How WE SHOULD thank God for all His blessings to us! Even the things we humans think we suffer under the most, such as unjust PERSECUTION for serving God, turn into BLESSINGS, and are a part of the stuff that builds righteous character within us. This morning I wrote a big full-page newspaper advertisement about FALSE WITNESSES. Deputized Roman government agents used the allegations' of false witnesses to put Jesus to death. Deputized agents of the California attorney general's office used the untrue allegations of FALSE WITNESSES — revenge-lusting expelled former members — to bring the massive civil lawsuit against GOD'S CHURCH. Satan is the "ACCUSER OF THE BRETHREN." And Satan is still actively accusing — FALSELY accusing — through former brethren and even former trusted ministers turned to bitterness and hate, seeking REVENGE! They would wish me DEAD! I am reminded of the reply of Golda Meir, late prime minister of Israel, when asked why she did not just surrender to the Arabs. "Because," she replied, "they want us DEAD — and we have decided to go on living." I myself did die, in August, 1977 — but only for a minute or so — I was brought back by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. I have just received a letter suggesting that this Church of God might not even still be in existence had not God restored my life — to put His Church back on the track — cleaned up — coming to be READY for Christ's coming for His BRIDE. That letter will be reproduced below. Did you read my article in the June-July Good News on what is a Christian? God's PURPOSE in each of us is the building of holy, righteous CHARACTER. There may be an instant when we first receive God's Holy Spirit, after repentance, faith and baptism. But we receive the Holy Spirit by DEGREE — perhaps only a small portion of God's Spirit and His nature at that begettal instant. Jesus alone of all humans had God's Holy Spirit in all its FULLNESS — COMPLETELY. We receive it by degrees. At first we are only newly begotten babes in Christ. We have not then yet learned how to walk spiritually, to think spiritually or to live perfectly. Like the apostle Paul said, with his mind and heart he wanted to live perfectly according to God's spiritual law. But he found himself actually doing otherwise. If the newly begotten Christian stumbles spiritually and falls down at times, he must confess his sin (to God, not to people), repent of it, turn from it, and the blood of Christ will cleanse him of all sin. We are ALL sinners. Some of us are sinners being saved by grace. Supposing one such sinner, unrepentant and disfellowshipped from God's Church, in his angry resentment seeking REVENGE, accuses the minister of God who had to put him out, probably manufacturing in his own rebellious and depraved mind unthinkable evil things, which only a depraved and satanic mind could conjure up, and he feels he will obtain a fiendish enjoyment of so falsely accusing the minister whom GOD IS USING! Will some BELIEVE his wild, perverted ACCUSATIONS? Well, some still today believe the false witnesses whose evil testimony resulted in the death of your Savior and mine. However, Jesus said it is not for us to judge or condemn — especially on the evil allegations of revenge-seeking castaways. Jesus said we shall KNOW — not judge or condemn, but KNOW — by their fruits. Jesus Christ is NOT using or bearing good spiritual fruit through these accusers. You and I — all of us within God's Church — are sinners now being saved by grace, being cleansed by Christ's precious blood, not accusing or judging, but IN LOVE and in living FAITH, pressing on together, that the living Christ may infuse within us, more and more, His Holy Spirit and that holy, righteous and perfect CHARACTER of Christ Himself! Daily I pray for all of YOU. I know that many and even most of you do pray daily for me. We all NEED IT! I pray daily also for my persecutors, and ask you to do the same. The great commission may be already virtually completed. There are many signs of the times and indications that we have reached the time when God will, as in Romans 9:28, "finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth." If I say to some, I think perhaps we have about completed the Work of the great commission, and our Work may therefore come very quickly to an end, they say: "Oh, don't say that! We have much more work yet to do." But did not Jesus tell us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come," and should we, then, pray, "Oh, don't let your Kingdom come quickly now — but let us go on, and this sick decaying world go on and on longer"? We may be now near, at or past the event of Revelation 12:7. More of that later. I would like now to reproduce for you one or more letters I received just today.
June 1, 1980 Dear Mr. Armstrong, Thank you for allowing God to rule your life! Why do I say this? I mention this because it is through your direction that The Plain Truth magazine and The Good News magazine have been revitalized — been put back on the track. Once again we in the Church can look forward to a new issue knowing that we will be given instruction, correction and inspiration in its pages. Unfortunately this was not always the case. But things have changed — for the better! It is thrilling to see how God is using you to set the ministry, college, SEP [Summer Educational Program] and the Church publications on the right track. So much confusion has been .eliminated. The Church is being given right direction. There seems to be a fresher spirit among God's people. There is a greater sense of purpose and urgency to get the WORK done. And that's good! Mr. Armstrong, it seems more apparent than ever why God brought you back from death. It's frightening to think about it, but it appears now there may not have even been a Church preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom if God hadn't restored you to good, vibrant health. My family, and I'm sure the Church as a whole, is deeply gratified to see you back at the helm. I was reading your autobiography the other day out of an old PT magazine (a 1961 issue). In that article you mentioned the years of deprivation your family underwent just so the precious Gospel message could get out. Well, I'm just so grateful to see that that suffering wasn't undergone in vain. The PT is back! The Good News is back! The college is back! The broadcast and telecast are back! And the WORK as a whole is back on the track! But we can't stop here. Now we have to press on more powerfully and with more determination than ever before. Everything appears to be set for one great push on getting the message out before the time of the end. Thank you again, Mr. Armstrong, for hanging in there — for letting the Eternal and the Father use you in doing Their WORK. We pray for you daily. We pray that God will give you a strong heart and the eyesight you need to do God's Work. We pray that God will give you bulldog tenacity that characterized Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. We pray that God will give you the strength necessary to fulfill the great commission. Thank you for all the sacrifices you have made for me, my family and the Church. Thank you for being faithful to God and His Gospel message. Continue on, Mr. Armstrong! We LOVE you! We are with you because we know the living God is with you.
Sincerely, Gary W. Pedersen Minneapolis, Minn.
May 24, 1980 Dear Mr. Armstrong, I've just finished reading your "Personal" in the May issue of The Good News, on letting God fight your battles. I've been wanting to write for a long time and thank you personally for ALL your efforts on our behalf. After reading this article I just couldn't put it off any longer. Each issue of The Good News magazine these last few months has been invaluable from cover to cover. It never ceases to amaze me, the timeliness with which these articles reach us, but then the living God who knows our every need, is after all, overseeing all things. I thank Him daily for His great plan for mankind and for sending us, the apostle such as He has, one through which the living Christ is now working to perfect His Church. Your love and concern for all of us is an ever shining example. May God bless YOU, Mr. Armstrong, for this love, and for the strength and endurance you've shown, which I know comes directly from our Creator. As you said, we need only do our part, and Christ will return to find a holy, righteous perfect Church. How perfect and right the works of God, and praise be to Him through which all good things come.
With sincere love and great appreciation, Lynne Neer Helena, Mont