Statistics: Symptoms Of A Deeper Problem

"Statistics: Symptoms Of A Deeper Problem"
Tom Wacaster

Statistics are a means by which we measure certain trends. Our government can guess the direction the economy is going by examining the "leading economic indicators." These are nothing more than statistics from retail sales, national gross product, etc., gathered and studied by "experts" (the definition of which is still under question). But you see, statistics are but symptoms of some CAUSE. Retail sales are NOT the cause of economic trends, but are the EFFECT of some trend as it is reflected in the purchase power and practice of the people. In the first chapter of Romans, Paul describes a morally degenerate gentile world. Verses 24-32 catalogue the sins of a godless society. But the sins were only symptoms of a deeper problem. These people knew God, but chose not to have God in their knowledge (Vs 21-23). They willfully and purposefully turned their back on the Creator. The CAUSE, rejection of God, led to the SYMPTOM, moral degeneration. As it was in the first century, so it is now. Now, let us bring this matter closer to home. Beginning in the 1850's and extending into the early 1900's there was a division in the body of Christ of major proportions. The mechanical instrument of music and the missionary society drove a wedge between brethren, splintering the church of our Lord. The CAUSE in this unfortunate circumstance was statistically manifested in the introduction of innovations, divided churches, etc., but these were only symptoms of a deeper problem, mainly a lack of respect for authority of the scriptures. It would seem that the "cycle" has run full circle and once again we are facing the issue of authority, manifested in varying symptoms. Instrumental music, institutionalism, and unauthorized innovations are rearing their ugly heads once again; some old, some new. But these are only SYMPTOMS of the age old issue of establishing Biblical authority. Either some do not know HOW to determine authority for some action, or they do not care. The end result, if allowed to go unchecked, will lead to unauthorized actions, vain worship, and tragic division. "And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus...." (Colossians 3:17). There is another danger closely attached to the subject under consideration. That danger is the willingness to compromise a principle for the sake of unity. It is, in essence, a willingness to forego a stand for truth in order to avoid confrontation. The late David Lipscomb once noted:

"Those most hurtful in drawing evil into the churches, that divide and weaken and destroy the innocent, are the noncommittal that agree with all and oppose none. The most effective worker to bring in evil is one who does not favor it, but can work with it. He is so liberal and generous that he does not desire it, but sees no harm in the evil...The man who does not vigorously and actively oppose an evil really favors it"

Once such a state is reached wherein one can conscientiously work with error it will not be long before he not only tolerates that error, but becomes a participant therein. This is why godly elders, preachers, teachers, and faithful members will oppose error at its early stages of development. It is not that we are cantankerous. It is, rather, that we realize that early symptoms, if properly treated, will keep the body pure and healthy. We realize that to be true when it comes to treating physical illness. Why is it that we so often fail to realize this simple truth when it comes to the spiritual body of Christ, the church? Think about it.