The steady march toward denominationalism continues, and those busy dreaming up new and bigger ideas certainly have not taken a rest. Recently I received a copy of Plant And Water, a periodical publication of Mack Christian School in Cincinnati, Ohio. This publication was being sent to 3,000 congregations in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia. It had as its immediate purpose to inform brethren about Mack Christian School (MCS), and provided some very interesting information.
MCS was begun in 1966 as a kindergarten, and under the oversight of the Mack Church of Christ in Cincinnati. At present they have 50 students through the third grade, and plan continued expansion yearly: junior high by 1973, high school by 1976, and a full 4-year college by 1979. If their plans go ahead on schedule, the first college graduation wm be scheduled for 1983. Now, admittedly, this is quite an undertaking and ought to draw quite a bit of interest.
Of course they are a bit limited in equipment. It seems they only have the facilities to handle up to the sixth grade and they will be out of room. Already they are short of funds. Where is the rest coming from? Surprise! That is where a new high in begging is going to come in (or is it a new low?). You can now expect to be called on to set aside your fifth Sunday contribution (and no doubt more) to assist this great effort to support our own parochial school. The only school to go all the way from kindergarten through college, and just consider all the wonderful chances of good you can do!
Since they have such great plans for their efforts, it is but natural they have thought them through and formed some convictions on the subject. Thus we note: "We believe the policies of MCS are entirely scriptural. We welcome comments on our policies..." I am glad to learn someone is willing to defend what they believe, and especially on such an interesting subject. So, let us take a look.
"(1) Under the oversight of members of one congregation. As soon as the Mack Church of Christ, a congregation of about 50 members, has elders it will be under their authority."
There you have it. A congregation so little they do not even have elders yet, and virtually unknown. At present they can only handle six grades, and yet this little, tiny congregation of only 50 members plans to erect and oversee a full parochial school all the way from kindergarten through college--and that is only half of it. And all of it under the oversight of the one congregation. I assume that is to make it scriptural. It is amazing how unscriptural things are so readily accepted simply because they are under the oversight of a set of elders. The Missionary Society was unscriptural until we put it under the elders and called it the Herald of Truth. So were the various benevolent societies unless under a centralized eldership (per Firm Foundation). Perhaps this is finally the door they will use to justify the school being supported by the church.
And since they believe it is "entirely scriptural," maybe someone can furnish me with book, chapter, and verse for the church to engage in the teaching of American History, Algebra, chemistry, English literature, etc. Scriptural? Where? And where is the authority for a church to assume the oversight of such an unscriptural project mad serve as a begging house for others to join in such a project? Since Plant And Water is their official publication and the school is (?) under the oversight of the congregation, I assume it is a good guide to that oversight. Let us note: (1) It was mailed out by the Mack congregation---oops, that was Mack Christian School itself! Just an oversight, or has the school now taken over the facilities of the church and changed the name? (2) The front heading says, "Send contributions to MACK CHRISTIAN SCHOOL" Why I thought the church had the oversight? Or is it unscriptural to send to the church for a work the church has the oversight of? Is the church running the school, or has the school replaced the church? This tiny congregation with such big plans sounds just about mixed up enough to get the liberals to liking their idea.
"(2) We have the cooperation of churches of Christ and invite and need the cooperation of others. However, we will adhere to the autonomy of MCS through the Mack congregation!"
Now this one is interesting--and contradictory. It is entirely the work of the Mack congregation, yet they want everyone else to finance their plans for them. It is run by the church, but seems to be functioning separately and with its own treasury. As for the autonomy, may I suggest centralized begging efforts do not remain autonomous (witness the Missionary Society), and neither do those fled to them. Even if they could (which they cannot), such would be short lived when their precious institution became short of funds and in danger of folding. They claim to have the cooperation of "churches of Christ," as if all readily agreed they were "entirely scriptural." Such is not only false, but they most definitely have the opposition of the churches belonging to Christ.
"(3) MCS is supported entirely by voluntary contributions. We make no charge for tuition, food, instruction material, bus transportation, etc.; neither do we sell anything to raise funds, nor have we made application for or received Federal aid."
Now that says a lot. Just think about it a minute. Granted they have learned a lot more than many of the benevolent societies (orphan homes) amongst us, but have they learned much about economics? No charges at all for anything! They must have some mighty wealthy supporters and expect the liberal brethren to really come running to their door. Note the fact that David Lipscomb College, Abilene Christian College, Harding, etc., do not hesitate to grab up all the church contributions they can get to keep going, plus tuition, etc. Note the fact some of these liberal brethren, backed by the Gospel Advocate, are practically ordering the churches to send contributions to the schools to keep them going.
But this tiny congregation of only 50 members has just announced they are going to be entirely under a free schooling system. And since their very next policy states: "All children are welcome to attend regardless of race, creed, or ability of parents to contribute to MCS," just think of the consequences. Brethren can now do their divinely given work by sending their Contributions to this tiny congregation and let it provide a free secular education for all of the world--without pay at all--be they Christian or sinner, hippy or patriotic, atheist or a believer in God, communist or freedom loving, just think--a free education clear through college! That's even better than the public system provides---and all free, regardless of who attends. For how long? Ask ACC, etc., how expensive this is! And they are still going to run it under the Oversight of a tiny congregation of 50 members without elders even yet, and maintain total autonomy of the school. Who believes it? Not even the liberals---it just sounds good to those who do not stop to think of what they are saying.
"(4) The Bible and all other subjects are taught daily in the church building and adjoining Bible classroom facilities by teachers who are members of churches of Christ."
That must be why, the contributions are to be sent to MCS itself, and the return mailing address is that of MCS. Evidently the School has already replaced the church, and the church is now just a by-product. Of course no authority is offered neither for the "other subjects," nor for the use of the church building facilities (built as a place to assemble to worship -- Heb. 10: 25) for such practices. They believe these policies to be "entirely scriptural," though, so perhaps some Scripture will be forthcoming. (Do not hold your breath waiting). And, since all the teachers are Christians, that, like the first policy, evidently makes everything "entirely scriptural."
They have learned fast from the Herald of Truth how to conduct a successful begging campaign. They remind you "we have individuals, Bible classes (sounds like Christian Church projects--separate treasury for classes? No wonder the school can be part of the church and yet be separate----DPA) and congregations" paying present costs. They also have speakers available to visit "your congregation for a Sunday AM service." Funny they would pick just the AM service, but then maybe they hope to get away from those who might think a bit deeper, such as the Wednesday night group. Maybe they can appeal more to the pocket-bank of the A.M. service worshipper too! He will devote "about 10 minutes to MCS and about 20 minutes for a lesson." And "about" covers a multitude of sins--depending on their financial needs, that "about" might get reversed to a 10 minute lesson and a 20 minute begging campaign. And since "personal contact is usually more fruitful than written," they are most eager to send speakers.
Yes, this is a new high (or low) in begging. Many have said these benevolent societies are scriptural, but not church supported colleges. Now, let us hear from you! Will you stand up and be counted, or quietly turn tail and pretend it just isn't so? "Entirely scriptural"? I deny there is anything scriptural about it. And since they "welcome comments," I hope they will have the confidence of their begging efforts to at least attempt to find a country cousin to scriptural authority. We shall see.
TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV; 30, pp. 8-10
June 4, 1970