An "Exodus" Movement Backfires

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana

Some of our brethren have rather grandiose ideas. One of the more recent ideological concoctions of our "promotin" brethren is what they have called an "Exodus Movement." This is an effort to move many families from one section of the country into mother area where there are few Christians.

Somebody convinced the few brethren in Erie, Pennsylvania that the solution to their problems would be the inauguration of an "Exodus-Erie program." They now have had such a program underway for four years. During this time there have been "only two families (who) came."

However, someone had persuaded these few brethren that they must prepare for the incoming of one hundred new families. They therefore undertook "a building program which is above our heads at present" In fact, they are now bankrupt! They recently mailed out a letter stating that they need immediate donations of about $50,000. They state that "The reason for our financial need be attributed to our building program to extent." "The failure in the Exodus caused the congregation to be faced with a ram which is above our heads at face "an immediate financial and possibly the loss of all the good accomplished materially."

In their letter, which was widely they listed $39,952.27 in Debts." Included were items $3834.54 owed to Consumer Lumber, $3494.59 owed to Bernard Brothers (blocks); $1624.80 owed to Kraus Electric; Duchini Block company they owe $5187.76; Sears Roebuck is due $2131.81; Erie Builders they owe $10,200.00; McGwier Co. they owe $6870.00, and several other outstanding debts are listed which total $39,952.27.

These brethren are to be pitied in that they are hopelessly in debt beyond their capability to repay. It would appear that this bitter experience would teach them the need for abiding by the scriptural principles of congregational independence and autonomy. Somebody "hood-winked" them into committing themselves for many thousands of dollars beyond their capability to pay. They should hereafter learn to attend to their own congregational business, and to plan their own work within the limits of their own resources.

It would appear that the "good brethren" who high-pressured these few brethren at Erie into an "Exodus Erie program" would now feel the same compulsion to help them to avert this impending financial disaster and the concomitant bringing reproach upon the name of Christ. And it would appear that the Erie brethren would have learned an important lesson, though this is an exceedingly hitter way to learn. Paying attention to scriptural precepts would have enabled them to have averted this embarrassing financial disaster. Departures from scripture not only bring people into disrepute with the Lord, but also they will occasionally bring disrepute with men as well.


May 21, 1970