Note: We here at wwcg-archives.com recognize and acknowledge the Authority of God through Mr. Herbert W Armstrong and the offices being fulfilled through him. In this, we do not say he wasn’t human, or that he didn’t make mistakes. When shown in error he always changed. Just as other men of God found in God’s Word had done. But does this deminish the authority of GOD? No, it doesn’t. God’s Word is SURE and God’s Truth revealed is ABSOLUTE. God is the only one perfect. And it was God who done the WORK through His Chosen Apostle Mr. Herbert W Armstrong. It was God all along! We must keep God in the Picture, otherwise we are only looking to men. God’s Truth is GOD’S! But he used His Apostle to restore it and give it to the Church. We must not Reject God and His Truth. This article from Mr. Armstrong should clear up this for those who believe he wasn’t a human instrument being used faithfully by a PERFECT GOD.
Personal from the Editor, May, 1962
By Herbert W Armstrong
FIRST of all, this month, let me explain an error in this column in the March number. I wrote about the new 5 cents postage rate for first class mail. But in the rush of multiple and heavy responsibilities, I jumped the gun and got considerably ahead of Congress and the Post Office Department. And now I KNOW that several people, at least, are reading this personal talk from me in “The Plain Truth”.
What a storm of criticism, protest, indignation and accusation it blew up!
I wonder how many today assume that a called Minister of God is a species entirely different than human? I was like that, once. If you’ve been reading the Autobiography, you know that I was born of good and sincere Quaker parents. As a growing boy being taken to Sunday School and Church I remember that our Pastor was entirely different from the rest of us. We were human. Frequently he reminded us that we were sinners, consigned to hell unless we accepted Christ. But our Pastor was neither human nor a sinner. He was God’s representative, and as such, he was a special type of sanctified species somewhere between human and divine.
Suppose you could enter a time machine and be whisked back some 1900, or up to about 3,500 years. Suppose you find yourself for the moment among the Israelites in the wilderness. You see thousands thronging forward to hear a man speaking. You push up front among them. It is Moses speaking. What sort of man would you expect to see? A great, impressive superhuman some ten feet tall, with a massive large head, and flowing wavy hair?
Suppose you re-entered your time machine and were instantly flashed to the time and scene of Israel during the reign of King Ahab. You step out of your machine directly in front of this King, and you see the prophet Elijah speaking to him. What do you suppose Elijah would look like? Would you expect to see a great, important-appearing man who would startle you with an emotion of awe and fright, just to look on his face?
What if you should be taken next to Jerusalem in the first century. Would the appearance of Peter, or the Apostle Paul overawe you? Or, even if you should behold Jesus Christ from Nazareth, teaching in the Temple? Would Jesus look totally unlike all other men?
If you have read of His life and ministry in the four Gospels of your Bible, in Mark, or in Matthew, Luke and John — you ought to remember reading of how, when Jesus returned to Nazareth where He had been brought up from babyhood, the people scoffed and looked on Him with disdain and contempt.
In effect, this is what the people said: “Now who does this fellow think he is? Listen to him, speaking with authority as if he were somebody important! Why he’s just a common ordinary man like the rest of us. He grew up here. We know his brothers and sisters. They’re no better than the rest of us. How can a common ordinary man from this little town talk like that? Who does he think he is, anyhow? ” That’s my own wording in modern language, of course — but it’s the gist of what the people of Nazareth actually did say.
Even Jesus Christ looked no different — no more important — no more unhuman, or divine, than any of the other men of His time. If He had not given up and divested Himself of the supernatural, universe — creating and ruling POWER which He had shared with the Father from eternity, He could not have been our Saviour — He could not have paid the penalty for YOUR sins in your place. The Pharisees paid Judas 30 pieces of silver to point out to them which one of the men was Jesus. He looked just like other men. There was one difference, of course — HE NEVER SINNED! — that is, He never broke God’s inexorable spiritual law, or the physical laws of health in his body. Yet the reason He did not was that He kept much closer to God His Father than you or I — He spent more time in earnest heart-rending prayer — He never allowed Himself to become interested in the ways of this world or entangled with it or part of it or a participant in its wrong ways. You probably are much closer to this world and its carnal interests than you are to God. Jesus was much closer to God than the world — and in no way a participant in its wrong.
Moses was not perfect. Moses did sin, although he repented afterwards. Elijah had all the common human weaknesses. He got to thinking he was the only one left on earth who was on God’s side. But he repented, and surrendered himself to the will of God — he kept God’s true word faithfully, and thus became an instrument in God’s hands.
Peter denied Christ three times. Peter said, “I go fishing.” Peter dissembled and Paul rebuked him. Paul made his mistakes, too.
Did you never read, in I Corinthians 1, how God has not chosen the great and the mighty of the world as His servants and ministers in this time, but the weak and unimportant?
Why do you suppose God chose Moses? Why did He choose David to be King of Israel, instead of his older, more experienced, and probably more capable brothers? David made mistakes. He committed one terrible crime. But he repented bitterly and never did it again. God called David a man after His own heart. WHY?
Do you know where God looks — how God judges us? He looks, first of all, on the heart — the attitude — the right or wrong spirit.
Looking back over the years, I can see by the fruits produced that God did call me, and has used me as an instrument in our day, and thus God has raised up a work multiplying in scope and power — now world-wide. I have accomplished nothing myself — but God has done a work through a human instrument who has all of the common human faults and weaknesses. WHY? I know why, now at last. Certainly not because I am different or better than any other. Certainly not because of any greatness of intellect or ability. I have known scores and scores of men possessing far greater ability than I. Ever since God struck me down, tore the false “gods” I served and worshipped root and branch out of me and converted me, begetting me as His Son, I have had one constant struggle to overcome. There have been SO MANY things to overcome. It has not been easy. It has involved sacrifice and suffering.
But after God did strike me down, humble me, and bring me to Him in real repentance, I did give MYSELF to Him without reservation. I did become willing to yield to His authority over my life, putting Him before the approbation or approval of men. And this I can say — that so far as God has given me to understand, I have been faithful and honest to KEEP HIS WORD, and to proclaim it as He has given power without fear — and regardless of the opposition, persecution or criticism of men.
Don’t think that the Pharisees were a peculiar species who lived only in the days of Christ’s human ministry. The world is filled with their ilk today. When I preach the SAME GOSPEL Jesus did, they become angry just as the Pharisees of the first century did when Jesus preached the same Message. I have not sought to please men, nor do I fear what men can do to me. This much I can say truthfully and sincerely. But I do make mistakes, even if not knowingly or intentionally.
Now let me explain the error in the March number respecting the 5 cent postage. I knew that this was coming up in Congress before the House of Representatives, in a bill labeled “H.R. 7927.” I had read a full page message from its publisher in “LIFE” magazine in regard to this. Being rushed to get to other duties, I read hurriedly. But this sentence, somehow stuck in my mind: “You will almost surely learn soon, for example, that your and our cost to mail a first class letter may shortly go up to 5 cents.”
This appeared in the January 26th issue of “LIFE”. I did, I realize now, hastily take for granted that, since I was then writing for the March issue of “The Plain Truth”, this bill would have passed and the new rate have been in effect. I have preached to others, often, that we ought not to carelessly ASSUME, or take for granted, without proof. Yet we all do that. YOU DO IT, TOO! And it appears that in my own personal experience I have not even yet entirely overcome that fault of carelessly taking for granted things which appear to be so.
The publisher of “LIFE” took advantage of this bill for increased first-class postage to inform his readers of the manner in which a publication, enjoying the second-class postal privilege, does assist the Post Office Department, so that it actually does, as he said, “PAY ITS OWN WAY,” I thought it was a good idea. I thought that probably hundreds of thousands of “Plain Truth” readers did not realize these things. So I wrote that editorial. In order to avoid copying anything from “LIFE”, I wrote what I did without having the page from “LIFE” in front of me, or even looking at it again. Hence it was easy to make the mistake of assuming this Bill had become law.
One thing I did learn from it. “The Plain Truth” numbers among its approximately one million readers many postoffice employees. Many of them have written me of this error. Incidentally, I have learned that some postal employees do read this magazine as it goes through their hands, addressed to others. To all you postoffice men who read this , let me invite you to send in your name and address for your own subscription — for YOUR subscription has already been paid for you, anyway — it costs you nothing more than the stamp or post-card from your own postoffice to request it. And you won’t be asked for any money, or contributions, in any way — unless you should voluntarily inform us you WANT to become a co-worker with us. Hundreds of thousands read “The Plain Truth” who have never contributed, nor in any way been asked to.
Of course there were, out of our million readers, two or three who angrily wrote me accusingly, imputing evil motives, and telling me that instead of plain truth, this magazine prints plain LIES! I am sorry some small few are in the gall of bitterness, always looking for a chance to accuse, malign and abuse.
A few postal employees wrote helpfully, to explain that we do not do ALL of the postal department’s work for them — and that where only a very few copies go to a certain town, they still have to handle it. My intention, however, beside informing our readers of something in which I felt they would be interested, was to express gratitude to the Post Office Department, and to make clear to readers HOW MUCH the Government’s postal service does give them — even for the 5 cents I mistakenly took for granted was already in effect.