RADIO CHURCH OF GOD
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG
PRESIDENT and PASTOR
The WORLD TOMORROW
The PLAIN TRUTH
a Magazine of UNDERSTANDING
August 29, 1962
Dear Brethren of the Bakersfield Church of God:
Do you recall one opening prayer made in our Church when WE did not ask for the presence of GOD THE ETERNAL FATHER and JESUS THE CHRIST to be present with us in SPIRIT?
Well, I don't! Each prayer may be differently constructed, different words may be used, but ALWAYS we ask -- and certainly we should continue to -- that GOD BE WITH US!
Maybe you have thought this is some meaningless ritual in which we must participate in order to get off to a good start. Maybe you think it's the religious way to get things going. Maybe you think it would be just as well to mumble the box scores of the major league baseball teams. Maybe you consider your "amen" as a sort of ticket of admission and so let's get on with "keeping the Sabbath so I can get home and live MY life." Now, really, I do not believe you think this way YET but there is a laxness growing which needs to be recognized. YOU need to look at YOU! These thoughts have come into my mind because of the ACTIONS of some of the MEMBERS of the Bakersfield congregation. Unless it is STOPPED NOW it will grow. IT WILL STOP! The God whom we worship has the power to stop it. This letter comes in His authority!
GOD IS WITH US IN HIS CONVOCATIONS! I do NOT mean in some indefinable, wishy-washy, meaningless, powerless, "spiritualized" way. He is REALLY there IN SPIRIT. GOD -- the God of THE Church to which I preach -- is not an ethereal nothingness. He is IN the Church; He is IN its meetings; He is REALLY PRESENT at HIS convocations. He has NOT gone way off to leave us to our own devices, our own way of living, our own way of obedience, our own way of rearing our families and controlling our children.
HE COMMANDS: "REMEMBER the Sabbath day, to KEEP IT HOLY!!"
How HOLY did you KEEP last Sabbath?
How HOLY will you KEEP next Sabbath?
Every one of you has been admonished and encouraged to attend God's Church regularly. Some of you have been personally counselled about the matter and yet you continue to let the little cares of this life and concern for people get in the way. YOU CANNOT KEEP THE SABBATH HOLY IF YOU REFUSE TO ASSEMBLE WITH GOD'S CHURCH!!! If you've missed a Sabbath service lately for any reason except you could not come, then you need to take Dr. Hoeh's article in the July 1961 GOOD NEWS, entitled "Why Attend Church Services," beginning on page one, and get on your knees before God and START STUDYING.
But, perhaps you're thinking, "I do come to Church every Sabbath." Or, "I do come as often as I possibly can." Perhaps you know all about what God says about the Sabbath and the necessity for keeping it. (Many of you are keeping the Sabbath according to the knowledge which God has given you, but this letter must be written anyway.) YOU may still be one of the people who have "inspired" this letter. Consider!
In I Timothy 3:15 the Apostle Paul told Timothy that the instruction he had given earlier in the chapter was so "... that thou mayest know HOW thou oughtest to BEHAVE THYSELF IN THE HOUSE OF GOD, which is the CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD ...!" In verse 4 he had said, "... CHILDREN IN SUBJECTION WITH ALL GRAVITY; While in Verse 12 he reiterates, "... RULING THEIR CHILDREN ... WELL!"
In I Timothy 4:11 he told Timothy, and so all of God's ministers, "These things COMMAND and TEACH!"
This letter comes to certain members with that AUTHORITY. It will ask questions, point out errors (SIN), and show you the solution. It is meant to COMMAND and TEACH! It is written in LOVE, the love of God, which is willing to correct. Read on ... IN THE FEAR OF GOD!
Are you attempting to keep the Sabbath Holy and yet spitting in the face of God?
Are you allowing your child to bellow, squall, scream and holler in the PRESENCE OF GOD? SOME OF YOU ARE!!! And it is ABOMINABLE, DETESTABLE, and STINKING in His presence. THIS APPALLING CONDITION MUST BE STOPPED!!!! It is understandable that a new family may not know how to cope with a rebellious child but ANYONE WHO CLAIMS TO BE CONVERTED should be able to straighten a preschool child out within a period of three months. Actually it should not take even that long. I know from experience.
There are some of YOU that may just as well stand up and shout as loudly as your children that you do not know how to teach your children, that your present methods are entirely INADEQUATE, that you DO NOT KNOW HOW TO BE A PARENT. When your children rebelliously clamor in Church -- or anywhere else, for that matter -- they are, in fact, making it known to the world in general that YOU ARE A POOR PARENT. YOU ARE KNOWN BY YOUR FRUIT!! GOD SAYS SO!
Get this straight! You will NEVER teach your children how to behave in Church on the Sabbath if you wait until the Sabbath to train them. God has told us to do our work during the six work days of the week. TRAINING CHILDREN is part of that work. IF you work at training your children DURING THE WEEK you will not need to be concerned with working at it on the Sabbath -- and some of you aren't doing it then either. You can take care of emergencies on the Sabbath -- God' s law permits it -- and you should only need to be involved in EMERGENCY corrections with your children on the Sabbath. IF you accomplish all you should during the week your children will be in subjection on the Sabbath; they will not need continual correction and attention (mostly ineffective), they will be able to sit at REST on the SABBATH; they will allow you to REST on the SABBATH.
Each parent in the congregation can improve in training his children, of this there is no doubt, but some of you are to be commended in the progress you are making. On the other hand, SOME OF YOU ARE DOING A MISERABLE JOB OF REARING YOUR CHILDREN.
Don't any one of you give the excuse that your child is too young to be under control. There has not been EVEN ONE child in attendance, up to this time in my term of pastor in the Bakersfield Church, who is too young to mind his parents, NO NOT ONE! Henceforth, you will be expected to keep your children quiet during services.
Mr. Glover set you a good example last Sabbath. You can control your children just as well as he does. I'm going to tell you how you can accomplish this. Perhaps you who have rebellious, noisy children did not even notice his example because your child was so distracting. The noise that some of them were making certainly leaves me believing that their parents received very little instruction from the sermon. DO YOU KNOW WHAT I PREACHED ABOUT? Maybe you're used to noise and confusion; if so, HOW DO YOU THINK THE PEOPLE IN FRONT OF YOU, IN BACK OF YOU, TO YOUR SIDE made out? DID YOUR CHILD PREVENT THEM FROM KEEPING THE SABBATH? DID YOUR CHILD ROB AND CHEAT THEM OUT OF THE WORDS OF LIFE????
Mr. Glover's children sat still during the service. The youngest is not yet a year and a half but she sits or lies where her mother places her. The Glover children were not chasing back and forth to the bathroom. They were quiet AND THEY ARE HAPPY!
While I'm on the subject of bathrooms: There is rarely a need for a child to go to the bathroom during services if proper preparation is made, unless there is some difficulty with his or her urinary tract. I know this from experience, too! My children used to "need to go." With training they quickly got over the "need." Don't allow your children to drink large amounts of liquid or eat watermelon before they come to church. See to it that they use the bathroom just before services and then your children should be able to sit through the services. If they do indicate that there really is a "need to go," YOU GO WITH THEM -- don't send a brother or sister -- SEE if they were pulling your leg and punish them if they were only wanting to get some exercise. Certainly, they should be allowed "to go" if there is a real necessity. Just as certainly, you should instruct them beforehand in the change of rules that is being made. They should have warning and training BEFORE the Sabbath.
On the Sabbath of May 19 I preached to you on the subject that "God Holds Us Responsible for Properly Training Our Children." Get out your notes and look them over. I showed you scriptures which prove God ABSOLUTELY COMMANDS our properly training our offspring. I also told you I wasn't going back over all of the material which Mr. Ted Armstrong had written in "The PLAIN TRUTH". I told you to STUDY that series on child training. SOME OF YOU ARE NOT APPLYING THE INSTRUCTIONS HE GAVE.
I told you this letter would tell you how to rear your children. HERE IS HOW:
The series on child training began in the November 1960 PLAIN TRUTH.
Get out your file and begin, NOT JUST READING, BUT STUDYING!!!!
The first few articles are not so greatly concerned with the problem at hand, but they furnish background. Perhaps you can skim through them IF you have thoroughly studied and digested them previously.
Now, when you come to the August 1961 issue, there is more to do:
GO TO YOUR CLOSET. (With your wife or husband if she or he is converted or interested) BESEECH GOD FOR UNDERSTANDING, ASK FOR ASSISTANCE. THEN STUDY AS IF YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CHILD'S DEPENDED UPON IT -- FOR, IN FACT, IT DOES!
Know "How Your CHILD Learns!" August 1961
Understand "The TRUTH About Corporal Punishment!"
See "Our VICTIMIZED CHILDREN!" October 1961.
Be able to answer "Will THEY OUTGROW IT?" November 1961
Realize "CRIMINALS are MADE, Not BORN!" December 1961
COMPREHEND "You CAN Punish YOUR Children -- IN LOVE!" January 1962.
Find out "How to GET RESULTS!" February 1962
Learn "How to Teach Your Children Right Habits!" March 1962
YOU ARE NOT TO SKIM THESE ARTICLES! YOU ARE TO THOROUGHLY DIGEST THEM! YOU ARE TO INSTITUTE THEM INTO YOUR WAY OF LIFE! YOU ARE TO APPLY THEM!!! YOU ARE TO BEGIN TO USE THIS INFORMATION IN REARING YOUR CHILD TODAY! YOU ARE GOING TO PROVE YOUR CONVERSION -- YOUR WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE FROM THE WAY THAT HAS SEEMED RIGHT -- BY THE WAY YOUR CHILDREN ACT IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS.
You will need to IMMEDIATELY start using Mr. Armstrong's instructions in your everyday life. You will need to be PERSISTENT and CONSTANT. You must not slack off from this responsibility! We prove ourselves before God both by our willingness to SUBMIT to the authority which He PLACES OVER us, and our willingness to accept and administer the authority which He GIVES us. Use your authority over your children to become perfect as the Eternal has commanded. EXERCISE your authority! Begin now to make your children sit or lie still for short periods of time, gradually lengthen the period, insist that you be obeyed. (Any well child of school age should sit up during services.) Make punishment swift, sure and just when it is necessary. Perhaps my experience last night with my youngest daughter will be of some help.
A member of the Los Angeles congregation called last night and asked me to come pray for his ill son. I decided it would be nice for my family to accompany me on the trip -- he lives about 20 miles from me -- for we could all be together during that time. My daughter said she preferred to stay home and visit the neighbors (who had a TV set running). I said "No, you're going along." She swung about on her heel, tossed her head, curled her lip and said, "Oohhh." She was going to go, she knew it, I knew it. But her attitude was entirely wrong -- she was being REBELLIOUS! So I got our paddle -- it's made of ash, is about 3 1/2 by 18 inches and tapers from about a 3/4 inch thickness in the handle to 3/8 at the tip. She cried at the first swat for two reasons (1) it hurt and (2) she wanted it to stop. The punishment did not stop soon. She finally realized the way she cried and acted yet showed a wrong attitude. Her crying stopped even though the repeated swats were hurting more. She became convinced I was going to have my way -- she realized I was the authority -- and she finally truthfully, and fervently said, "Daddy, I WON'T do it anymore." She meant it. I stopped. I then warned her that the next such infraction would be met with even more severe punishment. I meant it. We understand each other. She isn't wondering IF I meant it because she knows from experience I keep my word.
Some people have difficulty in believing their child could really be noisome and distracting to their fellow man. For this reason I do now instruct Messrs. Brown and Hamilton that they are not only empowered, but commanded, to keep order in the Church. It is their responsibility duly delegated by me and under the authority of Jesus Christ, to see to it that the services are not disrupted. They will remind parents to control their children if they become distracting. They will do this whether or not I am in charge of services on that day.
Small children may have a simple toy to keep their attention but when they have been taught to sit quietly and attentively they should not be appeased by some gimmick. Children are energetic and should be given permission to move about in an orderly manner before and after services. They should not be allowed to run, jump, noisily move furniture, knock decorations loose or become boisterous. Their activity should be controlled but there should not be need for rigid control. Teach your child to THINK!
In all of this I have NOT said you are to beat your children. It is not necessary to bruise a child in order to discipline him. You should NEVER PUNISH IN ANGER. ALWAYS you should be calm, deliberate, reasonable and just. You are to instruct your children in a right attitude, not just maul them for individual infractions. It would be best to use the bar room at the rear of the meeting hall for discipline. Make certain the windows are closed and DO NOT make a noisy affair of it. If you properly train your children at home there should not be reason to have long, loud sessions of correction at Church. It may be necessary for us to put up with a little more confusion than proper during the next Sabbath or two while you convince your children that God expects us to keep the Sabbath holy, but it will quickly be overcome if you follow the instructions given above -- and it may be that you can make sufficient change before next Sabbath that peace and orderliness can begin immediately.
This letter is going to all of the baptized members and some of the older prospective members of the Bakersfield Church. So EVERYONE who should be will be informed. The majority of you do NOT need the forceful correction which this letter makes but you should all be aware of the problem -- and who can help but be -- and recognize the seriousness of it. If you have been doing a better job with your children than some others, let me admonish you not to let up, don't become lax, keep after perfection in this very important, God-given responsibility. In Jesus' name,
Clint C. Zimmerman