Three Letters Re: How Much Food Storage is Biblically Justified?

Knowing your Christian beliefs are similar to mine — Calvinist, reformed — I thought you’d want to know that the article you linked to is from a cult organization. It follows doctrines generally referred to as “Armstrongism” — denying the Trinity and salvation by grace alone, and more false prophecies than can be counted.

Here’s a write up from a cult watch group describing the doctrines:
Armstrongism: The doctrines and religious movement originating with Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986), who founded the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). Armstrong rejected such essential doctrines of evangelical Christianity as the Trinity, the full deity of Jesus Christ , and the personality of the Holy Spirit. Armstrong taught British Israelism and believed that worthy humans could eventually “become God as God is God.” Teaches salvation by works predicated on Sabbatarianism , tithing (20-30%), and keeping the Old Testament feast days and dietary laws. Under the leadership of Armstrong’s successors, Joseph W. Tkach and his son Joe Tkach, the WCG has undergone a radical doctrinal transformation. Scores of splinter groups, such as the Global Church of God and the United Church of God , continue to teach various forms of Armstrongism.

Though the article may have some merit re: survivalism, [linking to] it also could also lead some into this cult and away from Christ. With this in mind, you may wish to remove it from your site. With respect, – Chris B.


He starts by tipping his hat to survivalist foresight, but it degenerates into “Forget all that survivalist stuff, put your faith in God and God alone.”

I’m in agreement with that in part, but God also told us to take care of ourselves and others.

“God actually wants us to recognize and overcome our tendency to trust ourselves. He is measuring the coming destruction of America and other nations because of our sin, our faithlessness, our self-reliance, our ignorance of Him and our belittling of His power. And if you understand the Bible’s prophecies about the severity of that destruction, you realize that no private bunker will be safe for long. No one is going to escape the coming tribulation—descending on the nation because of God’s wrath—through survivalist moxie.

Those who plan to weather the coming storms through their own foresight and ingenuity are underestimating the savageness of the time ahead. More importantly, they are misplacing their faith.”

He wrapped with…

“Above all, God seeks repentance. And to those who turn to Him with supple hearts, He offers individual protection—escape—from the worst of the coming storms (e.g. Luke 21:36). That is the only sure place to invest our faith.”

Okay, I’m in agreement with that too, but only after I’ve done all I can.

I can’t imagine that God would have given me the mind I have and sent me down the paths I’ve gone down to just roll over and go cockroach waiting for the redemption when it comes time.

That would be a really cruel joke. I know bad things happen, I’m pretty sure it’s humans at work. The duality of our souls. I don’t think God is mean for the sake of it. Probably more disappointed than anything. – Jim B

Hi James –
I am sure you are aware of the recent post on the Trumpet web site detailing their particular view on preparedness. I am not a member of their denomination, nor do I agree with their viewpoint that the Bible precludes preparation and storage of food for more than a few weeks. Did not Joseph store seven years’ worth of wheat in preparation for lean times? It seems to this preparedness neophyte that the Lord has provided us with the precious gift of life and loved ones, and that for us to knowingly waste these gifts would be an affront to Him and his gifts. When the final tribulation comes and we are all called before Him, will it matter that I left behind six months of freeze dried food that will go to waste? More important is how I lived His gift, and how I shared the storage with those whom He has placed in my life. Perhaps I am missing something. Thanks for your great service, – Hunkajunk

JWR Replies: Yes, I ‘ve seen that article. The author (Joel Hilliker) misinterprets Matthew 6:19-2 (“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth”), in trying to apply it to food storage. Storing grain for your family’s sustenance in hard times does not constitute a “treasure”. In the modern context, I think that “treasure” is far more applicable to 48-inch plasma HDTVs. But it is certainly not applicable to the large quantities of wheat and rice that I have in my basement. The extra quantity (beyond my own family’s needs) is there for us to distribute in charity–not something to gloat about, or run my fingers through, cackling, just to admire.

In his conclusion, Joel Hilliker also quotes a 1966 article written by Herbert W. Armstrong, as if it were authoritative. Obviously, Armstrong’s writings would only be credible if he had made accurate prophecies. But in fact he had a horrible track record as a prophet, and he was fortunate that the Old Testament laws on false prophets (Deuteronomy 13:1-5) have not been enforced in modern times, or he wouldn’t have lived to write that piece in 1966.

I’ve noticed that people tend to throw around terms like “hoarding” very loosely. Let’s get something straight: Purchasing storage food before a crisis does not constitute hoarding. That is because it doesn’t take food from anyone’s mouth. But if someone tried to amass their supplies after the onset of a crisis, then that would be hoarding. Simple logic dictates that every citizen that is well stocked represents one less individual that will rush to the supermarket to clean out the shelves, when disaster strikes. Hence, instead of being part of the problem, preppers are part of the solution. As I’ve often stated in radio and television interviews, I don’t consider my family’s three years worth of storage food a three year supply for one family. Rather, it is a one year supply for three families. Charity is essential, and Biblically mandated for heads of households.