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Romans 13 and the State of California Attack
By Herbert W. Armstrong
Dissidents and enemies of God's CHURCH have been saying that we disobeyed Romans 13 in appealing the government lawsuit of Jan. 3, 1979. They say, falsely, the Church of GOD should have caved in (to use an expression used by those who brought the suit) and let the State of California take over and run or destroy the Church of the LIVING GOD!
It's about time we UNDERSTOOD God's teaching through the apostle Paul in Romans 13.
The King James translation has, "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers" (verse 1). The Revised Standard translation has, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities." The Moffatt translation has, "Every subject [citizen] must obey the government authorities."
The meaning is clear. It is speaking of each individual person, citizen, soul or subject of a kingdom.
The State of California lawsuit was not a criminal charge against a "soul," person, citizen or subject, or individual. It was a suit to take CONTROL and OWNERSHIP of the CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD! No criminal charge was made. No one was hauled into court to be tried whether guilty of such a charge or innocent. It was merely a civil ACTION with a COURT-APPOINTED RECEIVER, to take CONTROL OF, to MANAGE, HIRE AND FIRE and OPERATE the Worldwide Church of God and its corporate affiliates, Ambassador College and Ambassador International Cultural Foundation. Along with it, because they are officers of these corporations, were named Christ's apostle, Herbert W. Armstrong, treasurer Stanley R. Rader and the accounting firm which was used as official accountant for the above.
Only weeks ago, the Los Angeles Superior Court dismissed from the suit the accounting firm. We had, meanwhile, employed one of the largest firms of CPAs in the United States to completely review all books and accounts and records of our accounting firm. They found everything IN ORDER. The accounting firm had been made part of the suit because IF, as newspaper headlines blared forth (but no such criminal charges were brought) Mr. Rader and I had been guilty of siphoning off millions (plural) of dollars every year, there is no way under the sun that could be done without collusion with our accounting firm. The books and records would have to have been juggled in some way to try to cover it up.
Once our firm of accountants was DISMISSED from the suit, it simply meant that the State of California could not affirm that anything was wrong in the way our accountants handled the books. If anything was wrong, then the California attorney general should have been able to state a "cause of action" to support his allegations of wrongdoing. Since he COULD NOT, the court dismissed the accounting firm from the case.
Although NO CRIMINAL CHARGES had been made in the suit, it was well understood that was the BASIS for the whole lawsuit. But there never was any PROOF - for of course no such thing had ever happened! All they had was a false supposition by six disfellowshipped members seeking revenge! Even though they had no evidence - it was a false trumped-up charge by false men. The reason the State came SUDDENLY on Jan. 3, without even the legally required advance notice (in which THEY broke the law), was to seize our records before we could protect them! They got the records, and at the request of the attorney general, one of the country's largest CPA firms went carefully over the records for WEEKS. But no such evidence was found!
The lawsuit was against the Worldwide Church of God, affiliated corporate organizations and principal officers of the CHURCH, as chosen by Jesus Christ. In other words, IT WAS A LAWSUIT AGAINST GOD ALMIGHTY, against the LIVING JESUS CHRIST AND AGAINST HIS CHOSEN APOSTLE AND GOD'S CHURCH - Which BELONGS TO THE LIVING GOD.
When the Philistines came against Israel, with the giant Goliath, young David said, "Who is this uncircumsized Philistine, that he should defy the LIVING GOD?" The attack was not against David, nor even Israel, but against the LIVING GOD!
According to the dissenters David and all Israel should have "caved in." For it was a GOVERNMENT (the Philistines) who came against God's CHURCH of the Old Testament, and it's a GOVERNMENT of men that has now come against the CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD!
The State is not attacking a MAN. They have made no criminal charges. We are not being tried on a criminal charge. The ONLY evidence there possibly could be has proved the. allegations of six former, bitter and expelled members were FALSE! The State should now GIVE UP - but, being politicians and seeking only SELF gain politically, they won't until a higher court dismisses" the case. I petition daily to the Highest Court of Heaven to intervene and cause dismissal, and in God's due time HE WILL!
When the giant Goliath came against God's Church of the Old testament, the giant was huge, with all kinds of armor and weapons. He looked on David as small, and he underestimated David and his God. So the State of California is HUGE - largest in the Union - and it regarded GOD'S Church as small and weak, and one that would "cave in." But God gave David power to conquer the giant, and He will give us power to win this suit!
Now back to Romans 13. In chapter 12, Paul was talking about the individual Christian's duty. In 12:1, Paul beseeches the Christians at Rome to each present his body a living sacrifice to Christ. In the spring of 1927 I literally gave my personal SELF over to Christ who had bought and paid for me with His life's blood. Have YOU? Verse 3, Paul says to "every man that is among you' [speaking to individuals], not to think of himself more highly than he ought." He continues speaking to the individual Christian. Then, continuing in chapter 13, he speaks of each individual being subject to the higher powers.
If the government sets a speed limit of 55 mph, I as an individual do not exceed it. As an individual, I am subject to GOVERNMENT, and no government has EVER had occasion to find me guilty of not obeying its laws. But this lawsuit was an action to TAKE OVER - TO OPERATE - TO OWN - and therefore to have right to SELL CHURCH PROPERTY - to FIRE GOD'S APOSTLE AND TREASURER - WHICH THE RECEIVER DID THE VERY FIRST DAY! JESUS CHRIST chose and appointed me, and I, His apostle, appointed Mr. Rader, WHAT RIGHT HAD THE WORLDLY POLITICAL STATE TO COUNTERMAND CHRIST'S CHOICE?
Further, the suit was UNCONSTITUTIONAL. I had broken no law! The Church had broken no law. Jesus Christ the HEAD of the Church, had broken no California law!
Now notice what a "scholarly" commentary says in expounding Romans 13.
Speaking of government rulers: "If he rule according to the Constitution nothing can justify (the individual) rebelling against his authority... When the ruler acts thus (contrary to law or the Constitution) he dissolves the compact between him and his people; his authority is no longer binding, but illegal; and it is illegal because he is acting contrary to the laws of the Constitution, according to which, on being raised to the supreme power he promised to govern. This conduct justifies opposition to his government" - and the commentary means in GOD'S sight! (Adam Clarke's Commentary).
I know that in such cases GOD DOES GUIDE HIS CHOSEN APOSTLE, and He has guided me in emergencies. It is by ACTS OF GOD that His Church has been able to keep operating AS USUAL. When the temporary receiver (now dismissed) fired me, I was not in California. I continued to RUN THE WORK from Tucson, Ariz. The receiver tried for a short time to run the Work, but he was UNABLE! Immediately I had money sent in MY care, which was deposited in a corporate account here in Tucson. He had no control over GOD'S tithes. We funneled funds into Pasadena just in time to pay God's Church bills, and the receiver was unable to lay his hands on the money - which was his goal.
WE did not give up and quit - HE did!
We now have the receiver off our backs, no longer filling my office and Mr. Rader's with his cigarette smoke. We have won a victory in having the accounting firm removed from the suit. We are operating as usual. Income is INCREASING - did all year - still is! The Church is being set back on God's track! We are closer together and closer to GOD than ever before!
Though God is teaching us patience and FAITH, He nevertheless is BLESSING us, keeping His Work going - AND GROWING!