Elders - Student Center Directors

Lewis Willis
Greencastle, Indiana

Blood-bought children of God have been subjected to many unscriptural schemes down through the years, but recently we have been plagued by scores of preposterous campaigns needing support. Contributions have been sought to build a church building -apartment house on Manhattan Island. Some churches in California are spearheading a drive to place "200 bred heifers in Korea by the end of 1963" along with a veterinarian to look after these "Cows for Korea". We have Christian Colleges, Christian Youth Camps, etc. I wonder if this veterinarian is going to establish a Christian Animal Clinic.

Today I received a copy of The Bible Chair Journal. The caption on the front-page article was: "Churches Will Build Student Center at LSU". The North Boulevard church in Baton Rouge, La. is heading this drive. Estimated cost is $80,000 plus $12,000 each year for director's salary and operating expense. The Center will consist of 3 units: a worship unit, an education unit and a fellowship unit. All this is being provided for 72 students currently enrolled at LSU who are members of the church or who state that the church is their preferred religious organization. Projected estimates show this number to increase to 200 in 10 years. The "elders of the North Boulevard church will oversee the work". Finally, the news item states, "The responsibility of providing facilities for this growing number of Christian young people must be shared by many churches and individuals". (My emp. LW)

It has always been strange to me how churches that were originally established on New Testament principles could "fall" for such nonsense. But they do. Below are some observations I would like to make with regard to this campaign.

1. The central unit is a place for worship. We have a single "unit" here in Greencastle that is called a church building. However, the "Social Gospel" concept has produced many dual-unit "plants" with the fellowship unit being the second. Most of these, though, are still called church buildings. Now, we add one more unit and it is called a "Student Center". Actually, from some of the things I read of congregations doing, they more resemble the "Student Center" I remember from college days than they do congregations of God-fearing people who are trying to worship and serve Him acceptably.

Anyway, here is a Student Center that will conduct worship services. There are many cities with two or more congregations that function in work and worship. Because they do this, they are recognized as churches of God. So, in reality, all the North Boulevard church is doing is establishing another congregation which will worship and work on the same order as they do. This brings me to my second point.

2. The elders of N. Boulevard church will oversee the work. This church is going to have its elders oversee a second congregation. This has long since ceased to come as a shock. These "on the march" churches have already crossed and burned that bridge. They have completely abandoned all N. T. instruction that tells elders to look after the flock among themselves (1 Pet. 5:2; Acts 20:28). Almost daily one can hear of an eldership assuming the oversight of another local church. These presumptuous elders have become so arrogant in their sin that one must be marked as a trouble-maker who dares to question the scripturalness of their actions; he rebels against their authority as elders.

3. We are told that the building of this Student Center is a "responsibility" that "must" be shared by many churches and individuals". Now, the church has a responsibility to give, pray, sing, commune, etc., because God has commanded it. Only in this way is a New Testament church responsible for doing anything! ! ! But who can read a N. T. command for churches building a Student Center?? No congregation CAN (let alone MUST) share this responsibility until N. T. authority is found for it.

Notice the dilemma these brethren have created for themselves.

a. If this Student Center is intended to be another congregation, by whose authority will these elders oversee it?

b. If it is to be a church building, where is the authority for including a recreation (they called it a fellowship) center?

c. If it is going to be like most Student Centers (where students loaf around, sip cokes, play ping-pong, and shoot-the-breeze) someone is responsible to show where the N. T. authorizes churches to engage in building the same.

Personally, I am little concerned with someone's assertion that churches are responsible for building a "play-house" for young Christians while they are in college. But5 show me N. T. authority for such and I'll gladly support the effort. Until then, I'll stay free from the whole ungodly arrangement and do all I can to get brethren to do the same thing.

Finally, in this same publication, an article was included about a Student Center being built at the University of Tennessee. The article is a little vague, but someone is going to build a Center valued at $35,000. "The major religious denominations all have student centers near the campus." I suppose this is all the authority that is necessary for our modern-thinking brethren. Reminds me of the teenager who wants to go to a dance "because all the other kids are going". Of course, when God-given instruction is abandoned, it matters little what authority you use. The consequences in eternity will be the same.

Truth Magazine VIII: 4, pp.9-10 January 1964