Word Magazine May 1964 Page 7
THE TREND OF OUR TIME
By Archpriest Michael Baroudy
The Twentieth Century, the time through which we are passing, will probably go down in history as the most critical period of all, a period of tension, fear and bewilderment. The newspaper headlines, as well as the radio and television, constantly and consistently remind us of the dangers, the conflicts and the intrigues that go on every day. To cope with a situation of this sort, and remain unshaken and unaffected by it, one has to be a person of stalwart character and faith. As a person who does much serious thinking, I can’t help but believe, despite all the claims we make about the greatness of our present-day civilization, culture and educational attainments, that we are riding for a fall, dipping toward secularism and immorality. The trend of present-day living presents us with a confused state of affairs, a grim picture almost indefinable, indescribable, other than to say there is something wrong with our world that needs to be corrected, abuses that should be righted, and principles that heretofore had been neglected must be sincerely obeyed and restored.
When we search the Bible, the Word of God, to discover the reason and the remedy for our ills, we find the answer in the prophetic words of the Apostle Paul, in his second letter to Timothy, Chapter 4, Verses 3 and 4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts they shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables.”
The above text is vividly descriptive of the trend of our time, though it was written exactly nineteen centuries ago. The first reason the Apostle advances is that people revolt against sound doctrine, that is, the truth which is revealed to us by the Christ and His holy Apostle and the accumulated wisdom of history. How true this is may be gathered from the fact that most people in this day and time turn a deaf ear to the truth. The sound doctrine of faith, hope and love is being discarded; the teachings of Christ and of His holy Apostles are not taken to mean what they say. Religion to most people is no more than a crutch to resort to in time of emergency, a dress rehearsal. Our generation is so materially minded that they have no taste or stomach for religion as long as they are not sick, as long as they are prosperous.
“The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine,” is a truth that every parent realizes. There are no better friends to the child than its father and mother, if the child is only sensible enough to believe it. But no parent advice is taken with any sincerity nowadays; it is no more than a breath wasted. Our present-day youth have no stomach for sound doctrine; they want to do their own thinking even if it will get them in serious trouble.
One can’t help but grieve, especially when he is in a place of responsibility, as to the outcome of such outlook and behavior. I am as sure of this as I am sure of writing these words, that if our present-day generation continues its pace, the outcome will be disastrous. You can’t defy the powers that be whether they are spiritual, political, and what have you, and get by with it. You can’t rebel against the authority of God, turn a deaf ear on the sound doctrine of your church, violate the principles and precepts voiced by the Master and expect the outcome to be all right. To sin with your eyes open, to sin against your better judgment and light is to write one’s own death sentence.
The Apostle tells us the reason why people cannot endure sound doctrine. Driven by the urge of their lust and love for worldly pleasure, they turn their ears away from the truth and turn to fables, they prefer to hear fiction, stories invented and fabricated by the whims of man’s
imagination, preferring fiction rather than facts.
The world today is full of fiction which ever way you turn. The radio particularly is used to feed people on fiction rather than facts. Mysteries of all kinds and descriptions are on radio and television and people in millions of homes are listening to stories which contribute more to making us jittery and nervous than healthy. Another source of fiction with which we are feeding our youngsters’ minds is funny books. The average mother today buys funny books to keep her child’s mind amused, but amused he will be in the wrong way. The affect of this on his young mind is not wholesome. Most of these funnies are cowboys dealing with shooting and pistol packing. The time was when the godly mother read wholesome bedtime stories to the child — when she read to him the life story of Jesus or some of the Saints, or some moral stories dealing with some truth of our holy religion. If the child is to be a good citizen, if he is to become an obedient, God-honoring child, the parents should teach him or her sound doctrine in his formative years and the chances are he will not depart from them.
I am one of those who firmly believes that our salvation, happiness and eternal bliss in this world, and in the one to come, will depend on the way we live right here and now — whether we recognize God and give Him our love, loyalty and hearty devotion. This is the verdict of history and of the Bible and of every-day experience. Some of the great empires of history, empires that enjoyed as great or greater material prosperity than we are enjoying, crumbled because, and only because, God and the sound doctrines of Christianity had been flouted, ridiculed and laughed at. All crumbled from within and not from without.
The prosperity which most of us are enjoying in this land of plenty is helping to blind us and make us complacent. But are we really satisfied? Do we feel secure and safe from the raging storms of life? The danger has never been greater. Fear rides high in the affairs of men throughout the world. We need to watch and pray, we need to mend our ways and our doings. We need to be on our knees oftener now than ever before. God is merciful and plenteous in redemption. The hope of the salvation of this world lies in our returning to God wholeheartedly, sincerely, and unequivocally. Let each of us make it his business to come to God’s house with perfect humility, confessing our sins and our shortcomings to Him, and live to honor Him throughout our lives and thus achieve security, happiness and serenity. Let us one and all surrender the reins of our lives to Him and thus have rest for our souls.