The Expository Files


The Church of Apathy

Several years ago I stumbled onto something obviously satirical, but not without a message.

Have you heard about The Church of Apathy? If you don't want to identify with any specific religion or take on any life commitment, yet you are not comfortable with atheism or agnosticism, you may find your place in The Church of Apathy. You would be called an Apathists. The founders of this church thought about it for several years before actually doing anything. They looked for a location, but decided it was too much trouble, so embraced the concept of not meeting. Their next step was to find a minister, but nobody really wanted to look for one. Besides, they were having trouble finding somebody who cared about not caring. Finally, they decided to adopt a creed: Who knows? Who cares? We certainly don't; we're Apathists!

The word "apathy" is interesting, from the Greek apatheia which means without feeling. In English there is the word Pathos which means strong passion. The prefix "a" identifies absence. So apathy means without feeling; no passion; without fervent spirit. The simple meaning is well expressed by "Who Cares?"

Apathy makes the Lord sick. "These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth," (Rev. 3:14-16).

Unbelief is the basis of apathy. "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God," (Heb. 3:12). " steadfast, im-movable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, inasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord," (1 Cor. 15:58).

Ingratitude is the fuel of apathy. Paul describes the behavior of sin in terms of people who knew God in some superficial way, but "did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful," (Rom. 1:21).

Inaction is the behavior of apathy. If you do not care, you do not act! All through the book of Acts, the saints who carried on the work of the Lord were those who believed, who cared, who loved. Inaction and lack of initiative is evidence of apathy. (The book of "Acts" - in title shows ACTion.}

Indifference is the attitude of apathy. Attitudes are hard to hide. If you don't care about the things of God, it is hard to conceal that. If you are unconcerned about the lost, that will be seen in your inaction toward them.

Silence is the language of apathy. If you don't care, you probably will not say anything. As a preacher I have observed this. When you preach the truth and people say nothing, you cannot assume they agree. It is possible they don't care.

Three essentials to overcome apathy: Faith, Love & Hope. "But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation," (1 Thess. 5:8).

"Satan is such a wily sage. He doesn't come up to folks and invite them into the slime pits of in; he just lulls them into indifference... Little by little, he encroaches upon our faithfulness ...," (Dee Bowman, Christianity Magazine, April 1986).

By Warren E. Berkley
The Front Page
From Expository Files 12.11; November 2005