I'm writing you with a heavy heart. I'm just human, like you, and sometimes I wonder how many men could shoulder the burdens and responsibilities God has laid on me, without being crushed down and giving up — how many could still keep FAITH, and keep pressing on!
If you knew the staggering load I have to carry — the discouraging, frustrating situations I have to face — the very fate of this greatest work on earth hanging perilously in the balance, you'd certainly realize YOUR part in God's work is not as difficult as mine.
Co-Workers, I NEED YOUR PRAYERS DESPERATELY! God's work now faces a situation to try the stoutest heart — a situation beyond mortal ability or power to solve. Literally, I'm at my wits' end. All I can do is take it to God in prayer — and ask you for your earnest prayers!
In my last letter I said that God, in working out HIS PURPOSE, never intended our lives, or our work for Him, to be a soft "bed of roses." He ordained that we should be confronted with trials, ordeals. The road that leads to LIFE is not broad, smooth and easy. Jesus taught that we have to learn to ENDURE unto the very end. Co-Workers, I know all this is true — but as I said I, too, am only human, and now I not only have to take it to God and ask Him to give us a real "Lift," lighten the ordeal a little, and give us wisdom and HELP that we may fight our way on through — but also I feel I must lay the crucial problem before you, my Co-Workers.
COULD this great and most vital work on earth be STOPPED? By faith I know it can't, yet at this discouraging moment every appearance shouts at me that it can and soon will — unless God, thru you Co-Workers, quickly and permanently intervenes.
Here's the situation. I have to lay it before you in all candor. I'm at my wits' end to know what's WRONG! On the one hand, I can tell you that never before in the history of this work have NEW Co-Workers been joining us so fast! The total mail received from the broadcasts is now WAY UP. Every month now there are hundreds of thousands of NEW LISTENERS. Every week more and more of them are becoming regular Co-Workers — just as I've been telling you they would ever since we went on the Network. BUT, on the other hand, the total amount of tithes and offerings coming in for the work has dropped down until it is now actually LESS than at these same weeks a year ago!
WHY IS THIS? Dear Co-Workers, it can mean only one thing. Many of YOU who have been Co-Workers of long standing are now growing luke-warm toward GOD and HIS WORK! And Jesus Christ says that if we become lukewarm, and lose our ZEAL for His work and His way of life, He will spue us out of His mouth — we shall lose our salvation for eternity!
And THAT heart-sickening realization, dear Co-Workers, even more than the present indication we shall have to go off the Network and perhaps even the super-power stations broadcasting the program every night, makes my heart heavy as lead!
Oh, LISTEN! You, who have been my Co-Workers in the glorious, mighty, all-important work of CHRIST — I have always felt lifted up and inspired thru every trial and test in the faith that YOU — our great family of self-sacrificing, willing, zealous Co-Workers — would remain loyal and faithful, and go on into the glorified Kingdom of God with me — that we shall continue there, in The KINGDOM OF GOD, for all eternity, as kings and priests in the joyous service of God!
But I realize that this work of God is not only a matchless PRIVILEGE — it is also the very testing ground of FAITH, to try us, and make us WHITE in the righteousness of God! It's a prime means of developing us for HIS KINGDOM. Either we endure in the joy of our glorious Mission — or we lose salvation! Eternity is at stake!
Now here's the situation we face: TELEVISION is proving more and more of a magnet, capturing the interest and the TIME of the American people. They are being DRUGGED by it! Most sponsors are the tobacco manufacturers, the liquor industry, the cosmetics producers. Most shows are crime, murder mysteries, insane slap- stick comedy, variety vaudeville programs, or panel shows that do not really educate as we like to think they do — mere AMUSEMENT, passing away — WASTING — precious TIME God gave us to develop CHARACTER and His Righteousness! TV is becoming a national CURSE!
Co-Workers, if God's work is to survive, we have to face the Television situation! As of last year RADIO was receiving only about 40% as many listening hours as formerly. This year TV is cutting in on RADIO listening even more. Today, not much more than A THIRD as many people are listening to RADIO at any given hour, as four years ago.
It's a life-and-death DILEMMA? Co-Workers, do you realize that if we had not gone on the Network about 16 months ago — and since, on more and more of the top-flight, basic 50,000-watt NBC and CBS stations — this work would probably have DIED before now!
OUR REAL PROBLEM IS TELEVISION!
What does it mean? WHAT is the solution? First of all — let's FACE IT, or God's work will DIE — look at fact number ONE, stated above: Never have so many NEW Co-Workers been joining us every week and every month as NOW, YET INCOME FOR GOD'S WORK IS DROPPING UNDER THE SAME WEEKS A YEAR AGO, when very few new Co-Workers were starting! Now that means only ONE THING. Many of our regular established Co-Workers are NEGLECTING their interest in GOD and HIS WORK!
Second, then, WHY? Dear Co-Workers, isn't it obvious? Are you Co-Workers not human, too? Are most of YOU not being ensnared, drugged, made careless and neglectful of that which means YOUR OWN ETERNAL SALVATION by this same new temptation which has come to TRY us — TELEVISION? Yes, let's face it! LET'S WAKE UP! Many of you dear Co-Workers, perhaps not realizing what is actually happening to you, are getting SO WRAPPED UP in the mystery murder stories, the panel programs, and the comedy shows or movies put on TV to sell more tobacco, liquor, cosmetics and other products, that, when it's time for GOD'S PROGRAM, "The World Tomorrow," to come on the air, you are just too strongly TEMPTED to turn on TV and PASS AWAY TIME pleasantly under the magic spell of the commercial interests of THIS WORLD! So, once in a while at first, then more and more often, many of YOU CO-WORKERS whom GOD has called to HIS WORK, have fallen for the devil's subtle temptation to NEGLECT hearing GOD'S WORD on His programs and instead have been DECEIVED and pleasingly (to your SENSUAL appetites) been lulled to sleep by fascinating TV programs that HAVE NOT BENEFITTED YOU, but which are a CURSE in your life! Yes, they MAY be cheating you out of ETERNAL LIFE!
Night before last, my son Ted came to our house, lugging in his TV set.
"Dad, he said, "may I store this thing in your basement, or attic, or some-place? It's begun to prove a CURSE — taking precious TIME away from my BIBLE studies and college work, and I've decided to put temptation out of my home." That's the way my younger son has licked this problem. Our other son, Dick, is unmarried and still living with us, but if TV happens to be on, he invariably goes upstairs to his own room to STUDY. These boys of ours have given their lives to GOD in the service of Christ — they have overcome tobacco and other habits, and now, as young ordained ministers of Jesus Christ, have realized they also must meet and overcome the TV HABIT if their lives are to be USED in God's work.
The same is true of Herman Hoeh, Roderick Meredith, Dr. Meredith, Raymond Cole, Raymond McNair, and our other young ministers in God's service in this work. They know they can't serve GOD and the interests, entertainments, and ways of THIS WORLD. Now the liquor industry, the tobacco manufacturers, and the commercial interests of THE WORLD are getting THEIR tempting entertainments right into YOUR HOMES, by TV! And I know well that SO MANY of our Co-Workers have carelessly been deceived by this clever and alluring device that they are NEGLECTING their own salvation and the GLORIOUS PRIVILEGE God has given them — (does this mean YOU?) — in His work!
That's WHY the funds needed for God's work in this crisis hour are falling off, even while, because of so many new super- power radio stations broadcasting the program, NEW Co-Workers are being added more rapidly than ever!
WELL, NOW! — does all this mean that TV itself is an evil and sinful instrument? Not at all! It merely means a harmful and sinful USE is being made of it. It merely means that Satan does recognize that TELEVISION is the most POWERFUL medium for INFLUENCING PEOPLE ever available on earth! Satan has been wise and cunning enough to seize on this powerful medium, and put it to his EVIL use!
TV can and ought to be put to a RIGHTEOUS USE. Until now, TV has not fitted in with GOD'S PROGRAM of evangelism for The World Tomorrow. Even now, God is opening THE WAY that this most powerful medium of all may be used to influence people with HIS TRUTH.
OUR calling, dear Co-Workers, is to WARN this nation — and the entire WORLD! Not to be drawn into the world's pitfalls and evils with it! It all boils down to this: UNLESS, very frankly, enough of you Co-Workers will WAKE UP, realize your sober and God- given responsibility and wonderful PRIVILEGE of being a Co-Worker in HIS WORK, this most important activity on earth will fail — and DIE!
But if you will shake yourselves out of this lethargy — (you who have fallen into it) — keep tuning in every night (or day) to GOD'S PROGRAM, remain loyal and faithful, keep sacrificing — be honest with God's tithe and generous with your offerings according to your own ability, — then this work right now is on the very threshold of a breath-taking LEAP FORWARD in world power and scope — and this whole world will soon be SHAKEN TO ITS VERY FOUNDATION WITH GOD'S LAST WARNING MESSAGE!
Yes, dear Co-Workers, IF we can survive this present dilemma, we are on the very threshold of a mighty surge of power that will SHAKE THIS WORLD! The very POWER OF GOD is in His work! But also, the efforts of YOU and MYSELF must be whole-heartedly IN God's work in full zeal — for God's way is to work THROUGH human instruments!
Here we are at the SUPREME CRISIS OF ALL — the final turning point! I tell you, dear Co-Workers, your own salvation for eternity is at stake, right along with the fate of GOD'S WORK! The two go hand in hand, in a way most of you may not have realized — because HIS WORK is what God has called us to in preparing us — developing us — trying and testing us, and TRAINING us, for ETERNAL LIFE IN HIS KINGDOM! That's GOD'S WAY! He has provided something for us to DO! If we shirk it, neglect it, let worldly entertainment and time-wasting appeal to pleasure absorb our time and our minds and interest, and take us AWAY from whole-hearted interest and ZEAL for HIS WORK, then we ourselves are LOSING OUT WITH GOD, drifting away from Him — and we are causing His glorious work to fail!
Dear Co-Workers, will you take this SERIOUSLY? Will you go to a private place, close the door, and PRAY over this — PRAY EARNESTLY for this work, as you never did before?
As I said at the beginning, I NEED YOUR PRAYERS, desperately! We need now, desperately, many large sums. Maybe you don't have such a large sum to put into God's work — but You can PRAY, in real travailing prayer that God will move on the hearts of those who do have, and are able — if their hearts are willing. We need an avalanche of widows' mites. GOD'S WORK IS IN DIRE NEED! Please take it with me boldly to the throne of grace, where unitedly we may find grace to HELP in this time of need!