Church Supported Hospitals

Connie W. Adams
Louisville, Kentucky

The Christian Chronicle of May 17, 1971 gave front page space to an article entitled "Greatest Cause on Earth-Medicine, Mission in Tanzania." The article tells how the Park Row church in Arlington, Texas "used a covey of resources to raise funds for the only medical mission supported solely by churches today." It costs $65,000 a year to operate this medical mission 50-bed hospital. In telling about how this money has been raised from individuals and churches, it is stated that this money has been raised for "the greatest cause on earth." Park Row is credited with having given $24,000 last year to this hospital work.

Also in World Radio News for June, 1971 we are given a pictorial article entitled "Cameroon Medical Report." We are told "The Christian Mobile Clinic, operating in Kumba, West Cameroon, is a benevolent undertaking in which the churches of Christ are attempting to provide medical assistance to the people here." Again, "The church is helping some of these people in Cameroon by medical mission work." Also, "The medical work is as nearly as possible an adjunct to the evangelistic work of the church in Cameroon." Again, "The clinic is a vital influence for good and for spreading the gospel throughout Cameroon." Then, "Dr. Blazer is supported by the Harpeth Hills congregation in Nashville, Tennessee. Nurse Brown receives support from Union Avenue in Memphis and Nurse Leslie from her hometown church in Lexington, Tennessee. Dr. Robinson is supported by the White Oak Church of Christ in Chattanooga, Tennessee."

Thus the mission of the church of the Lord continues to be perverted. Now we have church supported camps, kindergartens, colleges, orphanages and hospitals. The fact that there is no scriptural authority for these practices does not seem to deter these folks in the least.

I do not deny that people need medical treatment in backward countries. They need it in this country. They also need roads, factories, instruction in farming, irrigation, and a host of other things to improve their lot in life. While these are real needs and there is nothing wrong per se in their being provided, there is something wrong with involving the church in activities which God did not appoint it to do. The work of the church is to preach the gospel, edify the saved and provide for the needs of the saints. This is authorized action and the members may scripturally act in concert through the use of the treasury to carry out these works.

There were sick folks in New Testament days. I wonder why the apostles never thought of starting a clinic with Dr. Luke in charge of it to help in the evangelization of Asia or Africa.

When will our liberal brethren start their push to build church supported hospitals in the states? David Lipscomb College is now boldly asking for money from the churches, even in the secular press in large ads. I recently read a letter which Batsell Baxter wrote to the elders of the church at Rivermont, Virginia asking them to put the college in their budget and sending them a copy of the large ad they ran in the Nashville Banner. They think the time is right to ask for the help in the front door and not the back door. It is the time for boldness. There are many in the liberal churches that are ready for church supported hospitals. Some in Louisville have said they are ready for it. If it is scriptural in Africa, it is scriptural in America. These medical missions in foreign fields have served as trial balloons. The liberals are ready. Watch for them here before much longer. Again we plead with honest brethren among the liberals, to "come out from among them."

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 50, pp. 7-8
October 28, 1971