By John McCort
In the last few years most liberal preachers have become unwilling to discuss institutionalism in public debate. Those few who are still willing to defend their beliefs have taken a very strange position. They will not sign their names to a proposition that names a specific institution. They will not, for example, specifically defend Boles Home or the Herald of Truth. The only thing they will debate is the principle behind these institutions. A case in point is the debate that is to take place this spring between Connie Adams and Clifton Inman.
Recently I had a discussion with a prominent liberal preacher. I asked him why he would not defend a specific orphans home. He said, “I don’t want to have to defend the abuses that have characterized many of these institutions.” In essence what he was saying was that he could not think of one institution that he would be willing to defend.
It is a sad commentary indeed when these preachers can not find one good example of what they are trying to defend. Is it not sad that the institutions that divided the body of Christ are now past the point of public defense? Out of all of the human institutions the liberals have invented why is it that they can not find at least one that can be defended in public debate?
What is the cause of these abuses. I believe a contributing cause is the centralization of power and funds. Many of these orphan homes are nearly self-sustaining now because of investments they have made with the money given by local churches. One orphans home even loaned money to New York City! They have farms, oil wells, gas leases, investment properties, etc . . . . It is very embarrassing to these liberal preachers when the budgets of their pet institutions are exposed. It is embarrassing to find that about $300,000 a year is spent by the Herald of Truth just to beg more money. It is very embarrassing to find that less than 50 percent of the Herald of Truth budget actually goes into the production of films. Personally, I have not found the scriptural authority for the Lord’s money to be used to loan New York City $25,000 or for the church to get into any kind of business.
Why Won’t They Debate?
I fail to understand why the liberals will not debate any longer unless they realize that debates will only cause them to lose members. Many preachers are hiding behind the fact that their elders do not want them getting involved in debates of this kind. I can make one guarantee: if the elders where I preach refuse to grant me permission to defend the truth in a public manner they would have my immediate resignation. I could not work in a situation where my efforts to spread the gospel were being stymied.
Truth Magazine XXII: 35, p. 569
September 7, 1978