By F.G. Allen
Elements of Weakness
While it is important to know our strength, it is equally important to understand our weakness. That we have elements of weakness is a painful fact. These we should study to understand, and labor to correct. Our judgment is, that prominent among the things now constituting our weakness is –
1. The extent to which we are losing sight of our distinctive plea.
Unless we have a distinctive plea we have no right to exist. The day we become like the denominations around us, the day ends our right to exist as a distinct religious people. If we have a distinctive plea, in that consists our strength. I believe that our distinctive principles are made less prominent in our pulpits now than formerly. I do not mean that our preachers should be always on what is called “first principles.” Very far from it. But I do mean that all our members should be deeply indoctrinated in the things that distinguish us from other religious peoples. The people should understand why they occupy the position they do. The better this is understood the more it will be appreciated, and the more firm and consistent will be the Christian life. When people are led to believe that sectarianism is about as good as New Testament Christianity, their influence for the cause we plead is positively hurtful. Whenever we begin to curry favor with the sects and fawn upon them for recognition, we are certain to say but little about a plea that lays the axe at the root of the whole denominational tree. Whenever we begin to curry favor with the world, we are certain to fall in with the world’s notions, and adjust ourselves to the world’s ways. Hence much of that in which churches now indulge in the way of worldly amusements, carnal methods of raising money, the spirit of mere entertainment in the worship, etc., is due to the fact that they copy the sects, rather than the New Testament churches; and are filled with the spirit of the world, instead of the spirit of Christ.
The religion of Christ is a religion of spirituality. When you take the spirituality out of a church, you take the life out of it. You may have members and wealth and culture left, but the power of divine truth and love is gone. There is too much of this spirit pervading our churches. Worldly conformity in spirit, in worship, in life, is the great weakness from which our cause is suffering; and this is largely due, in my judgment, to the want of strict adherence to the fundamental plea that gave us our power in the past. If the restoration of New Testament Christianity, in spirit and in life, as well as in form, had full possession of our hearts, this would never be (from The Old-Path Pulpit, pp. 172-173).
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 7, p. 206
April 2, 1987