"Good news" means "the gospel." When Jesus commanded His disciples to go into all the world and preach the "gospel" of the Kingdom of God to all the world as a witness, He could just as easily have said, had He been speaking in the English language, "Go you therefore into all nations, announcing the 'GOOD NEWS' of my soon-coming Kingdom to rule the world." The very title of this magazine, biblically translated, means "the gospel"! GREETINGS! Welcome to our enlarged family, consisting of the membership of the Worldwide Church of God, all of you who have been loyal and faithful co-workers (but who are not regular members of the Church), and those who have, while not joining our regular inner-family of coworkers, nevertheless contributed their own personal substance to this vast and vitally important Work!
You hold in your hand a dream come true.
Volume one, number one of The Good News magazine came out in April of 1951 as a private Church magazine going to members only of the Worldwide Church of God. Conceptually, the magazine intended to deal with doctrinal discussions, news of the Church, news of the broadcast and telecast, plans concerning our annual festival observances, building programs of the Church and the College, new ordinations and transfers within the ministry, evangelism both in the United States and abroad,
For all these many years, The Good News magazine has been going (not always on a monthly basis if the wherewithal was not available) to the membership of the Church, exhorting, sometimes admonishing, and always informing, the Church membership of these and many other significant events.
Now, with this issue, we are able to send not only articles concerning some of these most important developments within the Church and the colleges, but also the strong, doctrinal, spiritually oriented "meat of the Word" articles to those who sincerely desire to look more deeply into their own Bibles and to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by being fed a stronger diet of spiritual food than they can get in The Plain Truth magazine alone — which, after all, is designed for the world-at-large and the general public.
In the Greek language, the word euaggelion, sometimes translated evangelos, or in Spanish evangelio, is better rendered into the English language "good news." Equally acceptable in the English language would be "the glad tidings," or simply, "the gospel."
By the tens of millions, professing church-going Christians around the world are utterly ignorant of the meaning of the word "gospel."
How well I remember a very sweet little old lady in Pasadena who stopped my wife and me during a shopping trip to one of the local supermarkets. Our boys were very much smaller then, and my youngest son, Matthew, was still in his diminutive baby diapers with a tiny pair of leather Indian moccasins on his little feet, sitting in the baby seat provided on most shopping carts. David was holding on to his mother's hand.
The little lady, attracted by the two young boys, simply had to stop, chuck them under the chin, smile at them, and then inquire of their names. I told her, "His name is David, and the little baby is Matthew." About that time, Mark came running up and took hold of my hand, and she inquired after his name, and I told her it was Mark.
"Oh, isn't that sweet! They all have good gospel names!"
Actually, my wife and I named our eldest son "Mark" not because of the Gospel writers, but merely because we liked the sound of the name. I confess that we did name both of the other boys after names of men in the Bible. However, you will notice that David was the King of Israel, and was not a Gospel writer, and is mentioned only several times in the New Testament after Jesus Christ came preaching the gospel. One instance is in the context of Peter's sermon revealed in the second chapter of the book of Acts, concerning the fact that David "is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day... for "David is not ascended into the heavens." Then the Apostle Paul referred to him personally two or three other times.
The point is, while the very sweet little lady was pleased to see the young family with their three sons all carrying "Bible names," she immediately thought that those were "gospel" names, merely because they seemed to have something to do with the, Bible.
Have you ever heard of "gospel" singing? Of course you have! But do you believe for one instant that those songs are actually preaching the gospel? I have heard evangelists and announcers on radio programs across the length and breadth of the United States talking about "gospel records," "gospel music," "gospel literature," and even "gospel singers" and "gospel choirs."
Somehow, all of this gospel, gospel. gospel... loses meaning - and millions simply do not know what the gospel is, what it means; or where to look for it in the pages of their Bible.
Jesus explained that He came "preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God" (or, as Matthew alone among the four "gospel" writers has it, "the gospel of the kingdom of heaven").
The message that Jesus brought from God the Father was called "the. gospel." But this is merely an old King James English word translated from the Greek word which could even more accurately be rendered "good news." When we have a modern English Bible that has been translated directly from the Greek, or even directly from the Latin, into our modern 1970's English language, you cannot even find the word "gospel" in the entirety of the Bible!
Shocking? Why should it be? You also would be unable to discover such vague and seemingly meaningless words as "he who letteth will let" (meaning someone who actually prevents something from happening), or all of the statements with the old English terminations, such as "whilst," and the many "thee's" and "thou's" of that 17th century, so long ago.
The gospel is the ANNOUNCEMENT of the coming Kingdom of God, and that announcement is GOOD NEWS! The announcement Jesus Christ brought of His soon-coming Kingdom includes the fact that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, that God Almighty is the Ruler and the Righteous Judge, that Jesus Christ of Nazareth came to give His life's blood for the sins of all of humankind, and that any who will deeply repent, calling upon Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and begging His mercy and forgiveness, can be baptized (symbolizing the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ), have hands laid on them for the receiving of God's Holy Spirit, and can then begin living a Christian life of overcoming, their own carnal human nature, and growing in the grate and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
But the good news of the coming Kingdom of God also includes a great deal of bad news concerning this present world.
Just as Jesus' message, especially in the 24th chapter of Matthew, included the many traumatic occurrences He predicted would happen prior to His arrival on this earth to intervene in human affairs, so must those who preach and publish that gospel to all the world include all of these many aspects of the gospel, and very importantly, these most significant of all the prophecies Jesus pointed to as the surest sign that He was on a countdown from heaven, imminently ready to "interfere" among the governments of man, and to save this world from literally exterminating itself!
What you are going to be reading, sharing with all of the rest of us, and, I know, even experiencing through the articles coming your way in this wonderful magazine, is going to be a continual, solid, straight-from-the-shoulder series of articles right on the very heart and the core of the gospel. You will be reading essential and important information concerning repentance. faith, salvation, water baptism, Christian living and daily growth and overcoming, marriages and homes in the light of God's Word and His laws, as well as very important and specific prophecies. There will be continual news of the Worldwide Church of God, including even from its far-flung pastorates and offices abroad, knowing what some of the trials and problems confronting our brethren behind the Iron Curtain are, news from the deepest parts of Africa, clear down in Argentina and Chile, in Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, up into East Asia, and Cambodia and Vietnam — the Philippines, Japan, and far-flung areas of the earth.
You will be reading of the annual festivals observed by the Worldwide Church of God and the kind of information that we have always heretofore reserved for members only.
This growing worldwide Work of God has been preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, first beginning in the very tiniest way possible on one small radio station in Eugene, Oregon, and gradually growing coast-to-coast and. then worldwide, for almost 40 years.
There have been tremendous changes within the past 40 years in our methods of reaching the multiple millions with the impact of Christ's gospel over the mass media.
I am excited about our new television series, and have just finished three telecasts yesterday where I was standing right before our scripture board explaining and expounding important scriptures about the "soul," and explaining and expounding about whether there is an "ever-burning hell," and whether heaven is the reward of the saved.
Of course, not all the telecasts will be so heavily biblically oriented, but many of them will — and ALL of them will fall into the broad category of preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world.
We have a very good schedule for this coming season, and we hope to continually improve it as the months and years go by.
Also, I am doing radio programs in addition to the telecasts. Furthermore, we are experimenting with the idea of a five-minute telecast being placed in prime time, if this is possible, and we know we can go ahead with tl1is concept in radio. Already our five-minute "capsule" programs in Australia are bringing in a terrific response, and are actually pulling in more mail at lower cost than our 30-minute program does, simply because our five-minute programs can be placed on better stations at better times.
We are thinking of placing our one-minute television commercials, just as they appear on our own television program, on various television channels around the country by "spot-buying" those commercial times to advertise literature.
I am delightedly happy over the outcome of our last season's personal appearance campaigns, and the very fine television specials we recorded during those campaigns. Those three color-television specials have been seen by tens of thousands all across our country and elsewhere. We are going to be making some new television specials this coming year — and I can announce right now in this introductory article for this first edition of the expanded Good News that we are going to see a year of more evangelism, of powerful preachers and evangelists — dedicated, consecrated, God-fearing men whose lives are devoted to Jesus Christ and His message — who will be carrying that powerful good news into pulpits and auditoriums all across the nation, Canada, and even into Australia, Britain, South Africa and other countries.
As you know, my father, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, is going to be granted the opportunity of speaking before multiple thousands of people in nations all over Asia, even at the direct invitation of governments themselves!
He has repeatedly kept you informed of this in his co-worker letters, and I'm sure you will be able to read articles concerning these events in future issues of The Good News,
The Plain Truth magazine renewals are underway, and we know that this is going to cut down somewhat in the circulation of The Plain Truth, but it means that we will be sending the magazine only to those who really sincerely and earnestly want it, and not be needlessly wasting the precious dollars that we want to stretch as far as possible in the conduct of this Work.
It is an almost awesome thing to me, when I think of that beautiful Plain Truth magazine, going to over three million individuals, and realizing that each issue may be read by as many as two or three people a piece. Millions are being reached with that very beautiful and very powerful magazine!
We are trying to effect every conceivable savings in all of the many dozens of technical areas of a Work of this size and scope, and to make sure we do not sound any "uncertain voice" before the world as we continue to preach and publish the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
This magazine you hold in your hands is going to be the real "strong meat" at the very backbone and fiber of this whole Work. We are sending it to you because you requested it; we will not announce it to the general public — because we know that articles appearing in these pages will be, just as Paul said to the Corinthian church, "strong meat," and belong only in the hands of those who are coming of age, spiritually, and cannot be called the "milk of the word" for those whom God says are still only babes.
I know you will rejoice with all of the rest of us that this magazine is possible. We invite your comments; we want your letters, including your suggestions and observations about the magazine, and especially the kind of subject articles you feel are most important to you and your family. This is your magazine, not ours. Those who will be laboring by the hundreds of hours to research, write, edit, and to layout, print, and mail this magazine are a group of highly skilled, qualified and dedicated, converted Christian people who are going to be working very hard to make this magazine the finest possible quality and to do the very best job possible in feeding the tens of thousands of those who want these stronger articles.
We can only make this magazine as good as you want it to be — we do not do it for ourselves, but for you.
Thank you for letting us serve and help you in this way — and please read every single word of this first issue and let us know what your personal feelings are about this new Good News.