By Steven F. Deaton
If you have paid attention to the news lately you cannot help but to notice the latest and “greatest” coming from Washington —Volunteerism. The idea is being put out that Americans need to do more volunteering (giving), even though this nation leads all others in such. Now, if this is a genuine effort to encourage people to exercise their personal and individual duties in life rather than shifting their responsibilities to the Government, it can be a good thing. The Bible teaches the importance of neighbor helping neighbor, or citizen helping community (Matt. 22:37-40; Gal. 6:10; Tit. 3:1-2). But, if we have learned anything about most political leaders, when they propose anything, another government program with another impersonal bureaucracy is born — and we end up paying more taxes for it. Therefore, inasmuch as this push for volunteerism is coming from Washington, past experience teaches us to expect some type of new government program that will cost, not the government, but taxpayers. Hence, some will object to the ideas now being promoted by the political liberals.
However, when eyebrows are raised against these efforts, those who want to know if there will be a new government program costing more tax money must be prepared for ridicule. They are likely to hear statements like, “You do not believe in volunteering?”, or, “Anyone who does not get on board with this volunteerism campaign is anti-volunteerism.” Sound familiar?
Other efforts to encourage a review of existing government programs and bureaucracies in the interest of fiscal responsibility have been distorted and maligned in the past several years. We have witnessed heated controversies over school lunch subsidies, social security and Medicare benefits, and a whole range of other facets of the government’s budget. When economic conservatives began to voice their views about the need to balance the budget before the government goes broke, the liberal op- position would hurl wild accusations and distorted truths. For instance, it would be said, “The conservatives do not care about old people.”
What does all of this have to do with religion? Well, the same things happen when conservative and liberal thinkers cross paths regarding Bible issues. Consider the fight in the last century over the Missionary Society. Those against it were labeled as “anti-evangelistic.” Moreover, think about the battle in the ’50s and ’60s over institutionalism. Some brethren began to advocate the church donating money from its treasury to orphan homes. Those who objected were branded as “anti-orphan.” They were said to be “orphan haters!” Likewise, some brethren decided it would be a good idea to send money to one church which would do “evangelizing” for other churches (what has been called the “sponsoring church” plan). Those who opposed this plan were stigmatized with such labels as “anti-evangelism.” It was said that these men had no desire to spread the gospel.
Were such charges true? Are such labels accurate? Absolutely not! Those who object to such programs and schemes do so out of respect for the authority of the Bible. It teaches that the only benevolence a church is to be involved in is for the needy saints (Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-35; 2 Cor. 8-9). The Scriptures also teach that support for preachers is to be direct, church-to-preacher and not churches-to-church (society)-to-preacher (Phil. 4:15).
Where does all of this lead us? It leads us to the present day and beyond. The church has its problems, not due to lack of divine instruction, but due to the selfishness, greed, egos, and other failings of men. Just as the political liberals have done, so have the religious liberals done and will continue to do. Names will be called, accusations made, inaccurate labels, and perverted truth passed along about men who go by the Book. I wonder if in the future we will hear . . .
- · “Anti-marriage” of those opposing unscriptural marriages.
- · “Anti-enthusiasm” of those opposing clapping in worship or at a baptism.
- · “Anti-emotional” of those opposing humming in worship.
- · “Anti-fun” of those opposing immodesty in clothing and dance.
- · “Anti-social” of those opposing drinking.
- · “Anti-preacher” of those opposing false teachers.
- · “Anti-evangelism” of those opposing false teaching.
- · “Anti-Christ” of those opposing false teaching about Christ’s deity/humanity.
- “Anti-congregationalism” or “anti-autonomy” of those opposing churches in error.
- Anti-free thinking” of those insisting one must adhere to the new testament.
- “Anti-brotherly love” of those opposing open fellow- ship.
Think about it.