Wordpoint --Part 1

Part 1

Edwin Raymond Anderson

Mr. Edwin Raymond Anderson of Hartford, Connecticut, has been a past contributor to periodicals such as HELP & FOOD, LIGHT & LIBERTY, and THE WITNESS, as well as having written numerous tracts for the American Tract Society and Good News Publishers.

Presently, our brother provides written ministry for Gospel Folio Press, he is a contributing editor to CHRISTIAN VICTORY, and he carries on a Bible teaching ministry in Hartford, New Britain and Enfield, Connecticut.

This is Mr. Anderson’s first article to appear in FOCUS magazine, and in future issues we look forward to publishing his brief but edifying essays on various subjects under the heading, “Wordpoint.”

“Anxiety Is The Dizziness Of Freedom”

“Anxiety Is The Experience Of Being Affirming Itself Against Non-Being”

Every activity of every age bears testimony to the legacy of fallen man in the gathered shadows of anxiety, of fear. They make up the testimony of the times apart from that which may outwardly appear of progress and advancement upon the brittle surface. The twin quotations at the head of this article bear witness to the sombre presence.

Of course, they may strike “as all things to all men” for the manner of reading. The first, bearing reference to “freedom” is by the Danish theologian-philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, while the other is from the pen of the American psychologist Rollo May. No doubt but they are largely to be understood in the realm of the philosophical; yet, upon any level they convey naught of the freight of hope insofar as man is concerned. Dane and American are separated by time and distance and temper of thought; yet withal, they are linked by the dark thread of “anxiety.”

“Fear” is the preventive underscoring. One recalls that it was Franklin D. Roosevelt who declared in an inaugural stance amidst the lengthening shadows of the depression, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” In the very nature of occasion and wordage, it was intended as the political thrust. Yet the underscored note remained. Mr. Webster of the dictionary defined “fear” as being “the state or habit of anxious concern.” The words are thereby dressed in terms familiar for the state and actions of the heart and life. ’Twas the author Lloyd Douglas who wrote, “If a man harbours any sort of fear, it makes him landlord to a ghost.” The philosopher Harry Overstreet surmised, “To fear is to be psychologically ill… it is the consuming illness of our time.” “Billy” Phelps of Yale remarked, “The fear of life is the favourite disease of the twentieth century.” To modern man, words, such as these but underscore the inherent deficiencies of science and technology; there is no circuit or code which may transmit rest and peace and assurance to the stricken heart.

Anxious concerns and accumulating fears are borne testimony upon every level of society; there is stain and spreading thereof across the sheetings of nigh every endeavour, despite the efforts and achievements toward offsetting. Modern man sorrowfully reads the pathos of “No Exit” barricading the whole. But it is his consumate tragedy that he in his “advancement” has rejected the testimony of the Scriptures, and therein has rejected himself. Therein as the late bard of Avon play wrote, “Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. “That nothing” is the reality of the vacuum gnawing in his soul, despite the otherwise fullness of life for the things of his material creating.

Modern man suffers from the ancient agony … “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God” (Isaiah 59:2); that separation has sown all manner of sorrows. Man being separated from God is thus separated from himself, and in the aftermath of the rudderless, unanchored tragedy has become adrift with anxious concerns and fears bereft of moorage. It is the solemn obligation and responsibility of the believer to confront modern man with his single viable alternative. All of man cries naught save fear and anxious concern: therefore it is for him to “Cease ye from man whose breath is in his nostrils” (Isaiah 2:22), but far rather to effect complete reversal to the authority and claims of Him Who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6), a definite trinity which more than answers to, and supplies that interior requirement for, the basic requirements of modern man. No word of man can e’er be greater than the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ Who extends the single, comprehensive invitation, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).