By Robert Wayne LaCoste
Not long ago I decided to visit a neighboring community where East Texas State University is located, and to investigate a building which wears the name “Church of Christ Bible Chair.” As I entered the front of the building, my eyes immediately bugged out in bewilderment. In the entrance there appeared a hippy like cross, which I suppose was to remind people of the cross of Christ. As I turned to enter the side portion of the establishment, I saw another of these crosses on the wall, except it was done even more in a “psychodelic” style. Turning aside from these things I strolled across the room and began to take a look at their bulletin board. Located on it were some jokes, hippy-like symbols and other things which made me wonder all the time I was here, “What would the Lord think or say to all of this.”
Within the confines of the building, located in various areas, were cokes, candy and other food machines. And of course, as I expected, there was a ping-pong table to be used while anyone was inside. A television and stereo system with records blanketed the North wall. Now surely there is nothing wrong with ping-pong, records and such like. No evil is present with cokes, candy, etc. but whenever these things are a calling card to get people interested in the church, what you have is a “social gospel”-a gospel which will not save! What is worse, all of these “goodie-goodies” are furnished in many of these “Bible Chairs” at the Lord’s expense, with money taken from the treasury of the church. The church of Our Lord and every member of it is’ surely to teach the lost at every opportunity, but let us make sure we win them through the Word. Those won by socialism will not stay converted for long. As soon as the goodies are gone, many of them are gone as well. And where have they gone? Some of them go next door to the Methodist or Baptist Center where the supply of “goodies” never runs low.
Churches can scripturally teach the word on any college campus or anywhere else for that matter, as long as they follow the simple New Testament pattern. Now what was that pattern? It surely was not the enticement of men’s souls through their bellies. Nowhere will any of our erring and liberal brethren find where the church taught the truth using recreation or social practices as a drawing card. They used the Word, and went everywhere, yes even into the Jewish temples to win the lost. (Acts 14:1; 17:1) So the pattern called for each congregation not only to do it’s own work, but to do it through the Word, creating a spiritual appetite in people, not a physical one!
As I turned to leave the building, a tear formed in my eye. Surely these are our brethren, but they are as physical Israel so long ago, “They have sown the wind, and now they must reap the whirlwind.” I sadly shuffled outside, refusing to look back at the building which wore the name of Christ on the outside. As I drove away I thought of the words of Jesus, ..Woe unto you. . .for ye are like unto whited sepulchres which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones and of all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27).
Truth Magazine, XVIII:47, p. 11
October 3, 1974