Indifference - a Tool of Satan
J. F. Dancer
As one views the members of the church and their attitude toward their individual responsibilities as servants of God one thing stands out far above many others - the average church member is just plain INDIFFERENT as to whether his work is done or not. He actually cares little so long as he is left alone! Did you ever notice this or wonder why it is true?
Causes of Indifference
Many are indifferent to personal responsibilities because of their desire to "ride with the tide" of worldly-minded friends. We see from Matt. 13:22 that many fail to bear "fruit" for the Lord because of their overwhelming interest in the world. James says those who thus become friends to the world become enemies of God (Jas. 4:4). Since the world in general "frowns" upon one who is zealous in the work of a "church", many allow this to cause them to turn their head and close their ears to keen from hearing the cry of the Lord.
Denominationalism is a second cause of indifference. Church members who left the sectarian body but kept the sectarian mind have little interest in leading people to Christ or serving as a "peculiar people". The denominational concept of "it makes no difference what you do, or whether you do anything" was never destroyed in their mind. They have no interest in fighting sin; they just "go to church".
A third cause of this deadly disease is ignorance. Some children of God have never learned that God expects them to be interested, zealous and active in His service. Their picture of Christianity is attending '"preaching" fairly regularly, taking communion when there and having "church weddings". They have failed to study, so they sit around in ignorance upon the stool of idleness as people die in sin. Their excuse at judgment will be "I didn't know.... " They stand ignorant of the fact that ignorance is no excuse for failure to obey God (Acts 17: 30,31).
Fruit of Indifference
When indifference overtakes a person some things are sure to follow. Usually forsaking the assembling of the saints comes first. They don't care what the church does, so they will not put out that "extra" effort necessary to be regular in attendance. An hour, two or three Sundays a month, is all they can give to the Lord.
In the second place, this person generally will not study. If he had studied he probably would not have become indifferent. His view of the Bible is that it is a "tool for preachers" and a "book for records", but not one that should be studied and understood by all. He is always a good prospect for a Bible salesman but a poor one for a Bible teacher.
Because of this lack of study, other "fruit" appears: little praying, stingy in giving and no vision or concern for the lost. Prayers are considered "emergency devices" and then they are not sure they do any good. The ones uttered are usually said with doubts, which James says makes them valueless (Jas. 1:6-8). When "giving" is mentioned the indifferent usually becomes angry and talks about how many sinners will be "driven away" because all they hear is "money, money". The feeling that the heathen are not worth saving, and even if they were it would be the preacher's job.
A final fruit is apostasy. Where the majority of church members have little interest in the affairs of the church, there is always one or more who, either deliberately or ignorantly, leads the congregation farther and farther from the Lord. Apostasy seldom comes to people who are zealous lo study and follow the Lord - but it ALWAYS COMES to those who will not study enough to question the leaders or to become leaders themselves. The Roman Catholic Church came into being because men listened to Satan as he said, "Don't take too much interest in what the church does"; "Don't do anything". The same thing happened in the mid 1800's to the Lord's people and we can even see it actively working in many churches today.
Cure for Indifference
What can we do about all of this? Well, for many members of the church, nothing can be done for they are already past the "point of no return". They are "dead" spiritually, their heart is hardened and they cannot be reached. However, there IS a cure for some and a "preventative measure" for others. This "antidote" falls into three treatments: (1) MORE BIBLE STUDY of both public and private nature. When a person is baptized he should be instructed in his responsibility to study and should be encouraged continually until the study of God's word becomes a part of his life (II Tim. 2:15; I Pet. 3:15; II Pet. 3:18). (2) ASSOCIATION WITH CHILDREN OF GOD. If evil companions corrupt good morals (and they will, I Cor. 15:33), then good companions will have a good influence upon the child of God. (3) WORK FOR THE MASTER in leading other souls to him as well as taking as active a part in the work and worship of the church as the scriptures allow. These "treatments" must be taken regularly and continually because one is never "immune" to indifference.
As these things become a part of the life of a person, he cannot help but be more interested in what the church does and in doing ALL HE CAN personally. The more familiar one becomes with God's word, the more he associates with Christians' the harder he works to save souls, THAT MUCH MORE interest is created within him. Satan is resisted and flees (Jas. 4:7).
But whose responsibility is it to see that this "cure" or "treatment" is taken? Elders and preachers? Yes, but not theirs alone! IT'S MINE AND YOURS! As each Christian fights the "good fight of faith" and lays "hold on eternal life", he fights indifference in his own life and in the lives of others. It is not a matter of becoming a "meddler in other men's matters" but is simply a matter of working out one's "own salvation with fear and trembling" in obedience to God.
Look about you--do you see the "fruit of indifference" in the lives of members of the church? Do something about it before it becomes too late! Take the treatment God has provided. Awaken the brethren to the danger of neglectfulness (Heb. 2:3). Stir your own mind until it boils with desire to work for the Master and then spend every available minute in that work. The indifferent will spent eternity in hell with the murderer, the heathen, the infidel, the drunkard, the whoremonger, the false teacher and all others who fail to obey the gospel (II Thess. 1:7-9). Is that the company you desire? Indifference is SATAN'S TOOL - DON'T USE IT!
Truth Magazine VIII: 2, pp.5-6, 24 November 1963