CHRISTIANITY'S NEW LOOOK
In many parts of the United States there is a growing religious fervor indicating that people are grasping for something solid. Plagued by fears of atomic warfare and financial and economic insecurities, multitudes are eager for peace of mind or some antidote to the confusion and tension of our time. While fear may bestir some, yet there is among a great group of people a longing for a better way of life. Thoughtful students of history declare that mankind drifts in cycles from tyranny to democracy, then to prosperity, then to materialism and back to tyranny again. And that is where we are heading. In spite of all our culture and religion there is a moral breakdown resulting in a very tidal wave of juvenile delinquency. One of the chief causes of this can be laid at the door of modern education, which leaves God out of the picture. Education for a hundred years has ridiculed both Creation and the Creator.
Thomas Macaulay, English historian and statesman, over a century ago made this amazing prediction concerning the United States. "Your republic will be pillaged and ravaged in the Twentieth Century just as the Roman Empire was by the barbarians of the Fifth Century . . . with this difference . .. that the devastators of the Roman Empire came from abroad, while your barbarians will be the people of your own country, and the product of your own institutions." If he had written that last week he could not have stated the situation better. The rising generation is being shortchanged in the classrooms of today, and the result is a wave of sensualism and immorality that is destroying millions of young lives.
The need today is for a dynamic militant type of preaching, the kind that General Eisenhower was referring to when he addressed a group of clergymen in the White House. Stanley Pieza, religious editor of the Chicago Daily News, reported the former President's speech in these words: "More than 250 clergymen recently stood before the mahogany desk of President Eisenhower in his office. What the president told the ministers amazed, gratified, and fortified them." "He drew a chorus of 'Amens' when he said 'I like militant preachers and chaplains. I so firmly believe that all free government is soundly based on religious faith that I feel that no one teaching moral standards and spiritual ideals should do so apologetically. I occasionally have had quarrels with chaplains. It was always because they were too diffident in their preaching. I think they should have been a little more belligerent in what they had to say!"
The President and General of the Army was right. Soft "Pollyanna" sermons can never build the church spiritually. "Speak unto us smooth things" was what the people were saying in Isaiah's day. Strong evangelical preaching that will make the issues clear and leave no room for misunderstanding is our task. Only the everlasting gospel can prepare a people to stand in this age of confusion.
R. A. A.
Ours is a crisis-ridden time. Emergency YET situations seem to be continuous. So conditioned are we to living with danger that we are neither concerned when the issues burn nor relieved when they cool off. To be sure, there are times when we come dangerously close to "putting out the lights." But the Master's judgment so far has prevailed. Said He, "The end is not yet" (Matt. 24:6). In short, there is more to come.
Preacher, do you find yourself hoping against hope for better times in which to raise your family, preach the gospel, and lead your flock into green pastures? For the comparative normalcy of yesteryear you need only be human to yearn. But the "good old days" are gone forever and you know it. We have been catapulted into an era of abnormalcy from which there is no return. It is a one-way street and all that lies ahead is ours. From here, things are scheduled to get worse. Unbelievable that things can get worse than the Beatles, Buchenwald, and the battlefield, or cancer, cranks, and the high cost of living. But things will get worse, infinitely worse. We will see the emergence of the image of the beast, a form of absolute power, absolutely exercised. We will witness the outpouring of the seven last plagues. Anger between nations and individuals will become the continuing attitude. Destructive prejudices, heretofore restrained, will assert themselves like a raging torrent, so long contained, at last released. We have sowed the wind, the whirlwind is our portion. International anarchy stalks the earth. The end? "Not yet." Not until the saints are stripped of their pride and sinners their pomp. Not until all men recognize that all flesh is grass and as the flower thereof, and God stands at last alone, unrivaled and unenvied. Then and then only "shall the end come."
E. E. C.