Computerized Soul Saving

Cecil Willis

Men have been able to computerize nearly everything, and it appears that soul saving is about ready for programming. According to a CHRISTIAN CHRONICLE article (November 11, 1968), "The Art of Campaigning" has been refined by "the 'Campaign for Christ' organization of the 25th and Geraldine St. congregation" in Oklahoma City. The article did not further identify this "Campaign for Christ' organization . . . ." It would be most interesting to know more about it.

Brother Ivan Stewart, who directs the "'Campaign for Christ' organization," has discovered that the campaign preaching should last only from "Friday through Sunday." But he says that preachers are opposing this "Friday through Sunday" preaching. He knows exactly why preachers want longer meetings. "They have an ulterior motive; they are making a living from it."

I wonder how Brother Stewart earns his living. Do you know what be does? He plans and directs three of these "Friday through Sunday" preaching "Campaigns" a year! "The 1968 campaign budget was $178,000 . . ." In order to plan these nine days of preaching a year Brother Stewart has a secretary, a bookkeeper and a record keeper to assist him. My, his must be a taxing job! I do not think I would accuse preachers of "ulterior" motives, if I were in his place.

The "campaigners" are well trained too. The article stated, "Criticism has been directed at the Campaign leaders because they aim only at middle class citizens. This is true, Stewart says." Jesus' statement that "the poor have the gospel preached to them" (Matt. 11: 5) will never be a fact if it is left up to Brother Stewart and his "campaigners" to do it. Some of the gospel preachers with their "ulterior" (?) motives may have to attend to that.

Brother Stewart carefully instructs his, "campaigners." They are told to avoid entanglements with members of the Mormon and Jehovah's Witness groups, with atheists, with preachers of other religious groups, and with the lower classes." The Devil must rejoice now that Brother Stewart has called a "cease-fire" with the forces of evil. There will be no further confrontation between the forces of evil and the servants of God. And all you lost people who happen to be in "the lower classes" - well, its just too bad about you! But perchance you will be contacted by one of those gospel preachers who are not limited to a "Friday through Sunday" schedule, who has not been told to avoid false teachers, and who is not instructed to "avoid . . . the lower classes." Some of the "campaigning," "programming," "planning" brethren might indict his motives. But perhaps yet it will be said "the poor have the gospel preached to them." But according to this CHRONICLE record, we need not expect the "campaigners" to do any part of that kind of work.

And a Postscript

When I chose the title "Computerized Soul Saving" for the above article, I was afraid that the title might be a little "far out." But apparently this computerized Christianity is not as far off as one might think. Since writing the above short article, I was catching up on some reading of back issues of the CHRONICLE. The September 30, 1968 issue devotes two pages to what it calls the "scientific-oriented membership" of the 130 member congregation at Los Alamos, New Mexico. The CHRONICLE reports that the Los Alamos congregation even has "a computer program for selecting men to participate in the worship service . . ." With 130 members, they must really be scientifically oriented if they need a computer to pick a song leader, and someone to lead in prayer! They must have 20 or 25 men from which to choose! But this is the age of gadgets and gimmicks.

July 1969