Coupled with the greatest GROWTH in God's Work is the stepped-up persecution. We need to be aware of the IMPACT God's Truth is beginning to have! THE APOSTLE PAUL was inspired to prophesy: "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II Tim. 3:12).
With the increased size and power of God's Work around this earth, more and more persecutors are beginning to arise. Satan the Devil is angry against God and His Work! Small-minded religious persecutors are beginning to take bits and pieces of our articles — twist them out of context — and try to use them against God's Church and His Truth. Interestingly, however, some of these men are naive enough to quote so much from our booklets and articles that many of their own readers probably question who is right — them or us!
Now, in addition to these, sensation-seeking newspapermen are beginning to attack the very Work of Christ. Their false accusations range from attacking God's teaching on tithing and His Holy Days to accusations that we are "extravagant" in building the fine college facilities that God has now made possible.
Of course, very seldom do they bother to point out that most of the fine buildings now included in our campuses were practically "given" to us through the unusual circumstances involved in the sales. For these men are not interested in facts — they are interested in sensational fiction which will make their articles seem more "exciting" and gain them a larger readership among the uneducated and uninformed.
Dr. Benjamin Rea's Death Most of you readers already know by now that because of a provocative encounter with such a sensation-seeking reporter, Dr. Benjamin Rea — already suffering for years with high blood pressure and a heart problem — recently fell into a coma and later died. Dr. Rea had known for years the seriousness of his condition, and had mentioned to me, personally, more than once, that he might already be dead if he hadn't been called into God's Church, given up smoking and other bad habits, and had the blessings of God's Spirit and God's way of life.
From one point of view, we need to view Dr. Rea's death in this light: that God granted Dr. Rea perhaps even additional time in this life to fulfill a most important job in His Work. For he helped get Ambassador College, Bricket Wood, England, and indeed the entire Work of God in England, on a firm foundation during the five active, busy, vital years of his service in Britain. Certainly his part in all these undertakings was most significant and most appreciated — and his loss is a heavy one to all of us.
From another point of view, we need to understand this: with the dangerous physical condition he was in, Dr. Rea was literally and knowingly risking his life in the service of Jesus Christ. Because of a tense and provocative encounter with an enemy of the very Work of God, Dr. Rea DIED AS A MARTYR for what he believed!
Understand this also: Jesus Christ directly prophesied that in our time the "accuser of our brethren" will be cast back down to this earth after a final attempt to fight God in heaven (Rev. 12:9-13). Through his vicious persecution, some of God's faithful servants are destined to die in martyrdom and harassment (Verse 11). The time is soon coming — and may NOW be beginning — when Satan is cast back down to this earth, "having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time" (Verse 12).
All three of the above factors illustrate the real meaning of the life, service and death of our beloved brother, Dr. Benjamin Rea.
Be sure to read the accompanying article by Mr. Raymond McNair giving full details of Dr. Rea's life, accomplishments and service.
Big Foundations Laid There are several reasons for Satan's wrath against God's Church at this time. Certainly not the least of these is the tremendous progress in the Building Program on our three campuses — laying the foundation for the training of hundreds of additional laborers in God's Work.
Recent ground-breaking ceremonies at Pasadena and Bricket Wood were the largest and most impressive public ceremonies of their type ever in this era of God's Work. The first of these ceremonies was held on Wednesday, February 17, here at Pasadena Headquarters. This was the ground-breaking ceremony for the beautiful, new — and very much needed — student dining hall now under construction.
County Supervisor Warren Dorn, Mayor Floyd Gwinn of Pasadena, plus two former mayors and many other high-ranking public and business executives were there. Mr. Garner Ted Armstrong acted as Master of Ceremonies, and several of these men gave short talks in a program which was concluded by remarks from Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong on the meaning of this occasion and the kind of example Ambassador College hopes to be to the community. The occasion was highlighted by a very fine write-up in the Pasadena paper the next day, and an equally fine article on the College in the Los Angeles paper the following week.
Then, on Tuesday, March 9, a similar ground-breaking ceremony was held on our camps at Bricket Wood, England, for the new gymnasium to be constructed there. Many local dignitaries, architects and friends of the College watched Mr. Armstrong direct a giant bulldozer forward to take the first bite into the English turf of the new gymnasium site.
It was indeed a memorable occasion. The weather was sunny and beautiful. Later, an indoor ceremony was held in the Men's Common Room and there was a program of short speeches as there had been earlier in Pasadena.
Concurrent with these ceremonies beginning the impressive Expansion Program in God's Colleges was the increasing power of God's Message across the British Isles over Radio London!
For a trial period of nine weeks beginning on January 5, The WORLD TOMORROW was beamed out once, twice and then three times a week. But beginning March 7, it was heard every night at the ideal time of 7:00 p.m.! This tremendous station, reaching a potential audience of thirty-seven million people, is certainly a POWERFUL step forward in the Work of God in reaching His people Ephraim!
New Ordinations Besides the ordinations mentioned in the January GOOD NEWS, three more ordinations have been carried out!
On his visit to Bricket Wood for the ground-breaking ceremonies, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong and the leading ministers at Bricket Wood elevated Mr. David Bedford to the rank of Preaching Elder. Mr. Bedford is serving in the northern part of England and ministering to the Manchester — Liverpool and Leeds areas. He was Student Body President of the College in England in 1962-1963, aid was first ordained as a Local Elder in June, 1964.
At almost the same time, on a flying trip to visit the German offices, Mr. Garner Ted Armstrong ordained Mr. Gunar Freibergs as a Local Elder in Duesseldorf where our German office is located. Mr. Freibergs graduated from our College at Bricket Wood in the spring of 1963, and managed our German office during Mr. Schnee's absence to the States.
Then, Mr. Ted Armstrong ordained Mr. Frank Schnee — just recently returned from Pasadena — as a full Preaching Elder. Mr. Schnee will resume his post as Manager of the German office in Duesseldorf. And now it is planned that Mr. Freibergs will return to Bricket Wood with his family — this time as an instructor in the College there.
New Churches Established As planned during the Ministerial Conference, new churches and Bible studies are springing up everywhere! Hundreds of new brethren are extremely GRATEFUL for the opportunity to meet regularly with one of God's ministers!
Mr. Dennis Luker reports that the San Jose, California, Church started on February 6 with an attendance of 192! Mr. Jim Friddle reports that the beginning attendance at Wheeling, West Virginia, was 180! And this still left Pittsburgh — the local "mother" church — with an attendance of over 450!
Our new church in Richland Center, Wisconsin, started off well with an attendance of 127 on the second Sabbath, and the new Baltimore Church or God started on March 6 with 242 present!
Certainly these attendance figures have met and in many cases surpassed our hopes and expectations. So we can all be most grateful for this increase in the number of God's Churches and the large number of additional people now able to attend services.
Then, from Australia, comes word from Mr. Wayne Cole that an eighth church — which we did not know of at Conference time — started down there on January 23 with an opening attendance of 62! Considering the wide distribution of members and the sparse population, this was a very fine beginning for this fourth church in Australia!
More Scattered Bible Studies Very encouraging new Bible study attendance figures include those of the new monthly study in Columbia, South Carolina, which began recently with 124 present! Then from up in Canada comes inspiring word of a new study at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which began with an attendance of 60 in 29 degrees below zero weather after a blizzard! Certainly the ZEAL of these people for God's Truth is an inspiring example! This augurs, Mr. Dean Wilson feels, a church to be raised up before too many more months with an attendance of 100 or more within a very short time!
In West Texas, a new monthly study started on March 14 in Abilene with 95 in attendance. And on March 7, a new study began in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with 106 in attendance. A new monthly study began in Santa Rosa, California, with 40 in attendance.
Attendance figures that show the growth of some of our older Bible study areas include 83 in attendance recently at Concord, New Hampshire; 117 present at Saginaw, Michigan; and 32 in attendance at the study way down in Durban, South Africa!
So from Duesseldorf to Durban, and from Bricket Wood, England, to Brisbane, Australia, God's Church continues its inspiring worldwide GROWTH!
But let us remember, brethren, that with this growth will come increasing PERSECUTION from Satan the Devil and his agents! So earnestly PRAY more than ever before for the protection of God's Work and His servants!
Certainly the really BIG Work which God intends to accomplish through His Church is only beginning! But let us REJOICE that a solid foundation is being laid! Arid let every one of us, personally, remember to PRAY earnestly for protection, for wisdom, and for love and zed that we may remain FAITHFUL to the end.
For in study, prayer and supplication, God's True Church moves forward ON ITS KNEES. Never forget that!