Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity

Lost: Individualism

Buford E. Davidson, Levelland, Texas

An editorial appeared recently in a newspaper concerning some points that created some thoughts for further consideration. Though neither the speaker nor the editor of this journal are members of the Lords church as far as I know, they both expressed some thoughts that are commendable. This particular speaker thinks a compelling force which determines the moral conduct of modern youth is the individuals desire for social security. In this instance, he is not speaking so much of financial security as of social acceptance. The overwhelming desire of youths is to be accepted by their contemporaries, hence they feel that they must conform to the moods and customs of the majority; he further states that the modern youth might even be heard praying: "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, 0 gang, my strength and my redeemer."

The editor notes that the speaker might have gone further and noted that this is the ideal of most adults also. Great stress is being placed these days on being an "organization man" — one who goes along with the crowd, no matter what the crowd does. He further states: "What is needed, however, is the disorganization man' — the individual who dares to think and to speak for himself, even though his opinions may not conform to those of the majority. All progress has come through individuals who dared to be themselves, even though in conflict with the crowd. This does not mean that one must be a social rebel — most professional rebels are little more than that. But it does mean that the individual must not be lost in the herd. If individualism ever is completely crushed, the world will be a sorry mess — an even worse one than it is in today, if such were possible."

Although this speaker and editor are writing on a moral subject, it can indeed apply to the spiritual also. Today, in the church it is growing more and more unpopular to be an individual, think for one's self and to take the word of the Lord and apply its teachings without fear or favor, regardless of the condemnation that others might heap upon us. We are like the youth that the speaker was referring to, we wish to be one of the crowd, be lost in the majority, right or wrong. Many, many times children of God will condone sin because the majority will not condemn it, and when one does have the audacity to defend the truth against evils, he is immediately castigated, becomes extremely unpopular and will be shunned and spoken against. It requires the greatest of courage many times to take the sword of the Spirit and wield it in the midst of an overwhelming majority who condone sin and departure from God's word; but herein is the line drawn, it separates the true servant of God from the men-pleasers. Sometimes we have the spirit of the prophet of old: 'I am left alone and they seek my life". He has never given his children any such right.

It would be truly an awakening in the Church today if we could some way cause the people to see this one grand fact, that we are individuals and that we should stand on our own two feet for the Lord and his cause. Many today are placing their hopes on the tradition of the past, or the popularity of liberalism in the church. Reason is becoming enthroned in the hearts of many today instead of faith. Some are engaging in acts of worship unknown to the scriptures simply because the 'big' congregation across the way is doing it, thus it must be right. Such things will cause the downfall of God's people like Israel of old, who looked at the nations round about and desired a king. Today many are looking at the social activities of the sects, their beautiful robed choirs and the many other unauthorized practices of the denominations, and are longing after the forbidden fruit as did Eve of long ago. Some realize the evil connected therewith, but refuse to speak out above the clamor of the majority, lest they be different or castigated from their relationship. Truly, it was and is a sad day for the body of Jesus Christ when they turn aside from a 'thus saith the Lord', or ask for authority in the form of a divine injunction, an approved example or a necessary inference, but choose rather to ride the false conception of 'expediency' to the very end. Yes, men have chosen as Pandora in the fable, who opened a box that she was forbidden to open and loosed upon the world all the trouble, sorrow, heartbreak, and tears that engulf the world; though she tried to recapture them they were like moths, they flew away to accomplish their terrible purpose. Some are like that today, they open the box marked 'expediency' and have loosed upon the church all kinds of trouble that will spread as the malignant growth to eat at the vitals of the body of Christ. Yes men will follow their lascivious doings "by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." (II Pet. 2:2.)

The restoration movement as we know it, has been filled with men who refused to follow the crowd, when they learned the truth of God's word. Where would the church be today had not Campbell, Stone, Abner, Jones, Scott, and countless others who studied and thought for themselves, found that they were in error and had the courage of their convictions and arose and laid aside these errors to accept the truth of God as it has been revealed in the pages of His word? Yes the church needs many "dis-organization men", men who will stand for the truth regardless and will refuse to drift along with the majority regardless of its course. Only such can save the church from chaos in the future. God help us to awake to our duty while it is called today.