Church of Christ Hospital in Eastern Nigeria
Yes, the Church of Christ has a Church of Christ HosDital with a Church of Christ doctor, Church of Christ nurses and Church of Christ medicine, in the Church of Christ Mission in the Eastern Region of Nigeria.
This has been known and now is more definitely affirmed by an article found in the Firm Foundation of November 30, 1 9 _ 5. A church supports the doctor of this hospital, the church furnishes the medicine he uses, and churches are supporting the two nurses that are assisting him. The building is to be built by church funds. This hospital is also to engage intensively in evangelism.
To be transported to a Church of Christ hospital by a Church of Christ ambulance, driven by a Church of Christ chauffeur, wheeled into the hospital on a Church of Christ stretcher, prepared for surgery by a Church of Christ nurse, given Church of Christ anesthetic, operated on by a Church of Christ doctor, using a Church of Christ scalpel, being sewn up by the use of Church of Christ needle and suture, then to convalesce in a Church of Christ bed at the Church of Christ hospital. Boy! You just can't get much more "Church of Christer" than that.
But, if the patient dies, what would be wrong with his being embalmed by a Church of Christ mortician, in a Church of Christ funeral home, put in a Church of Christ coffin, then carried by a Church of Christ hearse to a Church of Christ cemetery, then the widow and children become beneficiaries to the Church of Christ insurance that had been taken out with the Church of Christ Life Insurance Co.?
In another issue of Firm Foundation, March 23, 1965, further statements are made concerning this same hospital plan. One such statement says: "It has been THE PURPOSE of Dr. Farrar to establish a hospital on property adjacent to the mission compound." (Caps mine, JWS). The reason that I am very interested in this statement is because Dr. Farrar and I have been having a written discussion on this matter. I assured him that I believed that the church supporting him had sent him to Nigeria primarily to heal the physically ill and that that is his primary purpose here. The statement quoted above, proves this point. Another statement in this issue of Firm Foundation says: "Dr. Farrar is in Nigeria trying to do his work under tremendous handicaps. He has registered nurses assisting him, and it will be a disgrace to all of us if we do not provide adequate facilities where HE CAN SAVE LIVES OF NIGERIANS THAT IN TURN WILL RESULT IN THE SALVATION OF THEIR SOULS." (Caps mine JWS).
The above statement is a very strange one indeed, especially in the light of what the Bible says. If it had been said that after saving their lives, there might be a possibility of saving their souls, the statement would not have been so incredible. But there were no "ifs" and "maybes" about it. The statement is: "It WILL in turn result in the salvation of their souls."' When I read Rom. 1:16, it says: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation . . ." But I suppose now that it has been rewritten to read: "For I am not ashamed of the Church of Christ doctor in the Church of Christ hospital: for they are the power of God unto salvation to every one that is treated or operated upon in and by such."
It seems that such arrangements as are mentioned above, would take care of every problem that would arise in a man's life. It seems as though every void of a man's life could be filled by these Church of Christ agencies and arrangements. But, in all of these great activities and ambitions being put forth by my "Missionary" brethren, there is still one void, one empty space to be filled. That void and empty space ( ) is the space for the scripture or scriptures that are used to authorize the church to engage in such affairs and arrangements.
When brethren get involved in these unscriptural practices, they have a tendency to boast a little about the great works being done, thinking that such boasting will make the thing scriptural. The first claim mentioned in the article in Firm Foundation, Nov. 30, 1965, states that the hospital is to be built in the most heavily populated area of Nigeria. Let the population argument be as it may, if the whole 55 million people of Nigeria could and did live at Anicha Ngwa, within sight of the hospital, this still would not make it a scriptural project.
Another statement says: "All Nigerian missionaries agree with Carson and the Green Lawn elders that unimaginable good toward the spread of the gospel in West Africa will result from this effort to practice what Christians preach." No one questions that good can come from medical assistance being given to the sick or any other physical alleviation of suffering. But I oppose the unscriptural means being used to bring this about. I even deny that this method will be a means of spreading the unadulterated gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There are already, and have been for over a hundred years, denominational "missions" with their church owned and operated hospitals and schools in this country. But I have always been taught that the teaching of the Bible, the gospel, that produces Christians, is different from the teaching of denominations. But it is hard to convert people from denominationalism and its manmade organizations and ways, when my own brethren in the Lord are teaching and practicing the same l-hinge. It is not enough to practice what "Christians" preach, but we must practice what the Bible teaches.
In concluding this article, I want to make it very clear to people that are interested in the spreading of the gospel in this great land of Nigeria, that we that are working in the Western and Midwestern Regions of this country are opposed to any and all unscriptural work that the church might engage in. As of now, I know of no congregation or preacher in these two regions mentioned that is engaging in or aiding and abetting any of these unscriptural practices. The Lord knows that I know that the people in this country need medical and physical assistance as well as spiritual help, and no one desires that they receive this assistance more than I do. But, whatever is done must be done scripturally.
The Bible furnishes us unto EVERY good work (2 Tim. 3:16,17). The Bible does not permit churches to build and maintain secular institutions. I pray that you that have been supporting the preaching of the unadulterated gospel of Christ in the Western and Midwestern Regions of Nigeria, will continue to do so and even more and more that the tide of digression might be stemmed before it sweeps throughout the whole nation. More faithful men, that love and respect the truth, are needed to come to this country and help the few that are already here. These men will need your prayers and financial support. Pray for us.
TRUTH MAGAZINE X: 7, pp. 12-13 April 1966