Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 23, 1960

Beyond The Horizons

By Wm. E. Wallace, Box 399, McAlester, Oklahoma

Stand Back And Look

The Lord's church exists for the good of the world. Its purpose is to make known and demonstrate the will of God. It is obvious that in various levels of history the church has fallen far short of accomplishing its purpose. In our generation, at our level of history, the church has the same mission and exists for the same purpose as in the days of the apostles. But it goes without saying that the church is thwarted in leavening the lump.

We might be reluctant to do so, but we need to stand back and take a look at the situation. I suspect our reluctance is due to our fear of what we might see. At a lofty vantage point we might witness discouraging and frustrating aspects. Nevertheless, it is well to stand off and take a look.

In a world where nations and peoples are struggling with social changes which have uprooted their past, the church struggles in a similar conflict. The old New Testament order of things is threatened by worldly and modernistic forces. We are in the grips of a great controversy which will determine the future strength and influence of that institution which belongs to Him who changed the course of human events.

Some of the various forces creating a change in world affairs are "the emergence of free nations and the awakening of peoples in Asia and Africa; the breakdown of cultural stability of the West and its secularization; the resurgence of ancient religions; the technological developments; the growth of secularism, Fascism, Communism, and cold and hot wars." These aspects demand rethinking and revamping of political policies. Foreign policy and diplomatic relation change and sway much like the daring circus performer on a willowy pole.

What of the church? The forces among us which have caused the current tension are educational and functional. Some, who advance high in educational attainments and rub elbows with philosophy and various religious systems of men, would lead the church away from the restrictive elements of the original faith. This of course is not done in a revolutionary manner — it is a slow innovational process made apparent when traditional local and practical factors are challenged. In the functional realm those who are dissatisfied with slow influence of leaven would abandon the safeguards to local autonomy and create church organizational structures to better compete with the denominational world. Thus our present troubles involve worldly and modernistic factors which will not fall short of creating another denominational movement if pursued to their logical end. The more worldly and organizational we become the less we depend on the fundamentals of the ancient faith.

The years ahead will face the brethren with a choice between the ancient order of things and denominational influences. The one depends on the Biblical sentiment, "Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." The other is the age old sin of hewing out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

As we stand back and take a look all we see is not discouraging. Militancy depends on some sort of a crusade. When a people feel embattled, they are more active, they are lively and diligent. They fight well. So the forces of worldly influence within our ranks are faced with a mighty effort on behalf of the faith once delivered. We fight, we fight well, we fight successfully.

Definition Of Gambling

"The worship of a false goddess, Lady Luck, and a means of replenishing the coffers of persons engaged in immoral activities." — Nevada Presbytery

Is This True

"A movement is alive and vital only when it is able to generate differences among its followers; when everybody agrees, we may be sure that it has declined into the stereotyped rigidity of death." — William Barrett

What Is This Existentialism?

Existentialism — as a word it is difficult to pronounce. As a philosophy of life it is more difficult to explain. It puzzles and vexes the mind of the unschooled in the various classic philosophical systems of men. As a problem it is making great inroads into American religious life. On the campus students who are rejecting existing religious systems are challenged by it, professors of religion are fascinated with it.

What is existentialism? It is a philosophy emerged from various classic philosophical structures, brought to the forefront since the close of World War II. It arises from man's studying the meaning of his existence as he rejects the popular or prevailing conceptions and teachings. Three factors primarily concern the existentialist: (1 Man's estrangement, alienation and discord in the world. (2) Man's lack of freedom under social, political and religious regimentation. (3) Man's depersonalization — making society rather than the individual the paramount interest.

Existentialism is a philosophy of freedom. There is atheistic existentialism and there is religious existentialism. The one forsakes entirely the idea of deity, the other retains it on the basis of individual need. Existentialism charges the various systems of man with causing man's difficulties. Existentialism urges man to exist as an individual, that is. "to strive, change, develop, stand open to the future, be incomplete" rather than be bound by a system which "by its very nature is closed, complete, static, dead."

According to existential psychoanalysis, man's personal troubles arise from the various political, social and religious systems which are dogmatic, orthodox, coercive and restrictive. Systems inhibit and thwart man from realizing his individual needs and possibilities... In the restriction and regimentation of organizational concepts, man's right to individuality and ultimate freedom is denied. So the existentialist rejects any authoritarian system. The Bible as a revelation of the divine authoritative will is rejected. Standards of conduct or morality are objected to. The existentialist is free to do exactly as he pleases, recognizing no authority beyond himself. He is an anarchist. There are no objective standards of behaviour or systematic concepts to be bound on man. "Religious truth is realized actively and inwardly in the life of the individual man; it is not something embodied in a system of concepts."

The Biblical description of such philosophy is wrapped up in the word "licentiousness" or "lasciviousness" in the sense of the absence of restraint. Existentialism is further indicted on the charge that it is merely a philosophy of a frustrated reaction and revolt against the world situation. The existentialist would try to solve his problems without revelation, without a system of concepts, without authority.

The Christian will naturally rebel at such a philosophy. Yet there are organizations and individuals who labor under the name Christian which are seriously studying and considering the theory. Paul Tillich of Harvard is the patriarch and counselor of American existentialism. Judging from the influence Tillich has, and from the increasing amount of existential literature, we conclude that this existential movement will be affecting the religious scene in our country in a very prominent manner in years to come.

Existentialism being a deep, broad and complex philosophy, our description of it in this article is hardly even introductory. It seems necessary however, to say a little about it because this philosophy of man will find its way to influence in the Lord's church. It will crop up under different labels in numerous situations. Even now perhaps it may be seen in similar libertine philosophies and attitudes appearing among us in embryo form.