"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.X No.VII Pg.13-14
July 1948

Using The Lord's Money

James W. Adams

Originality is not claimed for the challenging (?) title of this article. Due credit is herewith given to our friend and brother, E, W. McMillan, and attention is directed to his article by the same title in the Firm Foundation of July 13, 1948. Now, Brother McMillan is a nice man and quite able in discussing prayer, evangelism, Christian living, and some aspects of the worship, but he is definitely out of character in the field of polemics. One has but to read his article to appreciate the truth of the statement. The amazing thing is that he should venture, if timidly, into so controversial a realm as that invaded by his article. I dare say that he would not have done it but for the fact that he is a budding college president (Japanese work) and wants to pave the road into the budgets of the churches for his prospective school. There is one thing for which we are profoundly grateful, namely; that Brother McMillan is finally getting into a school. Some of his friends (?) have been reporting that a brother some time ago offered to endow a Bible chair in one of "our" colleges for him if Brother McMillan could get a school to accept him, but that none of "our" schools would acquiesce in this agreement. We are, therefore, happy that Brother McMillan now has the opportunity to head a school, so that such derogatory rumors might be killed, but we are unwilling for him to assume that he can dash off a few lines in the Firm Foundation and settle all matters connected with the issue relating to church support of the colleges.

Amusing Aspects Of The Article

One's first reaction to brother McMillan's article is amusement. In the first place, why did our brother wait until so late in the fray to present arms? The heat of the battle has abated. The missiles no longer fly. The smoke of combat has almost cleared away and the issue of the conflict determined when our brother comes tiptoeing across the field of battle with his pea shooter. Where were you, brother, while the conflict raged? Could it be that you were afraid you might be accidentally hit?

Another amusing thing about this article is the fact that our brother so skillfully constructed his little straw soldiers to slay with his demon peashooter. The very title of his article suggests a question that is wholly beside the point with reference to the issue involved. No informed person would argue with our brother concerning what is or is not the Lord's money. I do not recall that this expression ever was a point at issue on the part of those who oppose church support of the college. Where did brother McMillan get the idea that a fixed part of an individual's money is the Lord's and the rest his own, and that our opposition to the support of the college by the church is based upon such a theory? I am quite sure that no writer in the Bible Banner ever expressed such as the ground of the paper's fight against the practice. What an individual does or does not do is not the issue. The issue has to do with what a church may or may not do.

Why Does Brother Mcmillan Not Affirm The Practice He Endorses?

From his misleading title, our brother proceeds to a discussion of several negative arguments (?) on the church-college question that he has heard somewhere. Where he heard them I do not profess to know, but that they in any sense represent the Bible Banner's opposition to the church support of the college, I do deny most fervently. If Brother McMillan wanted to write on this issue, why did he write a rebuttal to negative arguments never offered by the leaders of the opposition to the practice in question? Why did he not write an article affirming that it is scriptural for churches to contribute to the support of the colleges from their treasuries? It is not too late for him to do so if he is ambitious to set all right on the question. Will he try it? We shall see.

"The Propaganda Spirit"

Brother McMillan accuses some who have written of being motivated by the "propaganda spirit." In other words, some are accused of being insincere and dishonest. Careful! Careful! and shame! shame! Someone will be sure to charge you with judging a brother's motives, and then to whom may we look for our lessons in the "ethical attitude in Christian journalism." Some of us will be forced to turn to the Gospel Broadcast yet. However, on second thought, Brother McMillan ought to have a good nose for propaganda inasmuch as he and his consort, one of the Davidson boys, became so familiar with its use in the promotion of the New Christian Leader several years ago. Remember?

Orphan Homes Again

Like others who have written on the subject, our brother wants to bring the orphan homes into the discussion. Like the little boy about to taste the hickory who says, "Tommy did it too." In injecting the orphan home into his article, Brother McMillan assumes two things: (1) He assumes that orphan homes and colleges are identical (like some of our other "illogicians" he thinks similarity proves identity); (2) He assumes that if one endorses the support of an orphan home from the church treasury, it is scriptural to support a college from the church treasury. If one could prove that colleges and orphan homes are identical, such would not prove that to contribute to an orphan home from the church treasury makes it scriptural to contribute in this manner to a college. It would only prove the inconsistency of the man who endorsed the one and condemned the other. An inconsistent practice on the part of men is poor evidence that any practice is scriptural. Surely, our brethren are hard pressed if they have no better than this to offer in defense of their practice of supporting the college from the treasury of the church.

Our Brother Asks Some Questions

With an air of "this is the crux of the whole matter," Brother McMillan poses some questions. He asks:

"Another thing-those Bible teachers who teach the Bible daily in our schools, are they, in their Bible teaching, doing the Lord's work? And whose money should support the Lord's work in Bible teaching—the individual's money or the Lord's money"?

May we ask brother McMillan a few questions? When Paul taught in the school of Tyrannus, was he doing the Lord's work? Did that obligate the church at Ephesus to make a contribution from its treasury to the school of Tyrannus? When Paul taught in the synagogue of the Jews, was he doing the Lord's work? Did that obligate the churches to contribute from their treasuries to the synagogues of the Jews? Your scribe preaches two months of the year on Sunday afternoons at the State Hospital in Terrell. In preaching the gospel there, is he doing the Lord's work? Does that obligate or even justify the church in contributing from its treasury to the support of that institution? In the answer to these questions, will be found the answer to our brother's question.

Brother McMillan raises another question. He asks:

"Inasmuch as Bible teaching is a work which the Lord requires; and inasmuch as the buildings for that teaching are admittedly a legitimate expense of the church as such; inasmuch furthermore, as daily chapel services in schools are worship periods designed for the spiritual welfare of those who attend, why should it be a sin to share the expenses out of a church treasury"?

Let us suggest a parallel for our brother's consideration. Inasmuch as preaching the gospel is a work which the Lord requires; and inasmuch as the support of preachers and the incidentals to that work are the legitimate expense of the church as such; inasmuch furthermore as the purpose of the missionary society is the spiritual welfare and eternal salvation of those whom it reaches, why should it be a sin to share the expenses of this work out of the treasury of the church?

Our brother makes another faux pas when he argues from "reciprocity." Does he really believe that the church is duty bound to make contributions from its treasury to the support of all institutions which directly or indirectly contribute to its welfare? When he answers this question, your scribe will be happy to deal with it.

The Touching Climax

In bringing his readers to a climax, Brother McMillan very touchingly takes them to the judgment, and rejoices that there all are convinced that they should have condoned the schools in the budgets of the churches and that they should have helped all of the schools raise the money that they are perennially in need of. Well, I am not a prophet like my brother, but judging from the past it might be that some will not be sorry that they did not get more money for the colleges. When we think of Bethany College, College of the Bible at Lexington, Johnson Bible College and others, we wonder.

Altogether, Brother McMillan made a noble effort in his article to placate the offended, excuse the offender, defend the schools in the budget, and plead for more money for the colleges. It is too bad that he did not succeed to any noticeable degree in any of his objectives. Honestly, brethren, Brother McMillan has his hands full in cleaning up and keeping clean the Japanese work without injecting himself into the church-college issue, but if he thinks he can settle the matter in favor of the college in the budget, we will be happy to see an article from him at an early date affirming unequivocally that it is scriptural for a church to support "our" colleges from its treasury. We await his pleasure.