Tom Butterfield

The greatest need Christ. We need to of all mankind is the know more about him. We need to obey him. We need to serve him. We can all agree on these things. Christ is the hope of the world and the only source of real happiness. This was the theme of the early church - Christ and him crucified. They seemed to recognize no need for anything else. They labored under the impression that, 'if they could just get men and women to "See no other man, save Jesus only," that the world could be converted. How well they succeeded is graphically described in such expressions as: "These men do exceedingly trouble our city." (Acts 16: 20) and "These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also" (Acts 17:6). Yet Paul just preached "Christ, and him crucified." Philip converted the eunuch by merely "preaching unto him Jesus" (I Cor. 2:2; Acts 8:35).

Maybe I'm a bit old-fashioned, but it seems to me that the greatest need today is just plain, positive preaching such as characterized Peter, Paul, and Philip. I am not opposed to ' colleges as individually supported -institutions, but to hear some folks talk about their college careers, and their degrees of learning, one would think that the greatest need in. the church: today is for more colleges to turn out more preachers. This is not so. What we need is more positive preaching on the part of some who have achieved such learning. If attending school better, prepares one for preaching the gospel, then we have a right to expect more from those who are fortunate enough to possess such training. "For whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more" (Luke 12:48).

And, of course, we will always have some among us who think that what we need is bigger and better institutions through which to do the charity work of the church. This is not true! We need to do the work given the church to do. For years I have insisted that individually supported homes are scriptural; and I have not changed my mind on that score. But there are times when I wonder what we may next expect.

In case you wonder at this, read the June issue of the paper published by one of the most prominent homes. This home sponsors a chorus for personal tours among the churches. In commenting on their visit to his congregation, one preacher reported that the one night "performance" of these "star troupers" did more good than a gospel meeting could have done. And here we have been teaching all these years that the "gospel is the power of God," and that it "pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." Now comes word that a one night "performance" by "star troupers" from one of our homes can do more good than a couple of weeks' of preaching of the gospel of Christ. That preacher's report did not help me to convince myself that I should continue to support such institutions. If sending young people out to sing for the churches will do more good than sending preachers out to preach the gospel, then what we need is more singing and less preaching. But no faithful man will ever agree that that is what is needed! The commission still reads, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel unto every creature." That's what God said do! That must be what the world needs. And it must be what the church needs too - just plain, positive, gospel preaching.

----~Bible Herald, September 15, 1953

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XI: 7, pp. 22-23
April 1967