Restrictive Clause Review

Larry Ray Hafley
Plano, Illinois

In the October 2, 1958, issue of the Gospel Advocate there appeared this restrictive clause for deeds to meetinghouse property as prepared by lawyer and college President, Athen Clay Pullias.

" transfer and convey the property hereinafter described to ______________Church of Christ for so long as (emphasis GA-LRH) the following practices of worship and work are maintained:

1. The Holy Bible shall be accepted as the full and final revelation of God's will to man and shall be the only rule of faith and practice in religion.

2. The teaching and practice of the New Testament shall be followed in all matters of faith, worship and works.

3. No mechanical instrument of music shall be used in the worship.

4. The support of such organizations as care for orphans, dependent children, aged and sick, shall not be opposed or forbidden.

5. The doctrine of pre-millennialism shall not be taught, or otherwise approved or encouraged."

To the first two I say, "Amen, and wouldn't it be wonderful!" I am not a legal expert; however, it does not take a lawyer to see the "loophole" in this clause, namely, numbers 1, 2 and 4 cannot be harmonized.

God's word is to be the church's "only rule of faith and practice in religion." -Now, to avoid contradiction with No. 4, there are a few things they must find in their "only rule ... The Holy Bible." They must find:

1. Where the New Testament church sent money to a human organization to do a work which God assigned to the church.

2. Where the New Testament church depended on human institutions to perform divinely appointed duties.

Where in "The teaching and practice of the New Testament" do we find these things?

While you are thinking about that I want you to notice that "Church of Christ Hospitals" are not to be opposed or forbidden. " Such organizations as care for age and sick shall not be opposed or forbidden." In 1958 the "antis" were being begged off with the phrase, "It's just the orphan home that we want, so let us alone." Well, do you or do you not see the hospital lurking in the clause above? So, we were right: it was not just the orphan home after all.

Also, it would be interesting to see someone show scripture that forbids instrumental music that does not also condemn the organizations referred to in No. 4. Use your arguments against the instrument in worship, and see if they do not fit very nicely against the organization in the work of the church. Instruments add to God's worship because they represent another kind of music such as is not authorized. (Remember, additions to the doctrine are wrong! 2 Jno. 9). Organizations are excluded because they attempt to use means and methods to supplant the church. May we borrow a phrase and say that, "The instrument and the organization must stand or fall together"?

Oh, no' I set out to show that No. 1, 2 and 4 do not harmonize, and now we see that No. 3 does not fit since it is not consistent with No. 4. Guess it will take a conservative-lawyer-preacher to unwind this legal mess.

August 1969