By Lewis Willis
An absolutely captivating article was published in the Amarillo Daily News, Jan. 6, 1977. The potential challenges the imagination. The preacher for the First Christian Church in West Salem, Illinois, is terribly concerned over the lack of involvement in religious activities by young people. So, he has decided he will activate these teenagers. The youth program he has started is called “the God Squad.” To promote interest in the program, he has announced that the age group who brings the most visitors to their meetings will be given the opportunity to throw pies in his face! Why ,m he is even going to bake the pies himself. “I’ll put on a shower cap and apron, kneel and take the pies in succession right in the face. Then I’ll clean up and go to the pulpit for evening service.” Randy Whitehead, the 23-year-old preacher, explained, “it’s a contest to get more contact with Christ.” My first thought was he will establish far more contact with pie crust than he will with Christ. Furthermore, it required fire for the baker to complete making of pie crust, which establishes a suitable preparatory relationship with eternity.
You know, the possibilities of this promotion are staggering! Bowling in the sanctuary aisle; shuffleboard in the classroom annex; ski jumping off the roof; buffalo hunts on the parking lot; archery practice at the occupied pulpit; air rifles vs. street lights; high wire walking from the chandeliers. Imagine the spiritual “interest” such stunts would generate! The eyes of some of the liberal preachers among us must be lighting up when reading about this. What an asset around which to build the “Bus Ministry,” A reward of a trip to the local McDonald’s could not hold a light to some of these promotions. Why we could even call attention to the Church (?)! We might even get the attention of the Associated Press, like this fellow did.
Imagine the impact we would make on the world. Those outside of the Lord would have a solid perception of the blood-bought body of the Savior! For the first time in the lives of many, the eternal purpose of God would be fully understood. Surely nothing could accomplish this any faster than or better than flinging a chocolate pie in the preacher’s face. “A pie in the face” is a well-chosen complement to the “Pie in the Sky” concepts of modern denominationalism, almost wholly given to the Social Gospel philosophy that is permeating our society. It has even invaded the ranks of God’s people, and its influence is spreading rapidly. There seems t be no area of New Testament Christianity so sacred as to preclude the invasion of innovative ideas such as that of the young Illinois preacher. IT seems trite to say such in our modern age but it would not be altogether out-of-order if he and others would study the implications of Romans 1:16. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation . . . .” It is with the powerful message of the Gospel that we must build, and, build we must! But, if we use humanistic schemes like pie throwing (shades of Laurel and Hardy), it is “we” who are building and not the Lord. David wrote: “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it…” (Psa. 127:1). When the Lord determined to build His Church, He used the process of preaching the Gospel to build it (1 Cor. 1:21). It was effective then and it will be today.
One of the most alarming things about this entire concept is that it is occurring in a Christian Church. These are the folks who, in about 1850, decided to introduce the. “innocent” practice of mechanical instrumental music into the worship of the church. Look what they are doing now! It has frequently been said that when apostolic authority is abandoned and the gate to liberalism is opened, there is no way to close it. Satan then parades his wares into the apostate body to the cheers of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, they shall both fall in the ditch (Matt. 15:14). As this Christian Church preacher said, “The idea (of the pie throwing, lw) was enthusiastically endorsed by laughs and the stomping of feet.” Neither he nor his brethren could see well enough to detect the violation of the will and purpose of God which was being trampled upon. “I just can’t see anything wrong with it.” We’ve heard that before!
I am reminded of an interview Barbara Walters, the 5Million Dollar Woman of ABC News, conducted recently. She was talking with the woman who was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church. After discussing the expected shock involved in making a woman an Episcopal priest, the lady made a most unusual remark. She announced to the world that she was “not very religious.” To which one must add a hearty “Amen.” But, from the news release referred to in this article, she apparently is not the only one suffering from this disease!
Truth Magazine XXI: 48, pp. 764-765
December 8, 1977