(Editor's Note: The following is from a transcript of the videotaped message Mr. Armstrong prepared for the members of the Churches in Southern California. He expressed his deep appreciation of their support during the Church/state crisis and explains a bit further the why and wherefore of what the Church had to do.)

GREETINGS EVERYBODY back there in Pasadena! I've just finished recording my message for the opening on a Friday night of the coming Feast of Tabernacles, and the opening sermon on Sabbath morning which will be shown on the screen at all feast sites all over the world.

While I have the television crew here I thought that I might say a very few words to just you people there in and near Pasadena, and in the Southern California area.

I want to thank you millions and millions of times over. I don't have the words in my vocabulary to properly thank you for your loyalty and your willingness to get out and work when the State of California came down with their illegal and unconstitutional massive attack against the Church of the Living God.

You know government has always fought God and God's way. Way back at the time that God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, God said in effect, "You've rejected Me as your King and as your Lord and Ruler [so] now go form your own governments, form your own kind of rulership." And so that's what man has done, and man has, ever since, been contrary to God.

Now some few have tried to misapply the scriptures relating to our personal conduct in regard to Caesar — in other words, in our relationship with the government. But they forget that we are to render unto God the things that are God's. I know Jesus said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's," but when it comes to rendering the whole Church of God and all of its assets over to the state, they are not Caesar's, they are God's! And we are not going to render what is God's over to Caesar. And we didn't, and thank you for standing back of us, brethren.

In our personal everyday life we are told in Romans and elsewhere in the Bible that we must be subject to the powers that be. I've explained that so many times. Here's a little example: if the government says that we must only drive 50 miles an hour, okay, only drive 50 miles an hour, not 55 or 60. That is for our everyday life and our private lives.

But what did Jesus do when the Pharisees came to Him? Remember the Pharisees were in government positions (or did you forget that?). The Roman Empire was ruling over Judea in the days of Christ and the Romans were pretty smart. They didn't send a lot of people from Rome over there to administer their lower and simpler form of government. They took the sect of the Pharisees to do that ruling. But remember that there were Roman armies there. There was a Roman governor, and he had military forces. Jesus healed one man who was a centurion; in other words, he was a Roman soldier over 100 Roman soldiers.

And so it was the government of Caesar that came lashing out at Christ. And what did He say? He said, "You blind leaders of the blind, you hypocrites," you are lower than any animal. A snake is about the lowest animal — it crawls on the ground. You are lower than that, said Jesus to these people. He didn't mince words, He talked right back!

Now some few have tried to misapply the scriptures relating to our personal conduct. But they forget that we are to render to God the things that are God's. Now in our personal everyday life, we must be subject to the powers that be and we have always taught that, brethren. Concerning what happened in Pasadena, nobody was attacking the State — all we did was defend and protect the property of God. No one made any attack against people of the State. We didn't try to harm them. We didn't try to club them, to stab them or to shoot them. We did nothing of the kind. We had no arms at any time.

Peter and Paul had to spend all night in prison for preaching the truth about Christ and preaching the gospel. This suit has come on us because I preach the gospel around the world. After Peter and Paul had spent the night in jail for preaching the truth about Christ, the next day the government told them, "Don't you dare ever again preach that word about Jesus Christ anymore. You shut up your mouths and quit preaching." What did Peter and Paul do? They said, "Well, we shall obey God rather than man."

When it comes to defending Christ and His property against the government, that's a different matter altogether. I hope that you all understand that, and that some of the enemies of the Church are not going to mislead you.

Well, we're having nice hot weather over here, I don't know what you're having in Pasadena. But usually whatever you have today we'll get over here tomorrow. It just takes about 24 hours for the same weather you have to get over here. But we are thankful for one thing, the smog seems to settle somewhere along the way. It doesn't get all the way here and we don't have to endure that. Our temperature has been up above a hundred a great deal lately, but it's a dry heat and we have air-conditioning, so when we come inside we're out of it.

Well, I'd like to be there with you; I will be as soon as I can again. Thank you again a million times from the bottom of my heart! Good-bye.

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Pastor General's ReportJuly 02, 1979Vol 3 No. 25