The Spirit Of Religious Indifference

Cled E. Wallace

The spirit of the age in which we live is affecting the church and that is one of our problems. We have at the present time a condition of indifference and false tolerance and every man’s opinion against divine authority. Indifference is the problem today. The average man in religion is not going to defend his creed. He may belong to a denomination, and he may be zealous as a member of it, but he cares nothing about doctrine. It doesn’t make any difference to him about the distinctive features of his creed, he is indifferent toward those matters. It never occurs to anybody today that somebody else might be right and we might be wrong, or that we might be right and somebody else wrong, The spirit of indifference and the spirit of false tolerance of this age is that we are all right, regardless of how wrong we are.

We are living in a period of utter lack of doctrinal or religious convictions. You can go back, for example to the history of Israel, for our admonition and for our learning, and we must keep in mind that the church is a divine institution. It was established by divine authority and it is to be maintained, on divine principles. Well, God established the nation of Israel, and he gave that nation a law: he gave that nation a religion, and when he told Moses to build the tabernacle, he said, “‘See that you build it according to the pattern” (Ex. 25:9; Heb. 8:5). They were to worship God strictly according to the pattern.

Moses in his farewell address to Israel, said, over and over again, when you go into the land of Canaan, when you get out of this land of sacrifice, trials and troubles, they still remembered the terrible things in Egypt, when you get into the land that God has promised you will live in houses that you didn’t build, you will drink water out of cisterns that you didn’t dig, you will eat the fruit of vineyards that you didn’t plant, you will inhabit cities that cost you no effort, your silver and your gold will multiply and your heart will be lifted up, and you will say, “My might and my power have gotten me this wealth,” and you will forget. You will forget that it is God who gives you power to do these things. (Deut. 8:11-19)

And Israel did forget. And we could recount with some interest the steps, the gradual steps that finally led to their complete apostasy and captivity. The history of a church can be like that. As a matter of fact, when you look at this matter of indifference and of false tolerance today in religion you can see how far indeed the church has drifted from its principles. (Excerpt from a sermon preached in 1948)

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