Dear Fellow Ministers:

   Greetings again from Pasadena! We are all well here and in good health — and it is a joy to have Mr. and Mrs. Dean Blackwell out here on our team permanently now. His literal wealth of experience in the ministry will be a great asset to our headquarters team. And, again, I would like to ask all of you in the Dallas, Nashville, Kansas City, and Milwaukee areas to report directly to Mr. Blackwell when contacting headquarters about anything involving P.A.D. or the ministry. I know he will be a fine help to you and to all of us in the future.

   Also, it was good to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Berg who just returned a few days ago from their two-month sojourn in Hawaii. Mr. Berg reported that the church out there has stabilized and that he even baptized two or three new members — so God is already beginning to replace those lost because of our former disloyal minister in the area.

   Mr. Luker arrived back last night from a fine weekend visit to the S.E.P. camp up in Orr, Minnesota. He said the weather is fine now and the atmosphere of the camp is great. The campers are now enthusiastically awaiting the visit of Mr. Herbert Armstrong who plans to fly up there and speak to the campers this coming Sabbath.

   A somber note from Britain: Mr. Frank Brown has asked all of us to please pray for Mrs. Arthur Suckling. It has just been discovered that she has a virulent form of bone cancer. Obviously, she will not be with us too many more years unless God intervenes — which He has in so many, many of these cases. So please PRAY FERVENTLY for Joyce Suckling and ask our Creator to hear the prayers of His servants and supernaturally intervene as our Healer.

   Now to more of an administrative problem: From now on, God's ministers employed full-time by the Work should NOT take outside college courses unless directly approved by Mr. Herbert Armstrong or me. We are paying all of you men involved a salary for a full-time work and effort in the ministry. It should be your whole life. And, if we sincerely want to "rescue the perishing" and build up God's people all over this world, the opportunities and challenges of the ministry should be very fulfilling indeed!

   There may be rare exceptions to the above rule in the future. Certainly, scores of our men in recent years have been takins outside college courses and even getting outside college degrees. Many of us, including>myself had a year or more at another college before even coming to Ambassador College in the first place. We are not "afraid" of education or advanced training as such. However, our "field" of endeavor is religion. And virtually ALL of the religious and religiously-related courses taught in the universities and colleges of this world are taught from an essentially pagan viewpoint. The atmosphere involved in such classes and the attitude thus promoted is one of secularism, doubts, liberalism, and intellectual VANITY. I will not try here to argue or illustrate personal examples of, or partial exceptions to this principle. But the principle is obvious to DOZENS of our top men who have remained faithful in this Work and who have seen other men get "hooked" on the "leaven of intellectualism."

   Often, the teachings involved in these courses in theology, psychology, or counseling are so very close to the truth that even some of our younger ministers have failed to perceive how different would be the outcome of following these teachings to their obvious CONCLUSION from the result of following the pure and simple laws and ways of God to their conclusion. It is a subtle thing — and therefore all the more dangerous.

   Does this mean, then, that we should quit reading all outside books and confine ourselves to sentimentally perusing only the King James Version of the Bible?

   Not at all: But we all should study the Bible itself much more than most of us do. And, with the help of commentaries and other study tools really "drink in" the biblical teachings on marriage, child rearing and the whole WAY of life God has ordained. Then, as we view other material solidly from THAT viewpoint we may find that there are many excellent ideas, principles and illustrations that may be derived from studying outside material on our own — coupled with prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

   In the literally hundreds of hours that I have spent personally with Mr. Armstrong, I have noticed that he often used to read books on a wide variety of biblical and Christian living-related subjects — marriage and human, relations, principles of success! world conditions, prophetic occurrences, sex, child rearing, etc. Many times, as a student leader or young beginning minister, I would go up for a chat with Mr. Armstrong to his little "penthouse" over the library (much smaller than the present one) and, while waiting for him to complete typing an article or something, 1 would peruse one of the many books piled by his desk that he had obviously been reading.

   This was a good education for me.

   For I was able to learn from him how to grasp the "meat" out of a book without patiently reading all of it and absorbing all of its ideas and attitudes as might be done in a typical college class. For instance, I would generally notice that he would read the first 30 to 60 pages of a book, grasp its central idea with a few of the main supporting branches of the argument or thesis presented. Then, using this basic idea or "thrust" of the book he had been reading, coupled with other information from other books, magazines and his rich personal experience, he would be able to make a broadcast, write an article, preach a sermon or in some way USE this information to help others. Remember, Mr. Armstrong has always said: Knowledge is of no value except as it is used or applied." In other words, learning information or facts just to titillate one's personal vanity is of no particular consequence. Only when such information can be put to practical service is it of any great value.

   Also, I would often notice that in marking key sentences and ideas in a book or extended magazine article, Mr. Armstrong would often circle a key word or phrase, draw a line out to the margin and write: "No!", and then proceed to briefly jot down why this particular slant was wrong or, contrariwise, what the right slant should be on the particular issue being discussed. In other words, Mr. Armstrong did not blindly "drink in" from ANY book other than the Bible since these other books convey only the ideas and viewpoints of human men — usually unconverted men CUT OFF from the understanding and viewpoint of God as they approach their particular theme in psychology, counseling, theology or whatever. Mr. Armstrong would CHALLENGE their thinking in his marginal notes, Yet, through his reading he did obviously broaden his thinking, and gained specific insight into various areas of human study and acquired specific information, facts, quotes to use and ideas to be used in God's Work if they truly harmonized with the Bible.

   Mr. Armstrong has NOT in any way asked me to write this, but I sincerely feel that it may be of help to a number of you younger ministers, or perhaps even "middle level" ministers who have never had the privilege of indepth personal exposure to Mr. Armstrong as some of us pioneers did in the early days of the college. I hope you can use this approach in your own life to as much benefit as I feel I have in mine.

   Then, if we concentrate on truly saturating our minds and hearts and lives with the direct Word of God — the Holy Bible — we will build a depth of understanding and faith as a minister FAR BEYOND anything we would remotely approach if we keep looking over our shoulder at the world and thinking "that's where it's at."

   Please fellows, let's not think ourselves more highly than the original apostles of Christ. Remember how they appointed the original seven deacons with the statement: "But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4). A lot of extra time spent in personal PRAYER and in personal, indepth, heartfelt BIBLE STUDY is exactly what the true ministry of Christ ought to be doing!

   Remember that it was to Timothy, an evangelist, that Paul gave instructions: "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Tim. 2:15). As ministers of Jesus Christ, each of us must be a "workman" and delve deeply into, meditating upon and studying the Bible constantly and fervently. By SATURATING our minds and hearts with God's word — His viewpoint, His attitude, His way — we will build a reservoir of true understanding, faith and fervency which will genuinely INSPIRE our people when they hear sermons and read articles and listen to Bible studies and heartfelt personal counsel of those strengthened and motivated by this foundation!

   So let's emphasize the positive on this, fellows, and truly strengthen our own spiritual lives and the lives of all those about us. Then we can truly help one another and all of our brethren grow "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."

   Please do it.

With Christian love,
Roderick C. Meredith

Back To Top

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