Narrowing the "Gap"

Mike Strouss
Mishawaka, Indiana

Volumes have been written on the "generation gap"; the gap that is supposed to divide those over thirty from those below thirty. However, one type of gap we hear very little about is the spiritual gap; the gap that separates many members of the church from the basic fundamentals of the faith they claim to embrace.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Heb. 11:1 -KJV) Living in today's affluent society many of us seem to find it difficult to equate faith (steadfastness) with our roles as representatives of Christ. Perhaps this is because to many of us; the reaffirming of our faith involves one hour Sunday morning that ends with tile final "amen." In this age, as in every other age, we have the scoffers both inside and outside tile church who cast doubt on the relevancy of the Bible and the pattern it lays down for Christians to follow. The real question to be asked is-- "Are we relevant?" Without proper knowledge of the Word of God we cannot even save our own soul, much less convert another.

Three thousand souls were converted on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 41) without the aid of the Herald of Truth, a New York public relations firm, or a mammoth publishing house. The decisive factor in the conversion of those souls was that the disciples had the truth and the unwavering faith to tell it like it was.

A problem common to every age is the reaffirming of the validity of our faith. Early Christians without the aid of a complete New Testament reaffirmed their faith through Old Testament writings and their fulfillment in current history, miracles, and a strong desire to preach the word at every opportunity.

While the Bible is not a book devoted to the advancement of science, it does contain certain items of a scientific interest. Isa. 40:22 speaks of the "circle of the earth," while Job 38:16 mentions the currents of the sea. Down through the ages various theories were held as to the shape of the earth; the theories of man run a constant gauntlet of revision and rejection while the Bible has always remained constant and unchanged. People, who desire a faith that changes with the times, are in effect asking for a faith that will never be truly reliable, because it will be in constant need of revision. The man who cannot accept the existence of God is the man who attempts to put God on the same plane as himself; that man's limited intellect reasons that the creation could not have taken place at the snap of a finger, thus he rules such creation by a Supreme Being as impossible. (See Isa. 55:8-9)

In 1 John 2:15 we can read that a man cannot love Christ and also the world. Too often we find ourselves over-extended; trying to serve both man and God. Worldliness was just as much a problem in the early church as it is now. In Acts 5:1-5 we can read the account of Ananias and Saphira who attempted to serve both God and their own interests. A lot has been said concerning the evils of hypocrisy, and to some members of the church the only hypocrisy that exists is that of their brother. The hypocrisy of our brother does not excuse our own hypocrisy. Christ, in criticizing the Jewish rulers, did not permit their hypocrisy to pass unnoticed. (See Matt. 23:26-29L We find too often that the only hypocrisy that exists to any great extent is our own hypocrisy.

If we had the faith in spiritual matters that we so often show in carnal matters we would not worry about how we were going to spread tile gospel, or how much it was going to cost. Nineteenth Century abolitionist Henry Lloyd Garrison put it quite sufficiently when he stated: " I am in earnest. I will not equivocate; I will not retreat a single inch and I will be heard!" (Paraphrased)

If we had that amount of faith in spiritual matters we would be a more zealous people (Titus 2:14) and our faith would be known throughout the world as it was in the time of the Apostles. (Romans 1:8).

TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV; 20, pp. 13-14

March 26, 1970