Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 17, 1964
NUMBER 32, PAGE 1,5b,10b

Is Jehovah Indifferent

James W. Adams

Infidels who profess to believe in a Supreme Being have long taken refuge behind the unwarranted and fallacious assumption that the God of the universe is indifferent to the attitude and conduct of individual men. It is their view that, while in some vague, nebulous manner the Supreme Being Is responsible for the beginning of things in the dim, distant eons of the past, God simply started things, as one would wind up a clock, and left them to run down by themselves. To the infidel, man is but a speck, of dust, dwelling upon a speck, insignificant and all but lost in the immensity of time and space. God to him is some sort of intelligent force or power dwelling in August splendor in some infinitely distant place, too grand and majestic to be concerned with the goings on in a single speck of His whirling, seething universe in the endless succession of the countless millions of the years of time as they march unceasingly by. Much less, in the infidel's concept could this "God" be concerned with the attitude and life of a single individual in all this immeasurable and humanly incomprehensible infinity. Consequently, the infidel scoffs at the idea of human accountability and divine judgment. As a result, he recognizes no moral restraints save those that the enlightened human judgment of his age and culture deem essential to human happiness and, the well-being of society.

This is not a new thing. Men have always delighted to view God in this light, for it delivers them from any sense of responsibility to Him. But, be it observed, those who have thus regarded God (and often God's own people have done so) have always plunged themselves into the very maelstrom of wickedness and vice and have thus brought upon themselves the judicial anger of Jehovah.

In one of the periods of apostasy in the decline of ancient Israel, Zephaniah, the prophet of God, brought a message of doom and destruction. Proclaimed he, "I will utterly consume all things off the land, saith the Lord." Why? "Because they have sinned against the Lord." (Verse 17.) But what brought on the awful sins described in the first chapter of Zephaniah? "And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: they say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil." It was their concept that God was indifferent to man's conduct and affairs — that He "would not do good or evil," that he would not bless or punish man for his conduct.

Men of our day in so-called "Christendom" have the same attitude. It is their thought that God is infinitely above man and things earthly, hence unconcerned relative to those things which divide men in religion. Such matters, they regard as trivialities beneath God's notice, and therefore, that such matters are permissible and right which might seem good to men and which may serve as vehicles of the expression of the yearning of their souls toward their Maker. This "broad," "tolerant" concept leads them to embrace as right all the religions of the world (pagan and otherwise) and every creed and institution of "Christendom."

Even some of those who profess to be "New Testament Christians" have in a degree embraced this philosophy. Dr. Robert R. Meyers, a man whom we knew and loved in his student days at Freed-Hardeman College, some time ago wrote an article which is illustrative of this fact.

Brother Bob preaches for the Riverside congregation in Wichita, Kansas and constantly pushes for a broad "tolerance" that would bring the churches of Christ and Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ denomination) and other religious bodies into "fellowship" without the sacrifice on their part of any essential feature of their religious practice.

In this article, Brother Bob tells of going back to his old home town (Henrietta, Oklahoma, we think) and of the shock he experienced. He had remembered the house in which he had lived as a boy as such a large place, but, alas! how small it now seemed. The garden he had plowed and cultivated, what a tremendous plot of ground it had seemed, but now, how small and insignificant! The fence that he had with such pride jumped and which he remembered to have so high, how small it now seemed and what a trifling accomplishment to jump it!

From these considerations, Brother Bob moves on to tell us how he had gone in blissful ignorance out into the great, wide world of learning, people, and places with such certain convictions concerning the Lord's church and the worship. Now, however, like the house, the garden, and the fence, in the light of his enlarged concepts, how trivial, narrow, and trifling seem the principles of divine truth that he learned at his mother's and father's sanctified knees and in the modest meeting house of the people of God on the corner of the street in his small home town.

Bob is not the first "ignorant," country boy whose naivety could not endure the test of the pressures of exposure to the temptations to unbelief which lie along the pathway to higher learning and inhere in the sophistication of the world at large, nor will he be the last. It is sad that some "prodigal sons" unlike the boy of our Lord's parable never "come to themselves" and come home to the father's house. However, let Brother Meyers remember also that he is not the only country boy that has taken the path of learning to a degree of doctor of philosophy, nor is he the only country boy who has seen the world of men and places. Yet, such exposure has not so inflated all of them so as to shrink into nothingness and total insignificance their home towns and into ignorance and bigotry the concepts of Divine Truth they were taught in the sanctity of their family circle by parents devoted to the Lord and His word and in the assembly of enlightened people of God in the hallowed precincts of the corner meeting house.

Brother Bob's untimely eruption from his cocoon of rural naivety and narrow, bigoted, religious provincialism, as a result of his learning and travels, now make utterly ridiculous and repugnant to him the thought that the Great God of this wide, cosmopolitan world (which he has now seen and concerning which he was blissfully ignorant in the halcyon days of backwoods youth) would send people to torment because they play upon mechanized instruments of music in their worship, utilitze human, benevolent societies as agencies of church cooperation and employ human, missionary societies in the evangelizing of the world. Like the blatant infidel of our day and apostatizing Israel of Zephaniah's time. Brother Bob thinks God to be indifferent to digressions from the Divine will.

Our brother and friend of days past did not, but he could just as logically have applied his philosophy — his new-born, enlightened insight — to morals. If God is too great and the world too large and sophisticated to admit of a recognition of divine authority and control in the realms of worship, benevolence, and evangelism, why should not such also be true of morals? Most infidels profess total enlightenment to the point of accommodating their aberrations in the realm of morals as well as religion. Brother Bob's species of infidelity seems still to be hedged about by narrow, provincial concepts in the realm of morals; at least he did not make any application along this line. But, let us be charitable and patient; let us give him time. It takes a long while to get all of the country out of the boy even when the boy gets out of the country.

We have often wondered about men who profess suddenly to be freed from the chains of provincial bigotry. They at once become so very, very wise! Is it not wonderful what a "little higher learning" and world travel can do for them? Suddenly they can take the word of God and, by their enlightened reason, skillfully carve it into essentials and nonessentials. They can tell us what part of it must be obeyed and what part of it with safety may be ignored. They suddenly know without question what may be disregarded in the word of God without impairment of "fellowship" and what part must be regarded to preserve "fellowship." Well did Jeremy Taylor say, "To be proud of learning is the greatest ignorance. (J.W. A.) _ _ -

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