News And Views
This finds me in the midst of a meeting with the church in Dumas, Texas. The attendance for this meeting has been the best of any meeting in which I have had a part this year. Most of the members have consistently attended and the interest has been very high. This is a good, active, sound congregation of over 200 members. They have a dandy building and adequate classrooms for up to 500 people. S. L. Edwards is the faithful preacher here and he is now in his fourth year. He has done a fine job with this group, and the future of this work looks very bright. The congregation is at peace and they are working as they should. Dumas is a fine little city, located on the plains in the Panhandle of Texas. It is a joy to work with a church like this... The El Bethel church in Shelbyville, Tennessee, started with six active families and the membership at the present is 35. Since April 23, the beginning date of the church, three have been baptized, six restored and two identified with the church. On October 1, there were 56 present for the morning worship and 42 for the evening service. Guy McDaniels is the faithful evangelist with this church. Robert Jackson, of Nashville, was with this new church for a meeting in the latter part of October It is good to report on the beginning and location of new congregations which are standing for the truth. There are many people travelling over the country who desire to know where they can meet with a church that is sound. I should like to have information on more of these churches — new or old — in order that such information may be given to the readers of this paper. RECOMMENDED READING: James R. Cope, president of Florida Christian College, is the author of a little Bi-monthly bulletin entitled "Shake, Friend." It always has some very good reading in it. The September and October issue contained an excellent article: "Do You Know These Things About Communism?" This challenging and informative article should be read by every Christian and by every American. There is no doubt but that Communism poses the greatest threat there is to our way of life in America and to the teaching of the Bible in particular. We need to be informed concerning this growing menace; and we need to raise our voices in objection to it. If you do not receive "Shake, Friend," by all means write for it at once. It is free. Address: James R. Cope, Florida Christian College, Tampa 10, Florida.
Lubbock Christian College is now promoting a clever scheme to get money out of people. The scheme has its basis in an appeal to the pride or vain-glory of life. Knowing how prone and tempted people are to buy fame or even a moment of glory, they seek to catch the gullible and thereby enrich their coffers. They have the "bait" in their "Pay-for-A-Day" Plan. Only $170, which President Mattox tells us is the operating deficit for one day at LCC, will buy you a moment of glory and honor at LCC. This appeal to the vanity of men and women will likely produce financial results! All one needs to do is to pay the deficit ($170) for one day's operation at LCC and upon a day selected by the donor, LCC will "honor you on that day." For $170 you can be with them in chapel as their guest and at dinner in the College cafeteria with the students. Furthermore, "your name, or the one you select, will appear in our bulletin and on the 'Pay-For-A-Day' plaque in the College foyer." The day chosen by the donor may be a birthday, anniversary, a memorial, or a means of honoring someone dear to you.
So here is a way for one to buy the "center of the stage" for $170! This is a scheme that right thinking people will look upon with disgust. It's very appeal is in the same vein as that used by the "Confidence Racket" over and over again. It is a cheap trick and unworthy of support by any thinking person. Yet this is the kind of "racket" that is becoming more and more common among us as all the institutions and projects vie for the revenue of churches and individuals. The competition is getting rougher and only those with the cleverest and most appealing schemes will come out ahead in the race for finances!
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"Just A Piece Of Bread"
Not to be outdone in the bid for funds from churches and from individuals is the brotherhood missionary society — The Herald of Truth. Rest assured that the promoters of this unscriptural operation are in there working for all the revenue that they can get to pour into their big machine. And they are pretty good at the job. Their schemes and appeals show the result of planning and experience. They have been at the business now for several years and they are no longer restrained in any way by either the Scriptures or what brethren think. They are after the money to carry on their operation and they intend to get it! No doubt they spend thousands of dollars each year (probably enough to fully support several preachers) in order to "fleece" churches and individuals out of money.
Their latest scheme is a direct appeal to individuals over the nation. They can't get all they want from their appeals to churches and elders, hence, they are taking the matter directly to the individuals, thus by-passing the elders and churches, to solicit, beg, and badger revenue from individuals. The fact that this likely will result in robbing funds from local endeavors does not worry these ambitious men because they flatter themselves into thinking that they can do more with the money through their high-powered machine than can be accomplished through local efforts anyway. They have prepared a brochure with the picture of a little boy and girl, apparently in need, on the front cover. Underneath are the words "Just a piece of bread, Mister!" With what they hope is an emotional jolt and appeal they start their "spiel" for money. It reminds one of the host of radio preachers who beg, pray, plead and scheme for money from the radio audience. We are told of the death rate in your country and of the thousands who are dying without hearing the gospel. Then we are informed that "If God's people in America will provide the equivalent of only one piece of bread for all of the other citizens of our nation, there will be funds enough to carry the bread of life into every town and hamlet of this nation and into every nation under the sun!" Now there you are! Here is the solution to the entire problem of converting the world. All we need to do is to provide the money and The Herald of Truth will get the job done! The elders of the Highland church are so wrapped up in their project and so inflated with the imagined importance of the place they fancy they occupy, that they have no hesitancy at all in appealing to members of the church everywhere to send their money to "feed" their machine. Verily do they advocate the idea that money sent to them will do far more good than if given into the treasury of the congregation where the giver belongs. Can anyone doubt that they would gladly take all the revenue they can get, even to the robbing of funds from local endeavors, because they have flattered themselves into thinking that they can do more with the money through their high-powered machine than can be accomplished by other elders through local efforts?
To encourage support of their project, the elders of Highland church offer to send a "free beautiful 45 RPM recording" which "contains songs by the chorus heard each week on the Herald of Truth program. It also contains a short message by Batsell Barrett Baxter, one of the outstanding preachers of our time." So, if one will just sign up and subscribe to a weekly or monthly payment, he can have this recording. This is the prize offered to the victims who fall for this scheme.
If brethren do not recognize that this whole operation is unscriptural, and there is really no stopping place for such rackets, then there is no way to convince them for verily their "heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart ...."
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"The Herald of Truth program is unique in that it receives more free time than the entire program is costing." (From the brochure mentioned above.) Evidently the promoters of this project think this is something to brag about, when in reality it points up a sad fact of which they ought to be ashamed and all thinking brethren should be aware. The HOT is so insipid and soft in its watered-down, dramatic preaching that the truth really never gets through to the listening and viewing audiences. Especially is this true with reference to the TV series of dramatic performances they are putting out. If they were really putting out the unvarnished truth in plain and certain terms, as well as condemning error so it could be understood, there would be no free time, and we can be assured of that. In fact, it is doubtful there would be any time at all. Their TV show is just another form of entertainment on a high-class and high-moral level; hence, stations over the country will use such material to fill out their schedules and as public service features.
One of the advocates of the HOT television series recently was bragging about the fact that the Catholics and other denominations did not oppose the HOT. Well, just why should they do so? There is really nothing in these dramatic plays to which anyone could take exception regardless of who they are or what they believe. This kind of thing ought to help those who love the truth to wake up to the failure of the HOT in preaching the truth as it should be preached; and help them see that this kind of "religious entertainment" is hardly more than worthless.
"You Can't Argue With Success"
Two young salesmen were having lunch at the table next to mine. "I couldn't do it" one was saying, "but Bill gets away with it. And after all you can't argue with success."
I have heard this phrase a thousand times, but I have never heard its justification. Why can't you argue with success? There is no need to argue with failure. And failure does not want to argue; it just wants to be left alone. But success is too often brassy and argumentative, self-satisfied and superior about itself. The man who won't argue with success has already been corrupted without knowing it. It was the duty of decent Germans to argue with "the success" of the Nazi dictatorship. It was the duty of good people everywhere to argue with the success of all violence and fraud and greed and inhumanity. (And it is the duty of all Christians to argue and question every unscriptural practice both within and without the church regardless of its success in achieving its objective. — John S. Whitfield)
Success is the one thing in the world that must be questioned. Peace is impossible, and justice a mockery, unless we see the power is put where it belongs — in the hands of men who cherish wisdom and righteousness. Rather than being venerated, success must be carefully defined. It should include the whole man, in his spiritual and social life, and not just his capacity for taking, for impressing, for commanding. The truly successful man, by these rigorous standards is a rare and wonderful character. (Sydney J. Harris, in the September, 1961, issue of the Reader's Digest. I lifted the article from the Northern Light, bulletin of the church in Owen Sound, Canada, where John S. Whitfield is the preacher.)
Church Of Christ Bond
I am the recipient of an advertisement for "Church of Christ Bond." What is this, you ask? It is an "exclusively designed watermarked paper" — hold the writing paper up to the light and you can see a watermark — "Church of Christ Cotton Content Bond." I am invited to purchase this stationery so that the congregation can have letterheads which "will be more effective and will help focus attention upon the church." I do not know whether or not the people who are behind this are members of the church. But the idea sounds like the promotions of some liberal brethren. Imagine using the designation "Church of Christ" as a name of a "Cotton Content Bond!" Folks have misused the term Christian and labeled insurance companies, schools, benevolent institutions and other enterprises with such names as "Christian Indemnity Insurance Co." Imagine making a liability claim against the "Christian" insurance company! The Bible uses the term Christian as a designation for individual followers of Christ. The phrase "church of God" and the plural "churches of Christ" are used in the New Testament to show the relationship of the church to God or Christ. To use the term "Christian" or the phrase "Church of Christ" for secular or human endeavors is to make the same error for which the priests of Israel were condemned: ".... they have put no difference between the holy and profane." (Ezekiel 22:26) We must "teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean." (Ezekiel 44:23) — William Wallace, Poteau (Okla.) Pen Points.
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Airlines Ordered To Check Drunks
Washington (UPI) — The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) has announced a new anti-intoxication rule to keep drunks off airliners.
The regulation requires the airlines themselves to bar from their planes any person who "appears to be intoxicated."
NOTE: It doesn't make good sense for the airlines to provide alcohol for all their passengers and then refuse to haul them when they "appear to be intoxicated." The logical thing for the FAA would be to bar drinking alcohol — that which makes drunks in the air as well as on the ground. — Tom Byers, Lancaster, Texas.