Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 5, 1960

Religion By Proxy

Warren Rainwater, Pensacola, Fla.

One of the greatest needs today is to get people to see their duty to God and then do it. Christian service is needed as never before. In these days of prosperity, we are busy making money that we allow our duty to God to go undone. Many times we pass up acts of service to our fellow man that we ought to perform on the excuse that our job keeps us so busy that we can't get to it. We leave to others the things that we ought to do.

The idea of making money and letting others do the things that must be done in the church has grown until it is eating at the very foundation of Christianity. A kind of indulgence is being practiced by many. It is worked in this manner: "I don't have the time to do this because I am tied up. I am working at Boy Scouting or something else that came up at the last minute has hindered me. You do it for me and I will give more next Sunday when the basket is passed." This idea is getting foothold in many congregations. Hundreds of members are expecting the elders to see after things that fall in the area of their responsibility. Things are being pushed off on the churches that shouldn't be there.

Surely it is the responsibility of a Christian to visit the sick and help others as we have the opportunity and the ability. I can't see how one person can effectively visit the sick for someone else. The personal contact is essential. The association together and the prayers offered help to increase the faith of both visitor and the patient. Can anyone else do it for me with the same effect? No! and we know it.

Suppose someone with a sharp mind decided to work out a scheme to do all the visiting of hospitals. All we would have to do is to send a few dollars to the agency monthly and every member of the church would be visited with flowers, reading material, a preacher employed for the purpose, and anything else needed while in the hospital. That way we would be free with our spare time to go bowling one night, clubbing one night, get the groceries one night etc. . . Wouldn't this be wonderful way to attend to the visiting of our sick? Who could say that it would be unscriptural? You know the Bible says do it and doesn't say how so we are free to do as we see fit. Never again would we be called on to stay with the sick all night even if they were at the point of death because we have those that have been trained to do those things. We could stay at home and have our bridge party. We wouldn't be called on to send flowers to the funeral home or to prepare food for the family. All this would be taken care of by the monthly contribution to the society formed for the purpose. Naturally they would all be Christians.

I don't think you would go for such a program as that and yet it is just as feasible and scriptural as some of the plans worked out by some of the brethren today to care for the needy. All you have to do is send in a little each month and you will be practicing "pure and undefiled religion". We can go on our merry way just as long as we send a part of the fifth Sunday contribution somewhere. Those that need the love and attention of the home must get it from a cold informal institution professional help. We can go on and do little else if we will do that. It will assure all that we are in the realm of the faithful congregations and certainly not on the side of "hobbyism". For it is known that to keep from being called unfaithful to the cause of Christ, it is going to take some kind of contribution to some of the institutions among us. It can be to a college, orphan home, youth camp, or to the HOT. We can buy our indulgence in this way. So for as I know it is the only way to get out from the stigma. So if you want out just pay up and tomorrow you will find yourself on the side of the faithful regardless of how much adultery, worldliness, or the like there is in the congregation. Yes, this religion by proxy has been sweeping the church.