WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91123
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG
PRESIDENT and PASTOR
January 31, 1974
Dear Brethren in God's Church:
A surprising report has just been submitted to me by Mr. Raymond F. McNair, Senior Editor of The PLAIN TRUTH.
It had come to my attention that a growing uncertainty was occurring among some in the Church over the matter of counting the day of Pentecost. More than a quarter century ago, when the Headquarters was still in Eugene, Oregon, a woman member stirred up dissension, trying to divide the Church over this issue. I carefully went into every argument she presented. All were false.
It has been stirred up by some since, at least twice. In every case the gainsayers were WRONG.
This matter has been carefully researched by the Church, and by myself personally at least three times, before now. Some, even back in the days when the Headquarters was at Eugene, Oregon, had insisted that a day "from" today is still today. The way they counted, seven days from a Sabbath is the following Friday. To count seven days from a Sabbath they insisted on numbering that Sabbath number one. Two days from Sabbath, in their count, was Sunday. Of course that is ridiculous. God's Church has always, and rightly, rejected every such argument. There were other arguments, ALL FALSE!
God's Church cannot and will not be carried about here and there by every wind of doctrine, into false doctrines. On the other hand, God's Church always has, and always will, correct any errors when PROVED. Often I have said, as Abraham Lincoln said, "I shall adopt new views, so often as they are PROVED to be TRUE views." God commands, "PROVE all things; hold fast that which is good" (I Thessalonians 5:21).
We could not BE The Church of GOD if we did otherwise. The VERY FACT that in past years errors, on discovery, have been corrected, is one (and ONLY one) of the evidences this IS the very CHURCH OF GOD!
Day before yesterday I had lunch with my son, Garner Ted. There had been wide-scale meetings here once again going in-depth into a scholarly and technical study of every phase of the question. He said Mr. McNair had come up with something NEW that I ought to see.
Now, after all these careful reexaminations of all the Scriptural evidences, Mr. McNair, and several others who have taken part in this most recent technical research, feel SOMETHING NEW has come to light that MUST BE CONSIDERED.
I will not now burden you with details. I have not had time or opportunity, myself, as yet to study it carefully, as I must before a decision. IF this new evidence or possible evidence does hold water, it simply means that every translation we know of Leviticus 23 has been misleading -- that all of the Hebrew scholars who translated the King James, the American Revised, the Revised Standard Version, the Moffatt, the Fenton, the Jewish translation -- others -- have translated one Hebrew word into a misleading and, at the least, ambiguous English word. And it is a word requiring much technical research to run down.
I am writing this letter because Mr. McNair has given me enough to feel that it is possible this NEW evidence may cause --the Church to make a change. There is yet AMPLE TIME before the next Pentecost, for me, and also Garner Ted Armstrong, to carefully and minutely check on the complete technical facts. GOD WILL LEAD US IN THE RIGHT AND TRUE CONCLUSION.
God did not reveal EVERY DETAIL of His Truth to me at once, beginning 47 years ago. But, because I WAS willing to give up error, and accept His Truth -- and, four or five times, to give up what I had thought was His Truth, but when proved error to confess it and change to proved TRUTH, He did call and choose me to raise up this present era of His Church, and to be used in proclaiming the true GOSPEL, for the first time in over 18 1/2 centuries TO THE WORLD!
This particular doctrine, however, is one to be decided by THE CHURCH -- with Christ at the Head of the Church, and next those HE has chosen as His instruments by whom He guides His Church -- first, Apostles, Evangelists, etc. (He has put no prophets in the Church TODAY, except where "prophet" means, simply preacher.) It is not a doctrine for individual members to decide, for the Church must be ONE, and meet on the correct day AS ONE BODY!
Sincerely, Brethren, I want you all to consider this:
God sent Jesus Christ into the world over 1900 years ago as a MESSENGER (Malachi 3:1) with a MESSAGE for mankind. Right? Jesus came. Right? His Message (Mark 1:1, 14-15 and elsewhere) was the Gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD! Right? RIGHT! After the end of the first century, there was a gap of a hundred years in the history of the Church. After that LOST CENTURY of Church history, history reveals a "Christian Church" NO LONGER PROCLAIMING THE GOOD NEWS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD -- but teaching almost the very opposite doctrines and customs of Christ and the Apostles. Revelation 12 shows the TRUE Church, persecuted, small, fleeing for safety. Revelation 17 shows the great FALSE Church, "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS." It never did proclaim the KINGDOM OF GOD Message to the world.
The only sign Jesus gave that we are near the END of the age is that "This Gospel of the Kingdom is being preached in all the world as a witness unto all nations." That Great Commission is not yet completed, but is WELL UNDER WAY, and now, the NEW DOORS God has recently opened are rapidly completing it!
You know you have the PROOF by the FRUITS that this IS the very Church the living Christ is guiding and blessing!
Is there any doubt -- COULD there be -- as to WHOM God chose to raise up this WORK, and carry it on?
Now THINK, please, Brethren! Do you think God WOULD choose, and USE, bearing all the FRUITS, one He could so USE, who would, upon proof, refuse to confess error, and accept truth? IS THAT WHAT YOU THINK OF ME? Is it?
I say to you, dear Brethren in Christ, IF I find the PROOF that NEW EVIDENCE (which there was no way I could have found sooner) shows we must change the day, I shall accept that truth and CHANGE IT. If every member of the Church left the Church because I changed it on PROOF, I still would CHANGE IT! I am the called and chosen servant of the living Jesus Christ. I will be WITH HIM, regardless, and hope YOU are also with HIM and with me.
If PROOF shows this new evidence is wrong, and we have been RIGHT, I will HOLD FAST WHAT IS GOOD. If every minister in the Church wanted to change the day, and God shows me PROOF we have been right, I will remain FIRM, and WITH CHRIST, even though all the ministers and members desert the TRUTH.
COULD I BE OTHERWISE?
Brethren, I know of NO CHURCH (of this world -- and Satan is the god of this world and its churches) which has ever dared admit it had been teaching wrong, or corrected the wrong. If an individual must confess wrong -- and repent, must not WE ALL as a CHURCH? This is the ONLY CHURCH that dares do that! I have always said I try not to make a decision or a judgment, until I have ALL of the facts. I thought I had all of the facts on this question. If no NEW facts appear, there is no way, so far as I know, that I could have known these new facts before.
Brethren, we are NOT of THIS WORLD. In the world there is a great CREDIBILITY GAP that news media, radio, TV, newspapers, magazines have stirred up against the President of the United States. BUT GOD'S CHURCH IS DIFFERENT. When I speak before the large public audiences coming up, now, in world capitals, there will be NO CREDIBILITY GAP! GOD HAS GIVEN ME GREAT CREDIBILITY IN THE EYES OF HEADS OF MANY NATIONS' This is so HIS GOSPEL may be declared in those nations as a witness! Has He given me any less in YOUR eyes?
I frankly say that IF NEW EVIDENCE I had no way of ever discovering before gives PROOF, I shall have to change the day on which we meet with Christ and His Holy Spirit for Pentecost. If not, I shall hold fast what is proved GOOD, regardless of results. I AM GOING ALONG WITH THE LIVING CHRIST -- ALL THE WAY! And I BELIEVE YOU ARE WITH ME!
With deep love and devotion, in Jesus' name,
Herbert W. Armstrong