The Social Gospel

By Jim McDonald

The Broad Street church of Christ here in Mineola, Texas has just conducted a “Seminar” on “Managing Your Money.” Four more seminars are planned by the church for the rest of 1991: “Helping Our Parents as They Grow Older”; “Self-Esteem for Children and Parents”; “Drugs and Alcohol Abuse” and “Coping with Teens/Parenting Skills.”

The social gospel is a concept that emphasizes the “whole man” and caters to his “social needs.” Such is concerned with the “now world” and while denominations for nearly three-quarters of a century have occupied themselves with such; churches of Christ for years past regarded such to be wholly without the scope of the mission of the Lord’s church. Great changes have occurred in “brotherhood” thinking in the past three or four decades, however. An epidemic of the “social gospel fever” has a affected most congregations and brethren.

Perhaps we need to ask ourselves if Peter on Pentecost, or Paul in Antioch, Corinth or Ephesus would have conducted a two or three day seminar teaching folk in their day on subjects like: “Biblical Basics for Financial Management”; “Your Checkbook Speaks”; “How to Make a Million”; “I Owe, I Owe, So Off to Work I Go”; “Successful Financial Planning”; “Mom, Dad, the Kids and Their Money.” The only reference to Christ in the complete brochure appears in the term: “church of Christ.” Not one reference is made either to the gospel of Christ, his death, his resurrection, nor the salvation he offers to a troubled world. Nothing! And yet, money that was supposedly given to further the cause of Christ and the work of his blessed church will be spent for such seminars as these.

We grieve that men, who of all men ought to know better, have turned aside from emphasizing the gospel and are rushing headlong into the preaching and practicing of the social gospel. It pleases me not to publicly call attention to the apostasy that is present among us, but we want all to know that although simple Bible preaching and strict adherence to the work of Christ’s church is not popular with the world nor even with the bulk of our brethren, we neither endorse nor wish to be mistakenly identified with churches of Christ who have abandoned the plea, “let us speak where the Bible speaks, let us be silent where it is silent. Let us call Bible things by Bible names and let us do Bible things in Bible ways.” We are fully committed to the principle that we will speak as the oracles of God, persuaded that faithfulness to Christ allows us to pursue no other course.

It does not disturb me that we are in the minority. So were Noah, Abraham, Enoch, Daniel, the Hebrew children Gideon and the apostles. What matters is that we abide in the doctrine of Christ knowing that if we do that we can confidently say: “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

Guardian of Truth XXXV: 10, p. 303
May 16, 1991