Dear Brethren and Friends,
As I look back on my nearly 63 years of full-time service in God’s Work, I am thankful. I am grateful that the Eternal God raised up Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Armstrong to restore and “energize” the Truth. For Mr. Armstrong had a truly dynamic personality—and was able to have a greater effect in preaching the Truth to the world than any human being we know of for hundreds of years. I am grateful that God guided my life to come during the third year of Ambassador College because, being weak and carnal, I might not have survived the first two years of trials and tests the college experienced as it was just becoming established. Back then, there were no dormitories at Ambassador College. In eating our meals, we had to basically “fend for ourselves” to survive. And, because of a financial crisis, Mr. Armstrong was almost forced to close the entire college. In fact, he did at one point put the faculty on half-time salary so they were only able to teach three days a week.
Yet, those who stayed were faithful enough that the Work grew and prospered because of a few key factors:
1. Most of us were loyal and unified because we were able to see the “Big Picture.” In dealing with Mr. Armstrong personally, we could see that he was the true servant of God and followed Christ in a remarkable way and was determined to preach the full truth in a way most of us had never experienced. I remember a number of times when—under trial—Mr. Armstrong heartfeltly said: “Herbert Armstrong has made hundreds of mistakes. But I have always tried with all my heart to teach the full Truth and not compromise on that!” In my thousands of hours of personal contact with him, I saw that this was absolutely true.
2. We “hung in there” because Mr. Armstrong taught us the importance of preaching the Gospel, proclaiming Christ’s message to the entire world as Matthew 24:14 indicates we should.
3. We were inspired by Mr. Armstrong to see the vital importance of doing the “Work.” For Jesus Christ Himself stated: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34). Mr. Armstrong certainly exemplified that statement in the way he drove himself continually to preach the Truth, do the Work and also help the college to grow and help build a stable ministry even though, at times, we could see Mr. Armstrong was “dead tired” and yet intended to carry on as long as he could. This was inspirational to many of us in the early days of the Work.
We in the present Work of the Living Church of God have dedicated ourselves to carry on in that same tradition. And Christ has certainly blessed us with a great deal of unity and zeal because of having that same spirit. I hope that all of you dear brethren will “catch the vision” and realize how we must carry on even if something happens to me, to Mr. Ames or to any one of us as we grow older in this present physical life. For in carrying out that tradition, our real life is at stake—our coming eternal life in the Kingdom or Family of God and the kind of reward we will receive is definitely based on how well we serve God in our human lives right now (Luke 19:11–19).
In His inspired Word, the Eternal God commands us to be “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:3–6). Then, as Christ inspired Paul, the apostle tells us that Christ Himself “gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Ephesians 4:11–14).
It is important to focus on the fact that we in the Living Church of God have been following that same pattern of Church government God inspired the Apostle Paul to outline. Some try to pretend that the inspired form of Church government is “not important.” But it is vitally important that we learn to teach and practice the same form of Church government we certainly will be teaching and administering in Christ’s soon-coming Kingdom!
So we have a great deal of unity. The vast majority of our ministers and members all “speak the same thing.” And we are overwhelmingly involved in “giving ourselves” to “do the Work”! Brethren, I am extremely grateful to report to you in the name of Christ that we do have a greater sense of unity and harmony in this present Work than at any other time I can remember in the 63 years of my full-time service!
Most of you know that the man appointed to be my successor, Mr. Richard Ames, is extremely dedicated, balanced and loyal. I hope all of you will support him with all your heart unless he turns totally away from God as some men in recent years have done. However, those who turned aside a number of years ago had not been “tried and tested” in the way that Mr. Ames has. So I have every confidence that—although Satan will attack us and try to divide us and upset us in other ways—it will undoubtedly not be because Mr. Ames turns aside. So I ask you to give him every support and heartfelt prayers to continue on faithfully as you have done with me. Thank you!
Also, if anything should happen to Mr. Ames, another of the most experienced and dedicated leaders in the Work at this time is Mr. Gerald Weston, who has already been acknowledged by the Council of Elders to carry on in Mr. Ames’ place, if necessary, as Presiding Evangelist of the Living Church of God. Mr. Weston, also, has been tried and tested in many different ways. He has served faithfully throughout the United States, across Canada, and soon will be serving full-time in Britain, Europe and the Middle East. Do give him your support and your fervent prayers!
Dear brethren, please be sure to pray fervently for all of our faithful ministers—many of whom are doing a tremendous work. These men are worthy of your full support and loyalty. For Christ wants in His Church and Kingdom those who are absolutely loyal. Sometimes different ones come along with more technical knowledge or more of a “scintillating” personality. But God has been down that road before. For He had a magnificently beautiful cherub named “Lucifer” who had all kinds of ability and influence, but who “turned aside.” Lucifer was not loyal to His Creator. We must not be like that. Rather, we must do what we can to continue the wonderful spirit of unity, brotherly love and service which is already extant in the Living Church of God. This will require a spirit of deep humility from all of us, and the willingness to humble ourselves to work together as a team. Christ Himself warned: “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).
So we should always let the living Head of this Church, Jesus Christ, do the exalting. We must look to Him to direct the Work, overall, and focus on doing with faithfulness that which is our own part—sincerely trying to support those who may have, at this time, a higher “rank” in the Work of God. As we do this, Christ will see that we are willing to humble ourselves to be faithful in whatever position we are given, and He will be able to know that we will be His loyal servants throughout all eternity.
Our adversary, Satan the Devil, will not like this. He will “come after” anyone he thinks he can upset. But we must “resist the devil” as Almighty God commands (James 4:7). The Apostle Paul warned the brethren in Corinth: “For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.” (1 Corinthians 11:18–19). God Himself is telling us that He allows these “tests” to come along in order to see if we will truly follow Him and His leadership under Christ in the right way. As He sees us withstand these tests, He can be sure where we stand in our deep commitment and humility to do exactly what God says.
The inspired Word of God describes the true Church as the body of Christ. “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually” (1 Corinthians 12:27). This passage states: “For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body?… But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased” (vv. 14–15, 18).
Dear brethren, if we will continue to work together as a team under the overall leadership of Jesus Christ, He will continue to bless us more and more as each year goes by. This world is certainly coming apart. Somewhere on this earth, Almighty God will have a group of His people to really proclaim the “Ezekiel warning” with increasing power and fervency. He will have a Church that truly teaches and practices His form of government. He will bless that Church. That Church will be the one that He primarily uses to proclaim His message around the world. Let us all thank God for opening our minds to where He is working and ask Him to give us humility and the zeal to increase the impact that Christ will have on this earth through us as we yield to Him. For He is alive. He is our active Leader and will bless us and guide us if we follow His form of government and His true Gospel with all our heart and with all our mind. May God bless and guide you as you walk with Him in this way.
With Christian love,