Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 18, 1951

Spiritual Anarchy

Vaughn D. Shofner, Lubbock, Texas

The church is drifting into the anarchic confusion of denominational religion. O, yes, there'll be church government, after a fashion, but its laws will be no stronger than the current impulses. The popular ways and the ways that allow greater physical accomplishment are fast overthrowing the Bible simplicity of Christ's government. Individual liberty, at the cost of Christian principles, is fast taking the rule. Individual liberty as individuals and individual liberty as congregations are trampling under foot the ramparts of God's government.

It is easy to see the error of social anarchy. The person that is well known is, by virtue of his popularity only, qualified to judge anything on earth. Just guess the answer to some question on some radio program, win a fortune at the wheel of chance, and that makes you able to decide which baby food is the correct diet. Become a radio or screen comedian, and the publicity you receive will qualify you to speak the final word on all things, from the correct brand of cigarette to breathe to the making of laws. Physical accomplishment, regardless of means used to accomplish, determines whether a person is worthy of an audience. Multi - divorced - and - remarried movie stars tell the world how to keep a home they have never kept, and how to rear children they have never reared. The moral standards of society are set by the immoral lives of a few "glorified" gigolos and giglets.

It's a shame to see those bearing the name of Christ follow such plans. Popularity has never been the right king for the people of God. Outward accomplishment, with utter disregard to God-given laws and principles, has never been the right government for God's people. From time immemorial the law of heaven has been, "thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil." Man's ideas never took the place of God's ideas in any matter, without condemnation.

God was good enough to give an everlasting record to warn worldlings of all ages. In Gen. 16 we find a warning signal, waving from the long ago to keep mortals of today out of the shoals of destruction. This is the record of Sarai "accomplishing" for God. God promised Abram a son, but Sarai was barren. She desired to help God, which is right if done right, but her plan was not the right way. Instead of abiding faithfully in God's plan, she sent her maid to be the mother of the God-promised son of Abraham. Liberal! it requires a jump through thousands of years to the twentieth century to find a more liberal person.

Now there's no way around the fact that Sarai's plan accomplished. Abram's family was increased, but the illegitimate, adulterous plan did not please God. God had promised, and in the fullness of time he could accomplish by his own means, the right way. The son was born, but not an heir. Instead, he was "a wild man; and his hand should be against every man, and every man's hand against him." How true! Today, his descendants are still shouting the confirmation of God's word as they continually war with "every man."

Friends of liberality, I don't know anyone that would deny the fact that things can be done contrary to God's way. But I do know a few who deny the rightness of it. Mere accomplishment does not justify the way it has been done. We can overthrow God's government, set up an individual congregational-right idea as the standard and do many things, but the wrath of God is upon us despite the "great" things done. We can swell the church roll through the gymnasium, but we cannot put any names on the book of life by this plan. We can set up ecclesiastical missionary boards, call them what we choose, "proselyte" the world and be lost and lose all in hell because of spiritual anarchy. We can use every means of entertainment to get a crowd, grow big, powerful and popular, and still burn with all materialism in "hell. Spiritual adultery will increase "the seed of Abraham," but these illegitimate children cannot inherit the promised land. We can "compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, we make him twofold more the child of hell than ourselves." If you can read, you can see the point!

It is painful to see the people of God enter into spiritual anarchy so obvious the blind can see it, and then "man-handle" the word of God to justify their position. Principles are sometimes forgotten, personalities enter, and awkward situations result. God gave many warnings against "man-handling" his word, and I'm reminded of one, the record of which is kept in I Chr. 13. The ark of the covenant was being transported in this scene, and in disobedience to God, Uzza placed his hand upon it to accomplish the worthwhile act of keeping it from falling from the cart. But poor Uzza died for the "man-handling" job despite the accomplishment.

If there's a lesson in this (and I think there are a few), it shouts one of the many warnings against going beyond God's government, even when the lawless step accomplishes something. I believe Uzza accomplished something, and the actual accomplishment was worthy; except for the fact that it was done contrary to God's command. Maybe, friend, the cart of carnality going over the roughs of expediency will shake us about a little; but we have no right offered by this circumstance to reach with puny hands and "man-handle" the word of God in an effort to stay our shaky situation.

Let us erase the desires to set up an anarchy, regardless of the unpopular path it causes us to travel; and let us humble ourselves before the realization that our faulty ways and limited understanding cannot help the Lord accomplish a single thing contrary to his word!