Guess What I found on


As one who was using Canada Day for relaxation and surfing the net, I discovered on  an episode of The John Ankerberg Show (circa  early 1980’s) debating scripture with none other than the late Garner Ted Armstrong who was then in charged of his then “baby”—The Church of God, International which was in it’s early stages after he left Worldwide back in 1978. For those who don’t know John Ankerberg, he is a Christian apologist who also specializes in defending the essentials of historic Christian faith against abberant religious groups and cults. John, though firm in his beliefs (and in many cases rightly so), he seems like a nice guy. I have bought John’s small booklet that deals with the triune nature of God some time ago and he makes a wonderful case in proving Christ’s deity. These 13 clips below are great for a Bible study and a help for a person who wants to make their final defection from Armstrongism. I would like to see John Ankerberg do another show interviewing and debating the splinters, preferrable someone from the UCG or even David Hulme of CGIC. The reason I am choosing these two entities because they are probably they are the less strident than the more extreme folks like Flurry, Meredith, Pack, etc. You will have admit the late GTA on the show was really smoooth. Wrong in many areas of his theology but still smooth. Enjoy the clips.



11 thoughts on “Guess What I found on

  1. Felix,

    I saw these the other day and was considering posting them myself!

    They are unique in that GTA is willing to sit down in front of a doubting audience with a biblically literate host and defend his father’s church doctrines firsthand, something his coward father would never do himself.

    By this time, GTA has nothing to lose, getting the airtime on this syndicated show, having severed ties with the WCG several years earlier.

    The program is also unique in the fact GTA is not sitting behind a desk commenting on the news, talking rapid-fire over some slickly edited video clips, then offering a free subscription to the Plain Truth or a couple of free booklets. He is willing to defend his doctrines in person in a television interview format.

    Ankerberg questions the WCG stance on the Godhead while defending the Trinity doctrine. GTA yields absolutely no ground in the program, but doesn’t give out any new surprises, either, in his scriptural rebuttals.

    Ankerberg should do a similar program inviting the heads of the splinters. United crows about getting free Christmas publicity. Which any of the spinoffs have the balls to even show up for such a program?

    Stan Gardner

  2. Thanks, Felix! I’ve been wanting to see this for years. I heard a sermon in which GTA gave his side. My dad said that, on another sermon, GTA said they cut to commercial when GTA was making his points, making it look like Martin won the debate.

  3. Hi Stan,

    Good to hear from you again! Sorry I bet you to it 🙂 but there are ways to get your two cents in. James on his blog has done at least three commentaries in one day about the first few clips! I wish I had that time and energy to do three posts in a blog like that. Definately you got your own thoughts on these clips, I can wait until you go deeper in detail about them.


    You are entirely welcome! I am glad to hear that I made a dream for you to come true. I am also glad you are enjoying the clips (Your prolific posts show it!). I really like the last few clips where GTA defends Divine Perseverence and John Ankerberg defends inclusivism. I tthink John attempts to make a good case for it but I think he still falls short in certain areas. Well, it is far better for John to be an inclusivist than an “cold” Augustinian-Calvinist predestination exclusivist.

  4. Yeah, I’m prolific because I’m not in school right now. 😉

    I thought Ankerberg kind of talked on both sides of his mouth about inclusivism. Sure, he showed a cool video that defended it, and I’d like to read that book on eternity in the heart. But, before, he said that people reject the light of natural revelation.

    I can’t wait to talk to my dad about the videos. We’ll get a real kick out of them. I laughed when Garner Ted said “You’re relying too much on prepositions,” then Ankerberg showed his video, which was kind of like a negative ad: “Garner Ted doesn’t believe in the grammar of Scripture…” (my paraphrase).

  5. P.S. Ted said in his sermon that Walter Martin was on the show. Was he the one asking about Elohayim? Ankerberg seemed to be giving that guy a lot of deference, so I wonder if that was him.

  6. And I thought “GTA” was where Felix lives. :–>

    I watched some of these programs years ago on cable TV — a religious channel, I think. They didn’t really move me in either direction, toward or away from COG’s.

  7. Yes! Although I’ve learned some things that I did not know, primarily from John Ankerberg, the arguments seem to be a stalemate.

    This is interesting. Did it predate the Tkach’s efforts to ingratiate themselves with the evangelicals? If so, it would seem that GTA was somewhat of a trendsetter.

    I’d forgotten how charismatic GTA could be, and how quickly he was able to think on his feet. No wonder WCG grew so much in the GTA years!


  8. This is interesting. Did it predate the Tkach’s efforts to ingratiate themselves with the evangelicals?


    The program was taped in 1983. According to the program at the time, GTA was calling his church “The Church of God International”.

    If GTA would have been remained in line to succeed Armstrong circa 1983, I don’t see GTA doing this kind of an interview program, or at least waiting until after HWA died.

    In 1983, I think Ted, who by this time has been marginalized in the media with fewer stations, does this program because he garners free publicity, gaining favor for himself as an individual, outside his father’s control in the eyes of the public.

    He knows he can charm the skin off of a snake under the toughest of interview conditions, so it’s a win-win situation for him at the end of the day by doing the Ankerberg program.

    Stan Gardner

  9. That’s a good point, Stan. He was in fact trying to do some church building back in 1983, and had considerably limited resources.

    I reread the article covering GTA in Wikipedia, following my viewing of some of the videos. The article clearly states that GTA, via the STP, wanted to move away from some of the more speculative doctrines espoused by his father. I’ve also been told that CGI, though holding on to the central core of “Old Covenant as New Covenant” doctrines, was less cultic, and less intrusive. Some would see that as being Laodecean, of course. But, I believe that if GTA had succeeded his father, WCG would have been moved in a more mainstream direction, possibly without the coercion exercised by the Tkaches.

    Due to his Achillles’ heel, his voracious sexual appetites and insatiable quest to be loved, his credibility was just as totally shot as were those of Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, and Oral Roberts later on in the decade. Still, it is the rare televangelist today who possesses charisma anywhere near the level that GTA exuded, and believe me, I watch just about all of them on The Church Channel. Interesting study there. If he’d been a guitarist, we’d be comparing him to icons such as Eric Clapton or Stevie Ray Vaughan, and they’d be coming up short.


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