Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 22, 1953
NUMBER 24, PAGE 10-11b

The College And The Bible

Wm. E. Wallace, Hickory, North Carolina

A persistent, energetic letter writer who has made sure the postman does not pass me up has challenged me to "put or have put in the Gospel Guardian this statement: The Bible teaches that human institutions established by Christians have a divine right (the authority of Jesus Christ) to teach the word of God." What the brother wants, I suspect, is another article concerning the teaching of the Bible in colleges. Being as he wants me to affirm that human institutions can rightfully teach Bible I reserve the right to put the statement into a logical proposition. A proposition must not be ambiguous or imperfect. I will word a pure affirmative categorical proposition that contains the judgment the brother wants me to defend. Here 'tis: The New Testament teaches that the word of God may be taught in, or by, secular human institutions established by Christians. Now I believe this proposition is logical and it contains the essential features of the issue the brother challenges me to discuss. Now I "have put" the gentleman's statement in the Gospel Guardian so I have met that part of the challenge. He does not state in so many words that he wants me to write about it but I infer that is what he wants. The brother no doubt admits that implication is a means in which truths are presented. I will use the implications of the New Testament to prove my proposition. But I must define the terms. I assume the readers understand what I mean by the terms "New Testament" and "Word of God." By "teaches" I mean that it either gives an implication from which we can infer, or an example which we can draw authority from. By human institutions I mean any private or public institution, commercial or noncommercial, benevolent or educational. "Established by Christians" is merely a phrase included in the proposition in order to cover the entire import of the brother's statement. I put no special importance or significance to whether or not the institution was established by Christians. By secular I mean non-religious.

The church of Christ was established in order that the souls of all men could be saved. The purpose of the church is primarily the saving of souls. The members of the church are taught to participate in the activity of saving souls in the following ways:

(1) Live godly lives thereby setting a good example. (Rom. 12:1-2) Godly living consists of:

Honouring all men

Loving the brotherhood (1 Peter 2:17)

Fearing God

Honouring the king

(2) Teach the word of God at every opportunity. (2 Tim. 2:4) Teaching God's word may be done by individuals in the following situations:

Church — Acts 11:26

Home — Eph. 6:4

Daily environment — Acts 5:42

Special classes or situations — 1 Cor. 11:5; Titus 2:3-5

Now we are especially interested in Christians teaching in their daily living or environment and in special classes or situations. That Christian individuals should teach and emphasize Christian living will be agreed upon by all concerned. But when, where and how shall they do it? We know what they must teach, and it is pretty plain when and where they shall teach: "In season, out of season." (1 Tim. 2:3) "At every opportunity." (Gal. 6:2) How shall they do this teaching, by what means? They must teach truth, at every opportunity and of course they must not be dishonest or deceptive. It matters not whether it be by person to person contact, person to group contact, speaking, writing, speeches in the park, in a business institution or in a college. It is left largely to the individual's discretion, ability, and to the arising of opportunities.

Peter wrote: "For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." Christian individuals are to indulge in well doing, but how they do the well doing is left entirely up to their discretion. Hence, if a Christian wants to stand on the bench in the park and efficiently teach God's word he may rightfully do so. If a Christian employer wants to set aside an hour or so during the day in his "human institution" for the purpose of teaching the Bible to his employees he has the right to do so. If he sees fit to employ a full time teacher to teach the employees there is nothing to prevent him from doing so. If a Christian wants to establish a college for the purpose of educating young folks he has the right to do so and as surely as the Christian employer can teach the Bible in his business the college man can teach the Bible in his business. That is Christian liberty, that is Christian good works. In all three situations the personnel involved in the teaching are subject to the discipline of the local congregation of which they are members if they teach false doctrine. Who can rightfully deny Christians the right to teach the Bible anywhere?

Now I am not writing in defense of all the policies of the "Bible colleges." I earnestly contend that they have been in error in some of their activities. I do not challenge their right to exist. I endorse them as schools where young people who seek higher education can be free from the atheistic and philosophical errors of other colleges. The prominent policy that I oppose is the attempts to get the churches to maintain them by contributing from their treasuries. The mistakes of the colleges have caused many brethren to go to the extreme in their criticism of them — even denying the right of a college to teach Bible. The true issues have been beclouded, bemuddled by fanatical, near sighted brethren whom I suspect ought to be attending one of the colleges.

A while back I baptized a young man out of the Lutheran denomination. The boy has grown in knowledge and truth. He wants to preach the gospel. I have encouraged him to do so. To preach the gospel he needs to be a good speaker. Where can he get the best training? In college. He needs to study foreign and ancient languages. Where can he get efficient tutoring? In college. He needs to study logic, hermeneutics, and above all he needs Christian companionship, fellowship, and Bible teaching. Well, I could send him to a university where he would be exposed to all the infidelity of modernism. But there are colleges owned and operated by Christians where he can get just about anything he could in any other school. Christian living is emphasized and the Bible taught by members of the church in the colleges owned and operated by members of the church of Christ. He would make a preacher anyway, but the college will have something to do with him making a better one. Well, what is the situation? A group of brethren have taken Paul's word for what it says and are doing good "unto all men especially unto them who are of the household of faith." (Gal. 6:10) — Christian liberty, doing good work. While giving the students a well rounded secular education which enables them to be efficient Christian individuals in society, to compete in every field of endeavor, they give them Christian love, companionship, and Bible teaching.

I regret that some of the brethren seem to be blind to the real issues and the enigma is that you can hardly remove fanaticism! Let the church be the church and do the work of the church. Let the college be the college and do the work of the college. Let the business institution be such and do its work. But let the church have influence in all institutions through its members exercising Christian liberty.