Word and Way from Kansas City, Missouri on March 24, 1955 · 4
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Word and Way from Kansas City, Missouri · 4

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Kansas City, Missouri
Issue Date:
Thursday, March 24, 1955
Page:
4
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EDITORIALLY SPEAKING The Vogue for Moderation It was Dante who said: "The hottest spots in Hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality." Thus did the 14th century Italian poet describe his . contempt for those who are cowardly in times of moral conflict. v Of like pattern was the divine denunciation of the church of the Laodiceans: "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. ... So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth." (Rev. 3:15-16.) Add to this the unequivocat-ing statement of the Lord Jesus. "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gather eth not with me scattereth abroad." (Matt. 12:30.) Contrast these forthright statements with the current vogue for moderation; with the tendency to blend black and white into a dull and lifeless gray. "Moderation" has become a sort of magic word; a fad which 1 3 i. i i ; i n xi i a; "oo uccii auupicu even uy buxne wnu can uieiiiacivcs 10 ucuis. "A certain amount of religion is all right," they say, "but don't overdo it. Above all, don't get excited about it. You might be , called a fanatic." There are some churches which call themselves Christian who adopt an attitude of compromise toward moral wrong. They " are moderately against gambling and moderately for it. They are moderately against drinking and moderately for it. So they trip lightly through the whole catalogue of human sins. Even the liquor people have become champions of moderation. In fact, thev are tisinc? "moderation" as a srreen hehinri which to hide their redouble efforts to make a consumer out of every citizen. Now politicians seem to be joining in the chorus. One hears in the political realm considerable talk about "moderation." uut u wuuiu uc ct gicai uua Lcuve tu aasuiiie mat Vsiixisucuny is a religion of moderation. Moderation may be an acceptable political theory as regards extreme right and left radicals, but the word has little place in the Christian vocabulary. The Christian life begins with a complete renunciation and dedication. "If any man will come after me," says the Lord Jesus, "let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." (Matt. 16:24.) Christianitv calls to the heights of pomnlete love. the first of the commandments is ". . . and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." (Mark 12:29-30.) It is unthinkable that the Lord Jesus Christ would be moderately against hypocrisy and moderately for it. Or that Paul would be moderately for salvation by grace and moderately for salvation by works. Or that John would be moderately for love and moderately against hate. Or that a true Christian would be J 4. 1 J 1X 1 1 J 1 m m muuercueiy ior ngmeuusness ana moaeraxeiy ior sin. to De a Christian means to be for something. It also means to be against something. Christianity has its crackpots and its fanatics, but these do not constitute the major problem. The greatest problem is that large group of so-called Christians whose theme song is "Moderation." They are theoretically for righteousness but practically against it. They are theoretically against sin but practically for it. Out of the Civil War days comes a story of a man in a certain village who elected to fight on neither side. He decided to be neutral. In deference to the wearers of the blue he bought a blue coat. In deference to the wearers of the gray he bought gray trousers. And these he wore day after day. Finally on a certain day the Federal soldiers came to town - and overtaking him they shot him in the leg. That afternoon the Confederates entered the village and shot him in the chest. He was despised by both sides. Pare FOUR It was Plato who wrote: "Courage is the love of the morally beautiful more than life." : oOo - Undivided Loyalty Christian index The time has come to re-think our financial program in the churches and denomination so that the Cooperative Program may stand unchallenged as our program of missions, education and benevolence. It is time to realize that special offerings, with only a very few exceptions, are more of an evil than a blessing. It is time to emphasize the Cooperative Program as the Baptist way of financial support. It is time to admit that desig- tio3 rf ixrin ct mow Tirol 1 tx ool-PioVi rtitrirtrf In Georgia there are eight special offerings on the calendar for 1954. Are the pastor and other church leaders, having con ducted their annual stewardship campaigns, expected to make eight special appeals? We fool ourselves with the argument that some of these offerings are through organizations and not the churches. The offerings come from individuals whose first loyalty is to the church. Now, let us make one thing clear. We do not contend that we should take from any institution or agency any money by eliminating special offerings. We believe, instead, the necessary funds should be included the Cooperative Program and full attention given to it. We believe that with special offerings reduced to half their number, the churches would compensate, and more, r by increased giving to the Cooperative Program. . Many churches, in the final analysis, have made their own adjustments. They've found you can't commit a person to a tithe of his income on a plan of ' regular giving and forever have special appeals. They have included designated amounts in their own budgets for the "specials." Much better would be an arrangement for the Cooperative Program to include them. Look at it another way. It isn't logical for the church to promote its financial program among the membership on the basis of undesignated giving and then, turning around, present a budget with numerous designations to the denomination. Remember that the denomination's emphasis is on the designated giving to the Cooperative Program, just as in the church. Eliminate all special offerings? No. One now and again is good for the giver. It is an opportunity for an "over and above" as resources permit. But, surely we don't think that special appeals in January, February, and March, in May and June, in October. November. and December produce gifts that would come in no other way. Can it do other than take from the Cooperative Program? Where would we start in eliminating these special appeals? That would take the wisdom of a representative group of pastors and church leaders. It would take Convention approval. Let's leave that part of the question for study by a group. The WORD and WAY Hit WORD Our WAY Owned and published weekly, (except one Issue each In July and December) by the Missouri Baptist ' General Association, Missouri Baptist Building. Jefferson City. Missouri. Executive Secretary MISS ELENE STONE Editor's Assistant EARL HARDING H. H. McGINTY- Editor ADVISORY COMMITTEE Thomas W. Croxton, J. E. Rains. D. F. Risk. Ralph M. G. Smith. .MAPPllcatlon nas teen made, entered as Second Class Matter at the Post Office In Jefferson City, Missouri. , . SUBSCRIPTION RATES Church Budget Family Plan $.12 per month, $1.44 per year per church family. Club Plan 5 or more persons In addition to group treasurer $1.75 each Individual Subscription $2.00 per year. All subscriptions payable in advance. RESOLUTIONS AND OBITUARIES ' First 200 words free, additional words two cents each. Please tend money with manuscript.' Articles carrying the author'! by-line do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of the paper. , wwu The WORD and WAY

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