Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 28, 1963

Spiritual Myopia

Bill Echols

It has been several years since I lived in that part of the country where the Lord's church is reputed to be strong in faith and number, and perhaps the situation there has changed. If, however, many changes have not taken place, it is still true that there are a great many churches that are smugly content with calling themselves "sound" because the preacher keeps telling them how sound and important they are to the Lord. Their soundness is based mostly on what they do not do — they don't go along with modernism, liberalism, and the social gospel, or any other of the evils in the churches around them, thus they are "sound."

Yet soundness is more than this. Soundness is also contingent on what is done. What most of the churches are not doing is preaching the word to the lost. True, they have hired someone to preach in their local meeting house every Lord's Day, and in their spiritual nearsightedness they think they have gone "into all the world." Many churches could and should be doing more than merely "keeping house for the Lord" and being content with their stand. Many could be supporting not only a man at home, but one or more in the field.

To show how myopic the brethren are, please consider these facts. After you have read these — be concerned. In the state of Maine there are 79 cities of over 1,000 population in which the church of Christ does not meet. The total population of these cities is 409,934. In Vermont there are 34 such cities with a combined population of 100,826. New Hampshire has 53 with 283,812; Rhode Island, 35 with 587,706; Delaware, 18 with 44,723; and Maryland, 96 with 632,506. I forbear giving the figures for the states with large populations as I do not have an adding machine to add up the long list of figures necessary. The large states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey present even greater fields. As long as these places go unevangelized, can we boast of our soundness?

Preachers, do you want to go where the word has never been rejected because it has never been preached? Are you tired of moving from one city to another where the word has been preached over and over? Are you tired of trying to round up the stray sheep only to have them drop into the complacency of the "cult of the comfortable?" Do you want to work hard to establish churches in the greatest needy area in the United States? Then, go east, young man, go east! Many men in the past have expressed interest in this area, but for some reasons never crossed the Mason-Dixon. Perhaps, as a brother in Maine said, they looked at the map and saw how far it was from grandma's house and decided to stay at home.

Elders, look to the Northeast. Plan to support a man in this field. The church that helps other places also grows at home. If you do not believe it, try it. You cannot out give God. Consider that the combined area of the states of Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and the six New England States is 180,350 square miles which is less than the area of Texas. At the same time there are 38,224,800 people in these states which is about four times the population of Texas. At the present time I know of several preachers interested in coming to the Northeast. They are qualified and willing — the one problem is lack of support. How long must we beg?

All Christians, especially young people in college, when you start your career, why not start it in an area where you can also benefit the cause of Christ by your presence, encouragement and talents? Most of the states in the Northeast offer rich rewards in every material field, but more especially in the spiritual.

Let me hear from some of you about the challenge of the East. Do not be discouraged by distance. Launch out into the deep.

— 169 Main Street, East Orange, N. J.