By Irven Lee
There are some things that are evidently approved by many good people, but I do not understand why these things are so widely approved. Please do not hold these things against me. Some things need to be changed, and in some cases I may need more understanding.
One mystery is why there is so little Bible taught in so many “Bible” classes. Some seem not to realize how many Bible stories can be learned by small children and how many passages of Scripture they can memorize. Children can be very happy in good Bible classes. The “helps” for small children, in some cases, seem unrelated to the Bible. The Bible speaks for itself. Kindness, unselfishness, forgiveness, sharing, and other good traits are taught in the stories and precepts of the Bible. Why should we turn from the Bible to try to find better ways of teaching these things? Remember also that classes are not just to entertain the children or to act as babysitters so the mothers can go to their own classes.
Ladies “Bible” classes usually use books that contain very little Bible. They are usually some woman’s ideas, which may be good, but are not as good as Christ’s, Paul’s, Peter’s, or Moses’. Such questions as “What is your favorite dessert?” are hardly worth taking time which is set aside for Bible study to answer, and there is no real value in knowing the answer anyway. Such a question may serve as an “ice breaker,” but there must be some better way of introducing a Bible lesson. Psychology may be a good study for people in school, but the Bible will completely furnish us all the things we need to know for our spiritual welfare. The lack of Bible knowledge is alarming, so why do we not emphasize Bible in “Bible” classes? Teachers in classes on Sunday and midweek should prepare well for very worthwhile classes which truly instruct in spiritual matters.
There are also some mysteries related to music. Some of us are not well informed in this field that calls for special talents. We are told that music speaks a universal language. Under the name of music many very different sounds are presented. Is there any one who appreciates everything that is called music? It seems that some play for one audience and others perform for other audiences. It seems to take several types of music to get to every one. One type may not speak to all people.
Some talented people can provide music that helps people relax. Others provide something (whatever it is) that can turn a group into a mob so that cities must have extra police on duty to keep some semblance of order after a performance. Vulgar words with certain sounds and rhythm can provoke lust. Is there any doubt about this? Often immodest attire and wild pagan like gyrations may be a significant part of the “musical performance” in these degrading shows. Very many purchase expensive tickets and travel long distances to be present for shows that contribute nothing good to those present. That which makes animals out of people is not good.
Very many good people perform in certain musical programs and many very good people enjoy this music that is not vulgar, but I confess I cannot enjoy it because of the volume. What is so pleasant about loud music? May I be forgiven for not understanding or enjoying this highly amplified music with these good people? More and more Americans have a constant high pitched sound ringing in their ears as a result of being around loud noises in industry. Is there danger for these musicians and their audiences?
The Social Gospel
A few million people in this country have stood for the scriptural precept of speaking as the oracles of God. Many have said that we should speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent. The great mystery is why so many of these people have gone after the “social gospel” which is the substitute for the gospel of Christ that the modernists (infidels) introduced. The church has been led to copy the superstructures (denominational machinery) of the churches which write their own creeds and plan their own forms of church government.
The church has been made the special provider of entertainment in a world that already has television, school athletic programs, little leagues, scouts, clubs, etc., but it may be spiritually sick. The church is a great teaching institution (Eph. 4: 11; 1 Tim. 3:15). No officials in the Lord’s church were known as the chairmen of the refreshment committee or the chairmen of the entertainment committee. (Please see Eph. 4:11.)
Some of the pet projects that were so much emphasized thirty years ago are no longer such pets. The enthusiasm for orphan homes has died down since the schools became so successful in getting their hands into the church treasuries. Since the Herald of Truth organization became so liberal very many churches have quietly dropped it from their budget. Such big central agencies have a way of falling into the hands of the ultra-liberals (e.g., the missionary society). Will more people awaken to their mistakes? Time will tell.
When some brethren introduce some unscriptural practices, a few brethren will oppose them. There is then a third group that puts special effort into sitting on the fence. In churches where the leaders will not take a stand in a battle between truth and error, the churches ultimately follow the course of error. Apostasy stays out only where it is opposed. This has been demonstrated in each generation in which such wide spread apostasy has come, but people do not seem to learn. I do not understand why they are not aware that if we do not read history we are destined to repeat it. The churches that did not oppose institutionalism thirty years ago now use preachers regularly who are institutional in belief, unless some powerful force of righteousness finally awakened the leaders to conviction. Could you illustrate this by some church near you? Will the next generation do a similar thing? There are many things that I need help to understand.
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 19, pp. 579-580
October 3, 1985