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The Black Home Still Runs 

An interesting article recently appeared in a local newspaper entitled “See Catastrophic War If Famine and Pestilence Go Unchecked.” A subtitle reads: “Two-thirds of Human Race Hungry While Rest Overeat.” Some quotations from this article will demonstrate what the author means.

Frightening specters haunt the rich North Atlantic world today. 

These are the specters of widespread famine, pestilence, violence and ultimately war, less than a generation from now. . . . 

While the North Atlantic world rejoices in an era of unparalleled prosperity, scientists sound a grave warning: The inexorable mathematics of hunger can mean catastrophe is around the corner, probably less than 15 years away. 

Hunger has a variety of forms: Malnutrition, or lack of proteins, minerals and vitamins; under-nutrition, or just not enough of any food, and starvation. 

People in these categories are numerous enough to fill metropolitan New York 160 times over. If they stood in single file, two feet apart, the line would circle the globe 25 times. Two years or less from now, there would be another circle, and then more at more frequent intervals. These are the hungry. 

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that one person in every two in the world is badly nourished, one in three is chronically hungry, one in 8 or 10 is undernourished. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s people know some form of hunger. . . . 

“If present trends continue,” says Dr. Raymond Ewell, vice president for research at the State University of New York in Buffalo and an authority on the subject, “it seems likely famine will reach serious proportions in India, Pakistan and China in the early 197Os, followed by Indonesia, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, and Brazil, then followed by most of the other countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America by 1980. Such a famine will be of massive proportions, affecting hundreds of millions, possibly even billions of persons. If this happens, as appears very probable, it will be the most colossal catastrophe in history.” 

. . . . A small group of nations with 16 per cent of the population has 70 per cent of the world’s wealth. These are nations grouped around the North Atlantic, along with Japan, and Australia—New Zealand. 

Two thirds of the human race barely subsists. Most of the hungry are non-white. On the average they eat 900 less calories daily than those in the white, developed third of humanity. 

India eats 24 per cent less than it needs in nutrition. Americans eat 17 per cent more than they need. In general, people in developed nations eat two to three times more than the poor ones. . . . 

Modern technology knows how to turn back the menacing specter of widespread famine. The big question is this: Is there time? . . . .

Time, the experts stress over and over, is the critical element. They add that consequences to northern civilization can be extremely costly if the famine menace in the hungry world is not averted.

In the revelation to the apostle John on the island of Patmos, when he was told of “the things which must be hereafter,” one of the signs of the coming of Christ was the running of the black horse. (Cf. Rev. 6). Upon the black horse was a rider with a pair of balances in his hand. And, in addition to the horse and his rider with the scales, a voice said, “A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” 

This was the opening of the third seal and was a symbolic representation of the vast differences in the world between the rich and the poor. It points to the fact that there shall be those wallowing in luxury and an abundance of material prosperity, and those starving for lack of their daily bread. And it must not be forgotten that this is due to the fact that the black horse runs across the pages of history and that he runs more speedily as time nears the end. And, it must also not be forgotten that this black horse is running by the decree of Almighty God and directed in his furious running by God’s sovereign will. For its running is a sign of the times; a sign which points to the return of Jesus Christ. And therefore it is the word of God’s judgment upon a world of wickedness that shall soon be destroyed in order to make room for a new creation which the righteous shall inherit. 

The world, in its efforts to establish a universal earthly kingdom, is intent on stopping the running of the black horse. It is constantly and desperately reaching out for the horse’s bridle to stop its rapid pace. It wants to unhorse its rider and silence the voice that speaks of “a measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny . . . .” It bends every effort to accomplish this goal, for the kingdom of Antichrist, with its unparalleled prosperity, can only be built if the black horse (as well as the red, the white and the pale green horse) is stopped in its tracks. 

The church of today has joined in this attempt to stop the black horse. How eager the church is to join hands with the world to feed the hungry; to involve itself in the efforts of the United Nations to clutch at the bridle of the black horse and bring it, rearing on its legs, to a stop. And this is in the name of Christianity, of course. In fact, to criticize this, is to lay one’s self open to charges of unchristian conduct. For they attempt to gird their position on a text such as: “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only . . . .” 

It is questionable whether the report quoted above is as accurate as it could be. Especially the predictions of the future may be far more gloomy than reality indicates. But the fact remains that, in the main, the report is true. 

But the child of God must not be misled. It all sounds so fine, so Christian. But the fact is that the black horse cannot be stopped, for it runs by the decree of God. An article such as the above is proof of that. 

It is for this reason that the child of God must not become involved in an attempt to unseat the rider of the black horse; for he will surely find himself engaged in earnest effort to establish the kingdom of Antichrist. 

But does not the Christian have a calling to feed the hungry? Indeed he does. 

But while he must give (and does give) a cup of cold water to the least of these little ones, he does so in an entirely different way. He reveals the mercies of Christ shown to him. Fully conscious of the fact that the black horse cannot be stopped, he cares first of all for the poor within the household of faith. Aware of the central truth that no earthly kingdom can solve the world’s problems, he also provides this cup of cold water to his neighbor when he sees him in need—for such is his calling. But a cup of cold water in itself means nothing. He is manifesting the mercy of God shown to him. And so he also continues to testify of the truth of Scripture, of man’s calling to glorify God in all that he does—while he hands this cup of cold water to the thirsty. For this he will be hated and his cup of cold water refused. For while a wicked world likes its thirst slaked with water, it despises the water of life. To receive a cup ‘of water is agreeable to them; to receive it as it is given—in the name of Christ Himself—is detestable. But the Christian does this because he has a conviction that the world, in its striving towards heaven on earth is doomed to a calamitous end. He confesses always that here below is no abiding city; that escape from war and pestilence and famine shall come only to the elect in the city which hath foundations whose Builder and Maker is God. And standing on these fundamental principles, he cannot cooperate with the world, for their speech is different from his, and his calling condemns what they do. 

Outdated Confessions 

The church is obsessed with its ideas of establishing a one-world denomination. Ecumenicism is the ecclesiastical password to recognition in the ecclesiastical world. All over churches have joined or are joining one another. 

There is however, one obstacle which constantly arises. This obstacle is the fact that most major denominations have confessions which arose out of the struggles of the Church in past history in the defense of the faith. These confessions explicitly and clearly define the truth of Scripture. In these days of theological drift and doctrinal apostasy, these confessions are roadblocks on the way to church union. Something has to be done about them. 

One can, of course, simply ignore them. If it would work, this would be a rather handy solution because it eliminates the embarrassing questions that arise about doctrine. Acting as if they do not exist, the church can proceed on its way without paying attention to the truths set forth in them. The trouble with this solution is that the confessions will not be ignored. They remain roadblocks. Or, to change the figure, they are constant thorns catching the flesh and irritating those who pass by on the road to union of the churches. They will not be pushed aside. They demand attention. 

So the other alternative is to change them. Under the guise that they are no longer of any use in our new age, that they speak only to a bygone time, that they are relics of past struggles with no relevancy today, they are changed so that the road is cleared to apostasy and ecumenicism. 

That is what is happening in the United Presbyterian Church. This denomination stands on the Westminster Confession. And these confessions are beautiful confessions holding strongly to all the fundamental truths of the Scriptures and of the Reformed faith. Especially the doctrines of the infallibility of Scripture and sovereign predestination are taught. 

It is easy to imagine how these truths bother the ecumenicists. Every minister in the Presbyterian Church, must, at his ordination, take an oath in which he promises “to sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and Catechisms.” But many do not believe the doctrines taught in these Confessions, and so they take the oath with reservations. So the Church has its troubles. 

One church leader, in searching frantically for a good reason to discard the Westminster Confession, said according to Time: “A confession is not a monument, but the tool for the present mission of the church. It is not good Calvinism to let one document stand for three centuries.” Listen to others. “We decided in the 1920s that we would not be a fundamentalist church, but a conservative, Biblically oriented church that was not rigidly literalist.” “No, I don’t believe in predestination, that gloomy theory that contradicts one of Christianity’s chief wellsprings—hope.” “The Reformed Church, if the name means anything, must always be willing to reform.”

So the Presbyterian Church has a solution. Take all the past creeds of the Church, including the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed, etc, and put them into a kind of handbook of the history of the Church. In this way they can nudge the confessions into oblivion. It is like breaking down the walls of the city which have stood many years as protection against the enemy and preserving a few stones in a museum for those interested in historical curiosities. 

A new confession will take its place. A 5000 word “Confession of 1967” which will effectively discard every fundamental truth such as predestination and the Virgin Birth; which will deny the infallibility of Scripture and the authority of God’s Word, will take its place. The new confession instead will be busy with such questions as the social mission of the Church, the need for integration of the races, the permissiveness of interracial marriage, the preservation of world peace and the abolition of poverty. 

If it were not so terrible, one would almost laugh out loud. 

What Scripture says is thrown out the window on the trash heap of history. What man says becomes the “confession” of the Church—officially. 

It ought to be remembered then, by the faithful, that this is all exactly a demonstration of the importance of confessions. They do serve a purpose—a very important one. If a large denomination understands that it cannot rush along towards apostasy without getting rid of its confessions, it ought to be clear that the confessions are indeed important roadblocks to apostasy. The Church which seeks to be faithful to the truth had better retain its confessions; the loss is catastrophic. And this is all for a very good reason. The confessions are not simply documents written in a bygone age. The confessions are rather the fruit of the Spirit of Truth—the Spirit of Christ poured out on the Church on Pentecost. That Spirit Christ Himself promised to the Church in order that the people of God might be led “into all truth.” The confessions are the fruit of this work of the Spirit. To despise the confessions is to despise the work of the Holy Spirit. To discard the confessions is to blaspheme the promise of Christ that He will abide with His Church always through the Spirit whom He gives. 

But, if this is true, the confessions must not be dead pieces of paper, but the living confession of the Church. Then, the Church of Christ which is determined to preserve the truth and discover anew its riches and glories must take the fruit of the Spirit in the Church of the past, treasure it, love it, defend it, confess it; and from this vantage point, go on in the lofty and supremely blessed calling of searching more fully the mysteries of salvation.