Banowsky, NACC, and Playboy Magazine

O. C. Birdwell, JR.
Columbia, Tennessee

During the month of July the North American Christian Convention (NACC) met in Convention Hall, Cincinnati. Ohio. A report in Christianity Today (Aug. 16, 1968), says William Banowsky, former preacher for the Broadway church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas, and present vice-president of Pepperdine College "won hands down as the most popular speaker at the convention." This convention is made up of Christian Churches, but reports are that "increasing participation is coming from the churches of Christ."

The Christianity Today reporter states that Banowsky told the convention about spending two days with Hugh Hefner, "ruler of the Playboy Empire." According to the report, Banowsky advised his listeners to stop buying the magazine (Playboy) and lining Hefner's pockets.

From what was said one might conclude that Banowsky opposed Play Boy mainly because it "lined Hefner's pockets," and not because it might be obscene or licentious. He said, "I haven't bought a copy since the debate two years ago." He further stated, "'they send it to me free." Apparently Banowsky formerly bought Playboy but he found out he was lining Hefner's pockets and quit. He now gets it free! I certainly do not want to get into a law suit with Hefner by calling Playboy pornographic, but based upon the one issue I have seen, if it is not pornographic, r do not know what might be so classified. I wonder where Banowsky keeps his copies. Does he keep them in the living room magazine rack for his family and friends to read, or at the college where he seems to appeal to a special class of college youth? If he passed it around others could get it "free" and would not be "lining Hefner's pockets!" May God forbid!

There are at least three things in this report that should cause consternation in the hearts of all who are sincerely concerned with the doctrinal and moral purity of the Lord's church, if it does not completely appall them.

(1) These liberal preachers and churches are definitely moving into the mainstream of denominationalism. Their participation with the Christian Church in the NACC is just one of the many signs of this.

(2) Many of them are soft on moral issues. They are moving with the tide and feel no compulsion to try to stop its flow. The "new morality" is taking its toll.

(3) Many of the "Christian colleges" are leading the liberal tide. Instructors are employed and retained who feel "there is no pattern" and therefore cannot consistently take a positive stand on either doctrinal or moral issues. Pepperdine and Banowsky are good examples of this. Young preachers taught by such men are about as firm as mush, and will encourage churches to be the same way.

The saddest part of it all is that many good, honest brethren in many churches still cannot see but that these false brethren are leading in the right direction. They continue to regard Banowsky and these other liberals as their "young princes" and blindly follow wherever they lead.

We are thankful, however, for the many brethren and churches who are holding to the "old paths." If we can get through to other congregations the fact that they are being sold into denominationalism by these liberals the tribe will increase.

November 1968