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The Plain Truth – September 1981
The Plain Truth – September 1981
The Foundation Of All Knowledge

from Herbert W. Armstrong

NO TWO people believe alike in all things. Nobody agrees with EVERYBODY else. The purpose of The Plain Truth is to inform, to challenge, to stimulate THINKING, checking and PROVING what you believe.

We always say to new readers, do not believe what we say – or anyone else says – BECAUSE we say it. But listen without prejudice, check, verify, PROVE – and then believe what you find PROVED true. If you do, we think you’ll come to believe what you read here.

A lady from London, England once wrote me: “I notice you say the Gospel message is an educational message. If this is so, it is not for us and for millions and millions of other people. This statement is not biblical… The Bible was not written to inform man’s mind, but to change man’s heart.”

WHAT’S THAT? This statement of mine is not biblical? The Bible was not written to inform the MIND?

It is VERY IMPORTANT that our readers UNDERSTAND whether the Bible was written to inform the MIND! And whether the only TRUE Gospel is an educational message. Entirely too many have been DECEIVED into the false idea that the GOSPEL is an irrational, sentimental, ethereal superstition. THAT IS THE REASON, more than any other, that modern education, and educated people today, have utterly REJECTED the Bible, the true Gospel, and belief in GOD!

And my statement is NOT BIBLICAL? I will now show you – if your mind is open – precisely how COMPLETELY biblical it is!

This lady in London put her finger on the very CRUX of all this world’s tragedies, its sorrows, pains and sufferings, its heartaches, its poverty, illiteracy, filth and squalor, its crime, broken marriages, violence and wars!

The CAUSE of all unhappiness and wretchedness is WRONG education, and LACK of the knowledge that can be received only from the revelation of the Creator – in His Word.

And WHY?

Simply because the world has thrown away the BASIC TEXTBOOK of true education – the Holy Bible! The world has gotten all mixed up. The world, like this lady in London, has not realized just WHAT the Bible IS! The Bible IS the FOUNDATION of ALL KNOWLEDGE – and the true APPROACH to the acquisition of all discoverable knowledge. It is our Maker’s INSTRUCTION BOOK of needed knowledge acquirable from no other source.

What is the most basic knowledge?

It is the PURPOSE for the very existence of human life here upon the earth! It is to know the MEANING of life. It is to discern the TRUE values from the false. It is to know THE WAY to peace, happiness, abundant well-being, and eternal life; THE WAY to what fundamentalists call “salvation.” To know just what IS “salvation.” Is it a PLACE – a geographical location; is it a changed condition? Is it a change of composition – or WHAT? And HOW do we obtain it? Is that KNOWLEDGE important? Does the Bible teach it?

Is it rational? Does it make sense?

Nowhere but in the Bible can one obtain THIS BASIC NECESSARY KNOWLEDGE! Of course, there seems to be an almost endless amount of knowledge that MAN can learn, discover or acquire by himself. God gave man eyes that see, ears that hear, hands that feel. God gave man a MIND that can reason, feet to carry him about, hands that can design and make instruments. He can make telescopes and microscopes. He can build and equip laboratories, conduct experiments. He can travel and explore.

But he cannot discover, by himself, WHAT he himself IS, or WHY he is. Did he just happen, without intelligent design, by a purposeless process called “evolution”? Or was he CREATED, and put here FOR A PURPOSE? And what is that purpose?

Yet that letter from the lady in London says “the Bible was not written to inform man’s mind,” and it is “not biblical” to say that the Gospel is an EDUCATIONAL message!

THAT false supposition is MAJOR CAUSE of all the world’s unhappy ills!

WHY! How could that be?

Millions have SUPPOSED that the “Gospel” is a sentimental, nebulous, ethereal sort of EMOTION, irrational and UNrelated to the MIND. They SUPPOSE that THIS false “gospel” came out of the Bible! Therefore they ASSUME that the Bible is an impractical book of maudlin sentimentality, utterly unrelated to rational KNOWLEDGE. Thus the Bible has come to be regarded as outmoded superstition – a book of fables – or, in the Old Testament, the writings of Jews ignorantly searching for a national concept of a god.

So THINKERS, without thinking, and without checking to SEE what the Bible is, or what it says, have relegated it to the scrap heap of outworn superstition. The “EDUCATED” have thrown it out the window, without searching, to PROVE their biased assumption.

And many religious people have SUPPOSED that “the Bible was not written to inform man’s mind, but to change man’s heart.” They have accepted a sanctimonious sentimentalism, in which they get to “feel” that they are spiritual, and that they are “saved,” largely shutting up their minds against the rational teaching of the Bible.

A very “religious” woman of this category once exclaimed, in surprised amazement, “Why, you surely don’t read the Bible to try to UNDERSTAND it, do you?”

“Why, of course!” I replied emphatically. “Don’t you ever read the Bible?’

“Oh yes! I read it every day,” she said in a very sanctimonious tone.

“Well then, do you mean you read it, but you don’t let it SPEAK to you – you don’t get any meaning from what you read?”

“But we’re not supposed to understand the Bible,” she persisted. Like the lady in London, she thought it was not written to inform man’s MIND.

“Then WHY do you read it,” I asked.

“Why, just for INSPIRATION,” she replied.

Entirely too many people are DECEIVED by this false idea. No WONDER the men of science and the educators of this world have ASSUMED that the Bible contains nothing RATIONAL – but only senseless, sentimental superstition, entirely irrational!

Well, let’s read a few words of it! It won’t poison your mind!

To the gentile-born Thessalonians, Paul wrote: “But I would not have you to be IGNORANT, brethren, concerning them which are asleep …” (I Thessalonians 4:13). Was this written to inform man’s MIND – prevent IGNORANCE? But of course MOST people today, because they embrace a sanctimonious superstition INSTEAD OF the MESSAGE OF THE BIBLE, do not understand this! If the Bible was written to change man’s heart (AND IT WAS INDEED!) HOW can it change man’s HEART, if it is never understood by the MIND?

Just what does the Bible mean when it speaks of man’s “heart”? The word heart is used, in this sense, to imply the ATTITUDE of MIND! The BIBLE says: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…” (Jeremiah 17:9).

It is not referring to the organ that pumps blood under man’s chest. It is referring to man’s NATURE – his attitude, or spirit, or tendency of MIND. It is referring to his natural CHARACTER!

But HOW does God go about changing this deceitful NATURE this “heart” – this attitude of MIND?

Only the Holy Spirit of God can do this. So how does one receive God’s Spirit?

Jesus began His Gospel ministry and teaching saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: REPENT ye, and BELIEVE the GOSPEL” (Mark 1:1, 14-15). Two conditions He said WE must perform: REPENT and BELIEVE!

Yes, TWO conditions. That, WE must do. Then GOD does the “saving” – the converting. God GIVES His Holy Spirit.

But now HOW does one REPENT? What does the word repent MEAN? The dictionary definition is, “TO change one’s MIND.” “Godly sorrow worketh repentance …” (II Corinthians 7:10). This is done in and by the MIND!

Paul was concerned about the MIND: He said: “Let this MIND be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

How does one BELIEVE, in order to be “saved”? One must BELIEVE with the MIND.

The very last words of the apostle Peter’s letter were: “But grow in grace, and in the KNOWLEDGE of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…” (II Peter 3:18).

What is the FOUNDATION of knowledge – the starting approach to wisdom? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good UNDERSTANDING have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth forever” (Psalm 111:10).

Speaking of the spiritual GIFTS – which God gives to His begotten children – to the heirs of salvation – we read this INSTRUCTION to the MIND:

“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.” Through Paul, God says He does not want us to be IGNORANT – but UNDERSTANDING and KNOWLEDGEABLE of MIND!

Continue: “Wherefore I give you to UNDERSTAND… Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit… For to one is given by the Spirit the word of WISDOM; to another the word of KNOWLEDGE by the same Spirit; to another FAITH by the same Spirit.” (I Corinthians 12:1,3,4,8-9). The MOST IMPORTANT of all the spiritual gifts which God gives His people are, first of all, WISDOM; second in importance, KNOWLEDGE; third, FAITH. These all are imparted to the MIND!

Jesus Christ said that we should actually LIVE BY “every word of God” – that is, every word in the Bible (Luke 4:4). How may we do that, unless we allow God’s Word to speak to, and instruct our MINDS?

What does STUDY mean? Do we “STUDY” with our MINDS – or our hearts? We find this INSTRUCTION and TEACHING: “STUDY to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15). That is a COMMAND! One can STUDY, and rightly divide the Word of God only with his MIND!

God teaches – yes, COMMANDS! – that the Scriptures are to be STUDIED – with the MIND. Otherwise, how could we know God’s WILL for us? So we find this command: “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but UNDERSTANDING what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17).

What a tragedy that so much of this world is DECEIVED.

MILLIONS have been deceived into a FALSE “salvation,” inoculated with the spiritual poison that “salvation” and the “Gospel” are concerned only with a sanctimonious mental anesthetic, shutting up the MIND to God’s real TRUTH, accepting the counterfeit of a sentimental “feeling” of piety.

And other MILLIONS have been conversely deceived into supposing that this ethereal, impractical, irrational superstition of these professing but deceived “Christians” constitutes the teaching of the Bible. So these millions, in vanity wanting to be considered rational, and educated regarding themselves as thinkers – throw away the Bible without so much as an examination of its contents.

BOTH these “pious” sentimentalists and these “intellectuals” are DECEIVED! Going off in opposite directions, to the opposite extremes from the TRUTH, they are both headed for the same ultimate destination, unless there can be a mind-opening!

The Bible is the very SOURCE of TRUE RATIONALISM, of basic TRUTH. Also it is the very SOURCE of the only TRUE Gospel and genuine SALVATION. Surely it is the Book almost NOBODY knows!

What, then, IS the Holy BIBLE?

It is the FOUNDATION of all knowledge – knowledge which is otherwise utterly inaccessible to the mind of man – the knowledge of WHAT man is; of WHY man is; of the true values; of THE WAY to peace, happiness, abundant well-being, success; and of ETERNAL life.

It is the FOUNDATION of all knowledge – scientific, physical and spiritual. Not the sum-total of knowledge – far, far from it! It is the starting point – the BASIS, providing the proper approach toward the acquisition of knowledge that is discoverable by man.

It contains history, prophecy, wisdom, spiritual knowledge, TRUTH.

No one can be properly EDUCATED except by and through it. No one can know the way to eternal life, except by what it contains.

Yes, I REPEAT! – “the Gospel message IS an educational message!” It is RATIONAL! It MAKES SENSE! And it is REAL!