Bananas for Christ

By Dennis L. Shaver

The title of this article may appear humorous. However, that which prompted such a title is not! For many years we have watched as some “professed” congregations of the Lord engage in unscriptural activities. When called into question about their practice many will state: “Where did God say not to?” This attitude shows them to be no better than any denominational with the same ideas toward the Word. I know this is heart-breaking to any faithful child of God. Most of these congregations will state, “We speak where the Bible speaks, and are silent where it is silent.” But, like the denominations around us, they say one thing and do another. Such is what I am writing about.

This article is not written to “pick apart” any one congregation, nor to find fault just for the purpose of finding fault. It is written because of the attitude some professed brethren have concerning the authority of God’s will. I am deeply concerned over many of the activities some of my brethren engage in. Whenever I talk to members of denominations I always ask them for book, chapter and verse. It seems that Christians would surely understand this question, and be glad to reply to it. Therefore, I simply want to ask the question, Why, and Where is the Authority?

The following is an advertisement for a “church of Christ” in this area. “On _______, following Bible study, we invite you to come and feast on the largest banana split in the world.” I guess I should be thankful they put study first and the banana split second. It is just this kind of promotion that concerns me. I have seen the denominations try to top one another in getting people to attend their church. I have even come to expect such behavior from them. But I did not expect such “goings on” within a church of our Lord. From what I have heard about this “banana split,” I assume the church is going to pay for it out of its treasury. I have only one question. Where does the Bible authorize such a practice? I am not asking for much, just one command, example, or necessary inference that would teach the church to use its treasury to buy a banana split. If this is such a good idea I wonder why the apostle Paul and other men of the New Testament did not use such “gimmicks” go teach the truth.

When people of God (Christians) quit asking for and looking for Bible authority in their practices, they are no better than a denomination. In New Testament times the gospel was for young and old alike. The apostle Paul taught that the power was the gospel (Rom. 1:16). I am truly sorry to see so many churches being concerned with drawing numbers. It seems as if many are no longer concerned with spiritual conversion to Christ. The day it takes a “Super Banana Split” to interest people in the gospel of Christ is the day I shall quit preaching. I have found that preaching the simple and pure gospel of Christ creates much interest. The reason is simple. It is something that is not heard very often. If individual Christians would spend more time in preaching to the lost, we would not have time to dream up such side shows as “banana splits.” Someone once said, “An idle brain is the devil’s workshop.” I am afraid that many of my brethren are too idle in the word of the Lord.

Truth Magazine XIX: 55, pp. 871-872
December 4, 1975