By John McCort
A group of liberal brethren operate a school in Indianapolis named “Indianapolis Christian Schools.” It is supposed to be operated by-individuals only and does not solicit church donations. Many of the liberal brethren defend the existence of the school on the basis that the school is not the work of the church and that the church is not involved in its operation. If that were truly the case I would have no objections (a least from a theoretical standpoint) to the operation of the school.
The problem is that the church is deeply involved in the operation of the school. Brethren have been deluded into thinking that the church is not involved when in reality it is. The very buildings in which the school meets are owned by the Westlake church of Christ and are located next to the Westlake church building. The school is charged no rent for the use of the facilities.
Recently the school began a fund raising drive to build new facilities. The project has been a multi-million dollar affair. To raise money for the school, pitch-in dinners have been held in the fellowship halls and basements of church buildings (Park Avenue Church of Christ in Indianapolis to be specific.) Tickets were sold to these dinners and the money was donated to the school. In the August 1979 issue of the Indianapolis Christian Schools Newsletters, several interesting things were said. “A get acquainted tea with the teachers, is the way Dr. Binford described the get together for students and new teachers at the Park Avenue church building on August 12, 2:30 P.M. `Since students are anxious to meet teachers and teachers need to start learning the students we decided to plan this fellowship time.”‘
It was also stated, “Students are being involved in so many ways. Besides resting up to hit the books again in September many of ICS young people are out recruiting. They are visiting churches on Sunday evening to share their experiences at ICS.” An appeal was made to brethren to remember to pray for the school in their public prayers at church services. In recent issues of the Newsletter financial contributions to the school were listed by congregation. Even though individuals were donating the money, the donations were listed by congregations. A competition of sorts was set up to see which congregation could come up with the most money for the school through individual donations.
Brethren, either schools are the work of the church or they are not. If they are the work of the church, then the church should be able to donate to them. If they are not the work of the church, then the church should not be involved in the work of the school in any fashion. They have done everything but put the school in the budget and, in a backdoor way, the school is in the budget of the Westlake church of Christ.
It has always been puzzling to me how some of our liberal brethren can support the Herald of Truth and orphan homes out of the church treasury-and yet oppose the school in the budget. They have long argued that there is no distinction between church action and individual action in benevolence, i.e. that what the individual can do the church can do. If there is no difference. between individual and church action, I fail to see then how it would be scriptural for individuals to support ICS but be sinful for the church to support it.
The ICS Newsletter quoted the passage, “To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” They quoted the passage in the context of supporting the school as a good work. Apparently they feel that individual Christians have the responsibility to support the school. If it is an individual responsibility, then it would become the churches responsibility also if there is no distinction between individual and church action.
I would like to call on all of our liberal brethren who still have some convictions left about the school in the budget to take a stand against these innovations. Speak up and be heard. I would to God they all could see where this institutional apostasy is leading. To be consistent, they are either going to accept the school in the church budget or oppose institutionalism all together. I wonder which direction most of them will go? I think I already know.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 41, p. 658
October 18, 1979