July 18, 2018

Making Christian Education A Test of Fellowship

By Reuel Lemmons

We have tried hard to see to it that the schools had no better friend. In recent weeks we have stressed the
value of Christian education, and have featured it in the pages of the Firm Foundation. Now, may we say a few
things about the growing pressure tactics employed by well meaning but ill advised brethren upon
congregations and individuals for the support of some of these institutions.

We have heard recently a lot of resentment expressed by brethren whose opinions are respected, against
what they consider unjustified pressure exercised by zealots in campaigns for schools.

Colleges and high schools and grade schools and nursery schools are springing up in the shadow of most
every congregation. In our opinion that is fine, provided no one gets the idea that to be a good member of the
Lord's church you have to support them. We do not believe that one's lovalty to the Lord is determined by his
loyalty to any school - or for that matter, to anything that is not the church of the Lord.

The idea is rapidly growing that every community should have its own "church school" on the grade and high
school level. Whether these schools are a good thing at all is a highly debatable question, and parents whose
children are still at home and under daily parental care should be allowed the right to choose to send their
children to the public schools if they wish without being marked, and without being made to feel like second
rate members of the church if they do not choose to patronize parochial schools.

Schools are extremely costly things. Starting one and paying for one are two greatly different matters. They
are relatively easy to start, but mighty hard to finance. When the financial strain begins to show it is natural
that desperation drive enthusiastic supporters to apply the pressure.

If a preacher or elder does not fall in line and beat the drum enthusiastically he may be branded as an
opposer of schools. Wire-pulling and politicking are employed to "line up" everyone, and in some areas it
reaches the place where one must contribute in much the same vein as he would pay for protection if he lived
in an area bossed by the underworld.

We have so many pet projects abroad that many are losing sight of the church and its all-sufficiency
altogether. Why can't we be simply Christians; worship God, and live the Christian life, and be left free to make
up our own minds about these matters that are not matters of faith?

It is natural that pressure be resisted. It is a common law of physics that for every pound of pressure
exerted in one direction, there must be an equal pound exerted in the opposite direction. This very law is the
thing that produces harmful reactionary extremes. When someone goes off the deep end on one side and
approaches the lunatic fringe with his absurdities, it is but natural that his extreme be resisted. So much
resistance needs be applied to counteract his madness, that often we go to the other extreme. These extremes
pull people and churches apart. This is, in a nutshell, our present condition relative to "the issues."

If schools, or anything else, reach the point where their advocates exert such pressure that opposing this
pressure produces hard feelings and even division, then it is time for them to go the way of all flesh. Not one
of them is important enough to divide the church over.

We have recently heard of preachers being fired and of teachers being removed from their classes because
of opposition to something about a school. Why do elders of the Lord's church allow such things, which all
agree are not the church, to thus affect the church? We are afraid brethren have used the extremes advocated
by some as an excuse to throw open the floodgates to every liberal idea. We have always been a conservative
people, and most of us resent being whipped into line to support some pet project.

We understand that brethren in certain sections are now openly advocating that the church support, from
its treasury, such schools. We are strongly opposed to it. We believe that the very purity of the church depends
upon elders having judgment enough to know what is the church and what isn't. And what isn't should be kept
separate from what is! We find ourselves unwilling to accept the idea that faculty members of any school
should teach the future preachers and leaders of the church in the class room that it is the duty of the church
to support schools. We do not believe it ought to be allowed.

Jesus Christ didn't come to earth to establish a school - college - high school or grade school. He didn't die
to purchase a school. And loyalty to Jesus and to the church is not measured by loyalty to a school.

Truth Magazine IV:2, pp. 20-21
November 1959