PEW-RALYSIS

Wesley Drawbaugh

he thoughts and comments to follow are about a disease that can be compared to some of the dread degenerative diseases that plague our people and our society. The early stages of PEW-RALYSIS are such that the victim realizes something is wrong but is not quite sure what it is.

As the disease progresses, the victim is weakened and overcome to such a point that orthodox treatment has little or no effect; and finding vim, vigor and vitality at a very low ebb and zest for life non existent, there is little left but to be cared for by someone else as he moves aimlessly through what remains of life.

PEW-RALYSIS in like manner is very deceptive. It slowly but surely saps the zeal of new converts, restricts the proper exercise of God given talents, and stifles concern for the lost. As a result of the theological "boat concept," Christians are convinced that all one must do is attach oneself to an institutional church entity, obey the lords of same, do not rock the boat, and faithfully occupy space on a pew where the presence of a "Professional Preacher" is assured. Have we come to the point where we labor under the illusion that if we do these things, all is well?

As a mere passenger in the boat and getting little or no exercise, the Christian forgets how to hear and becomes incapable of self edification; and having grown dependent on the professional staff for food settles into mummified robotic activity. In other words, he has to be milk-fed (cf. Heb. 5:11-13).

A few years ago I learned of a small group of God's people who had been meeting together for many years and who had chosen not to employ a professional preacher to preach to them. They chose rather to be responsible for their own edification, and have been able through the years to help truly needy evangelists in other areas.

(Please understand that I have no objection to helping my brother who is trying to reach the lost, or is having financial struggles; but this is a far cry from taking on the permanent support of a brother who preaches mostly to saints and who has no plans at all to support himself. The blame for this situation cannot all be put on preachers, because I have known some who wanted to work but were hindered by those who didn't want "their preacher to work." The idea that a preacher shouldn't work is absent in the scripture. The Lord worked, and look what He did.)

As I reflected upon this situation, I remembered that it would not have been an exception 40 or 50 years ago as it certainly is today. Searching the scriptures, I find nothing that remotely resembles a command to support "the located preacher" of today who in many cases says, "I'm going to preach if I can find support". Rather Paul told Timothy to commit what he had told him to faithful men who would be able to teach others (11 Tim. 2:2).

I recall that as a people our nation was once alive with the responsibility of each individual, with a will to shoulder their responsibilities, to suffer hardship and disappointment, yet the ethics by which they lived gave to society a people who were assets rather than liabilities, and a safe and secure community in which to live. This was likewise the "nation of God" during the early centuries. While there are citizens from both these nations who still adhere to these early and sound concepts, it is all too obvious that their numbers have drastically declined.

The tragedy of it all is very obvious to those willing to see. The collectivist mind-set is prevalent in our land and among God's people as well. Please consider some examples:

1 ) Before the professional preacher became the cornerstone of the "church", God's people were often referred to as walking Bibles, a people who knew the word and were able to teach it. A people who never thought of calling for a preacher to convert the sinner or convince the gainsayer.

That things are different today is all too obvious. Far too many people attend the "Worship Service" (with its "5 acts of worship"), upon which they depend for spiritual nourishment. It is delivered from the "pulpit" and in most cases, the reception is with antennae either down or tuned to another frequency; thus very little or no "food" is digested with the eventual result being little or no spiritual life remaining.

2) In my opinion, one of the greatest tragedies is that many of our young people are falling by the wayside. I know not what the numbers are, yet when I think of people I know, the picture is not pretty nor the future bright in many places. The institutional church has taken responsibility for all teaching, whether at the designated place at the designated time or in the homes, with the result that the young are maturing physically but not spiritually. When they do eventually grow up, they see through the hypocrisy, and washing their hands of it all, cause much grief and consternation to their parents who wring their hands and wonder why the church did not do more. Have we forgotten Eph. 6:1-27

Some of the symptoms of PEW-RALYSIS are a total dependence upon someone else for food, the inability to think objectively, and to draw one's own conclusions. Zeal and enthusiasm are replaced by ritualistic boredom to the end that the victim is aware that something is wrong but unaware of what it is.

A closing thought: He who cannot reason for himself has an advantage over the one who will not. The Lord will provide for the one who cannot. Dear brother and sister, please, please think for yourself (Gal. 5:1).