Brethren, How Far Will You Go

A Memphis, Tennessee, church of Christ has built an $18,000 camper’s lodge, to be followed by a fishing lake and swimming pool. It’s just one example of church’s support of social “fellowship” (erroneously called “Christian fellowship”) _ which started with church-built kitchens and church-supported banquets.

A Lubbock, Texas, church of Christ recently completed a $70,000 home for unwed mothers. Just one example of church support for general welfare programs _ which shifted into high gear when brethren began to argue “no difference in individual Christian and organized church obligations.”

Another Lubbock church appointed herself director and conductor of the campaigns for christ, an arrangement whereby personal-work campaigns will be conducted for “the brotherhood.” Well, “we” have societies or “arrangements” for “brotherhood” preaching, advertising, orphan care, tract distribution, money raising, tent meetings, and radio-station-building; and one church offers to serve as co-ordinator and advisor for other sponsoring churches. It seems a little cool for some to draw the line on the “brotherhood” personal-work service.

Inter-congregational activities received the green light when brethren began to contend there was no difference in sending alms to a poverty-stricken church, and in pooling funds under one eldership for a “brotherhood project.” Think it over!

And now bro. Batsell Barrett Baxter, backed by a large church in Nashville, Tennessee, has published an appeal for churches to support from their treasuries, “our” colleges. He says: “If it is a good work and God wants it done, then the church can support it out of its treasury. It is in this line of thinking that I urge the elders of the church to contribute to the ongoing of the Christian schools in order that the God-given obligation to train our young people may be discharged.

I might also add the observation that if the individual Christian should give to make such schools possible, the church has the same responsibility, “for it is a good work and the church is the people.”

Does this sound familiar? Well, it should. It is the same fallacious reasoning that has given us “brotherhood” projects of medical clinics, orphan care, “Cows for Korea”, church camps, etc. Can anyone deny it?

Brethren, how far will you go? If you accept the erroneous principles that allow the first steps, on what basis can you deny the second, third, and fourth steps?

We who oppose these innovations are called “Anti” _ if not worse; and are accused of being against orphan care, education, “cooperation”, helping needy non-members, etc. These are false charges. We simply insist upon God’s work in God’s way _ keeping the congregations independent and separate, doing only what God has authorized each to do; with individual Christian obligations discharged by individual Christians.