Larry Ray Hafley
Concerning our moral and spiritual culture, a commentator said, "What this
generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace." Both sacred and secular
history have proven the truth of this assessment time and time again.
Everything from dancing to drinking, from abortion to mercy killing, has gone
from toleration to acceptance. In the home and in the church, everything from
immodesty to immorality has been first allowed and then endorsed. Adulterous
marriages, gambling, and other similar sins, have gone from being permitted to
being sponsored. Remember when wearing shorts and attending dances was
condemned? Now, shorts are worn to services and dances are held in church
buildings! Truly, what "this generation tolerates, the next generation will
One generation tolerated sprinkling for baptism if a person were seriously
ill. The next generation accepted sprinkling for baptism. One generation
approved a "chief" elder. The next generation appointed them. One generation
introduced instruments of music as an "aid" to singing. The next generation
demanded them. One generation accepted the "fellowship hall" (which, at first,
was just a few tables in the basement for social meals). The next generation
built gymnasiums ("Family Life Centers"). One generation apologized for "hard
liners" who opposed denominational religion. The next generation saw their sons
and daughters joining those denominations. One generation spoke of the need to
reach out in a "non-judgmental" way to our Catholic and Protestant friends. The
next generation welcomed Presbyterians into "our fellowship" with a handshake.
One generation spoke of congregational singing as "one of our traditions." The
next generation defended choruses and choirs. One generation applauded preachers
who closed their sermons without an appeal for sinners to be baptized for the
remission of sins. The next generation denied the gospel plan of salvation in
general and baptism in particular.
What does this say to us? What is our responsibility? "You shall observe to
do therefore as the Lord...hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the
right hand or to the left" (Deut. 5:32). "Hold fast the form of sound words" (2
Tim. 1:13). "Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been
assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them" (2 Tim. 3:14). "Mark them
which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have
learned; and avoid them" (Rom. 16:17).
The next time we are tempted to deviate from the word of God, let us remember
that what we tolerate, our children will embrace!