In view of the dependence of the churches on the schools among liberal brethren today, then Brother Baxter is right in the following statement: "If Christian schools are needed to train leaders for the church, does this not imply that the church needs to help get the schools ready to provide such training?" (Questions and Issues of the Day, Pg. 7, emph. mine, LR) Incidentally, brother Baxter got off on the wrong track right at the start. Nowhere does the term "Christian" designate anything but an individual, a follower of Christ. Hence, "Christian school" is a misnomer, for an institution is not a "Christian" and never was an institution designated as such in the Bible. Why knock the "Christian church" for calling themselves by that name---when these same brethren designate a HUMAN ORGANIZATION, in the same way?
But getting back to the quotation, the answer to his question depends on the word "IF." IF this is true, then his conclusion is correct. But if the "IF" is not based on scriptural authority, then his conclusion is without scriptural foundation. But he based this "IF" on an unscriptural practice found among various churches; not on what God said. Notice again: "Actually, the church has depended upon these schools for many years to play a major role in training of preachers, elders, teachers and others. Is it not right that the church should provide funds for the training of its leaders?" (pg. 29)
The first wrong is the utter failure of brethren to realize that the church can do its own work without the aid of any organization apart from it. Had God intended that a school perform this duty for the church, we would read of it in the Bible. Thus the church is entirely wrong in failing in "the training of its own leaders." What is the matter with the all-sufficiency of the church we used to hear about? The second wrong is, churches rather than willing to correct this failure, are allowing the schools to make it up for them. You cannot correct one wrong by committing another! This was the reasoning of the men promoting the missionary societies. Churches were failing, so rather than correct the wrong in the churches, they created another organization to make up for the shortcomings of the church. Since Baxter's reasoning is based on a fallacy, his conclusion is as unscriptural as that which served as its basis.
I wish to touch upon another point right here. For many years we have been hearing about "Christian education." It has come to the place where brethren cannot think of "Christian education" except in terms of college education--in a "Christian college," of course. The unfortunate soul who was too poor (or not intelligent enough) to spend several years in one of "our colleges" or who has no degree, failed to get a "Christian education"! Pick up just about any issue of the GOSPEL ADVOCATE and you will discover this is the dominant theme running through it over and over again. Speak of "Christian education" and somewhere along the line in connection with it David Lipscomb College (or some other college) is mentioned. Thus an appeal is made to get brethren to support "Christian education" by supporting "Christian colleges."
Just what is Christian education anyway? Something one gets when he earns a degree in one of "our colleges"? Now the scriptural definition of "Christian education" may come as a shock to some of my brethren who have been indoctrinated with the idea that to support "Christian education" one must support one of "our schools." To answer this, we must first ask, what is a Christian?
A Christian is a follower of Christ. A follower of Christ is one who obeyed (and obeys) the GOSPEL OF CHRIST. Thus an "educated Christian" is one who gives "diligence (study) to present (himself) approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). When he does this, he is an "educated Christian," or has "Christian education" in the proper sense of the word. The gospel holds everything man needs to make him an acceptable Christian, not a doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc. We hear of a "liberal arts" education, etc., intended to instruct one in the lines of secular occupation. But the Bible informs us all we need to know about how to become acceptable Christians, although one may be a doctor, lawyer, etc. "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for TEACHING for INSTRUCTION which is in righteousness; that the man of God may be furnished completely unto every good work" (2 Tim.3:16-17). Notice: "the man of God" is a Christian. This Christian has the scriptures for "Teaching... for instruction WHICH IS IN RIGHTEOUSNESS." put these two factors together and you have the Bible definition of "CHRISTIAN EDUCATION.''
Now I am not against getting an education in a school of higher learning. I have respect for the man who seeks to better his lot in life. Neither am I against brethren (not churches) operating schools--from kindergarten through college. But I deplore the propaganda of some brethren that implies that unless we support one of these schools, we are against "Christian education."
Influence Over Churches
And so, we can clearly see that the schools are exerting more and more influence over the churches, and the churches are steadily giving more and more of their work over to these schools. It is foolish for anyone to deny this. Plain facts are simply too stubborn and too strong to be ignored. Once we open our eyes and see this undeniable truth, we will then understand why it is so urgent to deal with this matter of church support of schools.
No longer can the men of these schools claim the school does the work of the school and the church does the work of the church or that they are two separate organizations that in no way infringe upon the bounds or limitations of the other. My brethren, the very appeal of these schools for church support can be made only upon the argument that the college IS NECESSARY FOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND EFFECTIVE FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH.
The Church's Work?
One needs to remember, or at least read the debates on the college issue between those who defended the right of the college to exist upon the basis that is served as an aid or adjunct to the home or individual, and those who opposed the college on the basis that it was doing the work of the church to see how far some of the very same defendants of the college have drifted!
Now our college-in-the-budget promoters have scrapped their former arguments and have INCORPORATED THE ARGUMENTS OF THOSE THEY FORMERLY OPPOSED TO GET MONEY FROM CHURCHES TO DO FOR THE CHURCH WHAT THEY FORMERLY DENIED THE SCHOOLS WERE DOING. And as they opposed those who were against the schools' rights to exist, they must now use their arguments to get money from churches because brother Baxter finally conceded the argument that the school is doing the work of the church. Yet these brethren proudly boast they have never changed their position! They still claim to uphold and teach the same "gospel truth." If they have NOT CHANGED, THEN WHY ARE THEY NOW PRACTICING WHAT THEY FORMERLY DENIED???
I say, men like Carl Ketcherside and Leroy Garrett were "prophets" who spoke the truth on these matters several years too soon. Their observations have proved to be correct. Why do they not have the backbone NOW to point out the truthfulness of their arguments in the face of those who are practicing what they denied in their debates with them?
Incidentally, I do not uphold the argument that the school cannot teach Bible in classrooms. I simply oppose the argument that it is scriptural for churches to support the college, and that it is an AID TO THE CHUR CH IN DOING ITS WORK. And do you know what? Men who defended the college in debates against those who opposed the colleges, AGREED PERFECTLY ON THIS POINT! BOTH SIDES BELIEVED IT TO BE WRONG FOR THE SCHOOL TO BE AN AID TO THE CHURCH AND THUS BE CHURCH-RELATED. Only those defending the schools denied they were doing the work of the church, whereas the opposers claimed they were.
TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV: 4, pp. 10-12
December 4, 1969