By Lewis Willis
Memorial Day and June 1 mark the beginning of vacation time in America. It is a special time when families lay aside normal responsibilities for a brief time spent in relaxation and enjoyment. Depending on the approach we make to our vacations, they can be either a blessing or a curse. It seems appropriate, since this time has just arrived, to remind us all of the pitfalls before us.
1. There is no such thing as a vacation from God. It is not uncommon for some members of the church to abandon God in the summertime. These are the folks who are too busy with other things to even assemble for worship. The church must get along without them until vacation time is over. I read a bulletin from a Christian Church in our city which dismissed Bible classes for the summer. A large liberal church of Christ (?) in our city has made other plans and will discontinue evening worship for the summer. These are examples of accommodations de-nominations make because their members are busy with other things and have taken a vacation from God. The season is a curse to people who conduct themselves in this way.
2. There should be no vacation from worshipping at a faithful church. Some Christians would never think of missing worship on Sunday. However, they frequently take a vacation from worship with a faithful church. This is a strange thing about vacation planning for many church members. They are very careful to select a vacation destination that has beautiful sightseeing, good fishing/golfing, etc., good restaurants, and good motel/camping facilities. These are essentials to a good vacation. However, many of these families never ask, “Is there a faithful church nearby where we can worship?” Brethren, it says something about us when we are more interested in good food and a bed to sleep in than we are in a place to worship. Did we just forget, or was that the last thing on our minds? In either case, it manifests a serious spiritual problem.
Many think it’s alright to attend liberal churches, if there is not a faithful church nearby. Where did we get the idea that this is acceptable with God? Brethren, if it is accept-able on vacation, it is acceptable the rest of the time as well! I have heard members say, “If you didn’t know it was liberal, you would not notice any difference.” There really isn’t much difference. They just participated with the Devil in the division of the body of Christ. These liberal churches support human institutions and participate in unscriptural cooperation or have sympathy for such. Most of them have fellowship halls in which the members play and eat. Do those who visit these liberal churches never hear the announcements promoting these sins? All of these things are still violations of the Scriptures. So, there isn’t much difference, is there? I have often wondered how brethren can overlook such obvious violations of God’s Word, simply because they are on vacation.
I do not see why the same reasoning would not work with the Christian Church. If it were not for instrumental music, most would see no difference. They still observe the Lord’s supper, give, pray, and teach that baptism is necessary to salvation. I suppose there is some similarity between the Lord’s church and the average Catholic church. They both have front doors and pews. I guess it would be alright to worship with the Catholics also, provided, of course, you are on vacation. Right?
Many members overlook a Bible truth. It goes like this: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11). When we attend a denomination (even one which has “Church of Christ” written over the door), we are violating this pas-sage! We are committing a sin in the sight of God. We are having fellowship with them, and because we are on vacation does not change that fact. We are told in Gods word to “abhor” evil (Rom. 12:9) and “eschew” or avoid it (1 Pet. 3:11). I would like someone to explain to me how one can abhor and avoid the evil in liberal churches, and still worship with them while on vacation. I would like to see the Scripture they would use to justify the practice. What passages teach that the practice is acceptable with God? Keep in mind that Paul said we are to prove that the Lord accepts the practice (Eph. 5:10; 1 Thess. 5:21). Brethren, if you are going to attend liberal churches while you are on vacation, you had better get ready with an answer that God will accept at the Judgment!
Others wonder what to do, then, if there is no faithful church nearby. May I suggest that a good thing to do would be to select another vacation destination? Would it not be better to miss seeing some wonder of the world than to miss Heaven? Is it worth seeing if it means you will spend eternity in Hell, because you had worship fellowship with evil?
3. Some take a vacation from modesty. All the rest of the year they are careful to adorn themselves in modest apparel (1 Tim. 2:9). Why is it acceptable to wear immodest clothing like bathing suits and shorts, simply because you are on vacation? (Some parents permit their children to go swimming in public while on vacation.) And, if you regard such apparel to be modest, would it be alright if everyone wore such to worship? Are we to dress modestly only for worship? Brethren, stop and think!
Because so many are out-of-town during this time of year, it is important that we all put forth our best effort in support of the work and worship of the church. Also, the financial obligations of the church continue, even if we are out-of-town for a couple of weeks. Make sure you are carrying your part of the responsibility.
It’s vacation time! It is my prayer that all will enjoy and be strengthened by the few days of relaxation. But, let’s not forget the truths discussed here. No one wants to lose his soul for a few moments of pleasure (Heb. 11:24-25).
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 10 p. 4-5
May 18, 1995