IN THIS AGE of the "Sputnik" and "Explorer" earth satellites — in this age of TREMENDOUS change in all life and thought, caused by the fantastic scientific inventions of man — where is the voice of God's PROPHET? What does Almighty GOD have to say about the awesome time in which we live? IS THERE REALLY A GOD? Has God forsaken His creatures? Why do we behold the deafening SILENCE from the professing ministers of God about the real meaning of the age in which we live? Or, if we hear anything at all, why is the message couched in generalities, in uncertainties, in empty platitudes, in the mumbo-jumbo double talk so familiar to theologians? Yes, WHY if God is speaking through the ministers today?
The Shocking Truth
Part of the answer is revealed in recent surveys of American churchgoers. Notice! One recent survey found that more than half of those interviewed were unable to name even one of the four Gospels! Another survey asked people whether they felt that religion was "very important." A vast majority of Americans said that it was. But then they were asked: "Would you say that your religious beliefs have any effect on your ideas on politics and business?" Fifty-four per cent said, "No." Pollsters found that eighty per cent of Americans believe Christ is God. But when thirty outstanding Americans were recently asked to name the hundred most important events in history, the birth of Christ came fourteenth — tied with the discovery of X-ray and the Wright brothers' first plane flight! In the light of these facts, is it any wonder that the American church-goer is IGNORANT of any possible relationship between the Bible and the momentous times in which we live?
Same Shocking Conditions in Britain
It is significant that a Gallup Poll in Britain disclosed similar findings. As reported by the London "News Chronicle," the religious poll in Britain revealed that: "Only one in nine regards acceptance of the New Testament as the hallmark of a Christian. In the view of most people it is no longer essential to accept the Bible as Gospel to be a Christian." The poll also revealed: "The trend today is away from the churches and from the concept of a personal God, towards the uncertainty of agnosticism and the impersonality of a life force." It may be painful to admit — especially in the face of growing "modernism" and moral laxity — but people follow their leaders! If the ministers of Britain and America were thundering to their congregations the message of the Bible, if they were reading, explaining and expounding the very word of God in the church services, their flocks would automatically come to understand the reality of God and the importance of His will and way. There is a REASON for the appalling ignorance and spiritual lethargy existing even among those who attend church regularly!
Why No Prophets Today?
Many people have wondered why God Almighty has not inspired the lips of denominational preachers with prophetic messages on the meaning of the awesome events occurring before our eyes. WHY are the pulpits so silent or so vague in the face of some of the most dramatic events in earth's history? Here again, the real reason is that the minister are not studying and preaching the BIBLE as the solid foundation of all their ministry. Remember that Jesus said we are to live by EVERY word of God. Did you know that fully ONE THIRD of the Bible is prophecy? How many sermons on Bible PROPHECY have you heard in church during the past year? Does this number represent about one third of the total? If not, WHY not? God revealed to the apostle Paul the spiritual degeneracy that would dominate in these last days. Under inspiration, Paul warned Timothy: "Preach the WORD; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." How FEW are the ministers who preach this way today! Paul continued: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (II Timothy 4:2-4). Paul's prophetic warning has become a sad REALITY! In increasing number, the new leaders of this professed Christianity consist of modernists, psychologists and "do-gooder" sociologists — all of whom have practically no knowledge whatever of the Bible, and very little interest in acquiring any. Is it any wonder that church members themselves exhibit an abysmal ignorance of what is supposedly the very source of their beliefs?
How the Bible is Regarded
Perhaps many of you have not fully realized the extent to which our modern-day organized church denominations have departed completely and absolutely from the Bible in their faith and practice — and in many cases without any apologies whatever. The following newspaper headline illustrates this heathenish trend: "Biblical Law Ignored,' Ladies Will Preach." The newspaper article continues: "Two of the nation's largest Protestant denominations are making a clean break with St. Paul's classic advice to early Christians: 'Let your women keep silent in the churches.' Henceforth, women will be able to speak — with the full authority of ordained ministers..." Ask yourself candidly, how do you think Jesus Christ feels about that headline — "Biblical Law Ignored"? Did you notice the careful way in which this newspaper writer worded his announcement of rank heresy? He said the denominations were making a break with Paul's "classic" advice to "early" Christians. Let us correct that misleading statement! These two large denominations are making a dean break with Paul's inspired COMMAND to ALL Christians of EVERY generation! God's Word tells us: "ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (II Tim. 3:16). No matter how well organized, how deeply entrenched within our social structure, how highly regarded by this world's society any group of ministers may be, they CANNOT be the true ministers of God if they reject His Word and refuse obedience to His commands! When men openly substitute human reason and the customs of worldly society for the divine revelation of God, then we have "respectable" PAGANISM! Such worship is a vain thing in the eyes of God. Jesus said: "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Mark 7:7). Then He added: "Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition" (verse 9). How often do the dignified clergymen of today announce that such and such a custom has been "hallowed" by "traditional" observance in their particular denomination? Since when does human reason or human tradition hallow — or make holy — anything? No, it is GOD who sets the standards. It is Almighty GOD who determines what is right and what is wrong — not a divided and confused "churchianity."
What Is Sin?
Another example of how denominational leaders cast aside the Bible authority was given to me not long ago in the form of a newspaper advertisement. It was a religious advertisement by a major Protestant denomination, and the headline read: "What is SIN?" In the key paragraph which answers the question, this Church publicly states: "The way we look at it — that is, the way it's interpreted to us — sin is defined as the error of imposing our own wills over God's will." To anyone who does not know his Bible, this might not seem like such a bad definition. But if you think about it, this "definition" of sin is not a definition of sin at all! It leaves completely open for interpretation what God's will really is. And only the answer to THAT defines what sin is! Moreover, this man-made definition completely overlooks and evades the plain, clear, divinely inspired definition of sin given in the Bible. In I John 3:4, God says: "Sin Is the transgression of the law." What is wrong with GOD'S definition of sin? The truth of the matter is that churchmen don't like God's definition and they don't like God's law as summarized in the Ten Commandments. Taken for what is says, that law strips bare all the rottenness and perversity that has crept into modern churchianity! Instead of admitting this — and correcting it — men prefer to reason: "The way WE look at it — that is, the way it's interpreted [by whom] to us..." It's time to WAKE up! Do you begin to realize how FAR modern "Christendom" has departed from the Christianity of the New Testament? Do you see WHY God has not raised up any inspired prophets as a part of modern churchianity? Why such little understanding of these times is voiced from the pulpits? Why the inspired voice of Divine AUTHORITY is lacking among today's prominent religious leaders?
Can We UNDERSTAND?
Many people become frustrated and turn away from religion altogether because their ministers do not understand the meaning of these turbulent times. They seem able to preach only empty platitudes which have no connection with the dramatic happenings about us. The obvious reason is that these ministers do NOT study or understand whole sections of the Bible. The vital one third of the Bible which is devoted to prophecy is particularly neglected. But many other parts which make possible a right understanding of prophecy are also considered "unimportant" and unknown. Shocking as it may seem, even the very plan of salvation is not considered "important" to understand by some of the well known evangelists touring the nation and the world! A while back, on a radio broadcast, I was surprised to hear one such well-known evangelist say in effect: "You say you can't understand all the complexities of God's plan as revealed in the Gospels? Well, you don't need to understand it. Don't TRY to understand it now. Just come to God through simple faith in Jesus Christ." Without being sarcastic, I would like to ask — how "simple" can your faith be when you don't even attempt to understand the truth on which God's Plan is founded? The apostle Paul was inspired to write: "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but UNDERSTANDING what the will of the Lord is" (Eph. 5:17). The instruction he gave Timothy is recorded for Christians of all ages: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Tim. 2:15). We can understand the Bible if we will study it, and if we will OBEY it. The lack of willingness to obey God has caused many a minister and many a church to close their eyes for all time to basic scriptural truth. All too often, ministers hire themselves out to the people and preach only what the people want to hear. As a warning to ministers of every age, God says: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children" (Hosea 4:6). If any church or any individual is willing to OBEY God's law, and to walk in the light as God reveals that light, God's plan and purpose WILL be understood. But the Holy Spirit is given only to those who OBEY God (Acts 5:32). "A good understanding have all they that Do his commandments" (Psalm 111:10). And an inspired understanding of Bible prophecy is available to those who will obey God's law! You can KNOW what lies just ahead, and understand the real meaning of the dramatic age in which we live!
God's Prophetic Warning Is Being Preached
God has NOT left this confused, divided, war-torn world without an inspired PROPHETIC MESSAGE revealing the exact course of future events — and the vital meaning of these times in God's great Plan. There is one work — one Church — which alone is preaching to the nations the same message of repentance and obedience which Jesus preached, and which is being used and empowered by Almighty God in preaching His prophetic WARNING to the entire world. It is not a big, popular, organized denomination of men — because God NEVER used such an organization to carry His prophetic warnings. You will search the Bible in vain for an example of this. God's Church today is not "accepted" by the ecclesiastical organizations of men. And it should not be! Jesus said: "woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets" (Luke 6:26). Christ called His Church the "little flock" (Luke 12:32). He said it would be scattered and persecuted (John 15:20). But God always describes His Church as an obedient Church — keeping ALL of His commandments. "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" (Rev. 14:12). Because of their willingness to obey, God has opened wide an understanding of the Bible prophecies to His servants. His Church is now preaching with Divine AUTHORITY the exact, specific and DEFINITE prophesied events that lie just ahead in world affairs. His Church is the only one that is warning America and Britain of the imminent DANGER that looms just ahead for our peoples — of where that danger lies, when it will manifest itself, how it will come about, and WHY God is permitting it. No, God's inspired prophets have NOT vanished from the earth! In specific terms, His servants are now beginning to THUNDER His warning message to a misguided, heedless world! You are NOW reading part of that message! Within this present living generation, men and nations will come to realize that the message you hear over The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast and read in The PLAIN TRUTH magazine is directly from Almighty God, the Creator-Ruler of the universe!
Regardless of the PROOF of fulfilled prophecy and the evidence of an inspired understanding of God's Word, carnal human church leaders will always seek to justify themselves. They will viciously attack, slander, and label as "irresponsible" anyone who disagrees with their basic doctrines and who will not join or "co-operate" with their ecclesiastical-political machine. The charge of "irresponsible" is the one most frequently leveled against those who refuse to conform. In actual fact, by "irresponsible" ministers they mean those who are not appointed or elected by some board or human organization of men which, in turn, is elected by the lay church members. Also, to be considered "responsible" the minister and church must be an active part of the ecclesiastical organizations and councils of the land. They must show an attitude of going along with and co-operating with the various church agencies established and controlled by the major Protestant denominations. In order to have a "clean bill of health," their doctrine must not be considered "offensive" to any of the major denominations. The "responsible" minister must also take an active part in the political and social life of his community. He should be a member of the Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary Club or similar organizations. In all things, he should demonstrate his approval and participation in the community's civic and social organizations. In plain language, to be considered "responsible" a minister must be PART AND PARCEL WITH THIS HELL-BENT WORLD! In the final analysis, he must be "responsible" to the people and preach what THEY want to hear, take part in their PAGAN traditions, and approve of their SINFUL ways! Now let's get this straight once and for all! God's true ministers are NOT called by men. They are called and inspired by Him. They are NOT responsible to men — but to God! They are to serve the people by preaching God's message whether the people like it or not! God's ministers must come OUT of this world — its human organizations and societies (James 4:4). They must preach the TRUTH — regardless of whom it offends. A true minister must be totally SURRENDERED to the rule and will of Almighty God. He must STUDY the Bible humbly as a little child to drink God's will out of it — not to read his denomination's doctrine into it. He must let God's Word CORRECT and REPROVE him where he is wrong. He must obey ALL of God's commandments through Christ in Him. Not trying to argue or reason around it, he must strive to LIVE by EVERY word of God. He must surrender to let God guide him, use him, speak through him. Is such a man a "responsible" minister? Yes, he is totally "responsible" to Almighty GOD! Now do you understand? As proof, turn and read some of the other fascinating articles in this magazine! In each issue are prophetic articles and they will tell you EXACTLY and SPECIFICALLY what is soon going to occur. The doctrinal articles will reveal a depth of understanding of God's Word, plan and purpose that is unsurpassed. This is the ONLY work on earth where this spiritual and prophetic understanding is available. There is NO OTHER source! Many of you have realized this and have wondered why. That is because the ministers in this Work of God are truly "responsible." They are God's ministers — and this is the work of God's true Church! "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."