I want to sit down right now to write and tell you how much I do appreciate your interest in learning the TRUTH, and being a subscriber to The PLAIN TRUTH.
Each year about this Thanksgiving time I like to write a letter to our subscribers to express my THANKS and gratitude, and to answer some of the questions many of our readers and radio listeners ask.
So many have asked, "WHY do you send the magazine FREE?" "WHO sponsors and pays for your broadcasts, telecasts, magazines and booklets?" "What DENOMINATION are you?" "HOW can you carry on the radio program without ever asking for money on the air as all other religious broadcasts do?"
I'm going to give you the frank and straightforward answer. You have a right to know all about this great work of God—and about me.
First let me say—this may sound incredible, but it's true—JESUS CHRIST FORETOLD THIS VERY WORK—IT IS, ITSELF, THE FULFILLMENT OF HIS PROPHECY (Matthew 24:14 and Mark 13:10)!
Prophecies all through the New and the Old Testaments foretell that in these latter days GOD IS GOING TO INTERVENE IN WORLD AFFAIRS, before the march of science toward DESTRUCTION annihilates human life from off this planet. What few realize is that GOD ALREADY HAS STARTED that divine intervention in world affairs! It started so small, through instruments of God's choosing, that the world was not at first aware of it.
Back in 1934 God began RESTORING the knowledge of THE KINGDOM of GOD to those who would listen. That knowledge—the true GOSPEL or Jesus Christ—is being thundered with constantly multiplied power over ever-increasing areas, now WORLD-WIDE. God is now pleading with people around the world, THRU PREACHING—by A MESSAGE OF LOVE—to REPENT, surrender and return to GOD in obedience thru Jesus Christ as Saviour and High Priest and soon- coming KING. Of course the world—except for the poor-in-spirit FEW—will not heed mere preaching. Soon God will begin to plead with PHYSICAL FORCE—with PLAGUES—with PUNISHMENT—with the only language a rebellious mankind will heed. Meantime, God has decreed that we finish the work to which He has called us—the Great Commission of Jesus Christ—proclaiming HIS Gospel to all the world as a witness to all nations!
Astounding as it may seem, there is no other work on earth proclaiming to the whole world THIS VERY SAME GOSPEL that Jesus taught and proclaimed!
How God called me to His ministry—how, years before that, He had prepared me by education and experience for this very work— how it all started, is being told in considerable detail in my autobiography, now being published serially each month in The PLAIN TRUTH. You probably have read part or all of it. In these installments I am just now coming to the time when God struck me down—took away my business, and brought about my conversion. In these articles you'll get the whole story—how God opened His TRUTH—made the Bible an open Book—set me in spite of myself in HIS SERVICE as His minister—opened the mighty doors of radio and the printing press, very small at first, but ever expanding to WORLD-WIDE POWER!—to proclaim GOD'S LAST WARNING MESSAGE—yes, Christ's OWN GOSPEL of the soon-coming END of this world, and the nearness of the KINGDOM OF GOD!
And LISTEN AGAIN! Read this twice! Realize this, incredible tho it may seem—NO OTHER WORK ON EARTH IS PROCLAIMING THIS TRUE GOSPEL OF CHRIST TO THE WHOLE WORLD, as Jesus foretold in Matthew 24:14 and Mark 13:10!!
This is the most important activity on earth today!
Now to answer some of the often-asked questions:
This great work is NON-denominational! It is GOD'S OWN WORK—not ours! HOW IS IT FINANCED? WHO IS BACK OF IT? Only GOD is back of it, by living faith! Back in the fall of 1933 I came to see by experience that if any denomination sponsored me or paid my salary, I would be muzzled—forced to preach as men decreed! At that time MEN paid me a very small salary. They demanded that I preach and baptize contrary to the Bible, but according to their HUMAN doctrines. I replied that I would serve GOD faithfully, and not men—that henceforth I would look to God ALONE as Employer— trusting HIM alone for every financial need. He has PROMISED to supply our every NEED! I relied on Him to do it—and HE DID!
At that time it was necessary to hitch-hike to meetings to preach. I had no automobile. I was preaching in a country one-room school house. One farmer said to me: "Mr. Armstrong, you won't last long."
"Why?" I asked.
"Because you are preaching the BIBLE exactly as it is—and the Bible is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for REPROOF and CORRECTION. It's like a sharp two-edged sword—it cuts people both ways. People don't like to be corrected or reproved. People won't support it! YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT SUPPORT. No, you won't last long, preaching the BIBLE exactly as it is!"
I was offered a good salary to team up with a nationally- known evangelist—PROVIDED I would stop preaching certain vital TRUTHS of the BIBLE, and preach what men told me to preach. Later, in Hollywood, I was offered $100,000 a year—with assurances it would be raised to $200,000 a year once we gained a good audience rating—to become a news analyst on a major network, using a certain amount of prophetic background, for a large manufacturer in the food industry. But of course I would be MUZZLED! I have received flattering offers of having the radio program SPONSORED— again provided I would serve MEN instead of GOD! I have been persecuted, threatened, opposed. Ministers have opposed me—tried to destroy me. Communists have threatened my life. But I rely on God to protect it, as I have continued to rely on GOD ALONE, thru those whose hearts HE moves, for financial support—for EVERY need!
It has been a rough road. It has been a hard battle. Never has it been easy. People have forsaken me, threatened, persecuted. But GOD HAS NEVER LEFT NOR FORSAKEN ME! He has permitted trials, temptations, apparently insurmountable obstacles. Yet He has always protected, delivered, prospered. He has blessed with wisdom, and every spiritual blessing. HE HAS VINDICATED HIS WORD! This is HIS WORK—GOD ALMIGHTY HAS BEEN ABLE TO PROVIDE FOR IT, AND TO EXPAND IT CONSTANTLY IN POWER AND SCOPE!
The broadcast started on one little station of the smallest power of commercial radio stations—100 watts. And it was ONCE A WEEK only. It started the first Sunday in 1934. The first issue of The PLAIN TRUTH came out February 1st, 1934—a little mimeographed "magazine." From that smallest possible beginning— as God always starts things small thru human agencies, but causes them, like the grain of mustard seed, to GROW—it has grown and expanded until today God's Message is thundered to the world over more than FIVE MILLION WATTS of radio power every week! 175,000 copies of The Plain Truth are read every month. And the Message is published monthly in 1« MILLION COPIES of Cappers' Farmer, in a large advertising space of a page and a third.
WHAT IS THE REAL MEANING of this growing WORK OF GOD?
It MEANS the same thing that this new SPACE AGE and this NEW WORLD WAR of science and technology mean. It MEANS that it is LATER THAN YOU THINK!
It seems this world is hurtling to ITS END! It means that YOU, and your children, will not be living here 25 years from now! It means that if God Almighty does not soon intervene, THE FORCES OF SCIENCE AND THE MILITARY FORCES OF MAN-RULED GOVERNMENTS WILL BLAST ALL HUMAN LIFE FROM OFF THIS PLANET! Don't blame me for this—I did not create it! It is merely my job, as God's specially-called servant, to WARN the world!
It MEANS that this great and growing WORK of GOD is today THE MOST IMPORTANT ACTIVITY ON EARTH. Your only hope of escaping the frightful catastrophes MEN are bringing on the world is THE PROTECTION OF THE LOVING AND ALL-POWERFUL GOD WHICH WE PROCLAIM!
HOW, then, is this work financed?
Some write in and ask, "Would you be offended if I send a contribution to help in this work?" Why, of course not!—but, unless you voluntarily, without any request from us, become an active CO-WORKER with me in this work of God, you are never going to be ASKED for it!
LISTEN! UNDERSTAND! This is the WORK OF GOD. It is conducted GOD'S WAY. It is utterly unlike the Churches or businesses of this world—it is different from MAN'S way. WE RELY SOLELY ON GOD FOR EVERY NEED—and the financial need for this work is very great.
But HOW does God provide? God does not rain down ten- dollar bills or thousand-dollar bills from heaven. GOD WORKS THRU HUMAN INSTRUMENTS. God could thunder HIS OWN Message to you, by HIS OWN voice. But He doesn't—He uses my voice and my pen as His INSTRUMENT. God COULD supply the financial need for His work by a mysterious miracle—but that is not GOD'S WAY. He supplies this need thru those whose hearts He has made willing. But WE do not look to YOU! We do not rely on PEOPLE! If we did I learned long ago I would have to SERVE people, and preach what they WANT instead of what GOD SAYS in His Word! No. I look to GOD—I rely on HIM to stir the hearts of those HE makes willing—that they will voluntarily become CO-WORKERS WITH CHRIST AND WITH ME.
And so we never beg for money over the air. We never ask for money in the PLAIN TRUTH. We put NO PRICE on Christ's precious GOSPEL. God has shown us that HIS GOSPEL IS FREE—it must not be cheapened by being SOLD like merchandise! Every month we return more than $100 which people send in to PAY FOR a booklet or a copy of the magazine. Neither John D. Rockefeller nor Henry Ford has enough money to PAY FOR a subscription to The PLAIN TRUTH! It is FREE!
God's LAW is LOVE! That is God's WAY—the way of LOVE! Love is giving and sharing. More than thirty years ago, when God brought me low, I GAVE my life to Him. He took it and has used it. My wife and I have GIVEN to His service our whole lives. God has given us His LOVE—He has given us JOY—He has given us HIS HOLY SPIRIT, and LIFE EVERLASTING, in ABUNDANT HAPPINESS! What a bargain!
Years ago—now 25 years ago—a little handful of people, imbued with God's LOVE in their hearts, joined me as Co-Workers together with CHRIST. Each year more people have willingly, happily, joyfully joined with us and with Christ in a MINISTRY OF LOVE, giving of their financial means, faithfully TITHING to God's cause, that they with me may have part in GIVING this Glorious GOSPEL to the world FREE—without money and without price—so that I may never have to solicit money on the broadcasts, or in our free literature.
And so YOU have received these spiritual GOOD THINGS, as a token of THEIR LOVE, and of CHRIST'S LOVE. You, I feel sure, have benefited. But our Co-Workers and I have BENEFITED most, because IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE! Yes, we who GIVE receive the greater blessing! And so a purpose of this letter is to THANK YOU for letting US GIVE of this GOOD NEWS to YOU!
Our policy is this: We do not solicit money over the air, nor in any of our free literature. No one is ever ASKED for financial support UNLESS and UNTIL he or she has sent in VOLUNTARY and unsolicited contributions (or tithes) at least two or three times within a six-months' period—or, unless one actually expresses a desire to be a regular Co-Worker. Then, those who do become Co-Workers with me and with Christ in HIS WORK receive from me a monthly letter, reporting the progress of this work. If their treasure is in this work, Christ says their hearts are also in it. So we know they are interested in its plans, its progress, and its problems—as well as its needs. I DO ask these Co-Workers for contributions when needed—which, in the course and nature of things, seems to be continually. But YOU will never intentionally be asked for any money or contributions—unless or until YOU, yourself, by this means show us you wish to be. That is our policy. IT IS GOD'S WAY! I felt you have a right to this candid explanation.
From the first we have relied, in this way, ON GOD in FAITH. Of course our faith is often sorely tried. It seems always to be tried in a very special way at the Christmas season—now once again approaching.
At this season most people, apparently not realizing what they are doing, FORGET any gift for CHRIST and His work! It does seem strange and paradoxical, doesn't it? And yet people become SO ABSORBED in exchanging Christmas presents with their friends and relatives, they seem to overlook CHRIST entirely! They SUPPOSE they are celebrating CHRIST'S birthday, yet their birthday presents are not for Christ—but for business customers, friends, and relatives!
Did you ever stop to think about that? At this season people seem to have a very GENEROUS spirit—for all except Him whose birthday they think they are celebrating! They spend lavishly for Christmas presents. It would seem their gifts ought to go to CHRIST for His Work, wouldn't it? Ask people WHY they buy Christmas presents, and they reply, "Why, to follow the example started by the wise men who gave their gifts to CHRIST!"
But does anyone ever stop to realize that those wise men did not exchange presents back and forth among themselves—they gave their gifts to Christ! And few people know that the wise men were not giving the Christ child birthday presents at all—for they presented their gifts actually weeks after His birthday! It was simply an eastern custom to present gifts to a KING when coming into His presence—and they knew Jesus was born to be A KING!
Why don't you write for our book of plain facts about CHRISTMAS? This booklet is rather shocking—but it's TRUE—you can check up on every statement in your Bible and at your public library.
And 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, in the PLAIN TRUTH.
I feel, sincerely, it is a far greater privilege 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 privileges He grants you in receiving. But, WE'RE BOTH BLESSED!
And may I add a word about the new booklet, "The PROOF of the Bible," and also "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 me and enroll by return mail. There is no charge—no tuition. Ask for further information about it if you prefer. I enclose a self-addressed envelope for your enrollment.
THANK YOU AGAIN, for your interest in the precious things of GOD!