Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 7, 1968

Be Not Conformed

Sewell Hall

"And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). These words are familiar to us all. We want to live by them. But living in the world as we do, it is sometimes difficult for us to determine what things are peculiar to the world and, therefore, to be avoided.

Citing scripture does not always help. All too often our familiarity with the world has so prejudiced us in its favor that we develop interpretations of scriptural principles and definitions of scriptural words that will allow the worldly things. Sometimes worldly minded preachers assist us in developing these.

If we honestly want help, the views of other Christians can help us. The fact that a majority of them approve a thing does not make it right, of course, for the majority may be worldly. But if the consensus of Christian opinion is opposed to a thing, it is a strong indication that it should be avoided. It means that the thing opposed has originated with the world and is peculiar to it. Only those things should be considered that are "of good report" (Philippians 4:8).

A Town Where All Are Christians

Can you imagine a town where every citizen is a Christian (not just a church member — a Christian)? Would you expect to see liquor stores or beer joints? Would you expect a theater showing sex movies or films of violence and corruption? Would you not be surprised to see a book store or magazine stand selling the trash so commonly seen elsewhere? Who would buy it?

The fact that a town where all were Christians would not have such things marks them as worldly. Therefore, true Christians will not have use for these things where they do exist.

Employment Where All Are Christians

Can you imagine working for a large plant or office where all are true Christians? Surely you would hear no cursing in such places — no filthy jokes or dirty stories. You would not expect to see calendars and pictures depicting nudity or vulgarity. At parties or get-togethers there would be no drinking or questionable games. There would be no gambling, no selling chances on cars, boats, etc. Men and women would always be respectful of each other, remembering the charity and purity becoming to Christians in their relationship to those of the opposite sex, especially to those joined to others in marriage.

If these things would not exist in an office or plant where all were Christians, then they must be of the world. When a Christian finds himself surrounded by such worldly things he will not participate. Their prevalence does not justify them where they exist for the Christian is not to be conformed to this world.

A School Controlled By Christians

We do not have to guess what a school controlled by Christians would be like. There are many. Some are controlled by those of very liberal ideas who allow things which we believe to be worldly. But there are certain things that are universally rejected by such schools.

We never knew a school controlled by Christians which approved dancing among its activities. We never knew one prescribing short short gym suits for the girls to wear where boys would see. We never heard of such a school allowing mini-skirted cheer leaders at its ballgames, skimpily clad majorettes at the head of its band, or the wearing of shorts at school outings. Though all such schools need money, we never knew of one having cakewalks or gambling games or selling chances to get it. We doubt that any school controlled by Christians has ever allowed students to go on trips over the Lord's day where they would have no chance to worship.

If schools controlled by Christians universally reject these things while those controlled by people of the world accept them, this is good evidence that they have originated with the world and are of the world. Christians should have no part in them. The prevalence of these things, the social pressure to conform, the possibility of lower grades or disciplinary action — these things have nothing to do with the case. If such things are of the world, Christians must not conform.

— Athens, Alabama