Examples of the Social Gospel

Tom Bunting
Miami, Florida

Some people will complain that we should not talk about human institutions being supported by the church as an unscriptural arrangement because the problem does not exist in this congregation; and we should not teach against eating in the church building as a misuse of the Lord's treasury since it is not presently practiced here.

When do you tell the child the stove is hot, before or after he has burned' himself? When do you warn them of the danger of the river or lake? When do you tell the son or daughter not to get too close to the edge of the cliff? When is the better time to warn brethren about sin and apostasy, before or after they have been overcome?

It may be a little late to warn some but for others there is still time and opportunity to examine some examples of the social gospel and where it takes us.

"The East Ridge congregation will provide cost for all our seniors and their dates or escorts. Since the cost for this banquet will be considerably higher than in the past, Bible will not be given this year."

(This came from Fort Worth, Tex. via Hobart, Ind.)

Need I point out the folly in the fact that they have funds for a banquet for every senior and dates but no funds for a Bible! The social gospel takes us away from the spiritual relationships and fills us with social activities and relationships.

Our second example came from the church of Christ, Lubbock, Texas. The following ticket appeared in the Broadway church bulletin.

(Thanks to Eugene Britnell for this information.)

Certainly you can see where this social gospel leads. Churches not only support dinners but they even charge for them! There is no authority in the gospel of Christ for activities such as this being conducted by the church. Paul's question still needs an answer: "What have ye not houses to eat and drink in" (I Cor. 11:22). And then he added: "If any man is hungry, let him eat at home . . ." (v. 34).

Shall we keep silent about sin? Those who do will either be supporting the unscriptural practices or will soon take them up. Institutionalism like denominationalism thrives on ignorance!

March 1967