Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 4, 1962


Herschel E. Patton, Lufkin, Texas

One of the most wide-spread and dangerous spiritual diseases of our day is what I am calling "Antiphobia" (Anti - "A prefix signifying opposite, against..:'; Phobia - "An irrational, persistent fear of a particular object or class of objects." Web.) The fear of opposing (being against) a course of action which might bring down upon us the epitets of "bigot," "anti," "radical," "leftist," etc., has so possessed people of our day that "dissenting voices" are being steadily hushed.

Have you noticed the trend in TV and movies to exalt that which has been generally opposed? When a reserved, principled man is bying [SIC] with a handsome, drinking, gambler for a pretty maid (who at first objects to his worldly ways), who usually wins the girl? That loose moralled, strip-teaser, bar girl who is frowned upon by the "reserved, church ladies" of the town, is defended as a "nice" girl and greatly mis-treated by the "holier-than-thou", narrow-minded, bigots of the town. There is hardly a film of any kind that does not exalt social drinking. "Won't you have a drink?" is nearly always the "opener" for a conversation, even on the programs dealing with law enforcement. Opposition to any one, or anything, it taboo.

While most people will admit that we should be "Anti-Communism," it appears that even this, if it becomes very pronounced, will draw frowns and arouse suspicions. Regardless of one's sentiments in the matter, the cases of General Walker and the John Birch Society do reflect the suspicion and criticism that is generally attached to strenuous and out-spoken protests.

In religious circles, there have always been scattered cases of "Antiphobia." I think Aaron had a good case of it when he made the golden calf, saying to Moses -- "Thou knowest the people are set on mischief ... they gave it me (gold); then I cast it into the fire and there came out this calf." (Ex. 32:24-25). Those who said unto the prophets, "speak not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things ..." (Isa. 30:10) had it. The Holy Spirit, through Paul, was warning against this when, after charging Timothy to "preach the word. . reprove, rebuke, exhort .." he said, "for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears." (2 Tim. 2:2-4)

A recent press article told of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale backing out of a "religious freedom" campaign because he was afraid of being accused of bigotry. He was quoted as saying,. "Though I love religious freedom, I hate bigotry more." If fighting those who oppose religious freedom might bring upon him the charge of "bigotry," Dr. Peale will never raise the sword! He has "Antiphobia" real bad. The germs of this disease were deliberately spread, and quite effectively, during the last presidential campaign among those who had legitimate qualms about a Catholic President.

Even in the Lord's church, many are sick, sick, sick with this disease. Before so many became afflicted, sectarianism, social drinking, ball-room dancing, school dances, organizations other than the local church for doing the work of the church, church sponsored recreation, money raising schemes, entertainments, Ministerial Alliances, etc. felt the effects of the unsheathed "Sword of the Spirit" in the hands of the Lord's people. But nbw, lest we offend, pronounced opposition to these, and many other such things, has all but faded away. Religious debates are frowned upon and said by some to do more harm than good. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to find an eldership that will back a gospel preacher in debate with one who holds a position which they admit is wrong, deceptive, and damning. Elders are found instructing their preacher not to preach against this or that, though they know it is dangerous and wrong, for fear it will cause trouble--the trouble being in the form of wide-spread opposition to what others (maybe the majority) want to believe and do. Advertising in "The Old Reliable" (?) or some other paper that "I am no Anti" is supposed to bring a preacher, into the pulpit of a big, "on the march" church. And, of course, such churches when in need of a preacher always carefully state -- "No Anti need apply." Judging by the actions of some, you would think "be ye separate," "prove all things," "a peculiar people," "casting down," "fight," "contend," "abhor that which is evil," etc. are terms spawned of his Satanic Majesty for the kingdom of darkness rather than duties enjoined by the King of Kings for citizens Of the kingdom of Light.

Of course, there is such a thing as objecting for the sake of objecting -- being "anti" as a habitual practice, without knowing what or why. This is deplorable, and would be encouraged by no reasonable and peace-loving person. But to draw back from opposing that which you sincerely believe, after thorough study, to be evil and detrimental, because of the threats of social, domestic, financial, or political reprisals is to reveal a weakness (sickness) that is certain to be fatal to the soul.

All "Antiphobians" among us would do well to take the remedy prescribed by the great Physician. (Eph. 6:10-18, 2 Tim. 4:1-4, Matt. 10:26-28, 1 Pet. 3:14-15).