What happened in the remaining seven-plus years of Mr. Armstrong’s life after he issued his prophetic challenge is extensively documented.  The “objective measures” the liberals thought would vindicate them tell the whole story regarding the life and death question of whose doctrine pleased God.  In those seven years Church membership doubled; co-workers more than tripled.  Income tripledPlain Truth circulation increased by nearly seven million.  Telephone response rose from around 2000 calls per weekend to often reach 20,000 per weekend.  The number of publications sent out per year increased by over fifty million.  Television audience increased by millions, and the worldwide availability of the Gospel witness increased by hundreds of millions.


The Church’s overall societal and governmental recognition nationally and internationally increased dramatically.  In addition, before the whole state of California, and in the close notice of high government and religious offices throughout this nation and a number of others, God vindicated His apostle by inflicting utterly humiliating defeat on two California Attorneys General, in a case that is still regarded as the nation’s quintessential example of a constitutionally-forbidden state takeover of a church.


What happened in those same seven years to the liberal ministers, who first advocated virtually every change to Mr. Armstrong’s apostolic doctrine and spiritual judgments which the various splinter organizations today embrace?  They took enormously fewer members and resources from the Church in leaving than they or almost anyone else anticipated, and in a relatively short time they all lost most of the little they did take.  Even Ted’s telecast, which for a time enjoyed greater public recognition than the telecast or “internet proclamation” of any of today’s splinter organizations, was colossally dwarfed by the cascading success of Mr. Armstrong’s telecast.  What is the only conclusion a Christian of “sound mind” (II Tim. 1:7) can draw?


Mr. Armstrong’s prophecy in this sermon that the Philadelphia Church would be gloriously restored from spiritual division, malaise and disease was given for God’s people today, just as surely as it was given for the Church’s restoration more than thirty years ago.  The wondrous fulfillment of this prophecy before “all nations” is the unmistakable sign of God for us now—divine proof that Mr. Armstrong was speaking for God that day in 1978, and thereafter, when he anathematized the identical false doctrine at issue today.  (Much of that false doctrine is identified in the Addendum to our foundational letter.)


The great spiritual test was not over when God’s people overwhelmingly chose the right way in 1978-81.  God purposed to test our “love for the Truth” (II Thes. 2:10) in an even more searching way, just as Mr. Armstrong repeatedly warned us in his last years to expect, despite our initial success in the ’78-’81 trial.  The more searching test was that, without Mr. Armstrong there to refute and disfellowship them, God allowed a new, initially very small group of ministers to turn unfaithful—men who had remained with Mr. Armstrong in the earlier phase of the great test—and advocate to God’s people the very same liberal apostasy again.  Recall that God tested the early Church in the same dual phases, as apostate doctrine powerfully refuted within the Church by Paul, Peter and John in their later years, came back after their deaths to more widely deceive Christians.