Beyond The Horizons
The Population Explosion
If the present peace overtures of the Communists prove to be sincere and the atomic or nuclear warfare is permanently put out of the picture, and the "day of the Lord" does not arrive, the population problem will become universal. There is twice as many people on the earth today as in 1860. The population will double again in forty years. If statistics of the mushroom growth of the past decade remain constant in rate of increase, given a century or two the world's population will be of such size as to allow only one square yard for every human being!
Demography is the study of the population problem. It includes the statistical, sociological and cultural aspects of the population problem. The growth in population has caused cities and nations to create organizations for population study and planning in view of national and world welfare. Religious leaders have been provoked to challenging investigation of the religious aspects involved. Political leaders are aware that the population explosion may lead to an explosion of another sort. When the population gets hungry it is apt to revolt against the government.
The basic problem of overpopulation is the scarcity of space and resources. There will not be enough to go around. When world population arrives at the point where resources and production cannot support it, catastrophe is at hand.
Major Protestant leaders are keenly concerned with the problem. They feel that to fail to be concerned with the matter is to display social irresponsibility. The Catholics say the population explosion is a very temporary affair "destined to stop with or without birth control." It is said that "Christians will be inclined to make short work of arguments about over-population by appeal to Divine Providence."
The premillennial sects will not be much concerned with the overpopulation problem because they are looking for the millennial utopia before which there is supposed to be a huge decrease in population as result of the supposed battle of Armageddon. But the high Protestants and the Catholics will be arguing the question for years to come.
If the overpopulation problem is to be left to the Providence of God we can look for the events of II Peter 3 to eventually settle the whole thing. If not that then members of the Lord's church will be faced with discussions relating to the problem of overpopulation. The problem has been primarily a social one in the past but it has become a religious one involving personal relationships with which Christianity is involved. Public discussion among us of problems like birth control would he quite innovational. Victorian attitudes still prevail among us and such discussions would seem out of place in journals published by members of churches of Christ. Yet in view of the great amount of material presented in God's book relative to procreation and related matters it appears that brethren can intelligently discuss the problems, speaking where the Bible speaks and remaining silent where the Bible is silent. We must of course employ modest reticence where necessary and proper delicacy always, but we should be able to face these problems with Biblical teaching. We can be assured that though "population explosion" discussion will necessitate our study of the personal problems involved.
A Disciples of Christ publication describes Unified Promotion as follows: "UNIFIED PROMOTION is a channel for the strategic, cooperative outreach for the local church." Unified Promotion is the organizational thrust of the denomination called Disciples of Christ. The Disciples of Christ or Christian Churches have gone a long way since the beginning of the American Christian Missionary Society in 1849. Unified Promotion represents to the Disciples of Christ a consolidation of extra-congregational organizations. "In a real sense Unified Promotion is the 'community chest' of the Christian Churches. Through it, 56 state societies, national agencies, colleges, and seminaries present their appeal to the congregations. And through it these same congregations perform the outreach tasks charged to them in the Great Commission." The Disciples of Christ have advanced to a real hierarchal organization, though they deny it is an ecclesiastical one.
The attitude which created such a departure from the organization principles of the New Testament is seen in the following statement from a Disciples of Christ convention in March of 1959: "In the Decade of Decision into which we are rapidly moving, the Disciples of Christ must break the fixed patterns of the past and think boldly of the future. Studies must be made and courses of action followed, whereby our tremendous potentials of persons and possessions must match the areas of greatest needs." Thus the Disciples of Christ candidly, though perhaps unwittingly, admit their break with the fixed patterns of the New Testament.
The process and evolution of organizational departure is described in the Unified Promotion bulletin of 1959: "It was more than 100 years ago in 1849, that the Christian Churches organized the American Christian Missionary Society. Then, through the years came the Christian Woman's Board of Missions, Foreign Christian Missionary Society, Board of Temperance, National Bible School Association, and Commission on Social Service. Consolidation of these six into an efficient single body — the United Christian Missionary Society — came in 1919."
Today the work of the Christian Churches is controlled by "The United Christian Missionary Society which is organized into three major divisions and fifteen basic departments of work". It is not likely that Alexander Campbell would have accepted the presidency of the American Christian Missionary Society if he had foreseen the limits to which the organization would go.
Many of the brethren who are supporting various church organizations among us would not likely be so firm in their backing of these arrangements if they could foresee the ends to which these organizations structures are headed. Just recently, in the fall of 1959, the heads of the various orphan homes among us met in conclave in Oklahoma City at Central Christian College. How long will it be before the various benevolent organizations will be consolidated under one organizational structure? The prominent and successful George S. Benson is advisor and chancellor to several institutions among us. How long will it be until such an influential man forms an organizational arrangement around him which exercises power and control over many organizations to which the churches are tied in various ways?
Promotions among us will become more and more unified until that day when churches of Christ will have their own Unified Promotion society. If this be true it will be a misdemeanor to refer to such bodies as churches of Christ. The phrase will be a misnomer. Somewhere along the line they are going to lose their identity. This is what we fear. This is what we fight against. It is the church organizational structures unknown to the New Testament which lead the churches into apostasy today as they have done in every previous apostasy.