Every day there are new outbreaks of violence on the nation’s college and university campuses. The violence takes on many different forms. Sometimes students take over various buildings and hold them against the combined efforts of campus authorities and the police to oust them: Sometimes school property is destroyed and records confiscated. Sometimes the students are content with picketing, sit-ins, free-speech demonstrations and campus parades espousing some cause. On occasion, speakers, whom a minority of students detest, are physically abused as they step on campus.
The reasons for campus disorders are also many and varied. There are many campus disorders which are prompted by small groups of radicals promoting obscure causes and trying to test the patience of administrators by various disruptions of school activities. There are beatniks and hippies of all shades and sizes who apparently love chaos for the sake of chaos itself. There are nation-wide organizations (such as the SDS) who are constantly agitating for many left-wing causes which include opposition to the war in Viet Nam, opposition to the draft, etc. and which pride themselves in the use of Communist language, slogans, and tactics. In some instances students are destroying school life in an effort to gain a greater voice in administrative affairs. In other instances students are protesting the hiring or firing of teachers and demanding a voice in the questions of teaching ability, right to tenure, and staff sabbaticals. In many cases the campus rioting has racial overtones. Some students are attempting to force schools to admit more negroes. Negro groups on many campuses are fighting for what sounds suspiciously like integration: separate Negro facilities, more Negro courses in which Negro teachers teach classes in Negro music, Negro culture, Negro history, Negro art, and the like.
But whatever the cause may be, student unrest is bringing the largest educational institutions in this country to the brink of anarchy.
The current debate is on the question of how best to handle student disorders. Some favor a strong stand in which student unrest is simply quelled through naked force. Police, National Guard troops, and other law enforcement agencies are called in to impose peace at the point of bayonets and through the use of tear gas. Students who persist in unruly conduct are clubbed over the head and dragged off. But this has served, in many cases, to create martyrs for various causes and has increased the tensions that already exist. Other schools have adopted policies of appeasement and have more and more surrendered the authority of faculties and boards of trustees to students who are now to have a growing voice and vote in what should be taught, how subjects should be taught, and who shall teach them. If the trend continues, the students will be operating their own schools. This hasn’t worked too well. Students do not have a very good idea of what is profitable for them to learn.
No solution yet attempted is working. But this much is obvious, that all the trouble which is gradually destroying the great educational institutions of this country has its roots in the general breakdown of authority which characterizes so much of our modem life. There is no longer any kind of respect for the law and for those who are entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing it. In fact, those who have this responsibility in any area of life are themselves much to blame for refusing to exercise the authority which is their sacred trust. This is true of parents in the home, first of all. But it is equally true of those who rule in positions of government, of employers who surrender their solemn obligations of authority to unions, and of teachers who abrogate their responsibilities and surrender their rights to silly students whose demands are childish and evil. The anarchy which gradually grows to unmanageable proportions in the country as a whole spills over into the halls of learning.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that in the world there is no solution to the problem. The result will be that order will have to be imposed on a degenerate society by a mailed fist and by dictatorial power. No state can allow indefinitely chaos to reign and anarchy to prevail without destroying itself. But the solution is a dictatorship in which the individual has no rights left. This is the direction our country is heading. The time seems not too far away when, out of sheer necessity, the rule of naked power will be the rule of the land and of the campus.
These things too point to the gradual development of Antichrist.
The issue of prayers in the public schools is far from dead. Some schools are simply ignoring the Supreme Court decisions of 1963 and going their own ways. This, is true of the 3200 public school students in Clairton, Pennsylvania who continue to begin each day with prayer and Bible reading.
But the issue remains alive in the halls of Congress as well. Senator Everett Dirksen continues his fight for a constitutional amendment which would make legal religious devotions in the classroom. In an earlier battle for his amendment, Dirksen came within six votes of the two-thirds he needed to get the amendment approved by the Senate. Such approval would be only a first step. Next would come the need for two-thirds approval by the House. Then three-fourths of the states would have to pass favorably on the amendment.
But although Dirksen has not yet succeeded, he has not given up the struggle. The present Congress is faced once again with the problem. The proposed amendment reads:
Nothing contained in this Constitution shall abridge the right of persons lawfully assembled in any public building which is supported in whole or in part through the expenditure of public funds, to participate in nondenominational prayer.
Dirksen has one powerful lever which he can use to try to pry approval from the Senate. This is the threat of a nation-wide constitutional convention. Already thirty-two of the required thirty-four states have called for one. There are legal questions involved. No one seems to be sure that Congress would be legally required to call such a convention even if thirty-four states did approve. But one thing is rather certain. The majority of people seem to favor some sort of devotional exercise in the public school system. If they would ever get a chance to vote, predictions are that the amendment would pass. This Dirksen is using to pressure his colleagues to vote in favor of his amendment.
One important way in which the apostasy of our times is manifesting itself is in liturgical change. In general it is historically true that apostasy becomes manifest in a growing emphasis on liturgy. People, drifting away from the Word of God and bored with the preaching of the gospel, substitute for the living preaching of the Word a vast and elaborate liturgy which satisfies the gratification of the senses, gives a salve to the conscience, and still does not involve any worship in Spirit and in truth. But in particular the liturgy which is adopted as a substitute for true worship and for the preaching is itself a reflection of the doctrinal drift and apostasy of the church.
We hope to concentrate in later issues on several of these liturgical developments which have come increasingly into the Reformed churches. A detailed study of liturgy would be a beneficial thing.
For the present we quote from a liturgical program which was recently used in a United Presbyterian Church in a “Celebration of Christian Unity.” The entire program was quoted in Christian Beacon. Our quotes are excerpts.
The program was begun with an organ prelude, a call to worship which was a quotation of Ps. 133:3, Eph. 2:4a,John 17:21. There was a processional hymn, an invocation, an anthem sung, a hymn of praise, an offertory, and doxology. But then followed what was called “The service of At-one-ment”.
LEADER: Peter and Paul, Athanasius and Augustine,
all apostles and fathers of the Church,
are worthy of our praise.
Hearing the call of Christ, they followed
him wherever he led, making disciples,
establishing the Church,
defending and expounding the faith,
suffering martyrdom for their Lord.
Through the generations others followed after:
Cyril of Jerusalem, and Gregory of Rome,
Boniface and Alcuin,
Cyril and Methodius
Anselm and Bernard,
Francis and Thomas and Dominic,
Dante and Michelangelo and Bach,
Jean de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and Junipero Sera.
With voice and pen and hammer,
as wandering preachers and counselors to kings,
in centers of culture and barbarous hinterlands,
they carried the name of Christ,
transforming the world after his likeness.
People: The Lord says: “See I place my words in your mouth! . . .
Leader: Martin Luther and John Calvin
proclaimed anew the simplicity of trust in God’s love.
Leading a host of others—
Cranmer and Knox, Milton and Fox and Wesley—
they reformed the Church
with the gospel of justification by grace through faith.
Imbued with the reformation faith,
their spiritual sons and daughters founded new nations,
shaping national life by their knowledge of Christ and his ways.
There rose up other great men—
Jonathan Edwards and David Livingston, Walter Rauschenbusch and Albert Schweitzer and Toyohiko Kagawa, John R. Mott and William Temple, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John XXIII and Paul Tillich, Martin Luther King—
Calling the nations to repentance and sacrifice, goading the Churches to throw off -their divisions,
dying for the world which Christ loves,
shaking the foundations so that God’s truth
might break into the hearts and minds of men.
People: Father, we pray especially for those,
throughout the world,
who believe in the gospel. . . .
We pray also for all churches, that they may not lay up treasures on earth
or become monuments to a past age,
clinging to that which is already dead. . . .
Leader: Eugene Carson Blake, James E. Dewitt, M.M. Thomas and Billy Graham are men passionate in their devotion to Christ, grieved by the divisions in his Body the Church, zealous in their searchings of Scripture. . . .
Leader: Julian Bond, Ghandi, Dag Hammarskjold have led their
brotherhood into a new ear.
By the power of their minds, and the ceaseless exercise
of their creative force—
Karl Barth, Thomas Merton, Karl Rahner, Dr. Visser’t Hooft, Harvey Cox, Harry Emerson Fosdick—
these preachers and scholars, writers and teachers
using old forms and creating new,
carried the Gospel into the structures of contemporary life. . . .
This is ecumenicity in liturgy. But how can it be the worship of God which must be “in Spirit and in truth?”
Conservatives have a knack for mixing badly their religion and politics. An example of this was found in a book review in a recent issue of Christian Economics. The book spoke of various documents of American history in biblical terms.
1. The Mayflower Compact, the genesis of the American republic. 2. The Declaration of Independence, our national exodus.
3. The Constitution, our book of laws. 4. Washington’s Farewell Address, one of our major prophecies. 5. The Star Spangled Banner, our greatest Psalm.
6. Lincoln’s Second Inaugural, our gospel of true Americanism. 7. The Road Away from Revolution, by Woodrow Wilson, one of our notable epistles. 8. Douglas MacArthur’s address at the formal surrender of Japan on the battleship Missouri, our revelation.