January/February, 1998 Volume XII Number 10
The dispensation of optional obedience
by Dennis E. Green
I once heard a sermon in which the minister exhorted the congregation to be diligent in their witness because "as goes the church, so goes the world." I wish it was true, but the opposite is most often the case.
We believers have been in a race with the world for centuries. We're just as serious about staying on course and pressing on for the "prize" as the most degraded runner in this competition. But there is a catch. We are not running to win. We are striving for the silver medal. Our sights are set for second place. As we progress along this long track we are sure to stay twenty or thirty yards behind our opponent, "The World". As "The World" passes each milestone and obstacle he is cheered or booed by those who have gathered to witness this event. Whether the witnesses of his great achievement are for or against him they all can be heard commenting with amazement on the fact that he has come so far and wonder just how far he will have the nerve to go. Since most of the audience has gathered to cheer on the winner, they often overlook us as we pass the same post a short time later. But we're not bothered because we aren't running for the attention, just the satisfaction we gain from running this same course. After all, we can still enjoy all of the same sights and sounds as our opponent, "The World." Those who do notice us can often hear us speaking breathlessly against our foe. We mock and condemn him for running this race but then become silent as we must run harder just to keep up. We'll deny that we are competing but we wear the attire and the number of a runner.
How often have our attitudes and way of life been indistinguishable from those of the world. Our convictions are often similar to those of the wicked just ten to twenty years ago. Surely we stand as a light and salt, after all we aren't nearly as carnal as those around us. . . right?
Some of us have dropped out of the race and have been labeled as "those who have turned aside" or "those who have not stayed faithful to finish the course. We of course see things differently. We've come to realize that the prize for completing this race is death. There is no gold, silver or bronze, but one prize for all.
Father Yahweh has a standard that doesn't change with each passing generation. Integration and accommodation may work with Latin American Catholicism but it is foreign and antithetical to true Biblical faith. I'm as guilty as the next person who spent years living as a "Good Christian" without seriously challenging the practices I was taught to accept. There's a real reformation taking place now. It's picking up where the last reformation left off. Many of Yahweh's people are reexamining what they have been taught. That which is consistent with the complete counsel of Scripture is being grasped while that which is merely the doctrine of men (and often opposed to scripture) is being discarded.
One issue in which we have clearly followed the lead of the world is concerning the matter of child prevention. It would seem that we live in a new and glorious era, the "Dispensation of Optional Obedience". Clear commands once heeded without question are now discarded as purely optional. Could it be that our views and convictions are much more dictated by this wicked society than they are by the one who is the Way, the Truth and the Life? The world has taken the lead and we strive to keep up.
I'm sure we would all say that abortion is murder. That is one path the world has taken that we are sure to avoid, or are we? Killing for one's convenience is always immoral regardless of the methodology. Surely poisoning is just as deadly as dismemberment. The end result is always the same. In recent years it has become public knowledge that most forms of child prevention (birth control) have the potential of actually killing a newly created baby. The Pill, Norplant, Depo-Provera and the IUD are all devices of death that take millions of lives each year. Despite these facts; which are easily obtained, scores of "Bible believing" people volunteer daily to be implanted, stuck or gagged by an assortment of "Child Prevention" products. There is a problem here.
Let us just assume that none of the thousands of people that claim to be led by the "Spirit" have taken the time to read about the drugs and devices they consume. One could argue that ignorance, not rebellion, is to blame. Would this exempt us from the enormous weight of blood-guilt that we have heaped upon ourselves? I have observed during my years in Pro-Life ministry that Apathy and Convenience play a much greater part in the death of pew babies than simple ignorance of the facts.
I'm 100% Pro-Life, it's just those darn kids I can't stand!
There is a far greater evil at work in our hearts than a lack of knowledge. Children have become a burden rather than a blessing to our social, familial and ministerial well-being. An anti-child mentality has gripped the body even as it has the world. As we've sought after the worlds blessings we've only found Yahweh's curses. The only eternal gift we can bestow upon our Father has become a burden and a curse in our own eyes. The blessing is perceived as a burden. When we deny the Father the very fruit of marriage, we embrace the curse. Debt and infertility were declared to be curses upon Israel when they turned from obedience to Torah (Deut.28). Today the body sees debt as a way of life and stands in line to become enslaved . Those who by Yahweh's grace have been blessed with a number of children are often looked upon with contempt by those in their own fellowship. "Thus saith Yahweh" has been replaced with "hath God said" in our pulpits and in our homes. Simple obedience to simple commands has become simply optional.
Let us consider that if the command to be fruitful and multiply has been nullified isn't it likely that the other commands are also suspect? After all, only time and worldly influence has effected our consideration of this mandate. The Scriptures are clear on this point. Read Gen. 1:28, 9:1, 49:25 ; Ex 23:26 ; Deut. 7:13-14, 28:4, 28:11 ; Ps. 127:3-5 ; Ps. 128:3-4.
As we seek out truth in the Scriptures let us renew our view of children. In His book they are seen as gifts, blessings and rewards from Yahweh. We are to be fruitful! We should gladly receive and seek after His blessings. Some say that they refrain from receiving more children because they can't afford another. This is a true insult to the Father. Do we believe that Yahweh cares for and will provide for His own? Do those cattle on a thousand hills only come into play when we're seeking material gain? Our loving Father will meet every need of His people. Yahshua said so and I believe he said it because it was true not because he ran out of neat things to say (Matt. 6:25-33). We can always think of a thousand and one 'reasons" why we shouldn't simply obey in the area of childbearing. Yahweh honors the faith of those who don't reason away obedience. It has been said that the same attitude toward children that leads people into the abortion clinic is found in the heart of the Christian who does everything possible to prevent them from being conceived in the first place. Pregnancy has become little more than an unfortunate mistake even in the bed of the Elect. We've lost sight of the heart and mind of Yahweh as we become so much like His enemy.
As we live our lives in this present "Dispensation of Optional Obedience" let us never be found in a foot race with the world. The true prize can only be obtained as we press on against the flow of the world and sadly sometimes even the flow and stance of the "Church." It took a reformation of the mind on my part to see children as the Father sees them, but now that I do, I can't get enough! Bless me Yahweh!