Low Barometric Reading

Irven Lee
Russellville, Alabama

When the barometer indicates an especially low atmospheric pressure, the weather bureau sends out storm warnings; but it cannot stop the storm. Such warnings may save lives causing people to take extra precautions and to be ready for the storm cellars.

Storms arise in political, economic and religious affairs. Revolutions have suddenly burst into violence to overthrow governments that were thought to, be firmly established. The crash of the stock market about three decades ago and the depression that followed are remembered by many as a season of storm and stress. A few of our very oldest citizens remember and describe the season of distress when the "progressives" brought the missionary societies and instruments of music into certain congregations. These innovations, of course, were brought into many communities before any now living can remember. Any written or verbal account of the bitterness, sin, and disregard for authority would seem like an account of a spiritual storm.

There is no little instrument on sale at the market to show when spiritual pressure is low, but we do have the Bible that gives certain symptoms and warnings. We are also permitted to lift up our eyes and look on the fields. Only those who were not looking failed to see many congregations torn by ugly strife and division last year. When you see the black funnel of the "twister" appear to stop, it is no time to take comfort. That storm is on its way to you. Brethren, do you feel at ease in Zion? Do you suppose no storm will arise in your community where you are "not bothered"? Other communities were not "bothered" until the storm came.

The church is to be abused in America by the Catholics. They have been growing in power as Protestantism goes to sleep in its worldly entertainment and lack of doctrine and conviction. The church described in the New Testament is militant and opposite in every detail to the Roman Church. How can we be informed at all and still be ignorant of the tactics of the Roman Church even where it gets power? Read of its current attacks and expect more when it gets a president in the White House and an even greater number of legislators and judges.

The Christian is to be as harmless as a dove. Reference to Catholic persecution in America is not to suggest unkindness on the part of Christians. Let us count the cost and yet resolve to be faithful regardless of its attitude or behavior. Let us also resolve to wear the breastplate of righteousness and overcome evil with good. The influence and power of the gospel are greater than any force or plan man could suggest. Our nation needs a bold proclamation of truth by many who keep themselvei unspotted from the world. This is the Christian soldier's attack against Catholicism or any other error.

Swimming parties, wholesale use of Hollywood's offerings and social drinking are being openly advocated or condoned by well known and very influential members of the church. People who could see no harm in this would see no harm in churches providing entertainment; in churches entering into money earning efforts; in church support for regional, state-wide, national or even international boards to govern or direct "brotherhood" projects. Some who are not blown about by every wind of doctrine do not follow the crowd in the path of worldliness and presumption. The strict path and the present denominational road suggested by some in the church are two different roads. There are many for each road. The confusion at the forks of the road is much like a storm. Have not hundreds of congregations already divided? Are not hundreds more sick at the moment? Do you suppose the church where you live will never see the unhappy hour? Bold teaching of truth started many years ago and continued for many years may avoid the occasion. Deliberate ignorance expressed in the "say nothing that will disturb us" attitude will not save the church.

The rash of "Church of Christ" institutions is only one part of the barometric reading. The suggested human plans with no scriptural authority grow out of the same kind of soil that introduced the instrument to "help the singing." The outspoken advocates of either could use many uncomplimentary terms to describe any who questioned their "wisdom."

Please do not understand that this article is meant to say that all who favor some centralized project with church funds also favor social drinking, swimming parties, etc., but a great many who favor the society or board to direct a "church" activity either condone or advocate the worldliness that is becoming more common among us. As the roads part, institutionalism and a soft attitude toward worldliness go together as definitely as the missionary society and the instrument of music come as a package. In 1875 some favored the society and opposed the instrument. Some took the reverse position. In 1925 we find men who opposed both in one camp and men who favored both in another camp.

Where do you stand? Have you waited to see where it will be easier to stand? Have you resolved to "speak as the oracles of God" and to walk in the narrow way of truth and holiness that leads unto life? The place for people to stand who are neither right nor wrong on a certain issue does not exist. (Matt. 12:30.) You must choose this day the safe way and walk humbly therein.

Expect the storm to rage around you, but you may be stedfast, unmovable, ready to be tested as by fire if you walk by faith. Put on the whole armor which includes full preparation of the gospel and the breastplate of righteousness. The sword of the Spirit - the word - is the only offensive weapon. Make up your mind now to follow in his steps when the storm comes to your home community. "Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who, did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." (I Peter 2: 21-23.) "In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you." (Titus 2:7, 8.)

Get a, detailed report of the charges made by the worldly-wise group against all those who oppose them anywhere the storm has hit. Expect the same with hardly a word changed when the storm reaches you. Will you be among the number prepared to stand for the truth while you leave vengeance to God? Commit yourself to him that judgeth righteously.

Truth Magazine III:5; pp. 3, 22
February 1959