Insight on the News
● “Human Behavior” magazine reports that all may not be what it seems at the famous Billy Graham Crusades. The writers claim that many among the throngs who come forth for the usual “altar calls” are planted ahead of time “to create the impression of a spontaneous mass outpouring.”
“Advance men show up in the community four to six weeks before the crusade starts to counsel and advise the locals,” according to the report of an Arizona State University team who said that they infiltrated the Graham organization in 1974 when it visited Phoenix. “By the time Graham arrives in town and makes his altar call, an army of 6,000 awaits with instructions on when to come forth,” they said.
The article goes on to observe that “the ‘acceptance of Christ,’ once regarded as a deeply personal experience, has been bureaucratized and routinized like the rest of today’s mass culture.” Though this may be true of many who profess to speak for Christ, how refreshing it is to read the words of a true disciple of Jesus who said: “We neither practise cunning nor distort the word of God; only by declaring the truth openly do we recommend ourselves, and then it is to the common conscience of our fellowmen and in the sight of God”!—2 Cor. 4:2, “The New English Bible.”
Fired for Working
● A British worker recently was fired from her job because she came to work too early. Under pressure from angry fellow workers, the management had warned her about this practice, which might cast her less energetic peers in a bad light. Similarly, some firms in England and Scotland have to offer extra money inducements merely to get employees to work the full workweek. Management often fears taking any action against unauthorized absenteeism, since damaging strikes could easily result.
On the other hand, in their work relationships, true Christians follow the principle of the Bible’s counsel to literal slaves to “be in subjection to their owners in all things, and please them well, not talking back, . . . but exhibiting good fidelity to the full.” This was to be true even when “owners” were “hard to please.” Christians applying this counsel have found that such conduct often results in a fine relationship with their employers, even bringing benefits that they could not have extracted by means of traditional adversary tactics.—Titus 2:9, 10; 1 Pet. 2:18.
Shifting the Blame
● The recent Mormon “revelation” that blacks of African ancestry may now enter the religion’s priesthood has left many persons honestly wondering: Who stopped discriminating . . . God, or the Mormon leadership? Church president Spencer Kimball’s letter of explanation to Mormon officials apparently blames God for allowing blacks to remain second-class members of the church for so long: “[God] has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the church may receive the holy priesthood . . . without regard for race or color.”
However, observers reasonably might ask if the change had a human, rather than divine, motivation. A former Mormon lay high priest who, in 1976, ordained a black to the priesthood and was excommunicated for his action, labeled the recent change a “revelation of convenience just as the decision to stop polygamy [in 1890] was politically inspired.” Indeed it must be asked whether human rights pressure both from within and from outside the church did not influence church leaders, who had based their former race ban on passages in Joseph Smith’s “Book of Mormon” and “Pearl of Great Price.”
Certainly when religious dogmas are based on man-made, non-Biblical sources, they are bound to be exposed, revealing the very unGodlike qualities of the human source—very different from “the word of the Lord [that] endureth for ever.”—1 Pet. 1:25, “Authorized Version.”