Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 16, 1960

This And That

C. D. Plum, Paden City, West Virginia

I am not the first to write under the subject "This and That". At least two college presidents known by me have written under this same subject. (One of these two wrote under this subject before he became a college president.) But don't get excited, I am not expecting to be appointed a college president, though that could be an honorable position. Such would not be my aim even if I possessed the ability and ambition. But I am sure the subject is not copyrighted. So, one time at least I'll write under this subject.

"This Red Car Parable"

A good friend and brother of mine deposes in a recent article as follows:

Have you heard the parable of the red car? It seems one church member bought a red car; drove it to worship and asked another brother to take a ride with him. This brother was offended. He complained that any conservative minded Christian would not be modernistic enough to drive a red car. He would not be pacified but complained until there was much trouble in the church. He argued thus: "There was not division in the church until the brother bought the red car. He has been overbearing about this, even inviting me to take a ride in the car. There was no division in the church until he bought the car. Let him get rid of his car and division will vanish. I believe that a brother should be permitted to refuse to ride in a car if he does not want to ride in one.

This car is going to cause trouble yet."

What is the meaning of the above parable? What is referred to? The answer seems to be in the paragraph above this parable in this same article. It seems the author is referring to a College Lectureship Program. The red car then seems to be the college. In wishing to justify a brother buying a red car (an individual matter), he wants this parable to teach that individuals may establish a college. (So far as I know no one is objecting to individuals establishing a college.) What is being objected to is the college trying to get into the church treasury, or church building.

Let Us Look At This "Red Car Parable." Let Us Number This Look At The Parable.

1. We agree an individual has a perfect right to buy a red car.

2. But if this individual buys a red car (contracts for it), and then comes to the elders of the church and asks for the church to pay for this red car out of the treasury, that is wrong. Most of "our" colleges are receiving support for the colleges out of the church treasury. This means church support for education, sports, plays and everything else pertaining to a college. This is like the church paying for the red car with all of its accessories. This is what is being objected to.

Yes, do you say, but our college has in the "bylaws" that money cannot be received from the church treasury for the support of the school. That is good, but these bylaws can be set aside, and new ones made, by the same power that made the first bylaws. And it looks like that is the trend right now, for "our" college has permitted a lecturer on "our" college program to lecture that it is right to take money out of the church treasury to support colleges. Bold, plain preaching it was. Then the very next year, the lecturer returned to "our" college lectureship and preached again, without a charge of heart. He returned by invitation, too. If this isn't trying to build up a trend for support of colleges, what is it trying to build up? Only the blind cannot see! But even if this trend never materializes, there's danger in that red car parable yet. Let us take another look.

3. Suppose this individual who has a right to buy a red car, and who was refused money by the elders from the church treasury to pay for it says, all right, I'll pay for it myself. But I can't pay for my red car and build a garage too. So this red car owner asks the elders to let him "house" (garage) his car in the meetinghouse. I, for one, believe it is wrong to turn the meetinghouse which was built with "the Lord's money" for a place for worship, prayer, over to this man who brought the red car, to be used temporarily for a housing place for his car. Most of us will agree this is wrong. Why can we not also see it is wrong to use the meetinghouse, built with the Lord's money for church worship, praise, over to the college which this red car parable seems to represent? Quite a few do see such is wrong. What is the difference between taking money out of the church treasury to support a college, and allowing the college to be housed in a meetinghouse built with the Lord's money for a place of worship, prayer? But let's look at that red car parable again.

4. Suppose we allow the red car owner to house his red ear in the meetinghouse. (Remember this meetinghouse was built with the Lord's money, for worship services.) Then all at once the red car bursts out with uproarious piston clapping (slapping). Is such appropriate? Would it be tolerated? No, and a thousand times, no! This car seems to represent the college. Suppose, we after solemn Bible lessons, at the conclusion of some pleasing announcement the college audience bursts into UPROARIOUS hand clapping that can be heard far beyond its walls. Is this anymore appropriate than the piston clapping of the red car in the same place? Not to me it isn't. But I've got to get a "that" in this lesson.

That Rental Business

Does some one say, but brother Plum we are renting our meetinghouse to the college. Brethren, for more than forty years I have been preaching it was wrong for the church to go into the mercantile business, restaurant business, rental business (Individual Christians may enter these businesses. Certainly.) But the church, no! I have not been alone in this preaching either. Brethren expected such kind of preaching during all these years. If it was right then (AND IT WAS) it is still right. For the church to rent a meetinghouse to the college puts the church into the "rental" business. For the church to donate a building to the college puts the church into the college business. The church should neither be in the rental business or in the college business.

Brethren, we are trying to mix "church and college" like the Catholics are trying to mix "church and state". I plead with you, let the church be the church. Let the college be the college.

This article is not copyrighted. You may use it. I should have liked nothing better than to have submitted this article to my friend and brother who gave us "The Red Car Parable" in his editorial. But he is on written record, in his paper, to not treat the readers to this type of article. He has been pretty true to this policy since the appearing of a fine article not too long ago against 'Pressure Methods" of raising funds for a college, by another preacher who has been preaching over forty years.

It is sadly true, no matter how much you give to the church, no matter how well you obey 1 Timothy 5:8, 16, if you oppose mixing church and college, if you don't get on the college band-wagon, you are sort of an outcast. It used to was not so! How times have changed! God help us to be faithful a few more weeks, month, years.