Ohio Valley College's $76,000 Problem
The Ohio Valley College of Parkersburg, West Virginia has recently been engaged in a very urgent drive to raise $76,000. Brother Clifton Inman, in an April 15, 1968 BIBLE HERALD article, gives the background for this $76,000 problem. He says,
"Some few years ago Ohio Valley College obtained a grant and a loan from the U.S. Government to build an addition to the administration building. In order to obtain this loan they had to sign an agreement not to teach sectarian doctrine or to engage in religions worship in that part of the building which was federally funded. A portion of the building so funded was the auditorium.
"This auditorium has been used for chapel purposes and for Bible classes. Sometime ago the federal government sent a representative who demanded that all teaching of the Bible and conducting of daily chapel be discontinued in the auditorium or any other part of the building which was erected with federal funds or that such funds be repaid."
The college has decided that the best arrangement would be to raise the $76,000 and repay the government funds. The interesting part about this matter is why it occurred to start with. Brother Inman said that "In order to obtain this loan they had to sign an agreement" If they understood the building could not be used for worship, why did they try to so use it? It appears they tried to do what they had signed and agreed not to do, and got caught.
Isn't it also strange how so many brethren who have fought government subsidy of Catholic schools do not scruple to accept government money to subsidize schools like Ohio Valley College and David Lipscomb College? Some brethren seem to have rather flexible convictions.
Ohio Valley College and Church Support
Brother Clifton Inman, in an April 15, 1968 BIBLE HERALD article, said: "Ohio Valley College has a stipulation in its by-laws that no funds shall ever be sought or accepted from congregational treasuries. It is further stipulated that this shall never be amended. There are some who try to throw doubt upon the College's honoring this stipulation. Others fret against it. But it is a good provision and should always be honored.''
Brother Inman is correct in saying that "it is good provision and should always be honored." I presume he would classify me as one of those "who try to throw doubt upon the Colleges honoring this stipulation." But I have never been able to understand why a College as opposed to church support as Ohio Valley College says it is should persist in employing and using publicly men who endorse the church support of the college.
Ohio Valley College is now desperately trying to raise $76,000 to repay the Federal government loan and funded money that was used to build an auditorium in which chapel is conducted. The government has refused to extend the repayment date even one day. Consequently, the urgency of Ohio Valley College's fund drive.
Brother Inman says that "Others fret against" the practice of Ohio Valley College not taking church funds. It sounds as though some had suggested this $76.000 could be raised from churches. It is reported that president J. M. Powell is one of the "fretters." Brother Inman says, "You see, if congregations were to try to pay off the $76.000 it would only take 760 churches giving $100 each to do so. He is brash indeed who thinks that he can get 760 congregations to average $100.00 each from their treasuries." Apparently entry some of the people interested in Ohio Valley College are at least thinking about ways to raise money from churches.
Many of the original founders and early promoters of Ohio Valley College were more conservative than those who manage the school now. It has been utterly inexplicable why Ohio Valley College, which craved and sought to convey a conservative image, should so align itself with the ultra-liberal Nashville David Lipscomb College combine. The alignment is one of the things that have made me think it will be difficult for Ohio Valley College to maintain its announced position.
Brother Inman defends the college position on church support by saying, "This provision is reasonable because there are some people within the church who do not wish to support a college. When congregations support the school from their treasuries, every member is forced to contribute." That argument sounds alright, doesn't it? I think he is correct. However, we have tried to tell Brother Inman that any argument that can be made against church support of human institutions like Ohio Valley College can also be made against church support of human institutions like Mill-Western Children's Home. We maintain that churches should not be contributing to any human institution. Brother Inman's argument is equally applicable to Midwestern Children's Home. Notice this improvision of his statement: "This provision is reasonable because there are some people within the church who do not wish to support Midwestern Children's Home. When congregations support the 'Home' from their treasuries, every member is forced to contribute." If the argument is valid when applied to the college, it is likewise valid when applied to Midwestern Children's Home.
However, Brother Inman proceeded to say that church support of Ohio Valley College would be "Destructive of the church. Should efforts be made to raise this money from church treasuries there would be one of the greatest schisms in the church that West Virginia and Ohio has seen. He who would instigate this division should not be connected with a school which calls itself Christian.'' Why is it that Brother Inman cannot see this same point when Mid-Western Children's
Home is under discussion? It is a fact that church support of Midwestern Children's Home has caused "one of the greatest schisms in the church that West Virginia and Ohio has seen." Brother Inman even says that the name Christian" should not be applied to a school that would instigate such a split.
Yet paradoxically, Clifton Inman is among the leading promoters of church support of Midwestern Children's Home. He knows there are brethren in churches who "do not wish to support a 'Home'." He also knows that "When congregations support the 'Home' from their treasuries, every member is forced to contribute." On the college question, he can see that to initiate the practice of church support of a human institution inevitably precipitates division. Yet he advocates church support of one human institution (Midwestern), and opposes the church support of another human institution (Ohio Valley College), and yet like Guy N. Woods, he still thinks he is consistent!
Ohio Valley College has used the conservative influence of some of the older preachers to begin and to promote the school. It already has gotten out of the hands of these older and more conservative men. An ultraliberal now is President of the school. I feel confident that if he would express himself, he would have to say that he also thinks it would be scriptural for this $76,000 to be raised by 760 churches each contributing $100.00. In fact, Brother Inman might well have had the President in mind in his statement. Brother Inman and others like him are going to be fighting a losing battle. Already Ohio Valley College has begun to accept government support. Over the years, most of our brethren have strongly opposed federal support of all schools in which religion is taught. I fear that somehow, sometime a way will be devised to avert the intended effect of the Ohio Valley College by-law. If that is not now being attempted, why did Brother Inman say, "Others fret against it?"
Brother Inman now is in the unenviable position of begging brethren to avert "one of the greatest schisms" by not beginning church support of Ohio Valley College, while at the same time he is a leading promoter of "one of the greatest schisms" which is caused by the church support of another human institution, Midwestern Children's Home.
TRUTH MAGAZINE XIII: 2, pp. 2-3