It has been said that the world has changed more in the last sixty years than in the previous six thousand. Such
statements usually refer to the technological “advances” which society at large has experienced and, while some
of these changes have had positive benefits such as in the field of medicine and health care, there are many areas
in which the changes have been decidedly counterproductive. Some of these “advances” have been instrumental in creating an environment which makes “living the Truth” increasingly difficult for brethren and sisters and their families who would desire to live a life of holiness keeping themselves unspotted from the world. This issue of The Lampstand contains a special feature—“Be Ye Holy, For I Am Holy—which addresses a number of matters, most of which are directly or indirectly the result of technological change and endeavours to analyse them from a Scriptural standpoint. A strong and urgent appeal is being sounded by many concerned brethren to “remove not the ancient landmark”and we appeal to all readers to carefully and openly consider the evidence and the appeal.

It is impossible to turn back the clock and live in the proverbial “good old days” and nothing would necessarily be achieved if we could. Solomon was right when he wrote, “Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? For thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this” (Eccl 7:10). So it is not true to say that “the good old days” as such, were better, but rather that there were many practices instituted by the pioneers of our movement that we would do well to recreate in our own days. This includes both their positive attitude to holiness and their negative attitude to wickedness and evil. Yes, the world has changed, but the heart of man has not as Solomon continues, “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions” (Eccl 7:29).

The Technological Society

 To what extent have the inventions or devices of our technological society affected our walk in the Truth either for good or ill? When we talk about the effects of the “technological society” we usually think of such things as:-

  • Speed and ease of travel
  • Speed and ease of communication
  • Ready access to the world of entertainment
  • Labour saving devices at work and home.

Of these, the most recent and significant inventions to have an impact on our lives have been the computer in the world of business, communication and entertainment and the television and video in the world of education and entertainment. It has been argued that the actual media (i.e. the television sets and computers themselves) are neither helpful nor harmful, it is the use to which people put them. No one can argue against the pure logic and truth of this in theory, but only a fool would close his eyes to the very great danger that the wrong use of these can pose to the son or daughter of God. The fact is that these devices have been developed by carnal minds for carnal purposes and, as Brother Roberts stated, “Carnal men do not know what carnal nature is … it requires spiritual discernment to be able to know and recognise ‘the flesh’” (The Lampstand Vol 1 page 157). How potentially bad then must some of these “inventions” be, when even carnal men are loudly proclaiming the dangers of television and video in their effects, not just on the minds of children but also on adults. They likewise stand aghast at the monster they have created through uncontrolled access to the (computer) Internet whereby all types of undesirable information can be disseminated through the world wide web at the press of a button on any computer anywhere in the world that is connected to the web. Many brethren and sisters may be unfamiliar with the Internet and think that the only danger would be allowing children to have access to those communications associated with violence, immorality and the like which are readily accessible. Such is by no means the case. Already there is a network of Christadelphians around the world connected to the Internet and communicating with each other concerning ecclesial matters. You might say, “Surely this can be good”. Possibly it can be good, although one would doubt how much inter-ecclesial communication requires the speed and wide distribution of the Internet. The postal system, telephones and fax machines can achieve enough for most purposes and still retain privacy and confidentiality. Unfortunately an irresponsible few are already wreaking havoc through the Internet with their totally uncontrolled and irresponsible comments on topics including the Statement of Faith, the Atonement and Fellowship. Readers unfamiliar with the Internet would be shocked at the volume and nature of material indiscriminately distributed even in recent weeks through the Christadelphian network.

The Challenge to the Brotherhood

 The challenge facing us is the need to develop a mature approach to the serious issues confronting us in this “technological society”. Some things should be rejected out of hand, while others may be used to advantage or perhaps with care. It is not realistic to expect every individual brother or sister to view every issue in exactly the same way, nor should we necessarily endeavour to achieve this. However, it is highly desirable that we develop a united approach in principle to the issues facing us and, as much as possible, in practice as well, “for none of us liveth to himself”. This is why our various inter-ecclesial committees, arranging brethren’s groups and young people’s committees place so much importance on the maintenance of “standards” within our community. The appeal to “remove not the ancient landmark” is an acknowledgement that we have received a great heritage dating back as far as faithful Abel (Heb 11:4) right through to the pioneers of our movement over the last one hundred and fifty years. These people certainly lived in a slower, less scientific age without the same amount of leisure time as today, but what they had, they used to the full. Previous issues of The Lampstand in this volume directed our attention to the Hope of Israel and the value of pioneer writings like Elpis Israel which do not merely enunciate the first principle doctrines of the Truth, but exude the spirit of the Truth in a way which challenges all of us to examine our walk today in relation to our life of holiness.

Endeavouring to keep the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace

 In keeping with the theme of The Lampstand taken from Ephesians 4:3, this issue contains a special feature, “Be Ye Holy, for I am Holy” making a strong and urgent appeal that we address these important matters unitedly and positively. In this regard, we have commissioned a number of articles which we hope readers will find to be a balanced, helpful and sensitive approach to matters affecting both our personal and united walk in the Truth.

Our Heritage section addresses the topic “AmusementsTo Young Believers and Some Others” as it affected ecclesias one hundred years ago while the Special Feature commences on page 143 with a consideration of the same topic as it affects us today under the title, “The Saint’s Attitude to Worldly Entertainment”. The president of our Suburban Young People’s activities gives us the challenge, “Know What Your Children are Doing”. Every parent should read this short but highly relevant article in conjunction with the reprint of the circular “Young People’s Activities Attendance Guidelines” also included in the Special Feature. The feature concludes with an encouraging exhortation, “The Challenge of the Last Days” reminding us of faithful examples from the past—both from Biblical days and more recent times.

A new series on the theme Marriage and Family Life in the Truth also commences in this issue and it too is most appropriate to the theme of Holiness addressed in our Special Feature.

Let it be the earnest endeavour of all of us to live lives to the Glory of God by maintaining the standards of doctrine and practice that we have inherited from brethren and sisters of old and “remove not the ancient landmark”.