A Medley of Matters

James P. Needham
Owensboro, Ky.

Failure to Give

That giving is a Biblical subject we think no earnest Bible student will seriously deny. Approximately half of the parables of our Lord have to do with giving in some way, which means that approximately one-fourth of his teaching concerned itself in some way with this unpopular subject. Beside the parables recorded in our New Testament, we know that he taught even more on the subject. Paul reports Him as having said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35). John declared that, should a full record have been given of the things Jesus did, that "even the world itself would not contain the books that should be written." (John 21:25.) It would he interesting to know just how much of the un-recorded teaching of Christ concerned itself with this vital subject.

Giving was the ruling principle of the Saviour's life: He gave up His blessed home in heaven to live among sinful men (2 Cor. 8:9); He gave his life for the sins of the world. He said he "came not to be ministered but to minister." And while Christians claim Christ as their example in everything they do, many never follow him in the matter of giving.

Many try to escape the force of the Bible's teaching on the subject of giving of their money by saying that money is not the only thing we are to give, which is essentially right, but the record will show that those who argue have never made any great sacrifices to give those "other things" which they argue should he given. Some argue that our time must be figured in, yet they give, at the most, four hours per week to the Lord, and spend more time than that watching T.V., or even eating; in fact, a survey would reveal that most of us spend less time ACTUALLY WORKING for the Lord than at anything else we do. Too, a comparison of the amount of our money we spend for ourselves and what we give to the Lord would likely prove rather embarassing!

Most of us would hang our heads in shame should we view accurately and seriously the sum-total of what we give to the Lord as compared to what he has given, and continues to give for us. The number of people who have died in generations past and gone without a saving knowledge of Christ due to the unwillingness of Christians to give, if known, would probably astound and horrify us. We all need to sit down and restudy the subject of giving as revealed in our New Testaments.

State of the Nation

One of the most disturbing things to a Christian should be the deterioration of the moral fiber of the world, but especially the nation in which he holds citizenship. It should be axiematic that a general breaking down of the principles of morality, decency, and refinement make the Christian's work of spreading the good news of the gospel more difficult. It is harder for people with loose morals, and degrading principles to accept the gospel due to its demands that they give them up and live on the plain on which the gospel dwells.

That the moral fiber of our own beloved nation is being undermined by the termites of immorality, indecency, and loose deportment is evident on every hand. Drive down its streets and behold our sacred womanhood in shorts and halters ; visit our supermarkets and other public places and see them half nude and BAREFOOTED!! Behold EVEN expectant mothers in public places clad in SHORTS, and smoking cigarettes! See the heads of American homes parade the streets and public places with 95% of their hairy, vulgar bodies exposed to our eyes as we are forced to look in amazement, and disgust! Walk by the news stand and view the covers of the most popular magazines and discover what the public reads; Consider the fact that 200,000 of our nation's women (most of them in their teens) became un-wed mothers in 1957! (an all-time record!). We are rapidly becoming a veritable Sodom!

We recently attended two public meetings of a civic nature, our first in many years. We saw about all we could stand! In the meeting of the civic club the president, as did the members, smoked all during the proceedings. At a PTA meeting the president "cut a cud of gum" as he "conducted" the affairs, and those in attendance sat and smoked their cigarettes in spite of their having been told not to by the school officials! Culture and refinement are almost virtues of the past.

Let no one deceive himself; these conditions have their effect upon the progress and spread of the Gospel. Many members of the church participate in these practices with the knowledge and consent of elders in many instances. If our sons and daughters are allowed to engage in these degenerating acts today, what does the church have to look for tomorrow? Already the popularity of such practices and the pressure for church approval of many of them has led to the altering of the general moral attitudes of many individuals, and in some instances, whole congregations. It is not unusual any more to hear of some preacher, or eldership which approves the lascivious dance, social drinking, etc.

Many individuals, and thus some whole congregations, are fashioning their attitudes and practices according to this world. Many have warped concepts of what avails in the sight of God which has led them to think the building of fabulous meeting houses and maintaining large memberships are of utmost importance. Seeing their inability to attain such goals by simply preaching the pure gospel, they have resorted to the practice of the very things they were once known to oppose. Today we find congregations which provide recreation, food, fun and frolic in their meeting houses as a means of attaining their unscriptural goals. They have reduced church buildings to the level of mere club houses, and sanctified soup kitchens, and today preach the gospel according to aunt Jemima rather than according to Paul! These are but signs along the road to moral and spiritual decay. We can always expect human churches, and wavering worldlings to clamor for such connections, but when churches and individuals once known to be strong and healthy begin to yield to such evidence it is a sure sign that the world is moving into the church and a sad commentary on the spirituality (or lack of it) of those who constitute it. Our observation shows that the weaker people get spiritually, the more pie, pleasure and pomp it takes to keep them "in the church."

The church is gradually being devoured by the evil influences that surround her. The bride of Christ is being prostituted in spiritual adultery and spiritual weaklings and worldlings are thus conceived and born to be reared as the church leaders of tomorrow. It is past time for alarm, it is time for serious thought, earnest prayer and aggressive action on the part of all who love the purity of the Bride. Let us determine to hold the line against such immoral influences that surround us, and teach our children to love and respect the word of God and to keep themselves pure from those things which bring reproach on the name of Christ and drown men's souls in destruction.

Truth Magazine III:2, pp. 10-11
November 1958