Orangevale, Ca. 95662
May 8, 1972
Greetings, my brothers and sisters in the family of God
and fellow-soldiers in the good fight of faith:
As most of you know, in November of 1969 shortly before my seventy-sixth birthday, my wife and I moved permanently from Los Angeles County which had been our home base, so to speak, since our marriage in June, 1923. At that time I was soloist, choir director and director of young peoples work at Trinity Methodist Church in Los Angeles. In the fall of 1923 I resigned these positions and was appointed one of the Conference Evangelists at the Annual Methodist Conference in November.
The first meeting I held, preaching and singing with my wife assisting at the piano, was in the Southern Methodist Church building in Sacramento, Ca. The pastor and his wife were dear Christians, "fundamental" in their Bible beliefs, but completely discouraged by the coldness and indifference of most of the members. I preached my heart out, with no visible results except a profession of faith on the part of a young hitch-hiker who had stopped in the church vestibule late one evening for a drink of water.
Another meeting followed sponsored by the young people of the Central Methodist Church in Phoenix, Ariz. I had known many of these young people in Epworth League work. They were enthusiastic and worked hard and there were several who professed faith in Christ for the first time, but the pastor soon revealed himself as a modernistic infidel. I left Phoenix with a heavy burden for those young "lambs" with a wolf in sheeps clothing for a pastor and so-called shepherd.
A third meeting in San Diego was likewise a disappointment. The pastor and his wife were earnest Christians, but the Sunday School literature was almost completely modernistic in content; and again the few converts were left to feed on infidelity except for the pastor's Sunday sermons. I left that meeting convicted that I could not with a good conscience continue to help add to the membership of such a congregation. There were some troubled Christians in all three of these places; but they could do no more than "just Lot" vexing his righteous soul. 2 Pet. 2:7.
The next nine months were spent in Chicago as choir director and assistant pastor to J. C. O'Hair at the North Shore Congregational Church; but the burden to preach the Word myself was growing on me. I went back to California to the annual Methodist Conference in November and was assigned to the pastorate of the Broadway Methodist Church in Glendale, Ca. During the year we doubled the membership of the local church and many of the new members were admitted on profession of faith in Christ. Many of you have heard me say to my shame that I "opened the door of the Methodist church" and shut these babes in Christ in, because when I led in saying every Sunday morning, "I believe in the holy, catholic church" I had never really believed that there was only one church and that Christ was the only Door.
At the end of the conference year I was put out of the Methodist ministry on the grounds of general unacceptability, mainly because we had refused to use the official Sunday School literature and were teaching the Bible in All the Sunday School classes. Over seventy five people came out of the Methodist denomination with me and we straightway organized a "fundamentalist church" modeled after three of the "best" in the nation'. I thank the Lord, the Head of His church, that He did not let me succeed. A little over a year later we dissolved our corporation, I gave up my salary and began the walk of faith with El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One. The small handful of Christians that had stood the storm with me also came out unto the Lord, free from all sectarian ties. We still have the joy of fellowship with many of them, and in some cases with their children and their grand-children.
In November of this year I will be seventy-nine years old; my wife will be seventy-four. It has been a grand and glorious battle, and we have worked together joyously and in unity, but we are both tired---not tired of the work, but tired in the work. I had hoped to continue in public ministry in the Orangevale area, but the Lord saw fit to "retire" me by means of major surgery in 1970 and a stroke in 1971 that left me with a severe form of aphasia---a condition in which I know WHAT I want to say, but the right words do not come out. My poor health has placed a heavier burden of responsibility on my wife than she should have to bear and her health has suffered also.
After much prayer and waiting on the Lord, I have decided to give up the radio broadcasts, and since most of the money received by me is designated for the M. M. Johnson Gospel Fund I shall close that out, too. We have set the time for this closing out of funds and broadcasts for the end of May---the end of forty-nine years together in the work of the Lord. We do not intend to stop serving the Lord, of course, but will seek His mind for further direction.
The broadcasts I now am responsible for will be turned over to Bros. Berl Chisum, Jack Langford and James Cox, to be carried on in whatever way they may decide. The continuation of the local broadcast over K-POP will be left to the decision of the men in the Orangevale assembly and the financial responsibility will be theirs.
Some explanation may be necessary for some of you who do not know how the gospel fund is used. Until a problem with the Internal Revenue Service arose as to whether contributions to Maurice Johnson were tax deductible, our personal funds and the funds for the Lord's work were in one account. Twice before I had set up a gospel fund when we were working in Texas and the mid-west, but they were used up and closed out before 1953.
In 1957 I set up the Maurice Johnson Gospel Fund in South Pasadena so gifts to it would be tax deductible, and opened a separate joint account for my wife and me in Arroyo Grande, where we moved temporarily on account of her poor health. I was still active and she would have been alone at times and perhaps need immediately accessible funds.
From 1957 until now, the gospel fund has been used ONLY for the work of the Lord---hall rentals, radio broadcasts, advertising, office supplies and machines, traveling expenses, etc. I have taken for our personal needs only the cash in the offering box and checks made out to me personally without any designation as to where they were to be used. In many cases where we did not need the cash or the checks they were also deposited in the gospel fund. If it had been necessary to draw on the gospel fund for any of our living expenses I'm sure I would have felt free to do so, but it was never necessary.
When we left Los Angeles in November of 1969 Russell Ross made an examination of all accounts handled by us from 1942 to 1969. A copy of these accounts can be made for anyone who needs to verify this.
In Orangevale in December, 1969 I set up a new M. M. Johnson Gospel Fund in which were deposited checks from here and other areas. As before, we used the cash and undesignated checks for our personal expenses when needed. The expenses of the Orangevale assembly, office expenses, tapes, recording supplies and other miscellaneous expenses have been paid from the gospel fund as well as a total of $11.996.00 to the Berl Chisum Gospel Fund up to date, as a part of the radio broadcasting expense to stations on which I shared time with Bro. Chisum. A total of $2,900.00 has been sent to Bro. Jack Langford to help with his printing and radio expenses, and $100.00 to Tom Murley for general expenses. Bro. Bill Hagan is preparing a summary of this account from December 1969 to May 31st of 1972 which can also be inspected upon request. At no time has our son, Jim Johnson, had knowledge of the amount in the fund, nor any access to it, nor profited from it personally.
Those of you who have contributed regularly to the Lord's work through my ministry are asked to send no more to me, but to seek the mind of the Lord through the leading of the Holy Spirit as to
the distribution of your gifts to the other ministering brethren.
A second fund should be mentioned, called by my wife the "Postage Fund". It consists of all cash received from the radio audience and is used for mailing tapes, literature, issues of Sound Words, yearly calendars, etc. It is put in a desk drawer and used when needed, generally used up after each big mailing. All checks from the radio audience are put in the gospel fund. A shorter, but similar letter will be sent to our regular radio contributors as soon as it can be done.
This lengthy letter may seem unnecessary to some, but my wife and son and I are in full agreement that we want to be crystal clear in this matter, so that there will be no need for explanations or interpretations from other sources. If there remain any questions in the minds of any of you, will you please for Christ's sake, ask us FIRST? We will be happy to answer them.
We ask your prayers for further direction in our lives. For many years our children have begged their mother to write the story of our "adventures" in our long and eventful and happy Christian service, especially the years they were too young to remember. If the Lord allows us that much time we may do it, and have already begun to assemble material for that purpose. Whatever He allows us to do will be worthy of Him as long as we have a single eye and seek only the honor and glory of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
If present plans work out we also hope to be able soon to offer free tapes of previous sermons and radio broadcasts, and to mail out literature by request as long as our supply lasts. If you should be interested in the radio tapes, please let us know. We hope those of you passing through the Sacramento area will stop by often for a little visit. We do not expect to do much traveling now. EBENEZER - I Sam. 7:12.
"Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever, Amen."
A servant and soldier of
the Lord Jesus Christ,
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