Herbert W. Armstrong
P.O. Box 431
Tucson, Arizona 85701
December 20, 1982
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with CHRIST:
Do you realize that with the ending of 1982 we are completing 50 YEARS in the PHILADELPHIA era of the CHURCH OF GOD!
The first of those 50 years -- 1933 -- was the year of transition from the Sardis era (Rev. 3:1-6) into the Philadelphia era (verses 7-13). In late February of that year I reentered the ministry, employed by the Oregon Conference of the Church of God, Seventh Day, which was then separately incorporated. My salary was $3 per week. During the spring of 1933 we carried on a six- nights-a-week series of Bible meetings in Salem, Oregon.
In July two opportunities had opened up for public preaching services -- one at a church seating some 300 in the town of Harrisburg, and the other in a one-room country schoolhouse seating 36 people, 8 miles west of Eugene, Oregon. It was in a sparsely settled rural community. Church officials decided I should conduct services in the little schoolhouse, and Sven Oberg in the town church building.
The Harrisburg meetings produced no results. The Firbutte country schoolhouse averaged 40 in attendance per night for six weeks, and resulted in nine members. In October of that year the Oregon Conference and our new converts formed the new Church of God at the Jeans schoolhouse, 12 miles west of Eugene. This was the transition from the Sardis into the Philadelphia era of the CHURCH OF GOD founded A.D. 31 at Jerusalem, by Jesus Christ and the first century apostles.
A "Three-Point Campaign" was agreed upon by the brethren of the Oregon Conference and the new brethren at Jeans schoolhouse at that time, October, 1933. This campaign, as a Church of God activity, was to consist of a radio broadcasting program, a publishing program, and personal evangelism combined with the pastoring of local churches. All brethren, Oregon Conference included, approved the campaign as the Church activity which continues to this day.
In early October I had been invited to broadcast on the regular weekday morning devotional hour on the local radio station, KORE, the only Eugene station, then only 100 watts of power. By Thursday morning of that week I was called to the office of Mr. Frank Hill, station owner. Several letters had come from listeners in response to my 15-minute broadcasts. Mr. Hill suggested I start a Sunday half-hour program. He offered to pay half the cost by charging us only half the cost of operation, $2.50. I had planned a magazine to be called The PLAIN TRUTH seven years before, upon conversion in 1927.
The first Sunday in 1934 we went on the air under the program name, Radio Church of God. The Church members did what they could to finance the $2.50 per week cost, by special offerings above tithes. But they were able to finance only half of it. We took the rest on faith. And somehow, every week God provided. The program has never gone off the air since, but has grown to a worldwide program on both radio and television.
During January, 1934, I prepared the first issue of The PLAIN TRUTH. It had to be printed on a borrowed mimeograph. The stencils were cut on a borrowed typewriter. About 350 copies were the total press run of the first issue. Today The PLAIN TRUTH is one of the great mass-circulation magazines in the world, now well past five million copies monthly in six languages.
The new church was incorporated later as the Radio Church of God, and then again later the name was changed to Worldwide Church of God. The broadcast was renamed The World Tomorrow.
Nothing could have started smaller. But God's Church and its work grew at the rate of approximately 30 percent a year for 35 years.
Now we have completed our 49th year in the Philadelphia era -- A RECORD BREAKING YEAR.
One million two hundred thousand new subscribers were added to The PLAIN TRUTH subscription list. THINK OF THAT!
ONE MILLION AND TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND people have subscribed for The PLAIN TRUTH in just this one year -- added to FOUR MILLION other subscribers! That means about 20 MILLION people are reading The PLAIN TRUTH! Those readers are not only all over the United States and Canada, all over England, Germany, France, Holland and all Europe. But they are scattered all over Asia, Africa, islands of the Caribbean Sea, islands of the Pacific like Fiji and Samoa -- all over the far outreaches of the uttermost parts of the world.
Six hundred thousand people have telephoned to Pasadena in response to having just viewed a World Tomorrow telecast!
NEVER since Jesus started God's Church has SUCH TREMENDOUS FRUIT BEEN BORNE!
God's prophecy is, "This Gospel of the KINGDOM shall be preached in ALL THE WORLD for a witness unto ALL NATIONS," and then (SOON NOW) shall the END of this world come (Matt. 24:14).
NO OTHER CHURCH -- NO RELIGION -- CAN MAKE THAT STATEMENT! DO YOU REALIZE WHAT THAT MEANS?
But because of additional TV and radio stations recently added -- because of the big increase in PLAIN TRUTH circulations, which costs so much more money, WE MUST HAVE AN INCREASE IN TITHES AND OFFERINGS this coming month and all through this coming GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY YEAR OF GOD'S WORK!
Please FAST AND PRAY for this! Pray for all brethren in this tremendous Work of CHRIST! Pray for me, as I pray for you -- DAILY -- FERVENTLY! Let's not faint in well-doing, but strive on in greater urgency and zeal!
With deep LOVE, in Jesus' name,
Herbert W. Armstrong