Making Christian Education A Test of Fellowship

Firm Foundation - OCT. 13, 1959

Reuel Lemmons, Editor

We have tried hard to see to it that the schools had no better friend. In recent weeks we have stressed the value of Christian education, and have featured it in the pages of the Firm Foundation. Now, may we say a few things about the growing pressure tactics employed by well meaning but ill advised brethren upon congregations and individuals for the support of some of these institutions.

We have heard recently a lot of resentment expressed by brethren whose opinions are respected, against what they consider unjustified pressure exercised by zealots in campaigns for schools.

Colleges and high schools and grade schools and nursery schools are springing up in the shadow of most every congregation. In our opinion that is fine, provided no one gets the idea that to be a good member of the Lord's church you have to support them. We do not believe that one's lovalty to the Lord is determined by his loyalty to any school - or for that matter, to anything that is not the church of the Lord.

The idea is rapidly growing that every community should have its own "church school" on the grade and high school level. Whether these schools are a good thing at all is a highly debatable question, and parents whose children are still at home and under daily parental care should be allowed the right to choose to send their children to the public schools if they wish without being marked, and without being made to feel like second rate members of the church if they do not choose to patronize parochial schools.

Schools are extremely costly things. Starting one and paying for one are two greatly different matters. They are relatively easy to start, but mighty hard to finance. When the financial strain begins to show it is natural that desperation drive enthusiastic supporters to apply the pressure.

If a preacher or elder does not fall in line and beat the drum enthusiastically he may be branded as an opposer of schools. Wire-pulling and politicking are employed to "line up" everyone, and in some areas it reaches the place where one must contribute in much the same vein as he would pay for protection if he lived in an area bossed by the underworld.

We have so many pet projects abroad that many are losing sight of the church and its all-sufficiency altogether. Why can't we be simply Christians; worship God, and live the Christian life, and be left free to make up our own minds about these matters that are not matters of faith?

It is natural that pressure be resisted. It is a common law of physics that for every pound of pressure exerted in one direction, there must be an equal pound exerted in the opposite direction. This very law is the thing that produces harmful reactionary extremes. When someone goes off the deep end on one side and approaches the lunatic fringe with his absurdities, it is but natural that his extreme be resisted. So much resistance needs be applied to counteract his madness, that often we go to the other extreme. These extremes pull people and churches apart. This is, in a nutshell, our present condition relative to "the issues."

If schools, or anything else, reach the point where their advocates exert such pressure that opposing this pressure produces hard feelings and even division, then it is time for them to go the way of all flesh. Not one of them is important enough to divide the church over.

We have recently heard of preachers being fired and of teachers being removed from their classes because of opposition to something about a school. Why do elders of the Lord's church allow such things, which all agree are not the church, to thus affect the church? We are afraid brethren have used the extremes advocated by some as an excuse to throw open the floodgates to every liberal idea. We have always been a conservative people, and most of us resent being whipped into line to support some pet project.

We understand that brethren in certain sections are now openly advocating that the church support, from its treasury, such schools. We are strongly opposed to it. We believe that the very purity of the church depends upon elders having judgment enough to know what is the church and what isn't. And what isn't should be kept separate from what is! We find ourselves unwilling to accept the idea that faculty members of any school should teach the future preachers and leaders of the church in the class room that it is the duty of the church to support schools. We do not believe it ought to be allowed.

Jesus Christ didn't come to earth to establish a school - college - high school or grade school. He didn't die to purchase a school. And loyalty to Jesus and to the church is not measured by loyalty to a school.

Truth Magazine IV:2, pp. 20-21
November 1959