"The WORLD TOMORROW"
A WORLDWIDE BROADCAST
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG
Proclaims to the World the
GOOD NEWS OF THE WORLD TOMORROW
BOX 111, Pasadena, California
The PLAIN TRUTH
a Magazine of UNDERSTANDING
January 8, 1958
Dear Co-Worker with Christ:
This is a very SPECIAL letter about you, personally. There is one point on which some of our Co-Workers may not be clear.
As you know, this great WORK OF GOD is non-denominational. We are not a sect or denomination in the generally accepted sense. Nor are we backed or sponsored by any, or connected with any.
There were several religious sects in Palestine in Jesus' day. You read of "the sect of the Sadducees," in Acts 5:17; "the sect of the Pharisees," in Acts 15:5. There were also the Essenes, the Samaritans, the Herodians and the Zealots.
But Jesus joined none of them! What is the meaning of the word "sect"? According to the Cruden's Concordance, "this word is generally used to mean a party in religion, differing in belief from the main body. In our old version it is frequently translated heresy, which the religions change to sect." Webster defines it: "In religion: a party dissenting from an established or parent church."
Jesus Christ joined no "sect" -- but He did found and build the ONE TRUE CHURCH OF GOD. If you will examine the teachings and practices of the sects and denominations of today, and compare them to the teachings and practices of Jesus as recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John -- and those taught by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament -- you will see that the popular denominations and sects of today do "differ in belief" and that they are very largely "dissenting from the established parent church" as it was established by JESUS CHRIST! Hard to believe -- but IT'S TRUE!
The true CHURCH OF GOD, founded and built by Jesus Christ -- the Church of which HE is the active, living, directing HEAD -- is not a sect or denomination!
I want to make this absolutely clear--so I hope you will find it very simply explained in my autobiography, now running serially in The PLAIN TRUTH: that while this true work of God is non-denominational and non-sectarian, nevertheless God most decidedly does not carry on His great work thru me as an individual, but thru ALL OF US CO-WORKERS WITH CHRIST who today form the collective BODY led and empowered by the Holy Spirit, as God's instrument by which and thru which HE carries on HIS WORK!
Jesus Christ came to this earth 1900 years ago to start the true WORK OF GOD -- carrying His GOSPEL MESSAGE to all the world as a witness! But God works thru human instruments. Jesus did not preach to all the world. He called, taught, educated and trained His disciples, who became apostles. Thousands of others were converted thru them. These formed the true CHURCH that Jesus built -- the COLLECTIVE BODY used in the WORK OF GOD, which is carrying HIS GOSPEL to all the world! The work was started by the Holy Spirit working in the individual personal BODY of Jesus. It continued by the same Spirit of God working in the COLLECTIVE body of the apostles, evangelists, pastors and elders and converted believers who became the true CHURCH OF GOD.
But the Church of the apostles' day did not get to all nations. Persecution set in. They were scattered. By 70 A.D., after the Roman invasion, their organized effort was largely stopped. Only a few local churches remained faithful, but they were not organized for any world-wide evangelism. The prophesied APOSTASY set in. Pagan doctrines and customs drove in their entering wedge. By 150 or 200 A.D. there were more than 50 different sects calling themselves "Christian" -- yet all believing different doctrines and practising different customs. They were not the real CHURCH OF GOD -- they "dissented" from the teaching and practices of CHRIST -- from "the established or parent Church" which Jesus founded.
In the early 4th century, Constantine, Emperor of the Roman Empire, took command over these differing sects that called themselves, falsely, "Christianity." He called the Nicene Council. He told the leaders of all sects to settle their differences -- to decide on some ONE doctrine they could ALL compromise on. That is what came out of the Nicene Council -- a doctrine of human compromise that would please the largest number of people! The military General-Emperor, Constantine, used the power of the state police and the army to force that doctrine and practice on the Roman world! As time went on, more and more pagan doctrines and customs were gradually introduced into this false "Christianity." Millions were martyred for BELIEVING the BIBLE instead of the man-made pagan doctrines that came out of these successive Councils.
Then came the Protestant "Reformation." Luther, Calvin, Knox, the Wesleys, and other Protestant leaders made changes. They even restored parts of Bible TRUTH. But they also, in their turn, introduced various new doctrines and customs of their own, which were contrary and totally foreign to the Bible and the teachings and examples of Jesus and of Paul. Today there are hundreds of these Protestant sects and denominations. What do they have? Each has its own different combination of doctrines, part of which is Bible TRUTH; another part of which is error often peculiar to each particular sect; and a large part of which -- larger than realized -- is the same pagan beliefs and customs which came thru the Catholic Church which Emperor Constantine organized.
BUT THEY DO NOT SPEAK THE SAME THING JESUS DID! They do not believe or practice what PAUL taught. They do not, except in small part, BELIEVE THE BIBLE -- incredible as that may sound.
I know you have heard something of my own conversion more than 30 years ago. It resulted from a dumbfounding and disillusioning discovery, after an angry and intensive six months' study trying to prove that "all these church denominations can't be wrong," I had supposed these church denominations believed only the BIBLE -- followed only BIBLE customs and ways -- that the SOURCE of and AUTHORITY for their "Christianity" was THE BIBLE. I opened the Bible and studied it -- for the first time, really studied it to see what it does say.
I was confronted with the disheartening FACT that the teachings of my Sunday school days and the religious customs and practices I had followed, were CONTRARY to the Bible in most basic points. I had to face the decision: would I give up the religious ways of this world, and accept CHRIST and the Bible WAY -- which meant giving up friends and associates in the world; or would I look to the majority of the PEOPLE as the source and authority for religious belief. I saw it meant my ETERNITY! That was much more than enjoying this world, its "friends" and ways, for a little while. I gave my very SELF to God, telling Him He could have it if He could use it. I CAME OUT OF "BABYLON" (Rev 18:4).
Now in like manner, I know that many of you Co-Workers have also "come out of Babylon" by renouncing all worldly denominational or sectarian membership. I know many of you have also given, not merely your hearts, but your WHOLE LIVES to God for Him to use as He will. You have given up these pagan religious customs masquerading as Christian -- you are studying God's Holy Word, and, as God gives you to see, living by every Word of GOD, looking into the BIBLE as the authority for everything you believe and DO -- as your new WAY OF LIFE -- GOD'S way!
I know that many of you now acknowledge NO church member- ship, except for your participation as a Co-Worker in THIS GREAT WORK OF GOD.
If you, and/or others in your family are one of these, IT IS EXTREMELY VITAL THAT YOU REPLY IMMEDIATELY, AND LET US KNOW!
Christ came 1900 years ago and started the WORK OF GOD. That work took on a great temporary burst of speed and growth during the days of the Apostles. God sent Jesus to earth with a MESSAGE from God to the world. That Message was GOOD NEWS! The word "Gospel" means GOOD NEWS! It was the GOOD NEWS of the reign -- the RULE of GOD, thru Jesus Christ, over ALL NATIONS. But it was advance news! The KINGDOM OF GOD, which is both the GOVERNMENT of God -- yes, the WORLD government -- and also the great FAMILY of God actually born of God -- a family so great it becomes a great KINGDOM, and a Kingdom that shall RULE over all other kingdoms on earth -- that Kingdom has not yet actually APPEARED.
It is to be set up -- to start RULING -- at the time of the second coming of CHRIST, as the KING of kings, and the LORD of lords -- as WORLD RULER! It is going to bring PEACE, HAPPINESS, PROSPERITY, and SALVATION TO THE EARTH. It is not part of this world -- it is the WORLD TOMORROW!
Yes, what GOOD NEWS! A world filled with good, sound, vigorous HEALTH -- beaming, happy faces -- PEACE -- prosperity -- JOY -- SALVATION! It is to be real UTOPIA. It's not impossible! ALL things are possible with GOD, and this is the DOING OF GOD.
The original apostles carried on GOD'S WORK thru their lifetime. They preached this GOOD NEWS. They preached OBEDIENCE to GOD! They preached, not only believing in Christ -- not only believing He is the divine Saviour -- but also BELIEVING CHRIST -- that is, believing what He preached and taught.
When the great apostasy set in, later in the first century, GOD'S WORK of carrying this GOSPEL OF CHRIST to the world was tremendously slowed down. There was little organized evangelism. But the true light of Christ'S Gospel has never been extinguished! In various generations, from apostolic days until now, God has raised up various leaders, who have preached Christ's GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. God's TRUE CHURCH has never died. You find it described, in its seven main stages, in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of Revelation. Always the TRUE Church was simply that collective BODY of consecrated BELIEVERS, the SOURCE of whose religion was THE HOLY BIBLE -- who BELIEVED CHRIST and OBEYED HIM -- who were LED BY HIM AND BY HIS SPIRIT, who were used as God's instrument in carrying on the WORK OF GOD. But always they have been small in number -- persecuted. Always they have been called "heretics" by the worldly churches. Always they have preached THE KINGDOM OF GOD, converting precious lives who thereupon joined as Co-Workers in proclaiming this GOSPEL.
BUT NEVER DID ANY OF THEM PREACH IT TO ALL NATIONS (including China, Japan, India, etc.) as a witness!
And yet Jesus, in His prophecy (Mat 24:14) distinctly said THIS VERY SAME TRUE GOSPEL is to be preached (and PUBLISHED -- Mark 13:10) in ALL THE WORLD, as a witness to ALL NATIONS. When? Just before the END of this world -- just before the BEGINNING of The WORLD TOMORROW -- just before the second coming of CHRIST!
Now listen, dear Co-Workers! READ CAREFULLY! This vitally affects you as a Co-Worker in the WORK OF GOD today -- the most important activity on earth!
WHY do you suppose you and I today live in a world of such tremendous scientific and technological development? THERE IS A REASON! The world puts these new powers and inventions, largely, to destructive use. BUT THEY ARE NEEDED NOW TO FINISH THE WORK OF GOD! God has said that He would open a door to His Church for this time -- the one of these seven stages of His Church, symbolically called "the Church of Philadelphia." This Church is to be active just prior to Christ's coming. It is to have divine protection thru the "Great Tribulation" (hour of trial, or temptation -- Rev. 3:10).
What does Christ mean, "set before thee AN OPEN DOOR"? (Rev. 3:8). If you will compare II Cor. 2:12-13 and Acts 16:9, you will see how God opened a door to allow the Apostle Paul and his Co-Workers to go to Europe and preach the Gospel. It is an opportunity to preach opened up -- a means of getting out the Gospel. Today, God has opened the TREMENDOUS DOOR of radio, television, and the printing press. That is THE DOOR God has opened that WE TODAY may now utilize MASS EVANGELISM -- reaching MILLIONS, all around the world at once, instead of just a few in one place at a time! And DO YOU REALIZE THAT "THE WORLD TOMORROW" PROGRAM IS NOW USING MORE WATTS OF RADIO POWER EVERY WEEK THAN ANY OTHER RADIO PROGRAM ON EARTH!
There has been tremendous opposition! For years the big stations would not let a religious program such as ours on the air. Radio officials generally are highly prejudiced against religious broadcasting. For years we had to go on small fourth or fifth-rate stations. But NOW God is opening up to us, for The WORLD TOMORROW program, the biggest, most powerful, MOST-listened-to stations around the world!
GOD HAS OPENED A TREMENDOUS DOOR! His Message at last is beginning to go AROUND THE WORLD. It is a matter of a few more years until it reaches ALL NATIONS, in their own languages!
Co-Workers, you and I today form THE COLLECTIVE BODY which GOD is powerfully using in carrying, at last, to completion, THE WORK OF GOD!
Can you possibly WAKE UP to the realization that God is now using US as Co-Workers together with Christ, in COMPLETING THE GLORIOUS WORK OF GOD--proclaiming HIS MESSAGE to all the world -- ministering to those whom He calls and who REPENT of transgressing GOD'S LAWS, actually RECEIVE Jesus Christ as Personal Saviour -- which means they receive HIM, in Spirit, to actually live their lives for them -- to LIVE by every Word of the Bible -- to live and practice what Jesus taught, and the customs He followed!
The glorious MAGNITUDE of this tremendous mission in which God has actually been using YOU, as well as me, is probably more than our poor human minds can fully realize!
But it is time we come to recognize this for WHAT IT ACTUALLY IS! For, while we are NOT a denomination or a sect, we ARE the true CHURCH OF GOD being used as His instrument, empowered by His Spirit, in finishing HIS WORK, which Jesus started!
Have you ever heard of the elderly woman who searched all over the house, high and low, for her glasses, only to discover finally that they were up on her forehead all the time? You'll read in coming installments of my long search for the true Church which Jesus founded and HEADS today. And it took me years to find out that I had been in it ever since conversion, and was being USED in it! The same is true of many of YOU! I know many of you, too, have, as I did, "come out of Babylon."
Now HERE IS WHY I AM WRITING YOU THIS LETTER! If you, too, have no other church membership than your part in THIS WORK OF GOD -- if you either have never joined any church, or have taken out your membership -- and IF you have truly repented of your transgressions of God's law, have accepted Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, have been baptized or are now ready to be, and are now keeping God's commandments -- then it is VERY IMPORTANT that you fill in and return the enclosed coupon AT ONCE!
I realize that many of our Co-Workers do hold membership, whether active or inactive, in various churches; they recognize that "The WORLD TOMORROW" program proclaims Christ's true GOSPEL in great power world-wide; and consequently support this work financially and receive these Co-Worker letters from me. We do, sincerely and gratefully, APPRECIATE from the heart the financial and PRAYER support we receive from so many.
But to those of you Co-Workers who do not now have any such affiliation, but rather regard, or now want to regard this work as your only and sole Church membership, then BE SURE AND FILL IN THE COUPON BELOW AND MAIL AT ONCE!
With love, in Jesus name,
Herbert W. Armstrong
Tear off on dotted line
Herbert W. Armstrong,
Box 111, Pasadena, Calif.
YES! Not having any other church membership; and having repented and surrendered completely to God and His laws, and accepted Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, endeavoring to live by the teachings of the Bible; I do wish to regard this body of Co-Workers with Christ being used of God in the great WORK OF GOD as my sole, and only Church membership.
I have ( ) have not ( ) been baptized by immersion.