"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.IV No.III Pg.14-15
October 1941

One For The Antis To Anti

Ted W. Mcelroy

I am in possession of an official letter mailed out by the "anti" church of New Castle, Indiana. It seems to be a circular letter, and is being sent to "brethren" all over the U. S. A. and Canada, and its purpose is to "Advertise" something, that is called a Bible Reading. Since the letter or bulletin is a public statement from the church, it is altogether fitting and proper that I should write an article about it, if I want to. I am writing to show the inconsistencies, of the "anti-college" group. Brother Zerr, the Anti-preacher under consideration, I think is a representative man among them; he has worked some here in Colorado with this group, he figured in the Porter-Ketcherside Debate held at Ozark, Mo. in 1937, he is widely known among these "anti" folk, and the New Castle claims that it is his home congregation. With his long Public record of working among them it will be hard for the antis to disown Bro. Zerr, and what he and the New Castle church are doing. I am going to review and analyze their letter to show you just what the "antis" have "gone and done."

Beginning in the first Paragraph, we quote, "The Church of Christ, 304 North 14th. Street, New Castle, Indiana is sponsoring a Bible Reading of the entire Bible, on which a schedule is enclosed. The reading conducted by E. M. Zerr will start June 2, and close August 22, 1941." Of course no Christian would oppose a Bible Reading, but would encourage it as much as possible; however "Bible Reading" is a misnomer in this connection, it expresses the truth, but as Daniel Sommer probably would have said, "it is the truth; but not the whole truth." This thing called a Bible Reading is more than the name implies. Bible Reading limits the reading and study to one field, religion, and that as revealed in the Bible; but the Bible Reading under consideration is not so limited. I quote from the anti letter again, (paragraph 8) "In addition to the regular reading at night, it is planned to have a Vacation Bible School for the children of this community during the day. Bro. Zerr states that he is willing to give instruction in Public Speaking or anything else provided we have interest shown." No one would object to a "vacation Bible school" for the children, along with the one for grownups. But what else in addition, quote, "Bro. Zerr states that he is willing to give instruction in public speaking or anything else provided we have interest shown." Now that includes a great deal besides "Bible Reading." Note that he named "public speaking," which is a secular subject, and "anything else provided we have interest shown," now that "anything else" includes a lot that is secular-limited only by people's interest. "Any" branch of secular study that the people are "interested" in will be taught, according to the letter; the letter mentioned Bro. Zerr's qualifications in History and Greek, so I suppose that if there is "interest" these subjects will be taught most effectively.

Now let us pause and see what we have learned about the antis thus far. Note the following syllogisms based on the letter.

PROP. The New Castle "Bible Reading" is a Religio-Secular school—proof

  1. The "Bible Reading" has a religious activity, reading the Bible. (stated in letter)
  2. In addition it has secular teaching, "public speaking or anything else" (stated in letter)
  3. Therefore the "Bible Reading" is a religio-secular school.

PROP. The New Castle church is sponsoring and paying for a religio-secular school

  1. The "Bible Reading" is a religio-secular school. (proved above)
  2. The New Castle church is sponsoring and paying for the "Bible Reading" (stated in letter)
  3. Therefore the New Castle church is sponsoring and paying for a religio-secular school.


  1. Bro. Zerr is going to teach a Bible Reading, public speaking, and anything else provided there is interest shown, (stated in the letter)'.
  2. Bro. Zerr's work is sponsored and endorsed by the New Castle Church (stated in letter)
  3. Therefore the New Castle church is sponsoring a religio (Bible instruction)-secular (public speaking etc.) school.

The above propositions are proved fairly and squarely by the facts given in the letter from the New Castle church. Will they admit the force of the above conclusions? Will they repudiate the letter? Remember, it is an official letter with the names of the elders and deacons attached-(a deacon signed the letter, but the names of the other officials were typed at the close to show that it is official, with their consent and endorsement.) Where is the scripture that authorizes a church to sponsor and pay for a school, misnomer it a "Bible Reading," and teach secular subjects? I do not question their right to teach the Bible, that is granted; but where is the authority for these secular subjects that will be taught in "Addition" to the "Bible Reading?"

To farther show that these anti-brethren are inconsistent with themselves, I quote them again, (Paragraph 4 of the letter), "Now brethren of faithful congregations of the Church of Christ. We cry out against Bible Colleges, and contend to speak where the Bible speaks, and to be silent where it is silent, and teach and preach to give God the glory in the Church, Eph. 3:21." They say they are against colleges, and they are—from what I hear, but I want to ask a question: What is taught in Abilene Christian College (maybe that is another misnomer too, I won't argue with anyone on it) that is not offered in the New Castle Bible Reading? I contend that their words, "anything we have interest shown in," includes everything that is taught in Abilene, and then some. What is the difference between the New Castle school, and the Abilene school? I grant that there are some differences, but most of them favor Abilene. First the New Castle school is sponsored and paid for by the church while Abilene school is privately owned and is supported by those who patronize the privately owned business. This difference is in favor of Abilene. Sure I grant that some brethren at Abilene got out of line and begged the churches for money, but they had no right to; and faithful churches should have turned down their begging. Let Abilene make its own way in its business the best it can, it has no right to drain the church treasury: But it has as much right to ask the churches to sponsor and pay for the teaching of public speaking, as the New Castle church has to sponsor Bro. Zerr in the same work. I am going to state my position on the college questions at the conclusion of this article, and am not necessarily referring to my position here, but am pointing out the difference between the institutions; the one at New Castle and the one at Abilene.

The next thing I want to call your attention to is the purpose of the New Castle school. It is stated in the letter, I quote, (Paragraph 2) "preachers and drop in some time in this twelve weeks and receive help from Bro. Zerr." Sounds like the "antis" are "Setting their preacher incubator" at New Castle, at least if they donot intend to "hatch" new preachers, they intend to "hover" and help the ones already "hatched." To show farther that making preachers is at least one of their motives, I quote again (paragraph 4) "What are we doing to develop teachers and preachers of the true Gospel of Christ?" (next paragraph continues), "It is because this is a scriptural way to carry out this work that the church at New Castle is sponsoring this reading." This is set forth as the "Lord's plan," it is the way to make preachers and teachers. What is it? I have already proved that it is a religio-secular school sponsored by the church, and they contend it is the Lord's plan, I deny it. If it is the Lord's plan it is set forth in the Bible. I recognize that the Lord intends for the church to teach the Bible, I know scriptures to prove that point; but the scriptures I want, are those to prove that the church can sponsor the teaching of "public speaking or anything else," to develop preachers. When Bro. Zerr and the New Castle church produce the scripture that authorizes the religio-secular school "sponsored by the church" for "twelve weeks" in 1941; I will, by the same scripture, show that the church can sponsor the same kind of religio-secular school 52 weeks a year. I contend that there is not such scripture.

To farther show that the New Castle church is paying the bill, I quote (paragraph 5) "There is no tuition charged to any one. This is our part at the New Castle congregation." The cost of the teacher in this religio-secular school is borne by the church, but it is explained in the letter, that each student must pay for his room and board. Where is the scripture that tells the church to support a teacher to teach public speaking etc.; Even though he spends part of his time teaching the Bible? They contend that it is the Lord's plan, I deny it until the scripture is produced.

Other congregations and individuals are asked to help this school along, I quote, (Paragraph 5) "Brothers and Sisters or congregation what are you going to do? Are you going to send or help send some worthy young man or woman to this reading," (paragraph 6) "If any one reads this letter and wishes to help we appeal to you to write us at once. We will put the two parties, (the helper and the helped) in touch with each other so you may work directly, or you many work through us." (Who is the us? the Bible Reading or the Church). Now if that isn't an appeal to the church at large to support the New Castle school by sending (paying for their sent) some one to the school, I would not know how to make one. I agree that it is right for churches to support the teaching of the Bible anywhere they feel good will be accomplished, but I deny that a religio-secular school such as the one at New Castle or anywhere else has any claim on the church treasury. Book, chapter, and verse for your practice please.

Brother Zerr once made this statement of his position, and I agree with it entirely, "As long as the worship publicly is pure and the doctrine and practice of the church as a whole are scriptural and where the church as such does not support the college and other innovations, one should not refuse to worship with them on account of private opinions." That is my position in the words of Brother Zerr. But that puts Bro. Zerr and the New Castle congregation in an awkward situation. Here it is. Bro. Zerr contends that the church should not support the religio-secular "college," and that if it does one should refuse to worship with it. Now then I have proved by their own letter that the New Castle church is supporting a thing that is De-facto, though not in name, everything that the college is and more. It is a religio-secular school sponsored by the church and taught by Bro. Zerr. This puts Bro. Zerr in peculiar light with his sponsors. What do you reckon they will do? My guess is that they will close their eyes to their inconsistencies, and go right on with the school; they won't even try to send me a scripture that authorizes a religio-secular school sponsored by the church-they won't need one to satisfy themselves in the matter; but others will see the inconsistencies pointed out in this article.

I said I would state my position on the college question, I am going to do that briefly; and set forth to you the three possible positions on the question, two that are wrong, and the one that is true.

First, Some take the position that the church can erect and support religio-secular schools, and that the church should support the colleges where the Bible is being taught. This position is wrong and sinful, because it is an attempt to fasten the school as an institution upon the church that is unscriptural Col. 2:10; Eph. 3:21; Rev. 22:18-19.

Second, and this is my position. Christians have as much right to engage in the school business as then do the grocery business, and may teach the Bible in either occupation if they have opportunity. Note the proof:

  1. School teaching is an honest occupation, and Christians may engage in it.
  2. Christians are to teach the Bible as they have opportunity Gal. 6:10. 3. Therefore Christians have a right to engage in the school business and teach the Bible to their students. To say that my position is wrong on the college question you must either affirm, (1) that: it is wrong to follow the occupation of teaching school, or (2) that it is wrong for a Christian to teach the Bible along with his occupation; I doubt any one being willing to affirm either of the above statements, therefore must agree that my position is right.

Third, Some take the position that Christians cannot engage in the business of school teaching, and teach the Bible to the students without sinning; and that Christian parents cannot send their children to these teachers, and be loyal. This attitude and position is sinful creed-making. It legislates, what occupations a Christian may engage in. and under what circumstances a Christian may teach the Bible; such human tradition is sinful (Mt. 15:8-13).

The Bible teaches that the home is responsible for the education and training of the children (Eph. 6:4; Prov. 22:6). Parents do not do all the training; they send the children to the public schools and pay taxes for the support of these schools, none question but that this is right. When the children are ready for college, the parents should have the right to choose the school they think best suited to the needs of their children. They may send them to a state owned institution, or they may send them to a college owned and operated by a Christian, or to some other privately owned institution. The private institutions may be a little more expensive, or maybe it is a little less, the parents have a right to investigate about the relative costs and education offered, and choose the place they think best for their children. Schoools whether public or private are adjuncts of the home in training the children. I maintain that every father has the right to choose the school for his children to attend, and that he can patronize a privately owned institution (Owned by a member of the church or some other private individual or concern), or he can patronize the state owned institutions. For any group to legislate and make a church law, about the matter of which school parents must send their children to, is contrary to the scriptures; it puts them in the position of speak ing where God has not spoken, and making a law where God has made none.