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Mr. Attorney General of California:
Wall Street Journal, September 2, 1980
The battle lines are drawn! Your office launched a State vs. Church lawsuit—to test the strength, power and the very existence of the Constitution of the United States.
This, Mr. Attorney General, is a battle you can’t win! Realize it or not, you have chosen to do battle against the living God! You have engaged in an unconstitutional fight to take over, own and operate (or destroy) God’s holy Church—to run it by the will of politicians instead of the will of God! God’s Church belongs to GOD—and when you attack it you attack Almighty God!
The giant Goliath once challenged the people of God. The soon-to-be King David, then only a lad, said, “Who is this Philistine that he should defy the living God?” The giant lost that battle—and his life!
Our forefathers came to America to escape religious persecution from human government. They established a Constitution whose First Amendment guarantees the religious liberty they fled, fought and died to secure for us!
That Constitution shall stand inviolate! But even if we, as they, had to flee to other countries for a base from which to spread God’s truth, we would remove beyond your jurisdiction! There is no way you can stop us!
This nation is becoming aware that your massive civil lawsuit actually is the first REAL TEST of the freedom of CHURCH against political encroachments of STATE! It is a battle to decide whether politicians of the STATE can take over, own and operate all CHURCHES according to political will instead of the will of God!
It is a political onslaught to determine once and for all that the Church of the living God may be governed by Him according as He directs through His chosen apostle, as revealed in His Word, the Holy Bible!
The government of God once existed over the Earth—a fact unknown in the world today. It exists today in only one place in the world—in God’s Church!
The first created man, Adam, rejected that government OF and BY God FOR the people. Our first forefather chose government OF and BY the people. Unfortunately self-motivated political rule has developed—sometimes evil.
The government of God is government from the top down—from God, through Christ as living Head of His Church, and, on the human level, the apostle of Christ’s choosing, then in administrative office, evangelists, pastors, preaching elders and teachers (Ephesians 4:11-12, i Corinthians 12:28). No prophets ever served in administrative capacity in the New Testament Church.
And as His chosen apostle, I say to you in the authority of Jesus Christ, the political state cannot and shall not take over, govern or administer the affairs of the Worldwide Church of God. By that authority, far transcending yours, Mr. Attorney General, this Church shall continue to operate, not by the will of politicians, but by the will of the Eternal God as revealed in His Word!
Your jurisdiction extends only to the boundary lines of the state of California. The jurisdiction of God’s government is limited to the voluntary assent of its baptized members worldwide.
Within the jurisdiction of human political government in all matters, aside from an attack to take over, own and operate God’s Church, according to political will, our members are willingly subject to whatever government of man that has jurisdiction over us. We are respectable, God-fearing, law-abiding citizens in whatever country we live. We practice the law of outflowing love toward neighbor equal to self-concern. But our God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5), who will not tolerate another usurping His rule! And in this case He will fight for us!
Mr. Attorney General, we are not in politics nor shall we be. But when your office assumed it was launching this supreme test case to test the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, you grossly underestimated God’s Church! If your office assumed you were attacking a very small, weak, though a sufficiently established Church to serve as the first domino of a domino theory—that we would simply lie over and “cave in”—you must have known very little of us.
Those with us are far more powerful than any power seeking to destroy us! The Church of God is imbued with a strength greatly underestimated! God will give us the victory!
Herbert W. Armstrong
Worldwide Church of God
Am I in It for the Money?
A Frank Open Statement of My Financial Condition
Wall Street Journal, September 8, 1980
Here is a story such as you have never read. The state of California, through your office, launched a massive armed attack against the Worldwide Church of God, its corporate entities, myself and Mr. Stanley R. Rader.
Eight-column newspaper headlines, TV and radio newscasts blared across the nation the false allegation that I, with Mr. Stanley R. Rader, had been siphoning off millions of dollars every year from Church funds for our private accounts.
Now, after more than a year and a half, no evidence of any wrongdoing has been found, yet you have not cleared our good names!
It’s time the people know the truth!
Have I been in the work of the living GOD these 53 years for what I could GET out of it? If any have started a religious work for private profit they have learned their lesson the hard way!
It’s time the public knows the true facts! WHY, and for what purpose, did I leave the world of mammon for the world of hardship and persecution? What have I “GOTTEN” out of it? How much do I have now? How much does Stanley Rader have now? I now lay my life bare before the public.
I had been outstandingly successful as a young man in advertising. In my own office in Chicago’s downtown Loop I was making, before age 30, on the 1980-dollar value, more than $175,000 per year.
Then, at age 34, the living God opened my eyes in astonishment to His TRUTH! I questioned the existence of God—but now it was proved to me. I found PROVED the inspiration and authority of the Holy Bible as the Word of GOD to man. I was shocked beyond words to see proved that the orthodox religious teaching of my childhood and youth was the very antithesis of God’s TRUTH revealed in His Word!
In this authoritative revelation I came to see that, stripped of academic and theological terminology, there exist just TWO WAYS of life! One, reduced to simplest terms, is the way of “GET”—the way of self-centeredness, the way of “I’m in it for what I can GET”—of vanity, covetousness, envy, jealousy, competition, strife, violence and rebellion.
The other—GOD’S way of life—is “GIVE”—outflowing LOVE and concern for the good and welfare of others—the way of LOVE to GOD and LOVE to neighbor equal to self-concern.
Every evil in this world has been caused by the “GET” way of life—in violation of the law of GOD!
God put it in my heart to want to GIVE this amazing basic TRUTH to as many as I could reach. In my conversion, spring of 1927, I did not just “GET”—that is, “receive,” Jesus Christ. He led me to do far more—to “GIVE” this sinful self to Him, who had bought and paid for it with His shed life’s blood!—that in His power I might “GIVE” His precious TRUTH and understanding—that I might SHARE His truth and salvation with as many as He made possible!
I gave up the business life and its material rewards. I studied diligently His Word, as He the great GIVER gave me to understand! Several years later, January 1934, I began on FAITH, GIVING His precious truth over radio. I had to start in literal poverty—from nothing of this world’s goods—but rich in FAITH! I had but one pair of shoes. They were “righteous”—with “holey soles.” I had a suit for every day in the week—the threadbare one I was wearing was it! I had no car. I owned no home, but paid $7 per month rent.
I preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified—and I proclaimed Him as God’s divine Messenger who brought the precious Gospel message from GOD to man! I preached the most difficult teaching and doctrine in all the world’s Christianity to accept! And I started with a definite policy that continues to this day—I would not solicit the public for money—and I would never charge for the TRUTH nor proselyte—seek to GET members from other churches. I could never be competitive!
Would anyone start out with the most hard-to-accept teachings of God to make money? Does that make sense? It was a doctrinal truth that for 53 years has brought opposition, persecution, false accusation! It’s no way to make money, let me tell you!
I devoted my life to “GIVING.” My family went hungry—and I do mean literally HUNGRY! That was only part of the price willingly paid for the privilege of GIVING God’s truth and way of LOVE in a world adjusted to GETTING! But you see, I had learned something of the TRUE VALUES!—the spiritual rewards far excelled the monetary and material!
The living Christ blessed this work in marvelous ways. Faith was rewarded. Prayers were answered! This work of the living God was prospered. It seemed slow. Yet by every yardstick of measurement, it GREW at the rate of 30 percent per year for 35 YEARS!
In 1947, the living God founded through me my first college. It had to be founded on sheer FAITH, with no financial income whatsoever that was not already obligated for radio time and other operation expenses. By FAITH it survived!
I incorporated the Church and college in a manner to prevent myself from financial gain other than proper remuneration for services performed. I employed first an attorney who had been 12 years an attorney in the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, d.c. For my own salary I appointed a committee of three—this attorney from the irs, and two Church members not related to me, to set my personal compensation. The work of God grew at a rate probably unmatched. In due time God allowed me to be responsible to Him for handling millions of dollars annually of His money!
About a quarter of a century ago I came into contact with Mr. Stanley R. Rader, a very brilliant young certified public accountant. I employed him to establish at our Pasadena, Calif., headquarters a puncture-proof accounting system—to guarantee honesty in handling God’s money.
Mr. Rader then graduated from the usc Law School with the highest grades on record. The Yale Law School awarded him a Sterling Fellowship, and all doors in the legal profession were opened to him. He is a member of the California Bar. But he was working more and more with us in a professional capacity and he preferred to stay with the Church of God.
Some years ago we asked Mr. Rader if he would commit his full energies to us. He had an established well-paying law practice and cpa business. Neither Mr. Rader nor members of his family were then members of the Worldwide Church of God. It is understandable that he did not want to lower the living standard of his family. We agreed to pay him at a rate equal to his income at the time. It was the highest “salary”—well above my own. I am reminded of a large milling company in Minneapolis that used to have from the advertising slogan for its flour—“Cost’s More—WORTH IT!” A Rolls Royce car costs more—but remains like new 30 or 40 years—cheaper in the long run. God says “the laborer is worthy of his hire.”
Mr. Rader’s type of specialized talent, ability, training and expertise may be worth a little more, but God’s work has needed it! Today, Mr. Rader and one of his daughters are baptized members—and the whole family is firmly loyal to God’s Church at heart.
Now, TODAY, after all these years, WHAT DO I HAVE—WHAT DOES MR. RADER HAVE?
The irs recently has gone over with a fine-tooth comb examining both our personal financial accounts—and approved them.
All I have in the world today is my home in Tucson, Ariz., bought 3½ years ago with a small down payment and a 20-year loan secured by mortgage, the use of a 3-year-old car and a checking account in the bank. My wife owns a car, some clothes and some jewelry that I bought with personal funds, after taxes and tithes and Church offerings. I own the clothes on my back—THAT IS ALL!
Mr. Rader has a bank account about double mine, his home in Pasadena, and is buying an interest in a small horse ranch in Tucson. His wife has some money in her own name, inherited from her family—not from the Church.
Jesus Christ suffered persecution—was finally put to death on testimony of false witnesses. He said that if they persecuted Him, they would persecute those who follow Him TEACHING HIS WAYS!
For 53 years now I have lived a life devoted to the principle of “GIVE”—but those who “GET” do still accuse falsely and persecute those who GIVE! When the whole world turns to the GIVE way of life there will be PEACE on this war-weary Earth!
Mr. Attorney General of California:
You cannot shut these doors opened to me for world travel to proclaim the Gospel!
Wall Street Journal, September 15, 1980
With all due respect to your office, Mr. Attorney General, I am under orders from a far higher authority—one who says you can’t stop me!
To me, the Supreme Authority, the living Jesus Christ, says, “Go ye into all the world and proclaim my Gospel Message.” He says He is the Supreme One who has opened before me the doors, and no man can shut!
Just how important is this to the Supreme Authority above all? For our time now—late in the 20th century—He says, “This Gospel of the Kingdom of God shall be preached in all the world for a witness, to all nations, and then shall the end [of this world’s civilization] come.”
No other is taking this Gospel Message of the imminent world-ruling Kingdom of God into all the world. In 1,900 years that Message has not gone out to the whole world!
The Supreme Authority says you cannot shut the doors He has opened before me!
The Attorney General’s View
Just how have you, Mr. Attorney General, viewed my Great Commission, going into all the world with that all-important announcement of the coming world-ruling government?
Without checking in a peaceful manner to learn WHY I have been going into all the world, you listened to the dissident, expelled ex-members of the Worldwide Church of God. You assumed that these arduous missions worldwide were mere pleasure trips—“siphoning off millions of dollars every year to my own personal account.” You accepted, without first checking, the testimony of expelled former members. Through your actions, severe and irreparable damage was done to the Work of the living GOD!
In the first place, had you checked, you would have found that these globe-girding travels obeying the Great Commission from Christ were allocated the smallest amount on the Worldwide Church of God annual budget—less than $1 million per year! Yet it was necessary that I take along with me a team required for holding many series of public meetings before large audiences on various continents of the Earth.
Opening the door to such public meetings were invitations for private audiences with many heads of state—kings, emperors, presidents, prime ministers. I have been given highest honors by the governments of foreign nations.
I have been the first—and so far as I know only—religious leader from the world of Christianity to be invited as the honored guest of the Communist People’s Republic of China, to speak to large audiences this Message from the Supreme “Unseen Strong Hand from Somewhere” at the Chinese capital. My party and I were the honored guests of that largest-population nation on Earth.
The Higher Authority I serve has said that in so doing, I or any others serving Him would suffer the indignities of severe persecution—even from the high sources of this world. Jesus Christ said that if they had persecuted Him they would persecute us who follow and obey Him.
Not realizing what you were doing, you have allowed yourself to be snared into this major-scale persecution of the entire Church of God—and, as a test case, your start on a campaign to take over, own, control and manage the affairs of all churches!
I know that in ignorance you have done this. You allowed yourself to be misled by ex-members. Had you come to us in peace, seeking the background of the Worldwide Church of God and its world-girding operations, we would have given you the fullest cooperation and told you the plain truth. We have so cooperated with every other government agency that has sought the true facts.
Forces of the Roman government persecuted Jesus Christ—finally put Him to death to pay for your sins, Mr. Attorney General, and mine. You have allowed yourself to be snared into fighting against this Higher Authority! I shall do as the Head of the Church admonishes: “Pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” I shall pray for your enlightenment, and that you may be forgiven by the Higher Power! I would like to take you with me into the soon-coming Kingdom of God!
We Are Non-Proselyting
We do not compete with other churches. We do not seek their members nor solicit any members directly. God adds such members as He calls and who come voluntarily.
We have, as we so well know, been grievously misunderstood. But we welcome with thanks to Almighty God the present legal backing of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States, the Lutheran Church in America, the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, the Synagogue Council of America, the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, the Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, the General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church of the United States of America, National Association of Evangelicals, and Northern California Ecumenical Council. By them we are supported by 83 million Americans!
Mr. Attorney General of California:
Has your unconstitutional attack against the Worldwide Church of God hurt the strength of that Church? The Plain Truth may surprise you!
Wall Street Journal, September 22, 1980
We answer: The strength of God’s Church lies in the power of the living GOD—in the dynamic power of the true Gospel Message God sent to the world by Jesus Christ—and in the Church people!
We are not anchored to buildings or other assets you have tried to seize!
You, Mr. Attorney General, cannot seize or control our living GOD! You cannot seize, control or in any manner stop the proclaiming over all continents that vital message! That Message of the soon-coming world-ruling Kingdom of God was unpreached to the world—believe it or not—for 1,900 years!
But God’s time has come! No power on Earth can stop that astonishing Gospel Message from going out worldwide!
You cannot seize or control our loyal members, over all continents and even the islands of the seas, from meeting for worship in their respective local churches. You cannot stop their loyal and devoted prayers and backing of our travels to carry this end-time Message to the world!
Our strength does not lie in our numbers. Numerically we are a comparatively small Church—less than 100,000 adult baptized members. Yet on national television’s No. 1-rated 60 Minutes Mike Wallace called us a “wealthy Church!” The living GOD has made us a powerful Church. The millions hear His Message through us. And neither you nor any human source can stop that Message nor hurt our strength!
You see, our strength does not reside in numerical numbers. Jesus Christ said of us, “I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. … I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut” (Revelation 3:8, Revised Standard translation).
Now what, in retrospect, have you done? True, you caused us irreparable damage through the public press and newscasts, in our public image before many throughout the United States. You have damaged us financially to the extent of a few million dollars—which the living GOD made us adequately able to bear. But our God has used your politically motivated persecution to strengthen His Church—to draw our devoted members closer to Him and to be more unitedly welded together. You have stimulated the Source of our strength!
That all-important end-time Gospel Message shall now go forth to the nations of this world in greater power than ever! It is the Message from God—the good news of the soon-coming world of peace—a world that shall be as filled with the knowledge of the Great GOD as the ocean floors are filled with water! A new world that shall enjoy world peace! A world where all eyes shall be opened to God’s truth, and eternal salvation offered to all!
Mr. Attorney General, you underestimated us—or rather you underestimated the GOD we serve and whom you ill-advisably attacked! You listened only to a handful of expelled, former members. You accepted their testimony without doing your “homework”—ascertaining the facts as they actually exist. You fell into their trap. In so doing you attacked and persecuted the living GOD and His truth. But HE has turned your persecution into a significant growth in the Church’s strength. Newly baptized members now are increasing at the rate of 30 percent per year.