Watering Down Christianity
IN ANCIENT times vintners watered down their wine to make bigger profits. “Thy wine is mixed with water,” wrote Isaiah. The prophet’s words apply with full force today when Christendom’s purveyors of religion have watered down Christianity so as to please more people and reap profit. That such a watered-down Christianity would exist is evident from Paul’s words: “They will accumulate teachers for themselves to have their ears tickled.” “We are not adulterators of the word of God as many men are.” Today “many men” who profess to be religious teachers adulterate God’s Word to tickle ears. The result is a crop of Christians that resemble a crowd of theatergoers more than they do the apostles of Christ, who were “a theatrical spectacle to the world.”—Isa. 1:22, Da; 2 Tim. 4:3; 2 Cor. 2:17, footnote; 1 Cor. 4:9, NW.
Men of note have occasionally spotlighted today’s watered-down Christianity. In a recent issue of Saturday Review, Albert N. Williams, a University of Denver administrator, spoke out against today’s Christianity that “has been severed from the stream of its own history, and served up, de-gutted, de-boned, sliced, and boiled, with a garnishment of piety and morbidity that would have turned the wrathful Old Testament Jehovah away from His own people in anguished sorrow.”
One reason for the “great illiteracy” of Christianity, indicates Mr. Williams, is the “sad shape” of current religious writings. The authors of the so-called spiritual books that top the best-selling lists, he said, are concerned only with “spiritual comforts” and are more interested in exploiting faith to gain readers than they are in bringing vital knowledge of religion to the people. “The stern and rugged events that should summon a legion of historians, novelists and dramatists have been so emasculated by genteel purveyors of faith that it is no wonder that Christians of our time lack even the most cursory interest in the dramatic unfolding of events which made possible our faith.” So the history of the Christian religion, asserts Mr. Williams, is “a drama lacking both dramatists and theatres today.”
It is agreed that the clergy have watered down Christianity with unscriptural traditions, pagan doctrines and with ear-tickling “spiritual books” featuring philosophy and psychology. Yet the world is not devoid of Christian “dramatists and theatres today.” For in 143 different lands Jehovah’s witnesses are dramatizing Christianity as the apostles did. They have become a “theatrical spectacle to the world” because of their refusal to water down Christianity with people-pleasing philosophies and for their vigorous preaching of the good news of Jehovah’s kingdom. Those disheartened by the “de-gutted,” “de-boned” Christianity purveyed by the clergy will be buoyed up to know that Jehovah’s witnesses will continue to dramatize true Christianity. This they do, “not walking in craftiness neither adulterating the word of God, but by making the truth manifest.”—2 Cor. 4:2, NW.