GREETINGS, in Jesus' name! For many, many months I have been wanting to write to you, and now I have a very special announcement I am happy to send you.
We have opened permanent offices in London. The PLAIN TRUTH and other literature requested is now being mailed from our London office. We have been quite a little handicapped and delayed in getting facilities set up over there, but soon we hope to have everything functioning smoothly, so that you will receive The PLAIN TRUTH promptly on time, every month.
Our London headquarters are managed by two of our young ordained ministers, both graduates of Ambassador College here in Pasadena, California, and both fully consecrated to the work of God. In charge, as Director of all overseas work, is my elder son, Richard David Armstrong. He is assisted by George Meeker. I hope you will correspond with them, for they are there to answer any questions you may care to ask.
Our two ministers now permanently stationed in London are planning to inaugurate immediately a weekly Bible Study class in London, probably held on a week-night at some suitable hall, where all within transportation distance who are interested may attend. I hope that also similar weekly Bible-study meetings may be held in Manchester.
Often some of our friends who hear me on Monday nights over Radio Luxembourg, 208 meters, and who read The PLAIN TRUTH, ask the question: "What denomination do you represent?" Or, "How did you come to get into the ministry?" Or, "How is your work financed — how can you afford to broadcast to the entire world and never solicit financial help? How can you afford to send this monthly magazine world-wide, and without any subscription price? Is some commercial enterprise sponsoring you?"
You have a right to know these answers, and all about me and this work. So as briefly as I can, I will give you the frank and straightforward answer. And if you have any other questions — Bible questions, personal problems, or further questions about this work of God, write to my son Richard D. Armstrong in London, and I'm sure he will be more than glad to help you.
Let me answer the last question first. We are not sponsored or backed in any way, or connected directly or indirectly with any commercial business or enterprise, or with any political party, group, or interest. We are not denominational, even as Jesus Christ was not denominational. When Christ was upon earth in human flesh, there were a number of religious denominations among the Jewish people in Palestine — among them the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes, the Samaritans, etc. Jesus joined none of them. They regarded Him as an "independent." He trained His disciples, and commanded them to preach His Gospel of the Kingdom of God into all the world as a witness. THAT is our mission today, in direct fulfillment of Matthew 24:14.
I'm usually pretty skeptical about God speaking to anyone today in visions or dreams. God speaks to us thru His Son, Jesus Christ — the WORD of God — and the Bible is the written Word. I didn't really believe it then, 38 years ago, but subsequent events have verified that God did speak to my wife at that time, shortly after we were married, revealing thru an angel in a vision that He was calling us to the mission of WARNING the world of the fast- approaching END OF THIS WORLD, the coming of Jesus Christ, and the world-ruling Kingdom of God. At that time I was unconverted, not bothering to attend church, interested only in business and making money. I was embarrassed — a little awed — but immediately tried to put it out of my mind. But at age 30 God took away my business, struck me down, took away my idol of money-making and business prestige.
During this ordeal, the religious issue came between my wife and me — almost separated us. She determined to obey God and live God's way — I objected. Finally, I set out to try to prove to her by the Bible itself that a surrendered life of obedience wasn't necessary to be a Christian. For six months of intensive study night and day, I wrestled with the question, was forced to see the truth that she was right and I was wrong, and found myself face to face with the life-and-death decision of whether I would surrender my will to the will of God, or reject what I had found to be the TRUTH. God had softened me by repeated defeats to a point where I had lost all self-confidence, felt my life was worth nothing to ME any longer, and I was then willing to make the decision for GOD, and present my life to HIM as a living sacrifice, telling Him that if He could use it and make anything out of it, He could have it. It is a crushing experience to give up one's life.
But this experience changed everything! Life began to take on new meaning, hope, and intense interest. The BIBLE began to open to my understanding, like entering, into the richest gold, diamond or ruby mine in the world, in glorious splendor. As I began for the first time in my life to UNDERSTAND it, I became enthralled with it, and studied it night and day, very much of the time on my knees in reverence, in excited and eager joy, finding for the first time the REAL RICHES! The correction and chastening I received from it was painful, of course, but I was now willing, and the joys of finding TRUTH far exceeded.
After three and a half years of eagerly absorbing the divine inspiration and true understanding, God literally plunged me into His work as His minister. This was the last profession on earth I had wanted to enter. I did not, even then, seek entrance into the ministry — I was literally PUT IN by circumstances of God's making. I had been thru a gruelling experience — had known utter defeat, humiliation, hunger, suffering. God had rebuked and chastened me in many ways, burned out former egotism and replaced it with faith in God. God must humble those He can use.
And so, as the Apostle Paul said to those at Galatia: I certify to you, that the GOSPEL which is preached of me is not after man, for I neither received it of man neither was I taught it, BUT BY THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST...When it pleased God, who...called me by His Grace, to reveal His Son in me that I might preach Him to the world, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood (man), neither went I to any sect or denomination or human theologian, but I went directly to the WORD of God, on my knees, to be taught, corrected, reproved, and instructed in God's righteousness and Truth. (Compare Gal. 1:11-18).
Have you ever noticed, in the Bible, that when God starts anything thru His called HUMAN servants, it must always begin as the very least — the very smallest — and, like the grain of mustard seed, GROW large and great thru God's power?
This present world-wide program, now reaching the millions and changing thousands of precious lives, started out the very smallest activity. It started with nightly meetings in a little one-room country school house, eight miles west of Eugene, Oregon. There was no money for handbills or advertising. I borrowed the use of a typewriter, and typed out slips outlining the sermon- topics. I walked over the country-side, for I had no car, where houses often were a half mile apart, personally inviting the neighbors to attend. In those days I had to rely on God by faith to get me to the meetings, often having to hitch-hike. The school house seated 36 and our average attendance was over 40 — several standing thru the entire service. There were several conversions.
A few months later, the first Sunday in 1934, the door of radio was opened, and the program, then under the name "Radio Church of God," started on the air. It has never missed a Sunday since. It started on the smallest of stations, a mere 100-watts of power. This work of proclaiming Christ's true GOSPEL has never been backed, financed, sponsored, endowed, or controlled in any way by any denomination or organization of men.
I remember that during those early meetings, late in 1933, a resident of that community met me out on the road and said, "Mr. Armstrong, you'll never get far. You're preaching the straight truth of the Bible, no matter whom it offends. People won't stand for that very long. People won't support that kind of preaching — it's too strong for them!"
It was GOD who put me into His work. It was to GOD I had to look for financial support. From the beginning our faith has been sorely tried. I used to go up on top of a small mountain in that neighborhood, where I found a flat stone for an altar before which to kneel and pray — and I had to find my way up there often. But God always heard and ANSWERED, often in miraculous ways you probably wouldn't believe. Today, God has provided me with a private prayer-room, where I can go daily, and often many times a day.
On February 1, 1934 — one month after the broadcast went on the air — The PLAIN TRUTH made its very humble bow. It was printed on a borrowed mimeograph, from stencils cut on a borrowed type- writer, at few cents cost, except for postage. I don't remember that original "press run," — but it was around 250 or 300 copies.
But it was GOD'S work and He blessed and prospered it. Mrs. Armstrong worked tirelessly with me. For two or three years she ground out the "magazines" on the mimeograph, addressed and stamped them and kept up the tiny mailing list which started gradually to grow. In nine years the work had multiplied to 30 times its size and scope at the end of the first year. The second nine years it multiplied 50 times its size at the end of the first nine. And now, its 23rd year, it has become one of the most powerful works of evangelism in world-history — purchasing now more than FOUR MILLION WATTS of radio power per week, world-wide — probably the largest user of radio on earth today, beside the Television program in America, and mailing out tons and tons of literature, without charge.
Now finally, let me answer the questions: "HOW is your work financed?" "WHY don't you ask for money over the air?"
The answer is simple: Some 29 years ago I gave my life over to God for HIS use — -dedicated to living and doing HIS way, not mine or the way of the world or of tradition. God's way is that the GOSPEL cannot be sold like merchandise. God's people must not — do not BEG. Our literature contains the true GOSPEL — the true LIGHT that God sent into the world by Christ, which the world rejected. WE DARE NOT PUT A PRICE ON IT. We have nothing to sell!
From the first I've had to RELY SOLELY ON GOD for financial support. A few business corporations have offered to sponsor my broadcast and pay the bills — provided I would quit preaching God's PLAIN TRUTH, and say only what they allowed me to say! Twelve years ago a large advertising agency offered me a personal salary of $100,000.00 per year if I would give up God's ministry, and go on the air five days a week on a large national net-work as a news analyst, sponsored by one of the great corporations in the food industry. My wife scolded me reprovingly for even telling her about the proposition! God's way hasn't been the EASY way — but we know it's the RIGHT way!
We learned that God does have a few that are His own true people — and from the first a very few — a very small percent of the listeners — began to send in their tithes and offerings freely and unsolicited, to carry on God's precious work, of reaping a harvest for His eternal Kingdom!
I remember how we got started on the air in Seattle, Washington — the first time we were able to expand outside of the State of Oregon. A family who had been drouthed out in the middle-west had moved to the Pacific Coast, and in getting a new start had saved up enough money to finish building their house. At the time they had only the outside shell — no partitions, no rooms, no up-stairs — just a ladder thru a hole in the ceiling so they could climb up to their beds in the attic. They sent us all the money they had saved to finish building their home. Mrs. Armstrong and I travelled over a hundred miles to take that money back to them — we felt we simply couldn't accept it and deprive them of their home. They told us, with tears in their eyes, they would not take the money back — they couldn't enjoy the home when they knew it would deprive THOUSANDS of hearing about an eternal home in God's Kingdom FOREVER over the radio station on which this money would buy time. They insisted the money be used to expand the broadcast, and assured us that in another year or so they would save enough more to finish their own temporary home in this world.
I could tell you dozens of heart-touching experiences like that. But it illustrates how this work has been financed, and kept FREE to SPEAK OUT with God's truth, without fear or favor!
So here is our policy — which we believe is GOD'S policy. We do not ask for money over the air — will not permit the announcers to make any such request. We send no request for money with the free literature. We DO have a precious family of Co- Workers whose tithes and offerings finance this work — but one must join that family VOLUNTARILY, and not of our urging!
WHO is a "Co-Worker"? If a listener sends in, voluntarily, an offering twice inside of six months, we carefully read the letter, and if the tone of the letter indicates the writer wants to have a regular part in supporting God's work financially, he or she is put on our "Co-Worker" list — but if not, he is left on what we call our "Regular" mailing list. IF they are put on the "Co-Worker List" a letter is sent, explaining our action, and explaining that we have done so because Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" — and so we believe their hearts are in this work. If so, we tell them candidly that I will send them my regular special "Co-Worker" letters, giving them inside information about this work, its plans for the future, its progress, and, when necessary, which seems to be most of the time, its NEED — even as Moses sent out a proclamation asking Israel for material help, and as Paul admonished the Christians. But if we have mistaken their intentions, they are asked to tell us so, and they will be kept on our "Regular" list to continue receiving the magazine and other literature without any request for money. We believe this is GOD'S WAY as we find it in the Bible.
Of course the entire expense of broadcasting to you dear friends in Britain, over Radio Luxembourg (208 meters), has been borne by our Co-Workers in the United States. This is the LOVE- GIFT from many of your American "cousins" — for we consider of course that you in Britain and we in America are really the same people. I can tell you that those thousands of American Co-Workers have been THRILLED with joy that their financial sacrifice has made it possible for you people over there to share with them those precious truths of Christ's Gospel and of God's Word. And most of those Co-Workers are people in the lower income-brackets, people who have had to make a real sacrifice for this wonderful work of God.
Prior to this time we have never encouraged, even indirectly, the remitting of tithes or offerings for this work of God from you people in Britain. It is, I understand, unlawful for you to send funds outside of Britain, and Christians should obey the law. The comparatively small amount of money that has been mailed by British subjects to our London address has been deposited in a London bank, and retained for Gospel use in the British Isles.
However, with the opening of our London offices, we are now in position to use whatever tithes and offerings may be received there from our friends in the British Isles for the publication and mailing of Gospel literature, or other Gospel or evangelistic purpose within Britain. And since tithing is a definite law of God, promising great blessings to the tithe-payer, and pronouncing curses on our nations because they have neglected it, we have hoped for the day when we could welcome as Co-Workers those of you who, of your own volition, wish to become such and have active part in the spreading of Christ's TRUE GOSPEL over the British Isles. I say this, however, by way of explanation, and do not wish it to be interpreted as a request for money. DO NOT, under any circumstances, send any money to our United States address, for it would be illegal for you to do so. Send all mail, even if you desire to write to me personally, to our London address, and if the letter is to come to me personally, our staff there will send it on by air-mail at our expense.
I feel you will be glad to know that The WORLD TOMORROW has been for some time broadcast to the British Commonwealth of South Africa, and is now starting on a national Network of radio stations in Australia. Also the program is broadcast to India, Malaya, east Africa, Formosa and China, and the Hawaiian Islands — around the world.
Before closing, may I say sincerely, and from the heart, THANK YOU for the very great PRIVILEGE of being able to serve you, on the broadcast, or by the things that I or colleagues on our staff have written.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? I've found it's TRUE — what Jesus said — "It's more blessed to GIVE, than to receive!" I feel, sincerely, it is a far greater privilege that God has granted me, in being able to serve you, and to be His instrument that thru my voice and pen (or typewriter) you may receive the precious truths of God, than the privilege He grants you in receiving. WE'RE BOTH BLESSED!
And may I add a word about the forthcoming new booklet, "1975 IN PROPHECY" — a fast-moving, one-two-three SUMMARY of all the major prophecies in world events FROM NOW — in plain, simple language, in their precise order of time-sequence, exactly as YOU'RE GOING TO SEE THEM HAPPEN! And are you enrolled for the Ambassador College Bible CORRESPONDENCE COURSE?. I think it's the most interesting, most valuable course of bible study ever prepared. Thousands think so. If you're willing to devote not less than a half-hour every day to the study of YOUR BIBLE, then please write our London address and enroll by return mail. Or, ask for further information about it if you prefer. I enclose a self- addressed envelope for your enrollment.
Have you read our startling, eye-opening booklet, "The Plain Truth about CHRISTMAS"? Few today know where Christmas came from, WHY they observe it — WHETHER it is really a Christian holiday — WHAT the Bible says about it. It's shocking, but it's the TRUTH!
THANK YOU AGAIN, for your interest in the precious things of GOD!