Pastor General's Report

(Editor's Note: Once again we are sharing with you some comments Mr. Rader made before the Pasadena congregation following a taped sermon for TV by Mr. Herbert Armstrong. Comments are from Sabbath services on September 9.)

Greetings, everyone. For years I've always said it's very difficult to follow Mr. Armstrong in a speaking opportunity. Not only is he the most powerful speaker that I know, but surely he's also the most inspiring.

Because we work so closely together and spend so many hours of every day together, we naturally discuss many, many things. And then when he comes into Pasadena, as he has this week, and he plans on speaking both Friday night at the Bible study and then on Saturday, he has planned what he's going to say. And when he invites me to speak, I plan what I'm going to say.

So once again, I had planned on talking today about the world tomorrow. I guess you're all lucky because he pretty much covered that today in talking about the Kingdom of God... but I did have some 16 pages prepared. But you might wonder why I had planned on speaking about that subject. Well, there are a variety of reasons. First of all, it was something that was very much on Mr. Armstrong's mind all week and on my own, as a consequence of our talking about such things as faith and healing. It's impossible to think about faith without ultimately thinking about the world tomorrow.

In my hours that I spend here in Pasadena, primarily, and occasionally elsewhere, fellow brethren will ask me what Mr. Armstrong thinks about this or what Mr. Armstrong thinks about that. Sometimes they ask me to help them interpret Mr. Armstrong's most recent article as it might appear in The GOOD NEWS, The PLAIN TRUTH, or even, on occasion, in the PASTOR'S REPORT. As a consequence I too am forced to think again and again and to reflect more and more on just what Mr. Armstrong, as Christ's Apostle, does mean and what he intends for us to understand.

Having been trained to think in a rational manner and in an orderly fashion, I have often found it helpful to clear one's mind by putting down on paper what one is thinking about so that one can then see what it looks like when it's put in a more concrete and definitive form rather than just kind of floating around somewhere inside your mind. And that's what I did during the week. But Mr. Armstrong has covered it very well today and it would be presumptuous of me even to try to add one word to it.

Yesterday I was privileged to hear him speak for two and a half hours to the area coordinators and a few other persons who were invited to their meeting. I'm really not considered by most people to be an emotional person — though I am known by those who know me well to be sentimental, but not often moved to tears. But I can tell you that yesterday, hearing Mr. Armstrong speak for two and a half hours on the subject of faith and healing, I was moved to tears. And we're very fortunate that we taped those comments because I'm going to urge Mr. Armstrong to permit us to at least transcribe them so they can be shared with the entirety of the Church.

Those two and a half hours had a very important effect upon me. Mr. Armstrong's comments made me think again just how important an effect on my life my having met Mr. Armstrong more than 20 years has had. I tend to think a great deal about what that effect has been generally on Saturday morning, because wherever I have been during the last ten years travelling with Mr. Armstrong, he and I have almost always attended church some place together or we have had a private Bible study some place together. As a result, just kind of like habit, on Saturday morning I find myself thinking about why am I here?; How did it all come about?; and on what a difference it has all made in my life.

Sometimes I also like to speculate on what my life might have been, but for the fact that more than 20 years ago I met Mr. Armstrong. And it's a good exercise. It really is. Because I know myself that but for this Work of the Living God I think I would be like most of the unfortunate in the world who, when they would have to think back over what has happened in the last 20 years, they would have very little to think about. All the days would kind of merge one into the other.

I think as they live their lives year by year, I would say any given day in October would seem to them to be much different from any given day the following July and any given day in the following October. But I think as the years would roll by, all those days would become pretty much alike. They might have some vague recollections about important moments in their lives — the birth 'of a child, the death ·of a loved one, graduation, a birthday, a promotion, a termination. But basically, it would be one day after another merging with every other day.

But for me, and I would hope most of you, we can look back and we can see how much has been accomplished in the Work of God — how much of the Great Commission has been, and is being, fulfilled every day. And then, of course, we have something to look forward to as well. It will be in the Kingdom of God that there will be an end to all pain, all suffering, and all death. There will be abundance for all and the eternal peace and the reconciliation that we're all looking for. So I know it has made a substantial difference in my life. It naturally has affected my wife. My children have turned out differently, I'm certain. As I said, these are the things I generally think about on Saturday. And much of what I would have said about the world tomorrow and what it means to me and my understanding of faith and hope, perhaps one day will be relevant enough to share with you....

I am certain that all of you have been inspired of recent time by Mr. Armstrong's total rededication to all of the true values that we had learned over the past 20 years. I for one cannot believe what he has accomplished in the last 120 days. And to see him working 14, 15, and 16 hours a day is just absolutely beyond one's comprehension, because most men would not be able to work, particularly to create, as he has so much for so many hours, for so many days. And although he will kid and say he's really 38 or 39, he knows that isn't true and he has recovered from a very major illness. So I know he needs your prayers. He needs your support. I know he has both.

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Pastor General's ReportSeptember 11, 1978Vol 2 No. 35