Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 30, 1964

A Woman's Point Of View

Mrs. W. R. Wolfram

When Eli was priest, an evil day came upon Israel Eli's sons were ungodly men and he did not restrain them. The Philistines made war on Israel — with success. To offset their defeat the Israelites dared to take the ark of God into battle (not according to divine instruction but according to human wisdom) that "it might save them out of the hand of their enemies.' Eli was old and blind, but, what was worse, he knew that God had withdrawn his favor; so as he sat outside the city gate awaiting news of the battle, "his heart trembled for the ark of God."

Today, in the year of our Lord 1964 the heart of any God-fearing Christian must surely tremble for the church. Reading the Guardian of June 25 brought tears to my eyes and sorrow that does not go away to my heart. I have been a member of the church more than half a century. I have heard men who preached the gospel with such power that to me they seemed like modern versions of the apostle Paul. I've heard the soft ones too, who sometimes baptized scores of people, many of whom became "restorations" at the next big meeting or went back into the world to stay. I've heard the young ones who knew it all and the eloquent who made the old, old story sweeter than any other ever told. I've attended services where brethren thought it wrong to divide the group for classes, and where they walked up after communion (in which the one cup was a glass) and laid their contribution on the table — and heard some visiting preacher who took their money call them Nicolaitans. I've known gospel preachers who belonged to local ministerial associations and allowed themselves to be called reverend or doctor. I'm sure that meanwhile I have been guilty of my own share of ignorance, irreverence and sin — of which I think I have truly repented and asked forgiveness. Nonetheless today my heart trembles for the church.

I have always believed that the Bible has the answer for every spiritual problem. I still believe it. Then what is the solution now?

In the "things written aforetime for our learning" I read of Joshua's public avowal: "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." I find the common soldier who fought the Philistines until his hand grew weary and his hand "slave unto the sword"...and the Lord wrought a great victory that day. I remember that when Elijah thought himself the only one left to serve God, the Lord told him that there were seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal. I think that perhaps sins in the church today are like those at Corinth, when Paul wrote that "there must be heresies among you that they which are approved may be made manifest." I recall that Moses was denied entrance to Canaan because on one (just one) occasion he had not honored God. I think of Daniel who purposed in his heart not to defile himself. I read where Paul tells Timothy — and me — that the "foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his." I see that David advised men not to fret themselves because of evildoers. And James adds that the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

I am not a Daniel come to judgment nor a Deborah to lead Israel in battle. I have no wisdom of my own to meet the challenge. The faithful Christians that I know read and study and assemble and teach. But do we pray enough about this particular problem? If the few (comparatively speaking) who are concerned about the present apostasy would add to their overt efforts to abate it an earnest prayer, every time they approach the throne of grace, that the erring brethren would repent and abandon their unauthorized practices in order that the church of our Lord might again be like a city set on a hill — who knows but that it might come to pass? More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of, as someone has said. If we are doing our best to stem the flood of error, prayer is our only alternative; so let us pray without ceasing for this one thing. I know that the Lord needs not any of man or woman's wisdom and that he can and will take care of this and all other matters; but surely there is sorrow even in heaven over sin in the church, and I think that God would be pleased with our humble and collective petitions on this behalf.

— Rt 1 Box 100, Mission, Texas