WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91123
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG
President and Pastor
April 17, 1978
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers:
GREETINGS! Following is a letter I recently sent to my son Ted regarding some momentous decisions for the Work of God. I want to share it with all of you who so faithfully support God's Work.
April 6, 1978
This is of utmost importance. Over forty-five years ago God committed to me the GREAT COMMISSION -- to go into all the world proclaiming the GOOD NEWS of the KINGDOM OF GOD. To assist me in that WORK, as in the first century, "God added to the church such as should be saved."
My life, Ted, has for nearly fifty years been devoted to fulfilling that GREAT COMMISSION. Many trials, problems, and seemingly insurmountable opposition often stood in the way. But God prospered HIS WORK and caused it to grow.
This great Work of God was built on faith with plenty of hard work and sacrifices. Different needs, functions, and organization have been required at different times. God has always made possible what we needed to do at the time we needed to do it.
In 1946 God made it plain to me that the broadcast work had to be moved to the vicinity of Hollywood. I realized if God's Church, which He raised up to assist me, was going to grow with an increasing membership to share the load, that a qualified, trained and loyal ministry was absolutely essential.
Ambassador College opened its doors in Pasadena on October 8, 1947. It was a "fledgling upstart" of a college with only four students in its first year. Those around me were talking about "when this thing folds up." But God intended for it to succeed! The purpose when founding Ambassador College was not to be in the "college business" but to help me fulfill the GREAT COMMISSION.
Always the work of the GREAT COMMISSION must remain foremost!
Though the college had started with virtually no money, its success was even too rapid. We added Imperial Schools and other operations which were not directly needed for THE GREAT COMMISSION. The college grew into three campuses -- two in the U.S. and one in England.
Later we were forced to close Imperial Schools and other nonessential operations. After the three college campuses had supplied the needed graduates to help in the Work, the campuses in England and Texas were closed.
After many years of personally desiring to build the Auditorium as a "house for God," God finally allowed me to see that project completed. Again, building this beautiful structure and dedicating it to "The Great God," was not without opposition and struggle. It seems that God has never permitted his servants to do anything that was easy and without opposition.
But since the Auditorium has been completed, and the AICF (Ambassador International Cultural Foundation) started, a great deal of excellent recognition and publicity have come to the Work of God. The Foundation has proved to be ideal -- a superb vehicle -- for me to fulfill my God-given commission around the world. I have often felt like saying to those who had so little faith, that I have had to work just as hard as though I were doing it on my own, even though I knew I needed -- and had -- the guidance and help of God. But God has helped me always to "keep my eye on the ball" -- to hew to the line -- never deviating from the main goal. And the Work of God has prospered.
Ted, I have said many times that I will change any time when it can be shown me that I should change. I have briefly stated in this letter whatever we do must be done to the purpose of fulfilling Christ's Great Commission and it must be done in the manner that best suits our needs at that particular time.
At this time the greatest need for us is to do the Work of God more powerfully. All our efforts must now be channeled into building and strengthening the Church. The Church must be the dominant, clearly visible organization.
Accordingly, I am authorizing you to take steps to move the undergraduate functions of Ambassador College to the presently vacated campus in Big Sandy, Texas. There we have adequate facilities to maintain a fine college dedicated to serve the Church. I now feel this move to be necessary for the best interests of THE GREAT COMMISSION.
It is vital, however, that we avoid the urge to begin any expansion and building programs in Texas. The thrust must be to utilize the existing physical facilities and maintain an institution with excellence in academic standards and moral character.
The magnificent campus in Pasadena is now to become the Headquarters of The Worldwide Church of God, its Graduate School of Theology and the world headquarters of the AICF with all of these functions expanding to do God's Work. All aspects and departments of the Church are to remain in Pasadena. Again, we must vigorously resist the temptation to begin moving any of the Church service departments to Big Sandy. All efforts should be made to maximize the Church activity in Pasadena thus making an ever-increasing impact on the world through the Church and the Foundation.
In doing the above we effectively separate the Church and the undergraduate College and powerfully put the focus of our commitment where it properly belongs, on the Church and the Work of God.
However, if Ambassador College is to survive as an institution of God then it must remain under the control and ownership of the Church and be fully consistent with the principles and teachings of God.
I repeat, "WE ARE NOT IN THE COLLEGE BUSINESS!" The only reason for the continued existence of Ambassador College is to support and contribute to the work of THE GREAT COMMISSION. If it ever loses sight of this fact God will let it fail.
Ted, I am very pleased with your desire to elevate the recognition and the esteem of the Worldwide Church of God. So long as you continue to do so you will have God's blessing.
With love in Christ's name,
Herbert W. Armstrong