Moral Apostasy.—Unless the signs of the times are misleading. we are living in a day of well-nigh universal moral apostasy. Never, perhaps, has moral delinquency among Christian people been so manifest and so general. We have religious organization and activity, but seemingly no connection with the current of divine power. We have "revivals" that do not revive. In the world's cold atmosphere, churches are being chilled into impotency and "frozen assets" by worldly-minded. world-serving members ; waterlogged by sheer, nonchalant worldliness and complacent indifference. Church attendance by members is decreasing. Family and church discipline is disappearing. Family altars are the exception. Sabbath desecration is the rule. Suicides and divorces are multiplying. The crime wave rises higher and higher. Socialism and communism eat their way into the very vitals of our national life. Atheism is organized and exerts a vigorous propaganda. The land is flooded with liquor. The nation is on a drunken debauch, with millions of church members particeps criminis.—Watehman-Boaminer (Baptist), January 21.
Advent Ignorance.—The late Edward Bok was a man of remarkable ability, of wide knowledge, and of genuine altruism, but he did some things he would never have done had he known the truth of the Lord's return. For example, he offered a prize of $100,000 for the best plan for world peace. There were upwards of 22,000 applicants for this prize, and it was awarded to one of these for an elaborate peace plan which, needless to say, has not yet worked out.--Sunday School Times (Fund.), January 16.
Bible Society.—The British Society alone has helped the gospel to Speak in 700 different languages and dialects, which are current among three quarters of the human race. It employs nearly 1,100 colportears, natives of the countries in which they work, who carry cheap copies of the Book into the remotest corners of the earth, and sell them at prices which even the very poor can afford to pay. These colporteurs sell about 7,000,000 volumes each year.—Watchman-Examiner (Baptist), Nov. 12, 1936.
Advent Omitted.--The Methodist Episcopal denomination has now revised the ritual they use when they administer the Lord's supper. The revision is not in the wording of prayers or exhortations, copied from the prayer book of the Church of England, but they have taken the audacious liberty of omitting three words from 1 Corinthians 11 :23-26. The words omitted are, "till He come." Of course the revisers, probably some of the bishops, most of whom are Masons, Shriners, etc., do not believe in the holiness of the word of God, that it is the unchangeable revelation of God. They do not consider the solemn words in Revelation 22 :19 : "If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
It seems this denomination, through its leadership of men of the stamp of certain bishops and others, hates and opposes "that blessed hope." That precious "till He come" is not wanted. They have stricken it out. The action, we said, is audacious ; it is worse than that, it is downright evil.
But never mind, all ye haters of His appearing, whether ye believe it or not, "till He come" is the word of God, and He will come in power and great glory. And when He comes, everlasting shame will be your portion, and He whom you denied will deny you, and in all the eternal night you will hear it : "Depart from Me," "I know ye not."—unless ye repent.—Our Hope (Fund.), February, 1937.
"Zero" Churches.—Three Congregational churches in the United States received more than 100 members each on confession of faith in 1935. They were the First German, Torrington, Wyoming ; the First, Pasadena, California ; and the First, Glencoe, Minnesota. Of the 6,209 Congregational churches, 2,573 are listed as "Zero" churches. A "Zero" church is one that does not report any additions on confession of faith during the year.—Watchman-Examiner (Baptist), Nov. 12, 1936.
"Babylon" Forming.—As a result of the "preaching missions," voices are heard now advocating a great union. That is nothing new. It is to include all Protestant ( ?) denominations, take in Roman Catholicism (but wait till the Pope speaks), and also Judaism. The latter. only the reformed type, for a real strict orthodox Jew could hardly be induced to enter into such a combination. Well, this is a sign of the times. It is bound to come to such a "Babylon." But in order to bring about this confusing amalgamation of man-made religions. the members of the true body of Christ, the Spirit-formed and the Spirit-kept church must be gathered home, to be joined to the Head in glory. How near this event must be !Our Hope (Fund.), February, 1937.
Denominational Spirit.—Today it is the smaller rather than the larger religious bodies which have the most denominational spirit. The Roman Catholic Church ignores criticism, but not the Christian Scientist. It is almost impossible to insult a Methodist ; be will grin amiably at any sort of joke about his church ; but there used to be a clergyman of the Reformed Episcopal Church in Cleveland who would writhe with wrath when called a "deformed Episcopalian." The large religious groups feel secure because of their strength, while the small ones are under the necessity of justifying their existence. Inevitably, numerically weaker bodies stress the denomination.—Christian Century (Mod.), July 1, 1936.
"Running" Churches.—Running a successful church may not be identical with spreading Christianity. Many churches are not run by the power of the Holy Spirit. Other things enter in, such as the eloquence of ministers, the strength of organizations, the strategic position and character of church buildings, fine choirs, and so on. We know some so-called successful churches that do little toward spreading Christianity. Let no man ascribe his failure, however, to the fact that he is "preaching the gospel." We believe it is still true that "preaching the gospel" is the best way to make a church go ; for when a man is really preaching the gospel, he can claim the blessing of God on his work. The blessing of the Holy Spirit is really necessary to real and abiding success.—Watchman-Examiner (Baptist), Nov. 12, 1936.
Christ's Vicegerent.—During the past several weeks there have been anxious Catholic hearts the world over. Pope Pius, whom we love as our supreme spiritual father, whom we trust as our champion against the forces of modern evils, whom we revere as the vicegerent of Christ on earth, has been suffering as mortal man must suffer. Pope though he be, he is heir to the same ills as the humblest of us.—America (B.C.), January 30.
President's Inaugural.—It seems to us, and we say it in admiration, that the President's inaugural address took on at times the spirit and the very tone of an encyclical. Not only in its final appeal to God for guidance and in the moving Scriptural quotation at its close, but also in a number of other sentences the President's words seemed to echo certain passages in the famous papal documents.—America (R.C.), January 30.
Catholic Bible.—No less astounding to Protestants is the fact that the Catholic Church officially announced that it is now anxious to put the Bible, in a modern and revised version, into the hands of the people [in America]. This at the time of Tyndale's anniversary—an amusing bit of irony ! Furthermore, Catholics are to be urged to study the Bible.—Evelyn Cummins, in Christian Century (Mod.), January 27.
Catholic Losses.--Catholicism suffers a loss of its young people as they pass through the public school system and the colleges, as does Protestantism. But the faith of young Catholics, being more dogmatically and positively taught, suffers a more splintering crash if it happens to fall. Since the Catholic authorities cannot in these days force young men and women to obey instructions not to enter non-Catholic schools or colleges, they have to combat the great problem of loss of faith, as well as the incalculable one of indifference. This they are trying to do by providing religious instruction after school hours, and by the establishment of Newman clubs in non-Catholic colleges and universities, and by the maintenance of full-time or part-time chaplains for Catholic students. But the results are only partially successful.—Evelyn Cummins, in Christian Century (Mod.), January 27.
Success Ingredient.—Enthusiasm is no substitute for preparation. Neither is organization an adequate substitute for consecration. Consecration, enthusiasm, and organization must go together in a successful evangelistic campaign.—W. P. Halbert, in Watchman-Examiner (Baptist), February 11.
Minimized Word.—It is a false emphasis which magnifies the sermon and minimizes the Word of God. Our Episcopalian brethren have frozen this fallacy into church architecture, which gives the preacher a very elevated pulpit from which to speak his message, but a lower desk from which to give the message of God from the Bible. Q. Burns, in Watchman-Examiner (Baptist), January 21.
Royal Word.—The Bible is not the Word of God if you judge by the way many preachers use it in public worship. The anthem is given more prestige. the solo is rendered with more vocal skill, sevenfold amen occupies more time, and the collection receives about the same esteem.
The average person, judging by that picture, would never call the Bible the Word of God. When the words of King George V first came to America by radio, a group of respectful Americans were gathered around a receiving station. In perfect silence they listened breathlessly while the king of mighty Britain spoke to English-speaking peoples around the world. One of that group, endowed with some literary ability, wrote a widely accepted verse about the event, entitled "The King Speaks." In public worship it should be realized that in the reading of the Bible "the King of kings" speaks to us.—A. Q. Burns, in Watchman-Examiner (Baptist), January 21.
Mormon Methods.—Quietly and persistently the Mormons are doing effectual missionary work throughout our country. They go from house to house distributing their literature and giving their testimony. Many people, alas, do not know that this is a half-heathen cult, and they are easily persuaded to accept its teaching. These Mormons keep a close and constant supervision over their adherents and new converts. It is high time that our ministers should sound a note of warning as to the origin and teaching of this "Church of the Latter Day Saints." as it calls itself. On the other hand, our Baptist people might well learn a lesson from the devotion and diligence of these Mormon people, every one of whom is a missionary.—Watchman-Examiner (Baptist), January 7.
Untouched Heathen.—Within twelve large areas in Africa, it has been discovered that there are thirty million people beyond the reach of existing missionary societies, either Protestant or Catholic.— Religious Digest, February, 1937.
Jewish Flag.—The Jews, although citizens of many countries, have a flag of their own. It consists of the seal of Solomon on a field of blue and white. It is frequently seen on trading vessels, flying beside the national flag of the country in which the ship is registered.—Religious Digest, February, 1937.