This morning on "America," steaming towards New York, I came by the lounge when the Roman Catholic priest was conducting "holy mass." To me it looked more like an "unholy mess." What antics! And this is "divine worship!" And don't you think the poor dupes are perfectly sure that they "have the truth, all the truth, and nothing but the truth?" Certainly. I felt a pain inside for these slaves.
But how much different are we in so-called protestantism? In the "evangelical" denominations? In the Reconciliation movement? There may be a difference in degree, but sure not in kind. With only slight, almost unnoticeable exceptions are all the numerous systems and movements, constituting protestantism, of like nature. Almost every believer is committed to a "system" supposed to be an epitome of all needed divine truth, and the leading teachers of the system the "authorities" from whose fiat there can be no appeal, or, at least, whose words must be given first and foremost consideration, even in preference of Scripture.
There is everywhere, on part of believers, a sicklish tendency to perceive of themselves as needing no re-adjustment in doctrine when once they have become settled in certain self-satisfying forms which they have been persuaded to be pure divine truth. They lose the mental and spiritual elasticity which is an imperative pre-requisite for continuous acquirement of truth. Our love dies in the cages of fixed forms and customs. Stagnation and petrifaction sets in. Before it is realized we have been made mummies in petrified dogmatism. What we then consider progress and growth consists of being "indoctrinated" and "established" in the forms. We lose the ability and the desire to test and try what is, and what is not of God. An almost unavoidable consequence of such attitude is man worship, and that even without being aware of it. We look to the teachers who have established our particular "system," that we are attached to, and dare not, or cannot, think for ourselves. We have become prisoners—slaves. We get into doctrinal ruts and grooves, and dare not (or are too lazy) to even try to get out of them. We are out of adjustment.
Now if it was only the doctrinal phase of life that needed re-adjustment it would not be so bad; but doctrinal mis-alignment always goes into moral mis-alignment. And the moral misadjustment in many is so dominant that they will not tolerate doctrinal adjustment. Constructive criticism of doctrines is branded as rebellious effrontery and reviling.
But let us remember that even though we may be able to refuse or defer doctrinal and moral adjustments, it must come. It is unavoidable, because it is God's program. The whole universe—and every detail of it—must be re-adjusted to His will. For us—the saints—it is this: "We MUST be manifested in front of the dais of Christ, that each should be requited for that which he puts in practice through the body, whether good or bad." 2 Cor. 5:10.
E. A. Larsen
Last updated 4.10.2008