I REMEMBER the first article I ever read in The Plain Truth. It was back in 1959. The magazine had been coming to our house for several months, but I had not taken much notice of it. Then one evening my mother or someone left a copy lying open at an article about space travel — a subject I was becoming interested in. I started reading casually, then with more interest. Just when I was starting to think that maybe there might be something to this Plain Truth magazine after all, the writer ruined everything. He quoted the Bible. That did it! I looked through the rest of the issue. Sure enough, there were several interesting articles, but they all ended up quoting scriptures. Why? What did the Bible have to do with the space race, the decline of the British Empire or a crisis in Berlin? I found it very irritating. The Plain Truth was otherwise a potentially interesting magazine. Now, 26 years later, I'm doing the same thing to others. Do you sometimes feel like I did? Do the scriptures in The Plain Truth annoy you? Do you ever put down this magazine with exasperation and ask, Can't they write anything without rounding it off with a quotation from the Psalms, the prophet Ezekiel or the gospel according to Luke? Why does The Plain Truth keep "bringing the Bible into that"?
A Point of View
Every major magazine has a point of view. Each sees the issues of the day from its particular editorial vantage point. Scattered around my office are many publications, Some represent quiet, conservative values. Others are more extreme. One newsmagazine published in Europe has a Third World readership in mind. No question where the editors are coming from — the United States is always wrong, and terrorists of any ilk are invariably "liberation fronts." Get past that and you have an informative, well-written publication that keeps you up on what's happening in Africa and Asia. The point is that most publications, in catering to their readers interests, present their material from a particular slant. But what about The Plain Truth? When it began, more than 50 years ago now, the founder and editor had in mind a publication that would fill a gap in publishing. In that difficult decade of the 30s — as now — just about every point of view was represented except one. Rarely was anyone asking, "What did God have to say about things?" Herbert W. Armstrong had begun to understand that he was living in the end of an age, and that society was about to go into its final tailspin. The world was becoming more selfish and materialistic, and although paying lip service to religion, was steadily losing contact with truth and reality. (Sorry to bring this up right now, but even the apostle Paul told us that would happen. It's in his second letter to Timothy, chapter three, verses 1-5.) The world needed a magazine that would accurately represent God's point of view. So The Plain Truth was founded to fill that gap — to explain what God had to say about the news and the great issues of the day. That's a bold claim. Yet we've been doing that for half a century! How do we do it?
Is the news of the day a series of isolated happenings, or is there indeed something big going on behind the scenes? If so, how do the apparently unrelated events fit into that pattern? The answer is the prophecies once delivered to ancient Israel and recorded by the prophets. Those prophecies, when you really understand them, give shape and form to the news of today... and tomorrow. We would not presume to help our readers understand what is really going on without constantly referring to them. What about moral issues and social trends in our turbulent society? What is right and what is wrong? Who should decide? If anyone is entitled to say how mankind should live, surely it is mankind's Creator. He gave instructions that we have chosen to ignore. Those instructions are the laws of God and are recorded in the Bible. They are bedrock truth. Our readers, caught in the cross fire of experimental values, need to know what God's law says about how they live — or should live — their lives. In our stress-filled society, people need encouragement, consolation, inspiration and entertainment. The quest for happiness and fulfillment has taken us in some bizarre directions. The world is full of false hopes and emotional blind alleys. Is there anything genuine to believe in and positive to work for among the mixed-up values? Is there any real hope for the future? Is there indeed any meaning to life at all? Once again, the answers are available in the pages of God's instruction book, the Holy Bible. So that's why we quote the Bible so often. We never just "add a few scriptures" to make our articles sound nice and pious. We don't use a scripture unless it is truly relevant to our subject. But as we sort through the news of the day from wire services in our news bureau and as we examine the issues of the moment, those quotations from Psalms, Ezekiel, the gospel of Luke and the other books of the Bible do become irresistibly relevant. God does have something to reveal about our lives and our world, and The Plain Truth would not be true to its founding principles if we didn't say what God reveals in his instruction book.