Hold Fast to "All things" (Herbert W Armstrong)

WORLDWIDE NEWS Special Edition 1985

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WORLDWIDE NEWS Special Edition 1985
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Mr. Armstrong addresses the ministry!
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Below is posted a special edition of the WWN dated June 24th, 1985.  The entire edition is an article from Mr. Armstrong.  It is VERY IMPORTANT for us to read this today. If we would read and meditate on this article, we would be able to SEE what  has happened to God's Church and WHY!.  There is much CORRECTION for all of God's people in this article, if we would only HEED it! The VERY THINGS Mr. Armstrong warned us about below have indeed come to pass. History HAS indeed repeated itself! 

WORLDWIDE NEWS, SPECIAL EDITION

June 24, 1985

 

 

             Recent History of the Philadelphia Era

                 of the Worldwide Church of God

 

                     By Herbert W. Armstrong

 

     All members need to be updated on the history of the

Philadelphia era of God's one original Church as founded in A.D. 31

by Jesus Christ -- especially the past 15 years of its life.

     Jesus Christ said that in the world His Church would have

tribulations and persecutions. He did not foretell clear sailing.

NO PEACEFUL EXISTENCE IN A HOSTILE WORLD. "If they have persecuted

me, they will also persecute you," He said. Again in God's Word we

are warned, "It is through much tribulation that we must enter into

the Kingdom of God."

     "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which

leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:14).

The apostle Paul warned the elders of the church at Ephesus that

grievous wolves would enter in among them to destroy the flock, and

also of their own selves some would seek to draw away disciples

after themselves (Acts 20:29-30).

     Why is this so? Why has God's Church in this Philadelphia era

gone through a period of friction, controversy within the Church

and split-offs, with certain ministers leaving the Church to take

followers after themselves during the 1970s? It was even so during

the preceding Sardis era. And why has the Church withstood this

controversy and even a certain amount of division in our midst and

emerged into unity, harmony, oneness and thriving progress of the

present?

     Why did the Los Angeles Times recently publish a story with a

full six-column headline clear across the page, saying Worldwide

Church of God "Thriving on Controversy"?

     These are actual events affecting our own very lives during

the past 15 years. To understand, we must refresh our minds briefly

on how it all first started, 6,000 years ago, at the very

foundation of the world and of the human family on earth with the

creation of the first man Adam.

     God was beginning His greatest all-time accomplishment -- to

reproduce Himself. God had first created angels. The great

archangel Lucifer had been placed on the throne of the earth when

God created the earth and the vast universe. Lucifer had rebelled

against God's government and led a third of all angels into

rebellion. He became Satan the devil, and his angels became

perverted demons. Then God created the first human, Adam, mortal,

out of the dust of the earth, with only a physicochemical temporary

existence, but offering Adam eternal God-life and opportunity to

replace Satan on earth's throne. Adam also rebelled against God and

His government, rejecting the tree of life, and choosing to take to

himself the knowledge of good and evil, relying on himself instead

of God for knowledge and the way of life.

     Thereupon God closed off the tree of life (the Holy Spirit),

except for those specially called, until Christ the second Adam yet

in the future should replace Satan on the throne, as the first Adam

should have done.

     Traditional Christianity, theologians and Bible scholars seem

never to have noticed that the tree of life -- which was the Holy

Spirit imparting God-life -- was closed to the world and still today

remains closed. God had said, "Let Us make man in Our image, after

Our likeness" (Genesis 1:26). "Image" refers to spiritual

character; likeness refers to form and shape. God creates in dual

stages. To make man in God's image means spiritual image -- a

spiritual being with God's perfect divine character.

     But the first stage of this creation was the physical human

man, mortal, having temporary physical existence. Yet in that man,

God created the human spirit to empower the physical brain with

intellect. This spirit gave mortal man not only physical and

material intelligence and mind power, but also the capacity for

good or evil, but on the human level -- the carnal or selfish level.

Through the symbolic tree of life God made accessible to Adam God's

Holy Spirit to beget in him God-life of immortality and also the

God-mind for acquiring God's spiritual knowledge and spiritual

character. When God closed the tree of life He closed off from

mankind this contact with God the Father, immortality, the God-mind

and what the world calls "salvation."

     But the second personage of the God family, the Word, gave up

His divinity and was born as a human of the virgin Mary. He was God

in the human flesh, both God and man, but functioning as a human

man in His ministry on earth. He came to qualify, as the first Adam

had failed to do, to replace Satan on the throne of the earth. He

came also to call out of the world God's Church, also to qualify to

sit with Him on this throne, and to qualify to teach and rule with

Him as divine beings -- the very first fruits of God's harvest in

reproducing Himself. He came also to ransom the world of humans

from Satan, who had kidnapped all humanity. He paid this ransom

price by His life's blood on the cross.

     Jesus said He would build His Church. The word church, in the

Greek language of the New Testament, is "ekklesia", which means

"called-out ones." As Jesus had to qualify for the throne by

overcoming Satan, so did His Church that is to sit with Him on that

throne and be given power over the nations to rule, teach and

convert into the family of God.

     The original Adam could have been begotten as a son of

God -- converted -- had he taken of the tree of life. This begettal

would have come through the Holy Spirit. When God closed off the

tree of life, He closed off reconciliation to God the Father -- that

is, conversion or begettal of divine God-life. The world as a whole

is still cut off to this day from that begettal, commonly spoken of

by Protestants as "being saved." No such salvation is even yet

available to the world. The world of traditional Christianity is

blinded to this fact.

     But the Church was called out of the world, to be separate in

living by God's law instead of Satan's way of self-centeredness,

competition and strife, following the first Adam. That is why Jesus

said the Church would be persecuted, even as He had been. Those

called into the Church would live by God's way of love, not the

world's way of selfishness, contention and strife. This required

the presence and flowing into them of the Holy Spirit of God,

giving them a different purpose in life and a different mind and

attitude than formerly in the world.

     Why did Christ call the Church out of the world to be separate

from the world? They were called as students. The Bible calls them

disciples. The word disciple means student or learner. The Church

was like at school, and Jesus was the original teacher. He called

out of the world His 12 disciples, or students, for the very

purpose of educating them to become teachers, and also rulers with

and under Christ, when Jesus comes in power and glory to sit on

Satan's throne over all the earth and to rule as well as to convert

all nations.

     To those in the Church who are growing in grace and spiritual

knowledge, Jesus says He will give power over the nations to rule

them -- they shall sit with Him on His earthly throne, and they shall

be made priests or teachers and kings and rule with Christ on the

earth (Revelation 2:26-27, 3:21 and 5:10).

     The Church is actually a school teaching students to become

teachers and rulers in God's Kingdom.

     But these students -- or Church members -- must first themselves

be converted, begotten as children of God, having received the Holy

Spirit (tree of life) that Adam rejected. Why? Because the

natural-born carnal mind cannot understand the spiritual knowledge

and truths of God (I Corinthians 2:9-14). Therefore God has made

special provision, predestining those He calls out of the world to

be called now, in the Church age, BEFORE God opens the tree of life

and salvation to the world as a whole. That is why the Church is

called the "first fruits" of God's harvest for His Kingdom.

     Let it be emphasized again. As Christ the second Adam came to

qualify to replace Satan on earth's throne, God chose and called

certain ones out of the world also to qualify to sit with Christ on

that throne. This is not the time God is trying to "save the

world." God's judgment day for the world has not yet come. But to

those specially called for the very purpose of sitting on that

throne with Christ, it was necessary that they receive the Holy

Spirit before they could learn God's truth, which the first Adam

had rejected. That is why the Church is only the "first fruits" of

those ultimately to receive salvation.

     We receive the Holy Spirit ONLY after complete repentance of

the way we were living. We must come out of this world to live a

life separate from the life and ways of the world, with our minds

on things of God, not things of this world.

     That is why we are opposed and persecuted by the world. That

is why they persecuted Jesus Christ. That is why some who become

somewhat interested, are baptized and start in the Church, drift

back into the world and leave the Church. Many professed to repent

and be baptized who had not repented, but were accepted by Church

members as brethren. These false brethren did and always have

entered into the Church professing to be members.

     Jesus preached a definite Gospel. That and that alone is the

Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a Gospel message about the Kingdom

of God -- the begotten and finally to be born family of God -- a family

of divine persons, begotten and finally to be born of God.

     Jesus came. He called and taught His disciples. One of the

original 12 turned against Him, Judas Iscariot. Jesus taught His

students. Then He died for the sins of the world and commissioned

those He had taught to go into all the world and teach in all

nations the same message He had taught them.

     They were to baptize those who repented and believed. But

Jesus Himself said plainly, "No man can come to me, except the

Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44). Through

predestination God chooses and calls those He nominates to qualify

to sit with Christ on the earth's throne when Satan is removed. At

that time, beginning with the Second Coming of Christ, God will

open the tree of life to everyone then living. For the previously

uncalled, judgment will be on them by a resurrection from the dead

after the thousand years' reign with Christ. Judgment will then

have come to all who ever lived. But at the present time judgment

is on the Church only (I Peter 4:17).

     After Jesus' death and resurrection He ascended to heaven to

sit with God on God's throne, where He is today. Ten days after His

ascension days after His death -- the Holy Spirit descended and

filled His disciples. That day of "first fruits" the Church was

born.

     It thrived and grew amazingly, but soon opposition and

persecution set in. By A.D. 51, much of the Church in Galatia had

turned to another gospel (Galatians 1:6-7). A violent controversy

arose over whether the Gospel to be preached was the Gospel of

Christ or a gospel ABOUT Christ. The latter won out. There ensued

a "lost century" in the history of the Church, from about A.D. 70

to 170. The original true Church survived, but gradually lost much

of Jesus' teaching and biblical truth. By the early part of the

20th century much of God's purpose and truth had been lost -- but the

struggling true Church still had the name Church of God, the Ten

Commandments including the Sabbath, and also tithing.

     I came among the brethren of the Sardis era upon conversion

from 1927. I never did become a member of that era of the Church.

In 1930 a division occurred among the Oregon brethren, resulting in

the formation of the Oregon Conference of the Church of God. The

Sardis era of the Church had become, virtually spiritually dead.

That was the beginning of a gradual transition to the Philadelphia

era. I was ordained in June of precisely a century of time cycles

after the original apostles were ordained -- in this transition era

by the Oregon Conference of the Church of God. I continued to work

with and fellowship with West Coast members of the Sardis era until

1942, when the rapidly growing work of the fledgling Philadelphia

era required my full time. The present era was officially begun in

October, 1933. For the next 35 years it grew steadily at the

average rate of approximately 30 percent per year.

     Ambassador College was founded Oct. 8, 1947, amid a

life-and-death financial struggle for existence.

     Ever since 1930 in the Sardis church there had been opposition

and political infighting among some ministers.

     In 1927 God opened my eyes to the continuing command to

observe the annual Sabbaths, as well as the weekly Sabbath. None of

the Sardis era brethren in the United States would accept this

truth of the annual Sabbaths, except for two or three families. As

God continued to restore lost truths to His Church through me, the

Sardis era brethren rejected all restored truths.

     After two years of Ambassador College teaching in preparing

new young ministers, the Church started its rapid growth and soon

new local churches were being raised up in ever-increasing number

as ministers were trained to pastor them.

     The radio broadcasts, started January, 1934, continued to

bring an ever-increasing number of candidates for baptism and

conversion. The end time had come. God was preparing a Church, well

organized on His own pattern, to be prepared as kings and priests

to reign with Christ at His coming. Beside the growth of the Plain

Truth magazine, I was continuing to write many booklets on various

important doctrines and truths. Television did not go on the air

until after World War II ended in 1945. We did not go on TV until

July of 1955, but discontinued it after six months. Radio

broadcasting had increased greatly, and in the latter 1950s the

World Tomorrow program was using more wattage of radio power than

any program on earth. The Church was broadcasting daily, seven

nights a week.

     In 1960 the second Ambassador campus was started at Bricket

Wood, 19 miles northwest of London, in England. My elder son,

Richard David Armstrong, had become the most-loved minister in the

Church, but he died as the result of a head-on automobile crash

while on a baptizing trip in late July, 1958, while in his 30th

year.

     In 1964, the third college campus was opened at Big Sandy,

Tex.

     The Work of the Church was fast developing worldwide. In 1967,

April 15, my beloved wife, Loma, died after a happy marriage of 50

years. It was her challenge about the Sabbath in late 1926 that had

led to my conversion, and she had been an important half of my

ministry.

     The growth of the Church was continuing until about 1972.

     In 1968 word came to me through our German Office that King

Leopold III of Belgium had said that he would like to meet me. I

visited him at his chateau in Belgium, and a long friendship

developed affectionately until his death in late September, 1983.

     This led to meetings with many heads of governments of many

nations until my heart failure in August, 1977. During those years

the Ambassador Foundation was developing with projects in different

nations in many parts of the world. I had been traveling overseas

about 300 out of the 365 days a year.

     Up through the 1960's, with new lost truths being continually

restored to this era of God's Church, there had been little

contention or opposition within the Church. But the wily Satan was

not to allow this growth in harmony and peace and unity to continue

without opposition. We were to learn the truth of Jesus' parable of

the sower and the seed (Luke 8).

     The seed sown was the Word of God -- the Bible. The Word was

being proclaimed over the United States, Canada, Britain, Europe

and some other parts of the world. It fell on four types or

classifications of people. The first and largest number were those

by the wayside. They heard, but "then cometh the devil, and taketh

away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be

saved." These were the millions who hear, but the truth of God's

Word never sank in. There was no response from this largest number,

though they did hear, at least in part.

     The second group were those on the rocks, who, when they

heard, were interested and received the message with joy. Many of

these were baptized. But they had no root, and temporarily

believed, but because they lacked depth of purpose or capacity to

grow spiritually, soon dropped out.

     The third group were among thorns. When they heard they were

baptized. But the cares and interests of the world choked them.

They still wanted to be like the world. They were liberals. They

brought forth "no fruit to perfection."

     The fourth group, smallest of all, were those on "good

ground," which kept the word and came out of the world, growing

spiritually in character and biblical knowledge. They brought forth

"fruit with patience," in various degrees (see also Matthew 13:23).

     So it has been, especially since about 1969 in God's Church.

     The world looks on such events occurring in any church as

evidence of corruption or wrongdoing or something wrong and

reprehensible in the church. Worldly clubs, societies or churches

do not generally seem to have such troubles or controversies. Satan

does not bother them. They are already on his side, but Satan seeks

to destroy God's one and only true Church.

     Now how did these controversies, troubles or divisions occur?

It's time our members knew the truth.

     Late in 1971 many of our members became confused over

propaganda reaching our people over a "sacred names" teaching. This

purported that whenever the names of God or of Jesus are mentioned,

they must not be spoken by their names in the English language, but

in the Hebrew language.

     In other words, we could read and discuss the Bible as

translated into the English language in all terms except the names

of God or of Jesus Christ. Then we must speak Hebrew.

     God's name, they had come to believe, could not be spoken

except in the Hebrew language. They overlooked the fact that all

original copies of the New Testament were inspired by the same God

through Jesus Christ, the Word of God, and inspired by the Holy

Spirit in the Greek language. In numerous instances the inspired

New Testament, inspired in the Greek language, quoted Old Testament

passages containing the names of God. And in every case God through

the Holy Spirit used the Greek names for God and the One who became

Jesus, and NOT THE HEBREW LANGUAGE.

     Certain ones were leaving the Church to join this false

movement, being misled into believing God's Church to be in error.

     At that time, it was suggested that a special Doctrinal Team

be appointed to research the question more technically to verify

the real truth. We wanted the teaching and doctrines of the Church

to be verified beyond any room for doubts. I appointed A Doctrinal

Research Committee to pursue an in-depth research of the subject.

     A small few Ambassador graduates who had become ministers in

the Church were somewhat scholarly inclined, especially one who had

a specific problem. He suffered from an inferiority complex.

Because some of our graduates at the time were enrolling in outside

universities for higher degrees, a few came to conceive that a

"scholar" was in the loftiest position of humanity.

     If this inferiority sufferer could feel in his own mind that

he was a scholar he would feel elevated above other people and

therefore delivered from feelings of inferiority. He began to

question some of the established doctrines of the Church of God,

such as counting the day of Pentecost, divorce and remarriage,

tithing and others.

     Soon he was entering into what he considered a scholarly

research to DISprove some of the Church's basic teachings.

Gradually one or two others, then even more, joined in a

self-appointed "scholarly research" to DISprove plain biblical

truths.

     It became evident that those attending other universities came

to consider Ambassador College as inferior and substandard

intellectually and academically because of our belief in God.

Secularism and the anti-God approach of evolution seemed to them

far superior to the revealed knowledge of God.

     The first committee I had assigned to research the "sacred

names" error did reaffirm the truth on that question beyond doubt.

But soon a few would-be scholars had established themselves into a

"Doctrinal Team." What started as an honest effort to find and

establish real TRUTH in due time turned into a group or "would-be

scholars" not appointed by me, seeking to destroy the true

doctrines of the Church.

     This brought controversy into the Church. These self-professed

"scholars," influenced by teaching in universities in which they

were enrolling for higher degrees, were becoming more and more

liberal. They wanted to skirt as close as possible to the precipice

of secularism, falling off the cliff into Satan's world.

     These were the years when my commission required that I be

absent from Pasadena, and traveling overseas to almost all parts of

the world as many as 300 of the 365 days of the year. This liberal

group, small at first, came to be in executive positions at

Pasadena, surrounding and influencing the one responsible for

day-to-day administration at headquarters during my absence. Much

of what they did was carefully kept from me.

     Those of higher rank, but subject to the one in day-to-day

executive administration at Pasadena, who were steadfastly loyal to

the Church and its true teachings, were suppressed or gradually

removed from Pasadena and sent "into the field," pastoring single

churches in other locations. So much of what was going on in

Pasadena was kept from me that I did not realize the direction the

Church was actually traveling into controversy, liberalism and

either Protestantism or total secularism.

     It was then that the matter of obtaining accreditation from

the organized accreditation societies of secular education became

a problem. The liberals at Pasadena wanted accreditation. They did

not want to be accredited as a Bible college, but as a full

competing college or university. As such the college would fall

under the rules of the secular accrediting society, which would

more or less determine policy and curricula.

     Finally this effort on the part of the liberals increased the

enrollment of the college from the approximate 500 limit that I had

set to about 1,400 and going up. It was no longer God's college. I

had realized the danger of a student body in excess of 500

students, in residence on campus, and had set that as a definite

college policy. But during those years when I was absent from

Pasadena headquarters most of the time, changes were being

gradually made in college policies as well as Church doctrines.

     Jesus Christ had founded this college through me as God's

college. I had realized the state into which higher education had

drifted into materialism. Moral and spiritual values were being

overlooked almost entirely in colleges and universities. I had

realized the tremendous responsibility to avoid neglecting this

missing dimension in education at the time of founding Ambassador

College.

     From its founding I had made the slogan of the college,

"Recapture True Values." The college started with the highest moral

and spiritual values. It was God's college. A high moral and

spiritual conduct had been vigorously taught and maintained. There

was much teaching against "necking," and any sort of lovemaking

among students. "Going steady" toward marriage was forbidden until

the end of the first semester of the senior year. Smoking and the

use of drugs were positively prohibited.

     But as the liberal element gained control of the campus

administration during those years of my long absences from

Pasadena, the high standard of student conduct was more and more

liberalized through lack of discipline or enforcement. The college

was coming to be more like other college campuses.

     At this juncture let me jump ahead of the sequence of events

a bit to say that, after sufficient recovery from my heart failure

in August of 1977, I found it necessary in 1978 to close the

college at Pasadena completely (the colleges in Bricket Wood,

England, and at Big Sandy had then already been closed) and to

start Ambassador College in Pasadena all over again with one

freshman class only, except for a few in proper attitude and

character who were retained to allow them to complete their studies

until graduation. Also on Aug. 21, 1981, the campus in Big Sandy

was reopened.

     But now back to the sequence of events.

     I quote now from a memorandum by Leroy Neff, the current

treasurer, who was on the first Doctrinal Research Committee and

wrote concerning others on the committee. I am quoting this to give

an example of the direction some of the liberals on the doctrinal

committee were taking.

     1. Any marriage where the people are unconverted, or did not

fully know what they were getting into, was not a valid marriage.

     2. Polygamy was tacitly approved by God in Old Testament

times, so multiple marriages or divorces in modern times might just

be a form of polygamy by having wives sequentially rather than

concurrently.

     3. God divorced ancient Israel and then both parties were free

to remarry.

     4. The ministry should be able to loose marriages that God had

joined.

     These liberals wanted complete freedom in the Church for

divorce and remarriage at will. Other questions raised by the

liberals were complete freedom for any type marriage, some more and

some less freedom from tithing, doing away with or modifying Church

teachings on healing by direct prayer as in James 5:14, complete

freedom for women in facial makeup, and even the approval of

celebrating birthdays (never approved in the Bible) and even of

voting in elections as part of the world.

     On the Pasadena campus more and more friction developed

between the liberals and those loyal ministers and members who held

to the biblical truths God had placed in His Church. It was a sort

of cold war of nerves.

     It had become custom to hold an annual ministerial conference

of ministers at Pasadena headquarters. In the 1974 to 1977

conferences, these meetings had been marred by controversies over

doctrinal issues.

     Just before the January, 1978, conference I was determined to

prevent doctrinal controversy. I was also due to leave on another

'round-the-world trip. I had decided to postpone the trip until

after the conference in order to keep controversy out of the

conference. But the one to be left in charge in my absence urged me

to remain for the opening morning session, so that I could open the

conference, and keep my departure at 12 noon, and he gave me his

word no doctrines would be discussed in the conference, only

administrative matters.

     I agreed to this. I opened the conference, left immediately

for the airport and had lunch on the plane. I was going first to

Japan, then across the north pole to Europe, and into western

Africa before returning to Pasadena.

     I had not gotten very far out over the Pacific Ocean that

afternoon, until in the afternoon session of the conference a

voluminous printed work called "Systematic Theology Project," or

"STP" for short, was distributed to the ministry with specific

instructions that this was a definite outline of basic Church

doctrines, and no minister was to preach anything contrary to this

treatise.

     I knew absolutely nothing of this STP, or that it had been in

preparation. It had been carefully concealed from me. It was a

flagrant violation of the promise made to induce me to leave so

this doctrinal change in Church teaching could be given to all

ministers without my knowledge. I knew nothing of this STP in spite

of claims made by others, until a copy was brought to me by some

loyal ministers in late April or early May of 1978 when I then

notified every minister in the world to return his copy immediately

and ignore all its liberal doctrines and teachings.

     It has come to my attention that some of the liberals, no

longer members of God's Church, have claimed that I did know of

this infamous STP project. That is positively NOT TRUE. A few

papers on one or two subjects, which were not liberal, had been

brought to me in Tucson, Ariz., but no clear mention was made of

the preparations under way for producing this STP project. None of

the liberalized teachings in the STP were shown to me or approved

by me at any time.

     Some of these liberal ministers who worked on and produced the

STP and the one who was in charge of executive administration in my

absence were disfellowshipped and others left the Church.

     At the time of the Feast of Tabernacles that fall, 1978, at a

Festival held by one of these split-off liberals and a few who

followed, in their own Feast of Tabernacles, a conspiracy was

hatched to attack and destroy the Church by the legal process of a

class action lawsuit. Some six or seven liberals, former members.

signed the suit against the Church. This resulted in an ex parte

order by a judge. Secretly without prior notice, deputies on order

of the Attorney General's office swooped down on the Church on the

morning or Jan. 3, 1979. The ex parte order had been signed by a

judge late the day before.

     A very severe struggle for the existence and life of the

Church ensued. Some months later the State dropped the case, and

still later an appellate choral judge issued a declaration from the

bench that the lawsuit was groundless and should never have been

filed. Even to this day some newspaper comments mention the false

charges accusing me of misuse of millions of dollars of Church

funds, but they never mention our vindication of these false

charges.

     However, this class action State of California lawsuit brought

on by dissident members and former members did, virtually, result

in a housecleaning of the liberals, malcontents and troublemakers,

who were causing division in the Church of the living God. And the

Church has enjoyed a most healthy development and growth in these

past five years since.

     Now a recap of what has happened to the Church and its work.

     God had blessed His Church with an unprecedented approximate

increase of 30 percent per year for 35 years. As these liberals

began gaining more and more control God removed His blessing. I

have often said that God blesses us as we please Him. During these

liberal years in the 1970s, the income virtually stagnated. In 1974

the Church experienced a 1.6 percent decrease in income under 1973,

the first negative growth in the Church's history. It fell another

4.8 percent the following year.

     Since God brought me back from total heart failure, and

directed me in removing these liberals, and putting the Church back

on track, He has restored His blessings. Income for the Church this

year will run two times the dollar volume of 1978. Income growth is

allowing the Church to get the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to the

world as a witness as never before. The physical blessings are

matched by new spiritual growth and new truth added to His Church.

     For 35 years the Church grew at the average rate of nearly 30

percent per year -- a phenomenal and so far as I know unprecedented

growth for almost any kind of organization. When I gradually

started handing over the broadcasting of the World Tomorrow

program, it was primarily radio and had grown to be by far the

largest program, especially classified as religious, in the world,

using more wattage of radio power than any other program.

     But by 1978, it had become virtually the smallest. Meanwhile,

the work had again started on TV in 1967. I had first gone on TV in

June, 1955, but discontinued TV after six months. We restarted in

1967 with one or two stations, but my voice was not then heard on

television. It gradually increased to about 90 stations in 1975.

     During most of these years the telecasting was ineffective in

getting out the real Gospel.

     By 1978 we went down to about 5O stations weekly. At that

period following my heart failure while in Tucson, I once again

took over TV broadcasting. We held steady while I was stuck in

Tucson until 1981, when I came back to headquarters at Pasadena.

From that time the TV program has produced steady growth, until

today we are the second in the world in the religious category,

with over 300 TV stations worldwide. Hopefully we shall soon be the

largest.

     Since the beginning of 1985, we have averaged around 13,000

telephone responses per program. Four times this year so far we

have received over 17,000 telephone responses and once over 18,000.

     Now look at the facts of the Plain Truth circulation. From its

peak worldwide circulation in 1973, during the liberal years the

number of subscriptions went from 3.1 million down to just over one

million in January, 1977. In 1974, funding for preaching of the

Gospel in international areas was cut off because of financial

crises in Pasadena. In Europe at the time, it meant the untimely

end of a newsstand program that had taken two years to build across

the Continent.

     Personnel from Pasadena were sent to the U.K. to cut off these

funds and make reductions as part of an overall policy of making

all international areas self supporting. The result was a decline

in Plain Truth circulations around the world.

     During that period in 1975, the fine quality of The Plain

Truth was reduced down to a tabloid, printed on cheap newsprint

paper.

     In 1976, I restored The Plain Truth to the high quality

magazine standard.

     It is now clearly evident that God brought me back for a vital

purpose, by CPR, from death by heart failure. Had I remained dead

the Church of the living God would have been virtually destroyed by

the liberal element that had crept in, especially in headquarters

administration during my absence from Pasadena. During those

liberal years, much of what was going on in policy changing and

doctrinal liberalization had been carefully kept from me.

     The Church of God was being systematically liberalized, the

broadcasting had gone from top to bottom in the world, and from

spiritual effectiveness to almost total ineffectiveness. God says

we are to judge by the fruits. During those liberal years, the

Church was bearing virtually no fruit. The Plain Truth and

publishing work also had become almost totally ineffective.

Ambassador College had been destroyed as God's college. In 1978,

after my "resurrection" from total heart failure, I had to

completely close Ambassador College at Pasadena, starting all over

again, as in 1947, with one freshman class. The colleges in England

and in Texas had already been closed.

     It is very evident to those led by the Holy Spirit of God that

there was a very significant reason why God brought me back to life

at age 85 in 1977 to once again take over the reins and remove this

liberal element -- to once again recapture the true values and to

prepare this Philadelphia era of God's Church for the coming of

Christ and the reign of the Kingdom of God.

     Today the bona fide Plain Truth circulation is over 7.5

million.

     The Youth magazine has gained an already large circulation

nearing 200,000. The Good News magazine circulation is projected to

reach close to one million subscribers monthly by the end of this

year. The Bible Correspondence Course has been rejuvenated with a

present enrollment of approximately 130,000 students worldwide.

     God has revealed much vitally important new biblical truth.

The Church has taken on a new spiritual vitality. Ambassador

College is once again God's college and students are serving in a

number of important projects in other nations around the world.

Many of the important new biblical truths will be covered in the

new book Mystery of the Ages.

     Those liberals who went out or were put out of the Church

through 1979 have no idea of the difference in the Church today. It

is as different as white is from black or up is from down. In those

years, headquarters was filled with contention, political striving

for status and power. The atmosphere was rife with doctrinal

disputations and contentions. There's an old saying, "When the

cat's away, the mice begin to play."

     While I was away from headquarters, there were strivings and

contentions over policy, doctrines, not only on the headquarters

campus but in many local churches. A liberal minority of members

was causing contention. The membership dipped slightly since a

certain number followed these liberals who left. God was weeding

out these members and liberal ministers who were causing division

in the Church. The contenders, the disgruntled, the liberals did

not want God's government in the Church.

     Speaking primarily of religious leaders, Jesus said: "Ye shall

know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs

of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but

a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit" (Matthew 7:16-17).

     The "fruits" of the rebel leaders and "liberals" of the 1970s

should now be clear to all. After some 35 years of steady growth in

all facets of the Work of God's Church, the rate of growth began to

slow, then ceased entirely in some areas, and, finally, even

decreases began to be experienced in the number of radio and

television stations, Plain Truth circulation, number of prospective

members, number of co-workers, amount of income for the Work,

etc. -- all under the "leadership" of the liberal element. These are

well-documented facts that cannot be denied.

     I want you, brethren, to think about and understand what

happened to God's Church in the 1970s "lest history repeat itself!"

I want you to see the "fruits" of rebelling against God's way and

God's government.

     After all, the basic issue all along was that of God's

government in the Church. One who followed one liberal who, as the

apostle Paul had predicted, sought to draw away followers after

himself (Acts 20:30) said, "We are liberated from that church

government and now have a loosely knit organization, and that's the

way we like it."

     Those liberals, who are no longer in God's Church, actually

seem to be more interested in news of the Church -- especially false

accusations, criticisms and persecutions of enemies -- than are the

loyal members of the Church. It would seem the chief interest in

their lives is to hear false reports, accusations and innuendos

against the church.

     Daniel prophesied of our time: "Many shall be purified, and

made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none

of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand"

(Daniel 12:10). Truly this has been a time of trying and testing.

We are the first fruits called to be students that we may become

kings and priests and rule with Christ (Revelation 5:10). We in the

Church are students, and we are in the time of final exams.

     Little groups, splintering off, centered in Washington, D.C.;

Eugene, Ore.; Tyler, Tex.; Monterey, Calif.; and other places with

groups too small to mention. They are not bearing fruit for the

Kingdom. They are not pleasing God or being blessed by Him. Jesus

said, "By their fruits you shall know them." They usually claim to

be "branches" of the Church of God. But Jesus said, "I will build

my church" (Matthew 16:18). He did not say denominations, sects,

cults, branches or a church divided against itself. Rather He said

a house divided against itself cannot stand. There is one true

Church and one only. The apostle Paul pictured humanly

self-appointed "branches" when he said to the elders of the local

church at Ephesus that some of their own selves would depart to

draw a following after themselves.

     Paul said, "But now are they many members, yet but one body"

(I Corinthians 12:20). How was that one body organized? Did it have

one government? "And God hath set some in the church, first

apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that

miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities

of tongues" (verse 28). Verse 25 shows there should be no divisions

in the body -- no branches or branch organizations.

     The Church is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and

prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in

Whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy

Temple in the Lord" (Ephesians 2:20-21). Note, the Church is

organized and fitly framed together, not organized with competing

and differing branches.

     Notice Ephesians 4, there is only one organized church "fitly

joined together and compacted" (verse 16) -- compacted as if welded

together into one well organized body. And how did He organize this

body? How was it governed? "And he gave some, apostles; and some,

prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for

the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity

of the faith ... (Ephesians 4:11-13). It is not DISunity or some

other type of organization and government. Paul also said "that ye

all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you;

but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in

the same judgment" (I Corinthians 1:10).

     A primary reason for the contentions and slowing down in the

growth of the Church during the liberal years is the fact that, in

our desire to hold rebellious and liberal ministers and members

within our fellowship, we did not rigidly obey the command of

Romans 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause

divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have

learned; and avoid them." Also in I Corinthians 5:11: "But now I

have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is

called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or

a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not

to eat."

     To make clear one of the reasons -- if not the primary

reason -- for the conflict caused by the liberal element, I quote

from a Western newspaper. In an interview with a former minister,

who had sought to draw away a following of members after himself,

it was stated concerning this split-of-church that they have "a

completely different administrative structure."

     The story continued to explain that they totally differ with

the governmental structure of God's Church. He was quoted as saying

"he also does not believe in expelling people from the church if

they do not live up to its teachings." It also stated they believe

"the church is where people belong to help them overcome their

problems." In other words the liberal idea is to disobey God's

instruction to disfellowship and avoid those who are contentious

and cause division and accept members who believe and live contrary

to the teachings of Christ and the Bible.

     Most of the dissension of the past in the Church had been over

the matter of government. The dissenters believe in a very liberal

government -- the way of Satan and his world. The whole purpose of

the Gospel is to call those chosen by God out of this world and its

ways into the ways of God. God's government is based on God's law.

All government, even in the world's nations, is based on a

foundation of law. A law is simply the rules of human conduct and

behavior. The righteousness of God merely means righteous conduct

and behavior based on the great spiritual law of God.

     Christ said, "Every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not

planted, shall be rooted up" (Matthew 15:13). And the apostle John

also stated, "They went out from us, but they were not of us ..." (I

John 2:19).

     We who remain in the one and only true Church grieve over the

loss of those who are so far failing in their final exams.

     But sadly we remember that part of the responsibility is ours

in not strictly heeding the admonition in Romans 16:17 to note

those that cause division and avoid them. We love them all and pray

for them. Some of them who have gone out from us were parents,

children, brothers, sisters or close relatives to those who remain

steadfast.

     Meanwhile we pray also that God will keep those of us who

remain loyal, constantly steadfast, growing in grace and spiritual

character and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

overcoming self, the world and Satan and enduring to the end. Pray

that you, the loyal members of God's Church, remain dedicated to

the Kingdom of God -- which is the government of God.

     Now one final reminder to the Church and all loyal ministers.

If any who have gone out from this wonderful fellowship that we

have in God's one and only true Church, profess repentance and wish

to come back, they must now, as John the Baptist said, "Bring forth

fruits meet for repentance" or prove their repentance by

performance over an adequate period of time. I personally do, and

hope all of our loyal members will, pray for their repentance and

ultimate return.

     The Church is the embryo of the coming Kingdom of God, which

is the family of God. There will be no divisions in that Kingdom.

There must be none in the Church.

     A final personal word. In a few days I will be 93 years of

age. For some years now, there have been some, like vultures,

waiting for me to die. They would like to come back and take over

the leadership of the Church in my stead. I have been deeply

concerned about this, but in no sense worried. This is the Church

of God, not of any man. Jesus Christ is the living Head of this

Church. I am not.

     And Jesus Christ will never receive any of those who have gone

out to draw a following after themselves to come back and lead

God's Church into Satan's liberalism. It would be no longer God's

Church, even as Ambassador College was no longer God's college, and

Christ had to start it all over again through me with one freshman

class.

     When I have, even rarely, mentioned my concern in this

category, the response of members has always been the belief that

God will keep me alive. I hope that He will, and I do try to take

every care of my health and physical condition, but whether God

keeps me alive 10 more years, or only 10 more minutes is entirely

in God's hands. Brethren, put your faith in Christ and the living

God and not in me. If Christ should remove me, He will direct the

Advisory Council of Elders to select one of them to continue

leading you until the coming of Jesus Christ in power and in glory.

Pray that God will keep YOU in His Church until He replaces this

evil world and brings the wonderful, peaceful and blessed Kingdom

of God.                                                                              

 

DC

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