This is the MOST IMPORTANT letter I have ever written to YOU—and it is to go to all members of GOD'S CHURCH, worldwide!
I'M sure most of you have heard, by now, of the very critical illness of Mrs. Armstrong—the wife of my youth whom God gave me, fifty years ago (lacking a few months) to be my help.
There are, in some kinds of illness, some things we can, and should, do for ourselves. But only GOD can HEAL. We left no stone unturned, but we came to the place, more than a week ago, where there was nothing more we could, or OUGHT to do without assuming to ourselves the prerogative of GOD. Like the children of Israel at the Red Sea, we were helpless. We had to do, as Moses said to them, "STAND STILL, and see the salvation of the ETERNAL!" We committed her wholly into God's hands for healing.
Do you realize that, actually, God started His Church of this "Philadelphia era" through Mrs. Armstrong? First, He opened her mind to His Law and His TRUTH. Then, through her, He brought me to Him and to His TRUTH. Then He used us together as a TEAM.
God says it is not good that a man should be alone. He made a help for Adam. He gave Mrs. Armstrong to me for my help. After He used her for the first starting of His great Work—now becoming powerful and worldwide—and for starting His Church for this era, He has used her ever since as my loyal, faithful, loving, and very helpful PARTNER. Our ministry has been as a TEAM— together. She is a vital HALF of that team! Most of our members know that!
And now, dear Brethren of GOD'S CHURCH, He is using her to start a direly needed spiritual REAWAKENING—a tragically needed spiritual REJUVENATION in God's whole Church—and in His Work.
It has begun with those ministers God has placed at the top level responsibilities in His great Work, right here at Headquarters. This ordeal has rudely SHOCKED us into a realization that we were becoming sluggish spiritually—AND WE WERE UNAWARE OF IT!
It has begun with me! I didn't realize it! I seemed to have a heart condition, so that I felt I had to slow down—and even a two- or three-block walk brought pains in my lungs, associated with my heart. There was high blood pressure. Brethren, I have been frankly STARTLED to find that even I, whom God is using as your human leader, was bogging down—just barely crawling along, so to speak, on this narrow, rutty, difficult ROAD that leads to God's Kingdom and everlasting life! I had been greatly slowed down. I was coasting on past momentum. In this sore TRIAL of faith, I had to wake up to realize I was losing faith—it had been dwindling. I had to humble myself before God. I had to FAST and pray in deadly earnest. I had to realize my faith was not sufficient. I had to begin confessing my sin, repenting of this spiritual lethargy, crying out to God in tears to forgive, have mercy, RENEW the inflowing and outflowing of His Holy Spirit in me, RESTORE me to a close walk and fellowship and contact with HIM and with the living CHRIST my Saviour, my SUPERIOR and HEAD in this Work—and to GIVE ME, by His grace, more and more of the FAITH of Jesus Christ!
Brethren, I had not realized I was letting down spiritually. My responsibilities require that I spend much time in conferences planning big and important projects—yes, even involving millions of dollars—with not only some of our leading ministers and executives in God's Work, but with businessmen, architects, contractors, bankers, radio station executives, advertising agency executives —important men of the world. Jesus commissioned us to GO INTO the world to proclaim His Gospel. I have had to DEAL WITH the world—but Jesus warned us we must not be OF this world. God has guided me in making wise decisions. The living Christ has GUIDED this Work—often in spite of me—often with and through me. He has given me the needed wisdom. I felt the Work was going along pretty well—DID NOT REALIZE THAT I WAS SLOWING, spiritually!
What I have said of my own reawakening is pretty much the story of what has happened to all of those ministers at Headquarters God has placed in the top positions of authority and responsibility under me. They, too, have been SHAKEN UP, drastically, severely! They, too, have humbled themselves, come to see and confess failings and slippings spiritually. They, too, have repented, from the heart!
Three times, now, I have gotten these evangelists of God out of bed early in the morning, and had them dress quickly and come to my home, where we have assembled in my study and prayer room. I want to tell you there has been deep and merciless SOUL- SEARCHING! We have had sessions of fervent, heartrending PRAYER together.
From these leading ministers, this reawakening is acting like a CHAIN REACTION right on down to the other ministers, the student body, and the entire membership of the Headquarters CHURCH, and the Churches around the world.
From all parts of the world I am receiving letters and telegrams saying God's people have been SHAKEN, MOVED, made to see their lukewarmness, their spiritual lethargy and letdown! There is a MIGHTY REAWAKENING being injected by God's Spirit into the hearts and minds of God's Church that is spreading WORLDWIDE!
Nothing but the power of God's mighty Holy Spirit could have produced this! My dear wife did not produce it—the HOLY SPIRIT did- but God has used her, and her suffering, to GENERATE it! When news of this reawakening reaches her, she smiles, and says that if God has granted that she could have been used by Him as a means by which God has STIRRED UP His Church to its PITIFUL, SHAMEFUL, spiritual lassitude, she is glad.
The ministers at the European headquarters, at the college in Britain, are meeting together for these same sessions of confessing their failings and praying together. Also at the Texas campus, in Australia, in our offices around the world—Canada, the Philippines, Geneva, Dusseldorf, Johannesburg. In all the Churches, the ministers are calling the members to REPENTANCE, to HUMBLING themselves before God—to REPENTANCE—and to spiritual REAWAKENING!
But now, WHY?
And WHY at this time?
HERE is why! God's great worldwide Work is right now on the threshold of the GREATEST LEAP FORWARD in multiplied POWER it has ever experienced. All the years of this Work up to now have been the PREPARATORY years, preparing us—training us by experience—developing the organization—building the financial resources—equipping us with the POWER to now launch forth on the REAL JOLT TO THE WORLD that will SHAKE THIS WORLD TO ITS FOUNDATIONS!
And WE—from myself and the evangelists and pastors and elders on down to the FLOCK AS A WHOLE—had allowed ourselves to come to a place of almost spiritual stagnation!
Brethren, God could not USE this Church, in our lethargic, complacent condition, as His instrument to launch this final mighty PUSH that is going to MAKE THIS WORLD CONSCIOUS of the LIVING GOD-of His coming KINGDOM—of its SINS—of Christ's soon-coming as KING over all nations!
Sure, we were going along—the Work was going along—it has been expanding each year—but we were going on past MOMENTUM—IN A RUT! God has had to WAKE US UP! Either that, or reject us, spue us out of His mouth, and RAISE UP A CHURCH HE COULD USE!
THANK GOD for this experience! PRAISE Him for this chastening!
Brethren, I have suffered as perhaps never before, with my wife lying there—with a bowel blockage that held locked inside of her putrid human waste—knowing that unless God grants her continued life by a MIRACLE of healing, I would have to go on alone, without her! I NEED HER DESPERATELY! But I need her CLEANSED and HEALED—PHYSICALLY!
But Brethren—up there ln heaven, at the right hand of GOD on the throne of the universe, sits JESUS CHRIST, looking down here at US—HIS WIFE (He is MARRIED to Israel—and we are Israel begotten by His Spirit, affianced to MARRY Him [again] at His coming). Yes, WE, Brethren, are HIS WIFE. And the living Jesus has beheld HIS wife filled with SPIRITUAL putridness—SPIRITUAL sickness, that is UNTO DEATH, unless it is PURGED OUT OF US!
Jesus GAVE HIMSELF for His CHURCH—that He might present it to Himself—at His coming—a GLORIOUS CHURCH, not having spiritual spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be HOLY, and WITHOUT BLEMISH! (Ephesians 5:25-27.)
Yes, He paid the SUPREME PRICE that we might be HOLY, and WITHOUT spiritual blemish! And Jesus has looked down upon HIS beloved wife, whom HE loves, as I so deeply love my wife. And as I have seen my wife about to die unless purged of this physical poison, so JESUS sees HIS wife—OUR CHURCH—about to die for eternity, unless WE are purged of our SPIRITUAL poison!
Brethren, Jesus has been giving me a little bit of understanding of HOW HE FEELS! We have been GRIEVING Him! Yes, He has been GRIEVED because of us! I wonder if He is not shedding spiritual tears! He LOVES us. We are His WIFE! We are so PRECIOUS to Him!
WHY has Almighty God DELAYED the miracle that will heal my wife? She would have died about two weeks ago, had not God already performed MIRACLES. After ten days or more of complete stoppage both at top and bottom—unable to hold nourishment or even water on her stomach—every few minutes sipping a little water, and also dissolving chopped ice in her mouth—then throwing it up again— after so many DAYS of that, and cramps and pains of agony over her abdomen—suddenly she was able to hold liquids in her stomach. She has since been able to take small amounts of homemade grape juice, carrot juice, even some straight beef juice, gelatin, etc. This has tended to keep up her strength and energy to some extent —though it is very weak, for she has had no food for almost a month.
The last two days God has given us a few very small evidences of ENCOURAGEMENT.
God KNOWS how seriously she is needed, now, in this final GREAT PUSH of His great Work. We KNOW it is His will to save her. He started His Work with and through her—STARTED the Work that has resulted in bringing YOU into His Church—God says He WILL NOT STOP THE WORK HE HAS BEGUN! "The Eternal intervenes on my behalf. ...Thou wilt not drop the Work thou hast begun." (Psalm 138:8—Moffatt Translation.)
God used Zerubbabel as His human instrument in charge of the building of the temple at Jerusalem, in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. That temple was a TYPE of the BUILDING that is HIS CHURCH today.
God said to Zerubbabel, as He makes very plain to ME, whom—with MY Wife—He has used to build THIS BUILDING which is His CHURCH of this era—"Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the ETERNAL of hosts." (Zech. 4:6.) Today this Work is well organized. It has reached a status of some financial and material POWER. But all this physical power is as NOTHING! The Work can go forward ONLY BY THE POWER OF GOD'S SPIRIT! That is GOD'S MESSAGE TO US. Zerubbabel is the TYPE! The message is for US!
Continue: "Who art thou, O great mountain?" (verse 7— speaking of the coming "Beast" in Europe), "before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the Headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it." That Head stone (Eph. 2:20) is CHRIST, the HEAD STONE, rejected by the builders, but HEAD of His CHURCH!
Continue: "Moreover the Word of the Eternal came unto me saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this HOUSE; his hands shall also finish it."
Now compare that with Ephesians 2:19-21: "Now therefore ye are . . . fellow citizens with the saints, and of the Household of GOD. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief CORNER STONE; in whom all the building (CHURCH) fitly framed together groweth unto an holy TEMPLE in the Lord."
I do not mean at all that Zerubbabel was a type of me. But this does show that it is God's PRINCIPLE by which He works—which is His WAY—His WILL—that when a MAN was used to START that building, it was God's will to FINISH IT by that same man. But in this case it is not a man ALONE—but a MAN-AND-WIFE TEAM TOGETHER. For that temple WAS a type of God's CHURCH, called a TEMPLE (for the Holy Spirit) in Ephesians 2:21.
When King Hezekiah had reached the time to die, he turned and prayed to God in tears, and God spared his life and added 15 years. Every time any man, in recorded Bible experience, ever HUMBLED himself and turned to God for mercy, GOD HAS GRANTED IT—HEARD, and ANSWERED!
Even the wicked King Ahab whom Elijah contended with, one of the most evil men pictured in the Bible, HUMBLED himself when Elijah told him the terrible END God had pronounced on him. (I Kings 21:17-27.)
Did God hear even that wicked man—who apparently DID NOT repent, but humbled himself and fasted BECAUSE of FRIGHT at what he had heard was to happen? HE DID. "And the word of the ETERNAL came to Elijah . . . saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house." (Verses 28-29.)
God's ministers here all feel God has shown us that He WILL heal Mrs. Armstrong. That blockage is still there. But the past two days God has given us a few small signs of His intervention for our encouragement. God is GIVING us more and more of CHRIST'S faith. He is drawing us closer to Him by the day.
We have HUMBLED ourselves before Him—we have CONFESSED our short-comings and our sins—we have REPENTED! I have changed my entire DAILY ROUTINE—my entire life. The FASTING and PRAYER has resulted in almost completely REMOVING all signs of the heart condition or high blood pressure. For four years I have had to live, knowing I could drop dead at any second! Now pounds have been taken off. Now I can take longer, more vigorous walks. Now I am taking them, three times a day—REGARDLESS of circumstances which might try to prevent! Now, no matter how many conferences are scheduled, no matter how pressing some urgent executive responsibility, I am going THREE TIMES or more a day to my prayer room God has blessed me with, there to commune with Him, and keep closer to Him! My life from now WILL BE FAR MORE ACTIVE—and that new routine is already in effect and becoming well established. I am crying out to God to PURGE from me all that hinders—to GIVE more of His Spirit, His Power, His FAITH. I am asking Him to put special HEALING GIFTS in His Church—special and more than before!
Brethren, THERE HAS TO BE AN ABOUT-FACE!
I am not ashamed to lead off in this. I am not ashamed to set you the EXAMPLE! I am HAPPY and REJOICING in God's chastening He has given me, and dong my utmost to respond to it.
WILL YOU DO THE SAME?
Now DON'T fast for Mrs. Armstrong! But I feel pretty sure that EVERY ONE OF YOU do seriously NEED to FAST for YOUR OWN SELF!—to help you draw closer to GOD! To search down deeply into your OWN soul! To find what YOU need to repent of—what YOU need to confess, acknowledge, and turn from.
It may be that God is STILL WAITING for this spiritual AWAKENING to spread through the WHOLE CHURCH—on down to the LAST MEMBER—even YOU! —before my dear wife can be delivered, and completely HEALED and restored to active, vigorous HEALTH.
And let me REMIND all of you—or INFORM you if you had not heard—TWO of our other ministers' wives are CRITICALLY ILL—and facing death unless GOD INTERVENES! Their lives, too, may depend on YOUR PRAYERS OF FAITH!
One is Mrs. Harold Jackson. He is a pastor in God's Church. He needs his wife, as I need mine. She, too, is a consecrated, loyal, competent HELP to Mr. Jackson who carries heavy responsibilities. A week ago she would have died, had not God performed a miracle. At my last report she is still living—but in CRITICAL condition!
The other is Mrs. Glen White; Mr. White, a preaching elder, is pastor of God's Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I understand she has cancer. But GOD CAN HEAL CANCER—has healed cancer a number of times by my prayers and those of other of God's ministers! Her life, too, may depend on YOUR prayer of FAITH!
Brethren, pray for these ministers, too—I know how THEY have suffered because of their wives' suffering! Are we SELF- centered, not caring about these women? Or DO we have real OUTGOING CONCERN—deep concern—over them? When ONE part of the BODY of CHRIST suffers, do we ALL suffer—do we have this LOVE—this OUTGOING CONCERN—for others in the Church? "By this," said Jesus, "shall all men KNOW that ye are my disciples—IF ye have LOVE one for another."
REMEMBER these women, so necessary to the ministry of their husbands, as well as Mrs. Armstrong!
Brethren, my wife and I are, as most of you know, past 70. But WE ARE NOT "OLD PEOPLE!" We are more like middle age or younger. We don't act or think like "OLD folks." God can RENEW OUR YOUTH—(see Isaiah 40:28-31). Read it! The first part of this wonderful chapter refers DIRECTLY as a prophecy for THIS WORK. And in it is a prophecy NOW BEING FULFILLED!
Brethren, I am terribly DISTRESSED and sick at heart at the reports from all over, that MANY of our members are LUKEWARM, or entirely LETHARGIC, spiritually. If YOU are one of those, I have to warn you—you may not be on the way to God's Kingdom—but on the way to your END in the LAKE OF FIRE!
Reports come to me of MANY of you, who are like some described in Daniel's prophecy of the 11th chapter of Daniel. Speaking of God's CHURCH, this was FORETOLD: ". . . but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the TIME OF THE END." (Verses 34-35). That is a prophecy for this Church, NOW!
Reports indicate that many have "come in" to God's Church in this manner: They have come to really SEE and KNOW that this is, truly, GOD'S Church. They know there is terrible WORLD TROUBLE just ahead. They have heard how God's Church is to be taken to a PLACE OF SAFETY. (And HOW God is working that out is a PART of the sensational ANNOUNCEMENT I hope very soon to announce!) So these people come in, selfishly, for a sort of spiritual and physical SECURITY—to assure PROTECTION when the Great Tribulation bursts upon the world! But they are NOT themselves "on fire for GOD!" They are spiritual DRONES! And God will not give them protection!
Many professing to be Church MEMBERS say, when a Co-Worker letter arrives, in a grumbling, complaining disgust: "Oh, that's another of Mr. Armstrong's REQUESTS for MONEY," and many don't even read the letter!
Are YOU one of those? If so, LET ME BURN YOUR EARS before the Almighty GOD burns YOU in the Lake of FIRE! If that has been YOUR attitude—if YOU are only on the GETTING side, and SHUN helping, and giving to the cause of GOD, then I say to you ON AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST, if you don't REPENT and QUICKLY, and change that hostile, despicable, detestable attitude, you DO NOT BELONG in GOD'S CHURCH! You are some of the ROTTEN, PUTRID, spiritual WASTE that has been PLUGGED UP INSIDE OF THE SPIRITUAL BODY OF CHRIST'S WIFE, just as physical waste is plugged up in my dear wife's body! And the living Jesus is just as able to EXPEL YOU from the spiritual Body of HIS WIFE as He is to expel this physical waste from my wife's body!
And if THAT doesn't make your ears tingle, and AWAKEN you, then Jesus Christ says to YOU through me, YOU are in danger of the Lake of FIRE!
God's people must be on the GIVING side—not the GETTING! Unless you are, with a whole heart, you ought to GET OUT of God's Church, for you are a hindrance and a liability!
Did you ever read of Gideon's experience in choosing men for battle? There were 32,000 men. There are about 32,000 actual BAPTIZED adult members (or professing members) in the Church of God today! God had Gideon proclaim to them: "Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from Mount Gilead. And there returned of the people 22,000; and there remained 10,000." Then God put them to a TEST, and, finally, ONLY 300 out of that 32,000 were chosen by the living ETERNAL!
Oh BRETHREN! MUST it be that way with God's CHURCH today—the very BODY of the living CHRIST? The very BRIDE of Christ—already His Wife, and to be again MARRIED to Him at His second coming? Is JESUS CHRIST going through a spiritual TRAUMA, as I have a physical and mental one, because HIS WIFE is all plugged up with SPIRITUAL FILTH? Is HE weeping spiritual tears over YOU?
I call on all members to SEARCH YOUR HEARTS! Will YOU follow my example???
Now Brethren, before I close, I said this great Work is right on the door-step of TREMENDOUS THINGS! I hope that, any day now, I may be able to make the most SENSATIONAL ANNOUNCEMENT since this Work began.
Yes, MORE than one—TREMENDOUS announcements. I cannot, even to the Church membership, tell you what it is until contracts are signed—otherwise it would tip off the hand of enemies.
One thing I CAN say now—my son Garner Ted Armstrong is now being TELEVISED daily, as he puts on the daily broadcast—just by our own closed-circuit television here within the library building where our radio studio is located. We are now placing orders for at least two fully professional T.V. cameras. When they arrive, we will begin producing programs TO BE PUT ON THE AIR. We are working closely with a local television station—a small UHF station—not a big listening audience—but it will be a START—to help us "get our feet wet" in it, as it were. Then, SOON, The WORLD TOMORROW will start to GROW from one to more and more stations on T.V., across the United States—and then, wherever we may be able to have the program accepted—around the world!
But I have an even BIGGER announcement—as soon as it is official so I am free to announce it!
But GOD'S CHURCH has not been filled with the SPIRITUAL POWER and VITALITY of God's HOLY SPIRIT to the full extent we NEED to be to respond to what God is now opening up before us. It is B I G ! It is a TREMENDOUS increase in the POWER of this Work.
And now, finally, here is ONE IMPORTANT WAY in which God's Church has been FALLING DOWN ON THE JOB!
You all KNOW WELL that this great WORK never was able to grow UNTIL God raised up Ambassador College, to train consecrated and called ministers to HELP.
The Work was little. The Church, when the college started, consisted of about 30 members at Eugene, Oregon, and some 18 or so at Portland. TODAY it is more than 40,000—or, as most Protestant denominations would count members, about 250,000! (Counting all Co-Workers and their families, children, etc.) Then we were on five or six radio stations—today 304 stations, including MANY of the greatest PRESTIGE SUPER-POWER stations of the world—and the greatest of all now opening its doors!
You KNOW WELL that the WORK of this Church cannot grow UNLESS THE COLLEGES GROW. And the colleges cannot grow unless we build more buildings for students to sleep in, eat in, study in, and go to class in—and unless there are buildings and offices for the large and growing STAFF to receive the MAIL, answer it, print the magazines, mail out the literature.
You can REALIZE how great STATE UNIVERSITIES need great new buildings by the hundreds to teach students EVOLUTION, ATHEISM, false knowledge. But some of you can't understand why GOD'S COLLEGES ought to have facilities in which to do GOD'S WORK! Brethren, with some of you, GOD IS ASHAMED! I am speaking PLAINLY this time! If your feelings get hurt, you don't belong in God's Church—unless or until you CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE AND REPENT!
You KNOW that we are on a SEVEN YEAR (or longer) building program, that began less than four years ago, and has three or more years yet to go. And yet YOU BRETHREN, who call yourselves GOD'S PEOPLE, have dwindled down to about HALF the amount of SPECIAL OFFERINGS for the BUILDING FUND you were sending in a year ago— though there are 30% more of us!
THINK OF IT! How ASHAMED God must be with this, His Church! There are about 30% more of us than a year ago! Yet we are FORSAKING God's program which the living CHRIST—the HEAD of our Church—is planning through us whom HE has chosen and placed in executive position directly UNDER HIM!
That is as much a NECESSARY PART of GOD'S WORK—His GOSPEL WORK—of getting His Gospel to the WORLD—as more radio stations, or going on television.
Right now God is OPENING TREMENDOUS new doors I hope in a matter of DAYS to be able to announce! I tell you, for those of us who KNOW of this, IT TAKES OUR BREATH! It is MIRACULOUS! We should have thought it IMPOSSIBLE. God is actually moving a number of national GOVERNMENTS to seek us out and offer us staggering, amazing, breathtaking FACILITIES! Six weeks ago I would have laughed at such a suggestion as IMPOSSIBLE! But ALL THINGS are possible with our miracle-working GOD!
These new doors are going to rapidly INCREASE the requests for The PLAIN TRUTH—for new BOOKLETS—for personal replies and answers. Our mail will soon skyrocket upward. WE ABSOLUTELY CANNOT HANDLE IT, unless we accept larger enrollments of students this fall! We MUST HAVE MORE TRAINED PERSONNEL! We cannot accept more students until we can build more buildings for them to WORK in, STUDY in, go to CLASS in, LIVE in, EAT in.
Can you Brethren see that this BUILDING PROGRAM into which CHRIST has led us must precede walking through the new DOORS He is opening before us?
We have FALLEN SHORT in two ways: 1) We have lagged spiritually—we have bogged down—we have gotten our minds and hearts and interests on MATERIAL WORLDLY PLEASURES AND INTERESTS, and taken them more and more OFF OF God's great and glorious WORK! God's WIFE—His CHURCH—has allowed spiritual PUTRIDNESS to accumulate within this BODY OF CHRIST! God have mercy on us and CLEANSE US of THIS SIN! 2) We have grown careless, and LET DOWN on Christ's vitally-important BUILDING program. This, too, is clogging up, slowing down, tending to STOP THE WORK!
I know well enough why! Let me hasten to say I realize the many NEW members may not have KNOWN about this dire need—because I have not gotten out much about it in any of the letters. But you who were sending in almost DOUBLE the present amount a year ago— YOU knew about it! Also I hasten to add that SOME of you—perhaps HALF—have remained FAITHFUL. Many of you have continued sending in these EXTRA, special, additional offerings for the BUILDING fund. It is the OTHER HALF who have lagged, or LAIN DOWN ON THE JOB and QUIT, who have caused this serious emergency.
Unless the total income for the Work continues, year by year, to INCREASE by 30%—or, a little more precisely 27.7%—per year, WE SHALL HAVE FAILED TO FINISH THE WORK OF GOD by the time we must be taken to a PLACE OF SAFETY!
So now LISTEN! Listen carefully! For the month of February, just ended, our gain was only about 12.5%. LESS THAN HALF the needed gain! Do you know WHY? Primarily because the PROPERTY FUND—or BUILDING FUND, as perhaps we ought to call it—has had NO increase, but a great big DECREASE. The income of tithes and offerings increased 28.2%. That is satisfactory. But the OTHER INCOME—a very large PART of the TOTAL income to finance this Work—actually DECREASED!
I want you to realize just how serious this is!
So WHY? WHY have so many of you let down?
Well, perhaps you'll say it is my fault. I have been so burdened down with other duties that have so filled my time that I was not able to get around to sending you a letter to JOG YOU UP—to URGE YOU ON—to PROD you, to PUSH you into doing it! I didn't send the annual STATEMENT OF INTENTION card for you to sign for another year!
Was it, after all, MY fault? Was it, now?
LISTEN, Brethren—and listen HARD! Learn a LESSON that may save you from the Lake of Fire. Learn a basic TRUTH about how you are to develop character and GROW spiritually to INHERIT GOD'S KINGDOM! Learn a GREAT TRUTH! Learn what may mean your ETERNITY!
Read this two or three times! UNDERSTAND IT!
Some of you do not GO FORWARD spiritually with Christ, UNLESS I or YOUR LOCAL PASTOR, or SOME ONE P U S H E S Y O U ! But our PUSHING will never get you into God's Kingdom. Our pushing will never get you to the PLACE OF SAFETY for the Great Tribulation about five years from now (if our figuring is correct).
HERE'S WHY! Here's a most IMPORTANT spiritual LESSON!
GOD HIMSELF DOES NOT EITHER PULL, OR PUSH, OR DRIVE us! Understand this! Read it in the article coming in the APRIL PLAIN TRUTH, on what is the Unpardonable SIN!
You are not converted—begotten of God—a real CHRISTIAN— unless or until you have GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT DWELLING IN YOU. On real repentance and believing, God PROMISES to give you His Spirit. It begets you as HIS CHILD. It opens your mind to UNDERSTAND His Word. As a Christian, you start out on a different WAY—a different ROAD—leading to everlasting life! God's Spirit opens your understanding, to know how to live by every Word of the Bible. It is THE WAY of GOD'S LAW. It takes a divine love to fulfill His Law—that is, to WALK that WAY toward God's Kingdom. God's Spirit is GOD'S LOVE. So God SUPPLIES you with the spiritual LOVE to fulfill His Law. His Spirit GIVES you Christ's FAITH, necessary to walk that road. It supplies you with spiritual POWER to walk that road. God gives you all the SPIRITUAL EQUIPMENT to walk that road.
BUT—here's the LESSON—BE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THIS: God's Spirit which He gives you WILL NOT PULL YOU His way—will not PUSH you—will not FORCE you! God GIVES, by His loving grace, the SPIRITUAL EQUIPMENT so you CAN walk His WAY! But God will not DRIVE you or PULL you. You, yourself, must make the decisions to GO God's way—and you yourself must SET YOUR WILL to GO that way.
B U T—and understand this as well: your old carnal SELF—your HUMAN NATURE will PULL you the other way! The world—your worldly friends—worldly cares, interests, pleasures —THESE, TOO, will PULL You—they will tug HARD at you, to pull you OFF OF God's road! And so will SATAN!
So, what do you face? THREE STRONG PULLS, all pulling you AWAY from Christ—pulling to get you OFF of God's WAY—trying to PULL you AWAY from the road that leads to everlasting LIFE in God's Kingdom.
But what about MANY of YOU?
Unless I PUSH you—PULL at you—REMIND you to act in this DUTY TO GOD AND HIS WORK, you don't go along on God's road—you lie down and QUIT—you QUIT sending in your SPECIAL offerings, over and above tithes and regular offerings for the GOSPEL! You let the PULLS of carnal, worldly interest or pleasures take that money which ought to go to GOD'S cause!
And then, if I DO remind you, some of you become OFFENDED—and you gripe and complain, and some of you refuse to read the letters! No, not some—I am informed from our men all over that MANY do! In Jesus' name, I say, SHAME ON YOU! You who are guilty of that!
Now let me bring you up to date on the Building Expansion Program.
By July last year—1966—architect's plans were complete for the new men's dormitory building on the Pasadena campus. But because you members were letting down on the PROPERTY FUND, and it was too far depleted the building had to be cancelled. By October, we decided the building program—SO VITAL to the Work—had to proceed. BUT, by that time the need for new CLASSROOMS had become so critical, it had to take priority over the dormitory. So we speeded up the architects on plans for the new ACADEMIC QUADRANGLE, with twin two-story buildings, one on each side, between Ambassador Hall and the fabulous formal Italian Sunken Garden, which Mr. Merritt built before that property came to us. One will be the Life Science Hall, and the other the Fine Arts Building. These we MUST HAVE before we can accept additional students. Ground breaking is to take place in a week or two—and construction will be underway on a big scale. These buildings are to be completed very shortly after college starts again next fall.
Meanwhile, the need for our Administration Building has grown to an acute CRISIS. In Mr. Portune's Business Department, they are having to set desks out in HALLS—three and four desks in a small room—many offices in old houses we have bought or other buildings, two, three or five blocks AWAY—when they ought to be next door, in the SAME BUILDING. God's Work just cannot be carried on like that.
So we have commissioned the architects to start, full speed ahead, with plans for the Administration Office Building. We hope to start construction by JULY.
And we have commissioned another firm of architects to begin plans at once for the new HOUSE OF GOD—to be the HEADQUARTERS CHURCH Auditorium for the whole world—the House I have wanted to build for GOD—on the Pasadena campus. Brethren, we have already postponed this building more than three years. This must be a comparatively FINE building—not a cheap one or of inferior materials. God says if we BUILD (our character) of gold, silver, and precious stones, our building will be accepted—but if we build with wood, straw and stubble, it will be BURNED in Gehenna FIRE! When God gave David the plans for GOD'S TEMPLE which Solomon was to build at Jerusalem, it was replete with GOLD, SILVER, PRECIOUS STONES. That building was SO COSTLY that even the United States GOVERNMENT could not afford to build such a building today! It cost the equivalent, in today's dollar value, of more than TEN THOUSAND MILLION dollars! It cost more than St. Peter's at the Vatican!
Now we have no intention of trying to build anything like THAT! God would not want anything too costly under present conditions, in Pasadena. We know that. But it must be of relatively GOOD quality, as buildings generally are built today. This is the building, to rise up seven stories high, with giant 72-foot fluted pillars rising up all around out of an artificial lake. The lake will be a block long, and over half a block wide. It will not be overcostly at all—but it MUST BE A FINE BUILDING, in keeping with proper economy. We expect it to take about a year and a half to complete architectural design and plans. We have already shown you—about three years or more ago—a rough architectural drawing of it. We hope to begin construction in about a year and a half.
On the English campus, they have come to DIRE need, and are now starting construction of the new girls' dormitory. Unless that is completed, or at least one of the two units of it, by September, we cannot accept additional girls there for the next school year. They, too, are just about as hard pressed for an Administration Building—in British terminology called the "Faculty Building"—as we here in Pasadena. So plans are being rushed to completion.
On the Texas campus, we recently finished the new Dining Hall—built INSIDE the shell of the big "Tabernacle" building. This saved a great deal of money, and still provided a beautiful Dining Hall. They are still using temporary portable classroom buildings—each building being just one single classroom. Four additional smaller dormitory buildings—housing 36 students each—were completed last September. No more building is immediately projected for that campus—although they will soon NEED a new Administration Building, and the new three-level class-room building, and the Fine Arts classroom building. Those will have to be delayed for the present.
Now Brethren, GOD'S WORK MUST LEAP FORWARD!
We must have these buildings! We MUST have a spiritual AWAKENING! We MUST every one of us either SPEND MORE TIME ON OUR KNEES with God in PRAYER, or stagnate, and be in danger of GEHENNA FIRE!
FINALLY, as I wrote you over a year ago, we realize some of our members are UNABLE to make an additional SPECIAL and EXTRA offering each month for this PROPERTY FUND. I do not expect such people to return the enclosed card! God bless you—WE UNDERSTAND!
And all others—IF for any reason your income stops or is reduced, and you are PREVENTED from continuing this amount indicated on the card, YOU ARE NOT BOUND! It is NOT an all-binding PLEDGE! It is NOT a vow! We don't want you to make vows!
Those who are UNABLE to send this special EXTRA monthly offering for the special PROPERTY FUND can at least PRAY for the Building Program- -and a lot more often than once a month!
Also, if you are in your THIRD TITHE YEAR, and are UNABLE to send anything for the PROPERTY FUND, please realize we don't expect what you are UNABLE to do. But as soon as your third tithe year is over, then you should resume contributing to this special fund.
Brethren, LET YOUR RESPONSE SHOW OUR LIVING SAVIOUR THAT HIS CHURCH IS NOT DEAD OR Dying—that we have come to His Throne of Grace in heartrending, deeply prevailing PRAYER—that we have allowed HIM to CLEAN OUT from this spiritual BODY of Christ, which is HIS Wife, the spiritual putridness and waste which we have allowed to clog us up!
I started this letter yesterday. It is long. This morning I can report to you that last evening God actually BEGAN cleaning out this stopped-up waste in Mrs. Armstrong. It is only a tiny start—but a real START—and it gives us great encouragement and REJOICING! We are PRAISING GOD!
In my next letter—I hope SOON—I hope and believe by FAITH that I may be able to report to you not only Mrs. Armstrong's complete healing, and again beginning to rebuild lost weight and strength by solid food—but also the big ANNOUNCEMENTS.
Remember, equally with Mrs. Armstrong in your prayers, Mrs. Harold Jackson, and Mrs. Glen White—wives of two of God's important ministers. Remember the whole CHURCH in your prayers! Pray for the HEALING OF THE WHOLE CHURCH! Pray earnestly and constantly for the WORK. And please pray for me and ALL GOD'S MINISTERS!
God be WITH you Brethren. WE are the LIGHT OF THE WORLD, and if we let our light die out, what a dark world it would be. BUT WE WON'T! PRAY—as you never prayed before—and KEEP IT UP!
THANK you, and God be with you and bless you.