Personal from Herbert W Armstrong
How GRATEFUL we should be, that God has seen to it in all ages that HIS TRUTH could not be erased from human accessibility!
Ever since the time of Christ there have been organized conspiracies to destroy the Bible.
Jesus Christ started God's Church in 31 A. D. And in 33 A. D. the Great Conspiracy got under way to organize and build the GREAT FALSE CHURCH — Satan's church! The Great Conspiracy sought to destroy the true Church of God, and to blot out the Word of God, by counterfeit doctrines. They appropriated the NAME of Christ, and called themselves "Christian" — then presented a false Christ and a false "Christianity."
No religion had ever before offered the forgiveness of sins until Christ died to pay the sinners' penalty. As a palliate for guilty consciences, the Satan influenced conspirators early seized on "the blood of Christ," deciding that "grace" would be a wonderful selling point to make their pagan religion universal.
But REPENTANCE from sin — turning away from sin — which means OBEDIENCE to God's Law — that was something quite different. They well knew the natural mind of man is hostile to the idea of obedience to God, and is not subject to the Law of God (Rom. 8:7).
So they "did away with" God's Law. They substituted "penance" for repentance. They perverted the true Gospel of Christ in a manner to make it utterly ineffective. And THE WHOLE WORLD has been misled and deceived!
During the Middle Dark Ages, every organized attempt was made to DESTROY the Bible itself. But God — saw to it that His Word was preserved. Finally, after the invention of printing, copies of the Bible became accessible to the public.
A few early Protestant ministers began searching for TRUTH. They were buried so deeply in the mire of false teachings, palmed off as "Christianity," that they could not emerge from the morass of confusion at once — or during their lifetime. Each of these religious leaders did recognize and grasp a few rays of light shining here and there through the darkness. But it is ten times more difficult to unlearn error, once believed, than to learn a new truth. So each of these men retained perhaps half or more of the error. Each added a certain amount of NEW erroneous doctrine of his own. Thus a hodgepodge of denominations arose.
Certain Protestant scholars, during the latter part of the 18th century and through the 19th, devoted lifetimes to producing various works, more or less scholarly, to assist in Bible study and understanding. These were the exhaustive concordances, the lexicons or Greek-English and Hebrew-English dictionaries, the marginal reference systems in the printed Bibles, the religious encyclopedias, the Bible dictionaries, and the commentaries.
Most of these men were scholarly enough — but their minds still were largely blinded to spiritual truth. They had been taught false doctrines from childhood and blindly assumed them to be true.
Nevertheless, these exhaustive works and Bible helps were making it gradually possible, for those who would be willing, to come to more truth, more rapidly — and at the same time the more rapidly to dispel error. The real TRUTH was becoming too nearly revealed — Satan became disturbed, then stirred to action.
He introduced German rationalism and the theory of Evolution into modern education. Also after the Dark Ages, he began removing his brakes against acquisition of scientific and technological knowledge. To pervert this latter, Satan mixed it with German rationalism in educational institutions. The new learning became rapidly materialistic. It became agnostic, then more and more atheistic. It began to be considered "old-fashioned" to believe in God. Now "higher criticism" of the Bible gushed forth like an avalanche. Men began sitting in judgment of GOD began CRITICIZING GOD.
As we developed through the 20th century, this "new" rationalism gradually found its way into the religious seminaries where future ministers were being taught. Students entering seminaries had already encountered the new supposed "rational" knowledge. It appealed to intellectual VANITY. It was the fashion of the day. Men wanted to BELONG. They wanted to CONFORM. So they floated along on the atheistic tidal wave.
This latter is the process that was getting started in real earnest when God brought me to a study of His Word, nearly forty-five years ago. The Bible helps had not been "modernized" as yet. They were still on the shelves of the public libraries, and available in secondhand book stores.
I started my study in an effort to refute a Biblical truth the big denominations had lost. My determined motive was to prove these denominations were RIGHT. But in the BIBLE itself, and checking with all these "helps" besides, many of which had even then deliberately distorted the facts on this subject, the TRUTH reluctantly emerged. I was faced with an uncomfortable decision. I didn't want to accept it. To do so meant some DOING. It meant being a DOER of God's Law — not a "hearer" only.
And that DOING meant persecution, probably the ridicule of former friends and business acquaintances. But to reject it meant to be deliberately dishonest. It meant to knowingly disobey GOD — and I had come to see what the consequences would be!
It was not easy, but I made the surrender to God. I told Him that this meant the END of my life for myself — or in the world and among business associates. It meant utter isolation from them and the former life. This I realized. It meant giving up my life as I had lived it and planned to live it.
So I then and there made a covenant with God — not a BARGAIN — just a covenant in which I GAVE my life over to GOD. If He could use it, I told Him He could have it. I meant it!
Now I am human, and I have my share of human nature, which I have tried to fight. I have cried out to God to fight it for me and through me. Yet it has, inevitably, asserted itself and caught me off guard a number of times.
Being human I have, at times, just as everyone who ever Lived has done, allowed this human nature for the moment to snatch this life out of God's hands and reappropriate it for its own interest or desires. But — once awakened to what had been done — this has been repented of.
I did mean it, when I GAVE my life, literally, and in unconditional SURRENDER to GOD! I have tried to leave it in His hands. I haven't done a perfect job, but GOD has done a perfect WORK in spite of human frailty.
But, I can reflect back on two or three contemporary experiences of other men.
One young man had made quite a splash in the ministry. He started out accepting the sponsorship and backing of human religious organizations. To be free of narrow sectarian bias he reasoned he should remain interdenominational. But this did not increase freedom to declare God's TRUTH, but, on the contrary, further restricted it! He soon found that he was limited, in what he was free to preach, to those few doctrines which all of these sponsoring, but differing, denominations approved.
God has shown me that when a man sets out to answer God's call to serve HIM, he must rely on God alone. If he relies on MEN, he must serve MEN — not God!
Somehow, God brought about circumstances in my own life so that I have been forced always to rely on Him alone.
When I was first ordained, I accepted a very small salary from what I then believed to be God's true Church. But envious and scheming ministers, influential near the top, demanded that I preach and act contrary to the plain truth of God's Word. I guess God saw to it that my salary then was so small that it was not too great a temptation to give it up. I did give it up, and promised God then and there that henceforth I would trust Him alone, in faith, to supply the financial need.
And God did. Tithes and freewill offerings seemed at once to replace the amount of salary I had relinquished.
But gradually God increased the amount, that His Work might grow. A few months after my wife and I began to trust God ALONE, the door of radio and the printing press opened. And this Work has since grown at a fantastic rate.
Soon after I started on the air, a man came to see me. He represented a group of businessmen. They wanted to team me with a well-known evangelist, and build a big new church. These men offered to supply the financial backing. But of course there were STRINGS attached — I was to be MUZZLED! I showed this man the front door as an exit from my home!
When Ambassador College was opened, in 1947, I faced opposition within and without. Other men preaching over the air have founded colleges or seminaries. I know of one who started such an institution. He sought out men of reputation in the field of religious education to administer his institution and to staff its faculty. He himself, though its founder, did not actively head or manage it.
He relied on MEN — men of reputation, yes, but still they were men, and not GOD. He was a Fundamentalist. But as the years went by, the modernist "rationalism" crept in and soon dominated his institution.
I could not help thinking of this example, and the comparison — or contrast — with our experience at Ambassador College. Like this contemporary, I had to go out into the world of education to find administrators and faculty members. There simply were none who understood and believed the TRUTH as God had opened my eyes to see. I could not fill ALL the jobs of administration and instruction — I am not many, but only one man. But two things I could, and did, do. I kept myself as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, appointing as Board members only those who believed God's TRUTH, keeping the setting of all POLICES in the hand of the Board. And second, I made myself the sole instructor in Bible and Theology for the first several years.
The men I appointed to top administrative and teaching offices were, of necessity, men trained in this world's education. And I had in mind a totally different approach to education. These men were sincere and honest, but they were unable to see what God had held up before my eyes. I found it necessary to remain in CONTROL, and to vigilantly combat every step tending to make our college a rubber stamp of this world's educational institutions.
In those early years God sent such young men, as pioneer students, as Herman Hoeh, Raymond Cole, my son Richard David, Raymond McNair, Roderick Meredith, Dr. C. Paul Meredith, and Kenneth Herrmann. I was able to steer their progress with close personal contact. Today Dr. Herman Hoeh is Vice President for Academic Affairs, Pasadena Campus. Dr. Roderick Meredith is Vice President for Student and Alumni Affairs and also Dean of the Graduate School of Theology. Mr. Herrmann is Registrar for our Pasadena campus. Today almost the entire faculty is Ambassador College trained — although several had done college work, or received degrees, in other institutions before coming.
But Ambassador College today could not be God's college if I had relied on MEN, instead of relying solely on GOD. At all times, GOD has been kept at the HEAD of these campuses, and of HIS WORK!
That is why this entire Work is different from anything else on the face of the earth in our time!
The moral for you is this: In your personal life — in all that you do — make GOD the HEAD of it, and RELY SOLELY AND ALTOGETHER ON HIM — and on HIM ALONE! Then it will be a success. Otherwise it will FAIL! Unless GOD builds the house, they labor in vain that build it! And whatever plant my heavenly Father has not planted shall be rooted up!