Feb. 21, 1967 I have decided not to renew (Food for the Flock). See other side (application form) for part of my reasons.
I seem to find that all our Assembly magazines indulge too much in generalities in doctrine, which is all we appear to care about. There is, to me, a sad lack of real practical, down to earth teaching; too much showing off our erudition and our knowledge of Greek idiom. As one said to me recently, “We are made so ‘heavenly minded that we are of no earthly use.’ “
As on page 29 (February number Food for the Flock), I might suggest that unmovable might mean not to be motionless, as so many Christians among us are. Many could confess if they were honest enough that they never give out a tract from one year end to the other, never speak to a person about his soul. Some do not even subscribe to one Christian magazine. I subscribe to 13 (not all assembly mags.). The others are much more for practicality than ours. Some scarcely ever read a Christian book; many have not purchased one in years.
The worship meeting Sunday morning is mostly the morning meeting. The lack of reverence! Eider brethren cannot pick out a worship hymn. The stereotyped prayer! We in U.S.A. will have to learn the deference, homage, and obedience due to a throne-occupant. I have seen three queens, two kings, and a prince in my time, and were we to come into their presence, we would not be allowed to adopt that lolling, crossed-legged, sloppy attitude that so many of our people affect. When these things are mentioned, one is put down as addicted to malice and evil speaking.
We are now divided into two camps, the young people and the rest of us. The young with their love of sports. Now they are going around performing cantatas. The sisters, some old enough to be grandmothers, with their short knee-exposing skirts. Some in the morning meeting sitting opposite me exposing their thighs. Were our teaching brethren to mention these things, they would be accused of scraping ministry and that would hurt their prestige, their reputations, and their offerings; they have to be so gracious, yea, circumspect. “Don’t disturb the status quo, and don’t, for any sake, tread on my toe.”
All the weakness in the church is not in the pews, watch our peregrinating brethren, hundreds, yea, thousands of miles between stops. To my critical mind, this doesn’t seem like Spirit guidance.
I could go on, but doubtless you are shocked by this time. I have even overheard elder brethren discussing football, between meetings at a conference. As soon as the morning service is over, some of our brethren are talking about Monday golf, and the sisters, the dress sale down town. I rebuked one of our young men when he said that he had been watching a baseball game on television on a Sunday afternoon. “What’s the matter with that, it’s a sport isn’t it?” was his reply.
I could go on, but I refrain lest I weary you or perhaps antagonize you; I am not griping; I am mourning.
R. R. B.
Dear R. R. B.
We are puzzled by the many general indictments against the assemblies in this letter and by its only word of commendation, a commendation of non-assembly magazines.
That there is weakness and carnality, all admit, but we are exhorted to strengthen the things that remain. Food for the Flock endeavours so to do. Such articles as “Feminine Fashion” by Dr. James Naismith; “The New Morality” by Dr. Paul Irwin, both have a direct bearing on conditions described in this letter. For both of these, requests for reprints have been received.
Daniel did not say, “Our elders,” this, that, or the other, he prayed, “O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto Thee, but unto us confusion of faces … We have sinned against Thee … We have rebelled.” He then records, “Whilest I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people,” his prayers were answered. Recovery for Israel began with Daniel upon his knees in prayer before the Word of God; recovery for us does not lie in indictments but in confession and prayer.
The Apostle Paul in three statements indicates the proper attitude and the proper motivation of ministry even in a carnal church: “Let all things be done unto edifying” (1 Cor. 14:26). “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40). “Let all your things be done with charity-love” (1 Cor. 15:14). Any practical ministry written in this attitude and thus motivated will be acceptable to the Editorial Committee of Food for the Flock.
There’s an abundance of, diagnosing going on these days and I’m sure most Christians are aware, to some degree, that the Church of Jesus Christ is sick. There is an endless list of symptoms and their causes, and we must confess that we are guilty! But, where do we find the remedy?
One of the, needed medicines is suggested in the scathing rebuke of the Lord speaking through the prophet Jeremiah:
“An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land:
The prophets prophesy falsely and the priests rule at their direction; MY PEOPLE LOVE TO HAVE IT SO,
But what will you do when the end comes?”