“I will show thee my faith by my works.”
Almost everyone almost everywhere has a cause which he supports. Some give only financial support; some, only moral support. Some support because of pressure; some give themselves earnestly and energetically. Some support too few causes; some, too many. Few try to avoid what they believe to be a worthy cause; many look for new means or new causes.
That a man is willing to devote himself entirely to a cause and, if need be, to die for it remains somewhat an unexplainable phenomenon. We can understand that a man would die for what we believe to be right; we find it harder to realize how a man could gladly die for a cause which to us is obviously wrong. We seem relatively unable to comprehend that a man would die for what he believes to be right, if it seems wrong to us.
A man’s sincerity of belief seems to be the deciding factor. Newman quite correctly makes the observation that a man will not die for a conclusion, but he will die for a belief. But this sincerity is relative. The fact that a man is sincere in his belief does not make him right nor does it make his cause a worthy one. Richard Evans states, “It is not enough to be sincere, for one may be sincerely wrong, and therefore all the more wrong; we must not only be sincere, but sincerely right.”
The Christian’s obligation is to one cause, The Cause. But seeking the kingdom of heaven can and must be done in a myriad of ways. And this presents a problem, for the question immediately and constantly confront the Christian whether or not a certain cause that seems to make a demand on him is a cause which furthers The Cause. The problem is made more complex when he discovers that many worthy causes are sometimes mismanaged and that personal strifes or bitterness may hinder his willingness to give support.
Many causes that seek our help we know are causes which we may not support. Some causes we seem to be in doubt about. When the Red Cross, the Community Chest, the heart fund or the cancer fund ask for donations, we, rightly or wrongly, tend to conclude that these are worldly causes (“Let the dead bury their dead”) and that the kingdom causes of the church demand enough of our time and money and take care of enough of God’s people so that we can find a ready excuse to support only through the church.
Sometimes we mistake an evil cause for a good one or confuse and mix and evil cause with a good. Within the sphere of Reformed Churches, for example, someone has demanded that the Christian high schools and Calvin College introduce a required course explaining the evils of Communism so that the youth of the church may learn to “support the cause of Christ and capitalism.” Though this perhaps sounds as ridiculous as it is, such feeling seems to be growing in the church world. How Christ and capitalism ever joined forces is one of the greatest mysteries of our century. Yet, Americans who are properly enthusiastic in waging the battle against Communism, and even American Protestants who so recently have restated the principle of the separation of church and state, now make the horrible error of confusing Democracy with Christianity. One is tempted to remind them that they have a cause to support and that, if they are looking for the enemies of that cause, they might do well to turn more of their guns away from Communism and to begin to focus their sights more intently on such greater dangers as materialism (perhaps capitalism’s greatest product), labor unionism, the liberalism in the church, the growing movements of ecumenicity and church mergers, and those who “bring again out of hell” the teaching of Pelagius and Arminius.
We as Prot. Ref. Churches have many causes to support, many causes which we know are causes of the kingdom. Yet many of these causes, to our shame, seem almost to be dying a prolonged and agonizing death. Some demand our financial support; some demand our moral support; some demand our time and energy; all demand our prayers. Beacon Lights has a financial struggle for survival. Prot. Ref. education, both primary and secondary, will not be developed without your help. Our societies and organizations need active members; our schools and churches need teachers and ministers. Our office bearers need our prayers; our churches need our loyalty and interest. Our church publications need subscribers, and – readers. The Prot. Ref. Scholarship Fund will not refuse your donation, nor will the Foreign Mission Fund or the Reformed Witness Hour.
We confess that we are not our own, that what we possess is not our own. The faithful steward watches, prays, and WORKS.