Thousands of you have sent our family letters or cards of sympathy after being notified of the untimely death of Richard D. Armstrong, resulting from an automobile accident.
It would take so long to address envelopes for this acknowledgment to so many that I have decided to make this a general letter to all who are Co-Workers with us in God's precious work. This way your names and addresses can be quickly printed on by our addressing machine.
Our whole family wishes to express our deep gratitude and love to you.
We all feel as my wife expressed to me when she, after being the first to read a large bundle of these expressions of sympathy, said to me:
"All these wonderful letters from all parts of the United States have given me a completely new conception of this wonderful work of God and all these brethren and Co-Workers God has called to work with us. They have laid bare their hearts to us. They have shown the deep LOVE they have, not only for God and His work, but for us as the family God has called and used in the direction of His work—and the love all who knew him had for Dick. This has completely opened my eyes. I didn't realize there was so much LOVE in the hearts of those God is using in His work. This is the greatest encouragement I've ever had. This is the one greatest proof that this is GOD'S OWN CHURCH, carrying on GOD'S OWN WORK —bearing this choicest fruit of all—brotherly LOVE."
Truly, the fruits prove that those of us God has called to be used as His instruments in HIS WORK, proclaiming HIS GOSPEL MESSAGE to the whole world as a witness, do constitute that era of God's Church described in Revelation 3:7-13—the "Philadelphia Church." It is said Philadelphia means "brotherly love." This is the era or stage of God's true Church for which He has OPENED THE DOOR of facilities for mass evangelism—the powerful door of radio, television, and the printing press. This is the Church fulfilling the divine Commission for this time, "This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached (and published-Mark 13:10) in all the world as a witness unto all nations, and then shall the END (of this world) come" (Matt. 24:14).
We, brethren, are the true Body of Christ—the collective Body in which the same Holy Spirit lives and works that lived and worked in the human body of Jesus Christ over 1900 years ago. That same Spirit lived and worked in the physical body of Richard David Armstrong—in great power. That same Spirit lives and works in us who remain to finish the work of God. We must remain UNITED, in love, and in faith and POWER!
"Yes, God has tempered the Body together, with a special dignity for the inferior parts, so that there may be no disunion of the Body, but that the various members should have a common concern for one another. Thus, if one member suffers, all the members share its suffering; if one member is honored, all the members share its honor. Now YOU are Christ's Body, and severally members of it." (I Cor. 12:24-27, Moffatt translation.)
Your thousands of kind letters and cards have shown us how you have all suffered this unexpected and sudden tragedy with us—how you have all had a heart-felt deep CONCERN with us.
Dick's last sermon, just a few days before his terrible accident, was centered on admonishing us to have a common concern for one another—how much we NEED the fellowship and the prayers of one another. He told of his long and lonesome stay in London, some few years ago, when he was setting up and establishing the work Or God in Europe and establishing its overseas headquarters in London. He told how he was not privileged to know a single Christian on that side of the Atlantic ocean. We all felt pretty sad and guilty as he mentioned that we had been too busy and occupied to write but a very few letters, which came few and far between, and how, without Christian fellowship, he fell to the lowest spiritual ebb of his Christian life. But it is a tremendous satisfaction to us that, since then, he rose continually to ever-increasing spiritual heights, overcoming, growing in grace and Christ's knowledge, and in usefulness and power in God's work. He pleaded, in that sermon that struck deep into every heart, for us to have this common concern for one another—to keep fervently and earnestly PRAYING for one another, sharing one another's burdens, sorrows, sufferings, victories and joys.
Those in our family, unable to find words properly to express it, do wish to try to express to you our deep gratitude that YOU, members with us in the Spirit-empowered Body of Christ dedicated together in HIS WORK, have proved in this tragic hour that you DO have that common concern one for another, and you DO share our sufferings. and you DO have the love of God in your hearts which so many of you have expressed.
And you WILL share the overwhelming VICTORY with us, which the power of the Spirit of God in us will achieve, and the overwhelming JOY of finally, but a very FEW years hence, entering together with Dick Armstrong, into the JOY of God's everlasting KINGDOM!
As one wrote, there may have been a temptation to lose faith over this tragedy. Some had thought God would never let such a thing happen, especially to one carrying as great responsibility in God's Work as my son Dick. But NOTHING WOULD PLEASE SATAN MORE than to see us now lose faith.
Rather, we must plunge on in God's work with greater zeal and determination than ever! Let this drive us more often to our knees—it certainly has done that to me. Let it spur us on to greater effort in God's Work! Let it warn us to PRAY more earnestly than ever, and with greater FAITH God is still on His throne! We must be about His work!
From our hearts, brethren and Co-Workers, we THANK YOU. Your many expressions of sharing this with us, and reassurance of the LOVE that is in God's Church, is an inspiration that far outweighs whatever temptation to discouragement this might have brought. GOD BLESS YOU—we do LOVE YOU ALL more than words can tell you!
Your servant, in Jesus' name, Herbert W. Armstrong