacks made upon Stan Rader. Many of the liberals loathed Rader for his staunch defense of Mr. Armstrong’s sole ultimate human authority to govern the Church, and because Mr. Armstrong valued Rader’s counsel above the evangelists’ on a number of key matters. Garner Ted and other influential liberals had hoped (and preferred) to systematically, subtly take over the Church from the inside, to gain control of all its highly prized facilities and assets; they knew Rader, as Church attorney, helped Mr. Armstrong uncover and frustrate, just in time, their conspiracy of making major decisions without consulting him. Mr. Armstrong perceived the liberals’ duplicity in bringing charges against Rader. Even after later separating him for other reasons, Mr. Armstrong felt Rader had significantly benefited the Church regarding the liberal conspiracy, the Attorney General’s suit, and other important matters. The liberals committed a far greater crime in Mr. Armstrong’s judgment: conspiring to subvert God’s Truth and government.