|The Faith System
Before Billy Sunday introduced the idea that everyone who came forward in an altar call was a convert, the parable of the seed (Matthew 13:18-23) taught most people would receive the Gospel with joy, but, if their hearts were not right, they would not be saved. The parable of the tares (Matthew 13:24-30) taught the difference between false converts and saintsregardless of outward appearances and how the enemy would try to use those tares to destroy the church. But now it seems modern science has overcome the deficiencies of the human heart and defeated the devil as well.
Once Upon a Time... In the Cumberland Valley, on opposite sides of the road leading into town, there were two farms with identical soil and terrain. For twelve generations, the two families were content to produce twenty-five bushels of wheat per acre. They worked hard, fertilizing and tilling the soil in the spring, protecting the crop from birds and insects during the growing season and carefully separating the tares from the wheat at harvest time. Using the methods of their fathers, they kept the seed free from tares.
Then, in 1918, one of the farmers read in Free Thinker magazine about a new way to assure a higher yield of wheat without the fuss of using extra fertilizer, tilling or picking off insects. One of the great advantages of the system over traditional methods was it guaranteed tares would no longer be a problem ... because tares could now be treated as wheat. The theory was if you ignored the tares, they would eventually become wheat, thus increasing the yield.