By F. Furman Kearley, Ph.D., Editor of the Gospel Advocate
Dear Brother Hafley
Thank you for your letter. I am sorry but I do not have time to respond to this in detail. I hope to do so later.
Brother Willis called me sometime back in the summer and requested that I write an article dealing with some of these matters. I have intended to but simply have not had the time to do all of the things I need to do plus what I would like to do.
Briefly, I would say that I believe you must not have read my letter carefully. I do not advocate gymnasiums nor family life centers. I do not even advocate parking lots such as ours which cost $22,000, that are built merely for the convenience of the members. I do not advocate church buildings which cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars, yea, even millions, which are used only three to five percent of the hours in a week.
This does not mean that I disfellowship brethren who do these things nor do I make a constant hobby of harassing them about these things. I do not disfellowship brethren who smoke, but I teach them to move and live a better way, and I try to constantly urge all of my brethren to use the money given to the Lord in the wisest and best possible way and to the fullest possible extent, including the buildings that are built with this.
I advocate the building of any kind of a facility if it is to be used extensively for purposes God has designed for the church, including benevolence, edification, evangelization, worship and continuing steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayers, in seeking and saving the lost, in visiting the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, in doing unto each of these as we should do unto Jesus in watching in behalf of the souls of men, women and children.
If you charge me with advocating gymnasiums and family life centers, then you are thereby admitting that these gymnasiums and family life centers are built for and are functioning to accomplish the above stated missions and purposes. I advocate no building anytime, anywhere that is not used, at least eight to ten hours per day in accomplishing one or more of the God-given purposes for the church. I believe it is a sin to spend any of the Lord’s money on items that sit idle and useless, including filmstrips that sit idle on the shelf, while members in their laziness watch TV.
I hope the above statement makes my position more clear. I may tolerate churches, brethren and situations that fall short of the ideals stated above, but I certainly do not advocate them nor am I satisfied with them.
May the Lord bless you abundantly in all of your great work.
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 4, p. 104
February 15, 1990