Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 27, 1960
NUMBER 25, PAGE 1,13c


Vaughn D. Shofner, Tucumcari, New Mexico

People have become so conscious of prominence that any imaginable means is used to elevate one person above another. If this mania were confined to the world, it would not be so grievous, but the fact that the church of the Lord is being filled with the craze is one of the greatest helps the devil is receiving in his fight to profane the holy habitation.

The use of apostolic language regarding the religion of the Lord has become too antiquated to be used by many Christians, is being replaced with "more distinguished" parlance, and one who is simply a preacher of the gospel is too common to be noticed. The time has come when a preacher cannot change his address with a simple notice, but instead it is used as an opportunity to publicize his marks of ability and prominence. The gospel meeting is no longer advertised with emphasis on the gospel which is to be preached, but the emphasis is placed on the preacher, his long string of degrees and how far above the average man he has reached. He becomes a super-human sort of a fellow, and I'm sure many noble souls of the common herd are driven from the meeting, afraid to meet the mighty man. In advertising the man, no such "trite" thing as recalling the way the word of God brought him into the church of Christ is even hinted, nor is a word spoken about his humbleness and sincerity in the pulpit, but his "Alma Mater" is the "mark of distinction" and the degrees he obtained from her act as a pass to the pulpits of the brotherhood. We have developed our "high places," and we "have respect to him" who lives up to the world's mark of distinction, and many are a long way toward hell because of it. "If ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors." (Jas. 2:9) And who believes that heaven is a place for transgressors?

The happiness of a contented cotton-picker far surpasses that of the king or queen on a throne, or that of those in any of the high stations to which man may attain. Happiness is not the inmate of the confused arena of prominence. In peaceful retirement, amidst the humble domestic circle, happiness delights to take up her abode. She smiles more propitiously on virtuous poverty than on the pomp and show of wealth, prominence and high life.

People who anticipate the enjoyment of happiness from great prominence in anything this world can bestow, are doomed to disappointment when the desideratum of their wishes is attained. Ask those who have reached the highest pinnacle of prominence in the ways of the world if they are as happy as when they were "below distinction," and "no" will be the prompt reply. Watch the outward actions of unrest in the lives of those considered great, and you see the impossibility of prominence giving happiness. Behold the broken homes of the prominent, and notice their complete rebellion against the way of the Lord. That which leads away from righteousness produces the opposite of happiness.

The very summit of prominence is more often than not the depth of misery. It is inflated with a gaseous thirst for power and popularity, and is in constant danger of being exploded by the very element that caused its elevation. Like the kite, it cannot rise in a calm, but requires a constant wind to preserve its upward course and the lever of party-spirit to form its magic power. Desire for prominence, like the gold of the miser, is the grave where is buried all the other desires of the man. It is the grand center around which they move with centripetal force. Let your aim be more lofty than the highest pinnacle prominence can rear. Let heaven be the prize you seek.

The lust for prominence takes fools by storm, the wise by deception and bribery, and makes the Mordecai's and Daniel's tremble at the sound of trumpet-tongued ridicule. Not only the vain and giddy, the thoughtless and rattle-brained, the statesman and philosopher, dance attendance upon prominence, but many Church members are paying tithes into the treasury of the tyrant. She is the foster mother of vanity, the offal of pride, and is adorned with every flummery the enemies of simplicity can invent. Gentle reader, if you love happiness more than misery, heaven more than hell, never bow your knee to the way of prominence.

The slaves of prominence are raising Alpine barriers in the way of the simple religion of the cross. The high places and titles are proudly pointed out by the skeptic and the infidel, as he strives to justify his own undone position. All Christians were made such by being cleansed at the same pure fountain, yet by a kind of chemical process in the great vat of "social psychology," "our colleges" are supplying distinctive hues for the sake of discrimination. Let those who are in full flight after distinction know assuredly they are not following Christ, but are the subjects of prominence. We plead, good reader, that you hark back to the days of the apostles and be only what the gospel they preached makes — simply Christians. Destroy your desires for high places and distinctive titles. How awful is the division caused by prominent persons in the church of Christ. Let past history write it across the horizon of your memory, and let the angry storm clouds of division which are now rolling across the brotherhood confirm it l