Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 1, 1962
NUMBER 42, PAGE 8-9,13b

News And Views

Charles A. Holt, 4662 University, Wichita Falls, Texas

"Worried Willie, The Wayward Water-Cooler"

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following article, if that is what it should be called, under the above heading, appeared first (as far as I know) in the so-called Gospel Defender, published at Florence, Alabama. The piece has been widely circulated within the last few weeks by several other papers; such as, Boles Home News. Evidently this kind of drivel meets the fancy of loose and liberal thinkers; hence the reason for the extensive use of such as this. In the event that you have not already seen the piece, it is given here.)

A water cooler named Willie was situated in the foyer of the church building at a certain place, content and happy, feeling he was doing his job well. Then one day the preacher began making statements that troubled Willie.

He announced the Vacation Bible School and emphasized strongly that NO refreshments would be served because such was not the purpose of the VBS. All during the week of the school Willie felt terrible. Why? Because all the children REFRESHED themselves by drinking water. Willie reasoned that HE was guilty of serving refreshments to the children and to make it worse he had been purchased out of THE CHURCH TREASURY.

Another Sunday the preacher took his text on dish dinners in the basement of the meeting house. It seemed to Willie all during the sermon that the preacher did not know the difference between the church and the meeting house. What really worried Willie was the passage he quoted to attempt to prove his point. "What, have ye not houses to eat and drink in?" It seemed to Willie that if this passage made it sinful to EAT in the meeting house, it also made it sinful to DRINK in the meeting house. But the PREACHER was the first to the fount when amen was said. And sometimes before amen was said.

Then to top it all the preacher expounded the doctrine that it was sinful to take money from the treasury to feed a hungry non-Christian. Willie figured that if it was wrong to take money from the treasury to feed a hungry non-Christian, surely it would be just as wrong to take money from the treasury to give drink to a thirsty non-Christian. But Willie never noticed any guards around the water fount during gospel meeting time. IN FACT, the preacher always invited the non-Christian to drink just like the Christians. Strange preacher, thought Willie. Willie was RIGHT.

Willie also felt sorry for Henry the Heater, because if it were wrong to take money from the treasury to FEED the HUNGRY non-Christian, surely it was just as wrong to take money from the church treasury to KEEP WARM the COLD non-Christian during the services.

Then one day Willie quit worrying because he realized something. He realized by the actions of the preacher and others that when preachers ride a hobby horse down the path of ridiculous extreme they usually fall in the fatal ditch of fanaticism. Willie stopped worrying and went on about his business. — Wayne Emmons.

Why "Willie The Wayward Water-Cooler" Quit Worrying

(Editor's Note. The article presented below is given in response to the above piece of foolish reasoning. I suppose that it could be said that it is "answering a fool according to his folly"; at least, in a sense. It was written by A. A. Mclnroe, of Seminole, Texas. I lifted it from his bulletin. Read it carefully.)

One day the custodian left the basement door open and Henry the Heater had a perfect view of Willie the Water Cooler. At first glimpse Henry could see that Willie was very disturbed and worried. The following conversation ensued:

Henry: "Willie, why are you so worried?"

Willie: "Our preacher has said and done some things lately that really have me worried. You see, Henry, he wants a 'fellowship hall' in which to have banquets, parties and entertainments just like the denominational churches have. Some of the members have objected to the church engaging in the entertainment business with all the fanfare that goes with it, and to try to appease them he is telling them that Felix the Fellowship Hall, Beulah the Banquet and Rufus the Refreshments are all on a par with us. I know if I have any such unscriptural role in the Lord's work I should be kicked out in the alley. Henry do you think my role is on a par with that of Felix, Beulah and Rufus? I'm worried."

Henry: "The only way we can know what the Lord approves and disapproves is by reading his Word. The Lord has commanded the saints to assemble for the purpose of worshipping him (Heb. 10:25), also that all things be done decently and in order (1 Cor. 14:40). and our presence contributes to a more orderly service."

Willie: "But, Henry, our preacher is really stirred up, he says that a church kitchen is a must if we are to hold our people. He says people, both young and old need some fun, frolic and fellowship and the church ought to provide it."

Henry: "There are some preachers following closely in the steps of sectarian preachers. They act as though the gospel of Christ has lost its drawing power and needs propping up with a hamburger, ice cream or soda pop. When these preachers can't find any authority in the Bible for kitchens, banquets and other such tripe they try to place them on a par with the water cooler, heater, song books, or pews, in order to deceive people."

Willie: "I know that some of the other preachers don't agree with our preacher. He told us about some objecting to kitchens, ball games, recreation and outings, sponsored by the church. Our preacher got mad and called them 'moss-backs,' non-progressive' and said they were 'ANTI.' He also said one of those narrow preachers quoted the passage that says, What, have ye not houses to eat and drink in?' He told our preacher it was a sin to use the Lord's money to finance these things; and that there was no more authority in the Bible for them than for a swimming pool, skating rink or a bowling alley, church owned and operated."

Henry: "Willie, when the apostle Paul said, 'What, have ye not houses to eat and drink in,' he wasn't saying that it was a sin to eat in the church building. If so, it would be a sin to eat the Lord's Supper. Also, the mother would sin when she fed her baby. Paul was teaching Christians that to turn the Lord's services into a merry-making feast was a sin. And when people assembled for the expressed purpose of worshipping God, and the main attraction is the fellowship hall and the banquet table, even though it is prefaced by a 'short devotional,' it is an abomination in the sight of God. What scripture did the preacher give for kitchens, banquets and the like?"

Willie: "Well, come to think of it he never offered a single passage. He just said it was a good work because he could get a lot of people to attend that he couldn't otherwise, but he just never referred to a single instance where Peter or Paul advocated a kitchen. He did say that 'the Bible doesn't say NOT to do it." Oh yes, our preacher said some of those ANTI preachers were saying that the church has no authority to take the Lord's money and feed the Non-Christian. He acted as though he thought they were awful, but he must have forgotten to give the scripture that authorizes it. Can you tell me where it is?"

Henry: "I am afraid I will have to disappoint you in this. If there is such passage I have never found it. There are numerous passages that teach that I am to help my fellow man, both Christian and Non-Christian, but if the Lord's money is to be used for anything except the spread of the gospel and the care of needy saints, again I must confess my ignorance of it. Willie, I believe you should stop worrying about the preacher placing you on a par with Betty, Felix and Rufus. If the brethren ever start having Water Fountain Society, and advertise for 'cool cats to gather in the foyer around Willie the Water Cooler for some 'Christian fun, frolic and fellowship,' then you should start worrying about being on a par with them.

"I have decided when they gather around me in the basement, having invited all the members and their friends for a 'hot time in the old town tonight,' I will be worried about my role, too."

Willie: "Thanks a lot, Henry, I have stopped worrying about the role I have; I can see the difference. If I do any more worrying it will be about our preacher's blinded condition, as 'he rides his hobby horse down the path of ridiculous extremes' and into the pit of apostasy, taking the unsuspecting and untaught with him."

The Newbern Debate (Dec. 18-23, 1961)

'Twas the week before Christmas - Who chose such a date to be gathered to Newbern to hear a debate?

Only five days for shopping remains from this day;

And just how can one shop, see, when one is away?

My old stockings were left by the chimmey, unhung.

And the Christmas tree, purchased, on back porch was flung!

The beef we had butchered for Christmas day grub In the processing plant is — we've flubbed-the-a-dub!

So bewildered the eyes of my little boy, Mark That he must have been thinking, "He's raving mad! Stark!"

When my suitcase I grabbed and rushed out the door And for Newbern I came, for debates I adore!

Roy's brief and his charts he'd prepared with great care, In hopes that Guy N. Woods would surely be there.

And Guy did appear, and his place did he take, With helpers and books and projector — (opaque).

Said Guy, "This is done without scriptural taint!"

"No! No!", replied Roy with a capital AIN'T!

And thus it continued six days of one week:

"In loco parentis," "per se," and some Greek.

We were pleased as we left with a head full of knowledge;

And some thought this week worth a full year of college!

But please let us say, 'ere we break up these meetings, We've enjoyed the debate — and Holiday Greetings!

— E. L. Flannery, Lawrenceburg, Term.

(Prepared for and read during day services at Newbern, Tennessee, during the debate.)

Construction Costs Mount Church Now Functions As Community Center

(Editor Note: The following article originally appeared in the Houston Chronicle, and was written by Louis Cassels, United Press International. I have taken it from the bulletin of the church in Pasadena, Texas, which Luther Blackman edits. The observations in this article are quite enlightening and do show exactly the direction in which sectarian churches are headed. Of course, the liberal churches among us are but a step — if that much — behind them in this respect.)

Once upon a time, not so many years ago, a church was a simple, auditorium-like building used mainly for Sunday worship services....No more.

Today's typical church is a complex physical plant with educational, social and recreational facilities. It functions as a community center as well as a house of worship. It is likely to be in use every day and every evening.

One result of this trend is noted by the United States Department of Commerce in its monthly review of the building industry.

"Construction costs of religious buildings have soared in recent years," the department says. "The construction cost for many churches today approaches the $500,000 mark.

Fully Equipped

"Some Larger Churches Include Kitchens, Snack Bars, Craft And Game Rooms, Libraries And Rendezvous Rooms. Some Rendezvous Rooms Are Even Equipped With Hi-Fi, Television Sets, And Radios. Church Classrooms May Include Sewing Machines And Power Saws. Modern Lighting, Heating And Ventilating Equipment Also Contribute To Rising Costs."

It is extremely difficult, even in a well-heeled suburban congregation, to raise enough money for such a layout in a single building-fund campaign. So it is becoming customary to build church plants in installments.

The first unit usually, though not always, is the big auditorium with altar, pulpit and pews where worship services are conducted.

The next step (and in some suburban areas, it may be the first step) is to put up a separate wing or building for Sunday school classrooms. This "education building" quite often will contain a library, a lounge for small meetings and offices for the church staff.

Spacious Hall

Then comes the parish hall. It includes a spacious room which can be used for meetings, dinners and social events; a kitchen, that is equipped with all of the facilities for mass production of meals that you'd find in a first-class restaurant; and such additional facilities as youth rooms, choir rooms and craft shops as the budget will permit.

There has been a growing tendency lately for large churches to install bowling alleys, basketball courts and other sports facilities.

A Baptist church in St. Louis recently spent $750,000 for a three-story building which contains a complete gymnasium and skating rink, plus bowling alleys and ping-pong rooms.

A church in Jacksonville, Fla., has a baseball diamond, tennis courts, shuffleboard, a croquet court and a barbecue pit.

Many clergymen feel churches are completely justified in building such facilities. They say social and recreational trimmings attract young people (and adults) to the church. There, in the course of time, they may be led into what is presumably still the principal business of a church, namely, the worship of God.

Billion A Year

This argument apparently is convincing to the great majority of church members who put up, more or less willingly, the money necessary to finance church construction at the current rate of $1 billion a year.

Some thoughtful ministers and laymen are beginning to ask disturbing questions. They wonder, for example, whether a suburban congregation needs a bowling alley more than an inner-city mission needs a pastor.

Or whether the heavy demands that churches make on their members in their perennial building fund drives may have something to do with their inability to raise more than token sums for church colleges, foreign missions and overseas relief agencies.

A few extremists even have pointed out that Jesus of Nazareth was able to attract very sizable crowds without a skating rink or even an air-conditioned building.

All he offered was the living word of God.