Vol.VIII No.XI Pg.4
January 1972

Another Gap

Dan S. Shipley

Much is being spoken and written about gaps —the credibility gap, the generation gap, the communications gap, etc. Something needs to be said about the identity gap too; that gap that often exists between what something is and what it is called.

Nowadays, the true nature of a thing cannot always he determined by what it is called. And worse, the name by which a thing is designated may actually mislead and deceive as to its true nature and identity. For instance, under the name disguise pornography is being peddled as art, anarchy is termed freedom of expression and immorality is being called the new morality. What gaping gaps!

Names are not without influence. Since the beginning, Satan and his servants have sought to minimize the offensiveness of wrong with pleasant language. Sinners seldom call their sins what they are, preferring to call bad things by good names — and many never see the gap — or the sin. Through Isaiah, God pronounces a woe upon those who would call evil good, and good evil (Isa. 5:20). Wrong cannot become right under an alias and evil cannot find dignity under a respectable name. We must take care not to allow ourselves or our youth to be led astray by evil in the wrappings of fair speech. As the name-game continues, so does its influence — and so should the Christians awareness of it.

Even the respected field of education has contributed to these identity gap problems. Young Christians have been disillusioned by the many theories of evolution that have been advanced under the respectable banner of science. I once sat in a college classroom where many false claims of Roman Catholicism were set forth as historical facts — and they called it European History. Other students may hear that children are not to be disciplined and that immoral conduct is not always so bad — under the guise of psychology. And to think that we call such faith-robbing experiences education. Thankfully though, such is not true of all schools, but even so, Christians should remain alert.

The identity gap presents problems in other areas with which we should be concerned too. Immodest dress, for instance, was not so much of a problem for some ladies until they called it fashion. Long ago we learned that feelings, philosophies and opinions are often identified as faith; that stubbornness may be called conviction arid that desire is apt to be called hope. Bad men are wrongly called good men and following men is often called following Christ. We must remember too that faithfulness is more than good attendance; that soundness is more than being called anti; that repentance is more than coming forward and that worship is more than just a gathering in a church building.

Accordingly, we would all profit in remembering the prevalence and deceitfulness of such gaps; in recognizing and identifying a thing for what it is; in saying what we mean and in being what we claim. May we call Christ Lord and self Christian — without the gap.