by Tom Wacaster
A "boycott" is defined by Webster as meaning "to combine in refusing to work for, to buy from or sell to, or to have any dealings with, as a means to show disapproval or to coerce." While it is possible to refrain from doing business with some company while not actually boycotting that company, the effects are the same. When I heard of the recent effort on the part of one religious organization to boycott the Disney company, it dawned on me that the end result of such a boycott is similar to the end result of those who do not support the church as they should. This spiritual boycott may be manifested in a number of ways.
First, there are those who boycott the church by refusing to give of their means, i.e. to contribute to the financial support of the church. It has become a common practice among disgruntled individuals to withhold their contribution when things in the church are not going as they think they should. We are not speaking of those who refuse to give into the common fund of a church that has abandoned the truth. When a church reaches the point that they no longer abide by God's teaching, not only should the funds be withheld, but so should our presence. We are speaking, however, of those who withhold their contribution because they do not like some decision the elders have made, or some sermon the preacher has preached. Refusal to give to the work of the Lord because of some disagreement in matters of opinion constitutes a spiritual boycott.
Second, those who refuse to meet with the brethren actually boycott the church. Lack of attendance constitutes disapproval. Lip service may be given to agreement in these matters, but actions speak louder than words. When we habitually refuse to take advantage of Bible study opportunities, we imply that such is NOT important. Our actions actually discourage those who do attend. By our example we say to the new Christian that Bible study is not important, and we say to the older Christian that he is wasting his time. There are entirely too many Christians who do not realize the implications of their actions. Absenteeism constitutes spiritual boycott.
Third, failure to support a gospel meeting at the level of the local congregation constitutes a spiritual boycott. The absence of such a large portion of a congregation so typical of today's "gospel meeting effort" says to the world, "This is not really that important." In turn, it speaks volumes to the leaders of the church by implying that you simply do not intend to support this effort. Hence, the church, the speaker of the occasion, and the cause for which Jesus died are all boycotted.
An atheist once remarked that if he believed in God, and in the importance of the gospel, and the essentiality of the church, as do the "Christians" of the world, that he would spend every penny he had, extend any effort necessary to evangelize, and lend the whole of his life in the support and furtherance of that message. Why is it that some folks cannot see what a skeptic realized to be the implications of our faith. If you were judged by your actions, would men say that you support the church, or that you were presently participating in a spiritual boycott?