Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 12, 1960

Beyond The Horizons

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

Our Moral Decay

Congregational investigation of quiz show "fixes" exposed a lot of sin in a lot of high places. The expose brought into focus a situation which has been prevalent for a long time. Our country is in a moral decay. From the five-percent, deep-freeze scandals in high government 'of the 1940's down to the "payola" disk-jockey revelations of recent date, the decaying process is well manifested. I was taught somewhere that such national moral decay contributed greatly to the fall of the Roman Empire.

An editorial in "Herald of Holiness" states that the apologists for fixed quiz shows illustrate the moral decay in our nation. Lieutenant General Arthur Trudeau, chief of Army Research is quoted as saying that we need Ch.D's doctors of character, more than we need Ph.D's. He is further quoted as saying, "I am appalled at the growing body of evidence that clearly shows the moral disintegration, lack of intentional fortitude, absence of self-discipline, and ignorance of the true values of life." Our problem is one of awakening people to the nature and consequences of sin. There is a disregard for sin in the public mind, there is a need for a great awakening.

A man's idea of sin underlies his ethics. When man distinguishes between "venial" and "mortal" sins as do the Catholics, he will be inclined to think lightly of "venial" sins. If a man is a doctrinaire Baptist who believes that sin cannot damn the Christian's soul, he might be inclined to number himself among the apologists for quiz show fixes and such like.

The New Testament vividly sets forth the nature of sin in such words as unrighteousness, godlessness, unlawfulness, disobedience, transgression, offence, uncleanness, and evil. Paul lists works of the flesh in Galatians 5. He leaves no room in the kingdom of God for sinners.

While the Lord's people strive for orthodoxy in doctrine, they must remember that soundness in faith includes moral uprightness and a clean disposition. "He that committeth sin is of the devil." (I John 3:8). "Are we, as Christians, scrupulously honest about all our practices?"

The Charles Van Doren case aroused prolific journalistic presentations. A professor of political science, Han J. Morgenthau, asks; "What difference is there between receiving $129,000 under false pretense from government, business or a foundation, which has become almost standard operating procedure, and receiving the same amount under false pretense from a television sponsor?" The reaction to such pretense and scandal on the part of a prominent member in a political party would be intense. There were some, including five members of the investigating committee before which Van Doren confessed, who apparently thought lightly of the sin of Van Doren. Morgenthau observes that a society which refuses to condemn such sin cannot but condemn itself.

The following editorial in The Daily Oklahoman deals with the Van Doren problem: "With reference to his admitted participation in rigged television quiz shows Char les Van Doren mentioned consideration other than money. He spoke of representations assertedly made to him concerning the 'increased public respect for the intellectual life' and for the teaching profession that might result from a good showing on his part. What isn't clear is how he reconciled this anticipated greater public respect with decision that was fundamentally dishonest. In the shabby aftermath Van Doren hardly can claim to have been the instrument of heightened public respect for the teaching profession or for the 'intellectual life' in general."

Repentance is something to be appreciated, but the sin which is repented of ought not to be minimized. Repentance which rationalizes about the thing repented of is poor repentance. When the public looks lightly upon the surrendering of values, of honesty, of integrity, of fair play, "the objective standards which constitute the moral backbone of a civilized society are dissolved."

The Birth Control Controversy (Cont'd)

When President Eisenhower stated his position on the matter of government promotion of aid relative to birth control in other nations, he may have sought to contribute to the dismissal of the issue. But the effect was just the opposite. He stirred the Protestants into reactionary protests and the Catholics into gloating cheers. The editor of The Christian Century says, "His abrupt and angry dismissal of a controversial subject (an anger most obvious in the newsreels) suggest that he is more edgy over the proclamation of 42 Roman Catholic bishops than he is over the consciences and opinions of millions of less organized Americans?'

The real issue in the presidential veto of the birth control controversy, so far as the non-Catholics are concerned, involves whether or not the president acted to accommodate the Catholic hierarchy. Did he speak as result of Roman Catholic pressure? Perhaps there is no way for us to know but it appears that our chief of state should have at least made courteous reference to the other side of the controversy. He mentioned his respect and admiration for the Catholic Church. Perhaps his extemporaneous speaking in the press conference accounts for his failure to give equal reference to representative people or groups on the other side. But we wonder.

The reactions of governmental leaders and office aspirants to Roman Catholic pressure on any issue are causes for careful scrutiny. The Roman Catholic Church is a minority group, but it is a "quasi-majority". Though it be in the minority with reference to numbers its "comprehensiveness, solidarity, and organizational unity" give it a majority thrust. It knows how to throw its weight around.

So our real concern about President Eisenhower's statement of his administrative policy relative to birth control aid for other nations has to do with what moved the administration to take that position. To what pressures did the administration yield?