Pastor's Report Staff  


Mr. Dennis Luker has recently returned from our second campaign in the month of May. It was held May 11, 12 and 13 in Denver following immediately on the heels of the San Antonio, Texas campaign headed up by Mr. Roderick Meredith. This past Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights the Pasadena campaign was held in our own auditorium, again with Mr. Meredith as the featured speaker.

As Mr. Meredith reported in the May 14th Pastor's Report, the Denver campaign was "a success and inspired a great wave of enthusiasm among the brethren in the area there. Like the San Antonio campaign [the week before], new attendance was not large, but those attending did respond much more and it now appears there will be more 'fruit' in the local churches as a result of these campaigns than any in recent years." Total attendance ranged from 220 to 428 over the three nights and new attendance was 50, 77, and 35 on the three nights respectively. Mr. Meredith said that Mr. Ronald Kelly and Mr. Luker both felt the final night's attendance was somewhat lower because, unfortunately, it coincided with Mother's Day.

The Pasadena campaign went well with total attendance ranging from 504 to 737, with the highest number corning Saturday night. New attendances were 60, 80 and 60 respectively on the three successive nights. Mr. Sherwin McMichael, who was MC for all three evenings, observed good interest in the follow-up Bible studies among the new people — many of whom stayed after services to talk.

An interesting though unexpected trend was apparent at the Pasadena campaign Approximately half of the new people came from the Spanish language PLAIN TRUTH subscriber's list. Mr. Ralph Levy of the Spanish Department gave a simultaneous translation for the monoglots among them. We can readily serve these people since the Spanish speaking church here in Pasadena meets in the Fine Arts recital hall on campus.


Mr. Meredith was pleased to announce to the ministry in the May 14th Pastor': Report that nine new churches and two new Bible Studies will be starting this summer. New Church locations are: Augusta, GA; Canton, OH: Harlan, KY: Mansfield, OH: Oak hill, WV; South Pittsburgh, PA: Kent, WA; West Pittsburgh, PA; Atlanta, GA (split into East and West). The Bible studies are in Cadillac, MI and West Plains, MO. It is felt that these new congregations will save hundreds of our brethren from additional driving which is especially important now that the gasoline shortage is becoming more of a problem across the nation.


On May 8th, at Mr. Armstrong's request, Mr. Stanley Rader, Mr. Ralph Helge and Mr. Ellis LaRavia spoke to the sabbatical ministers and a few other students about the key issues relevant to the Church's legal battle with the State of California, and the attitude and approach needed to meet the challenges which lay ahead. The entire lecture was transcripted and filled 18 pages in the May 14th Pastor's Report. Following are excerpts from this special lecture for the interest of our brethren around the world.

Mr. Rader: Capitalizing On Church/State Crisis In Doing God's Work

Now we're going into a period where, to a certain extent (as Mr. Armstrong said yesterday) it [the court case] is going to be a little bit on the back burner, so to speak, The problem is still there. The fight still goes on. But the state has been stopped. It has been thwarted. It has been frustrated. Any other plaintiff would have left the field. They would have dismissed, and hoped that they were dismissed without being responsible for damages.

The state came to us [in early April] and they wanted to settle out of court if they could, but they didn't want to be "emasculated." That was their own expression. We can't let them lift themselves up by their bootstraps. And this is a war. It's a war between God and the Work of the Living God on the one hand and (if you want to couch it in those terms) the anti-Christ on the other. And it's a war we can't lose; we can't afford to lose it. That's not why we've been called. We haven't been called to lose this battle. We will win it.

And it [the legal battle] is not what I would consider as a distraction or a preoccupation. It now makes everything that we're doing relevant. Mr. Armstrong's latest copy for his latest ads have very powerful headlines — ARE WE LOSING OUR CIVIL LIBERTIES? (I think he says) and JUST WHAT — IS THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD? [The latter ad is reproduced on page 3]. And now he's beginning to preach the Gospel in the ads. In other words, he's building. He has the public's attention. Not only about the case but about us, and now he's getting the Gospel message right into it. So it's not a preoccupation. It is not a distraction. It's THE THING — it's all part of getting the Work done....

But we will capitalize (as Mr. Armstrong said just yesterday to me) on the publicity that we've had because it has catapulted us to the front pages around the world. You can't go anywhere in this world now without people knowing the Worldwide Church of God. And people begin to ask who are we, what we are doing. And they're not concerned any more. If you can "steal" $45 million and the business is still here — the C5urch is still here — [they - realize] it's got to have something going for it. How do you get $45 million or $70 million out of an operation that is still here? We're bigger than Oral Roberts and Billy Graham combined. People are wondering about us now, so we'll capitalize on it....

Now we have peoples' attention at long last. Everything we say out there has some relevance to some people. So the job is now getting done as never before. The costs of the litigation are another way of getting out the Gospel. We've paid millions of dollars every year for broadcasts that very few people were heeding, relatively few people were listening. Now we have their attention. And if we follow those programs up with more effort in the field, you are going to see the Work start to grow in a vertical curve again.

Mr. Helge: Why the Church Must Resist

There are certain questions that constantly keep coming across my desk. One is "Why don't we just let the receiver in, let the state in, and give them everything?"

The state has said, "Look, we own, not only the property, but all the books and records." We have picked that statement out of three or four places in the court transcripts where they said it *in court. But now just this last time, they put it right in the amended complaint. They laid it right out — "The church has no proprietary interest in any of its property, its books, or records."

You see, at this point, simply to say, "Yes, here are the books and records," would mean we are conceding to that statement. We would be saying, "Yes you are right. You are the owner. Here are your books and records, state. May we please have your books and records back when you feel free to give them to us. And may we please have permission to use the Auditorium next week?"

Do you see what I'm getting at? They have now made a statement — these are their books and records. To concede to that, we would be acknowledging it. Hence, there is no way under that theory that we can give it to them.

You know, it's like the difference if I were to come to you and say, "May I please borrow your car?" And you would say, "Well yes, that's O.K. I'm not going to use it. Here are the keys." But, wouldn't it be different if I said, "Look, that is my car. That car belongs to me, not to you, and I'm going to take it. I'm not going to give it back to you until I'm good and ready." Now, would you give the keys to me under those circumstances? Would you say, "Yes, O.K., here are the keys. Fine. Thank you, Ralph. Good-bye." Obviously you would have to draw a line there. You would have no option. You would have no other way to go other than to stand fast.

So I want to just bring that point home to you. But there is another point to help explain to people why we can't. It comes down to the point to where the state is saying that they are in control of all church property. They are virtually saying that they can control all churches, that we're a charitable trust, that the people of the State of California own the property, and they are going to dictate and supervise everything the church does. They say, "Oh, not the ecclesiastical; only all the money." Well, tell me one thing that we can do ecclesiastically, virtually, without money. What pays for the PT? What pays for the booklets? What pays the ministerial salaries? What pays the hall rents?

Obviously, if they are going to control the money, they are going to control the church! Hence, it really comes down to a very fundamental principle: Either we're going to stand as free men under Christ, or we're going to bow our knees as slaves, and we are going to become a slave to the state. And the Bible tells me that I'm a free man, and that I should not become a slave. And that's one reason why we're fighting so hard — to keep from becoming a slave to the state....

What "Love" Is to Some People

Mr. Armstrong has said for years we're not to be a floor mat, we're not to be a slave. And that's the only thing we're trying to do here is just preserve our liberties, not to try to wreak vengeance. We're not trying to take vengeance on anybody. So we're not violating that scripture. Some talk about "love," but you know, isn't it fundamental that love by itself has no meaning? How do the dissidents apply the one word, "love?" They decide which way they want to go and they say that's "love." Right?

That's the way love is. "We don't take tithes because that's not love." They don't want to pay tithes — hence it's not love.

And they ask: "Is that what Christ would do?" Of course, what would Christ do in their minds? Whatever they want to do. If they want to do it this way, that's what Christ would do. Hence, if you don't do that too, you're not of Christ and you're not showing "love."

As Mr. Armstrong says, the fundamental fallacy in what is they didn't look back into the Bible to find out what Christ did. There are certain ways that dissidents misconstrue Scripture. But to me there's one scripture that they cannot misconstrue, and that's the act of Christ when He was in the temple. He used force and He used power to overturn the money changers' tables and everything else — to run the men out, an? to run the cattle out. Now you can't just say, "Well, that's not love."

I tell you, there are people in the Church today that really would have condemned Christ. And how about Paul? I've got a beautiful book. It's called A Harmony of Paul's Travels. And when you consider the persecution that Paul was under — I wonder how many people today would have followed him? You know, he was accused (if you take all those scriptures) of sedition and every type of wrong — probably thievery and everything else — and locked up in prison and chained! Of course, many people didn't follow him because of that. Right? He said "So-and-so left, so-and-so left, etc." So what this comes down to in my mind is that this is true persecution that we're under today... I think it's good to bring home to God's people that we have a pure and simple test of faith!

Mr. LaRavia: The Basic Issue Before God's Church Today

You know, this has been an experience to end all experiences, in one sense. And yet I know we've got a lot of experiences ahead of us. Some of them are going to be tough; some of them are going to be delightful.

But I think through all of this — and it's been a nightmare of gigantic proportions in many respects — it all comes down to one basic issue as far as we're concerned, as far as the Church is concerned: Is GOD in charge and has He appointed Mr. Armstrong to lead this church?

When you get rid of all of the issues that you can talk about, and all of the things that tend to confuse; when you get right down to it, its that basic issue. And I think that every church member and every minister has to come to the point where they have decided (something we all should have decided a long time ago) that God is in charge, that God called us, that God has appointed Mr. Armstrong, and caused all doctrines to flow through and come from him. I don't know of any other way that God can accomplish that purpose because He doesn't go around revealing to each one of us, "Well, this is my doctrine on tithing," or, "This is my doctrine on the keeping of the Sabbath," "This is my doctrine..." He doesn't do it that way. God has never worked that way.

But God has worked through Mr. Armstrong in a powerful way. And He does reveal doctrines through Mr. Armstrong and always has. But again, this has been a very basic issue and some have questioned whether Mr. Armstrong has a right to make the pronouncement about the sit-in.

Well, there's another startling thing that he has mentioned to me several times lately. He says, "God revealed certain things to me." Now God didn't literally speak to him — he didn't say that. He said God has put things in his mind. There are those who would gainsay and say, "Aw, hogwash. That's ridiculous." Well no, it's not ridiculous. I think it's either true or else there isn't a God because God has worked that way for centuries.

I think what is difficult, maybe, for us to see is that "a prophet is without honor in his own country." You know, it's very difficult to realize this about Mr. Armstrong, whom most of us have come to know in various degrees of intimacy. Yes, he is a man. He has frailties just like all of us. But I think the thing we miss is that God can still use a man and use him powerfully, and can reveal things to him — and does indeed reveal things to him — things that He wants for His church, for the benefit of His Church.

I think until we come to that understanding, deeply and sincerely, then all these things are always going to bother us. And if it's not a sit-in, or it's not a demonstration, or if it's not tithing, or if it's not how you keep the Sabbath, or whatever it is — these things are always going to bother us. There is always going to be some other issue. You can be assured of that! There will always be another issue. It's just moments away or hours away, or a day away. But something else is going to come.

We must be willing and able in our own minds to come to the deep understanding that God IS — the "I am that I am," the Eternal; the Ever-existing One who does stand forth and speak and reveal, and make known to the one whom He has chosen what it is He wants done....

When it comes down to it, we have to know where God is working, and if we know that and through whom He is working, then everything else fits into place. Then you've got the stability, you've got the foundation, and it will all fit. It will not fit any other way. It just won't fit any other way. Now you can force it. You can try to make it fit another way. You can strive with it, you can wrestle with it, you can talk about it with your fellow ministers. You can talk about it with all the pastors or evangelists or whatever — but nothing else will work. It just won't work!..

Our image of God must be such that we know that God is all-powerful, that God is on His throne, that God is the Creator, the Law-giver, that He's the One who has called us, He's the One who has extended mercy to us, He's the One who has sent His own Son and is able and willing to give everything that we have need of. Otherwise, we take to ourselves opinions, making judgments ourselves, and it always involves judging God and His apostle whom He has appointed. That's what it always is, when you get down to it. It's making judgments upon God. Whether or not we agree with every decision (and you probably will never agree with every decision that any man makes) doesn't have anything to do with it.

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Pastor General's ReportMay 21, 1979Vol 3 No. 18