"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.VIII No.IV Pg.12-16
May 1946

Concerning The College Controversy

In the present controversy over the sphere of the school, the college and the church, the colleges are again the aggressors. Every few years the issue is revived by colleges or representatives of the colleges. The controversy can be as easily stopped as it started—let the schools cease to infringe on the divine principle of the independence of the church from all human institutions, quit imposing the college on the church, and all will be well. In short, let the college stay in its place, and let the church alone. A leader in the campaign to put the colleges in the budgets of the churches is on record as saying that if it is not right to put the college in the budget, then he would join Daniel Sommer and be done with it. In other words, he will have the college in the budget or he will have no college at all! It is that "this way or no way" spirit that has always driven the wedges, forcing issues upon the churches, then blamed those who opposed their schemes for the division. It was true of the digressive movement that split the church. It has been true of the premillennial party "Boll movement" which says, "we will have our theories." So it is in the controversy with the colleges when their financial mouthpiece says, "we will have the college in the budget of the churches." With this announced attitude, the colleges can blame no one but themselves for the growing sentiment against them, because of the increasing opposition to their campaigns.

They alone are to be blamed for any division or alienation that may arise over the discussions.

We will be charged again with the crime of "attacking the colleges," with being anti-college, and with having a desire to destroy these institutions. But speaking for myself, I "attended one in early life, and have had my children in them at intervals through the years. The charge of being an enemy of the schools is too thin to be taken seriously by anybody who is informed enough to held a conversation on the subject. None of us in the controversy over the "college in the church budget" is opposed to colleges—we are simply opposed to the extremes to which they go, to the dangers we see in their practices, to their tendency toward ecclesiastical control, to their doctrinal weakness, and to their general departures. We are not alone in this. Some of the trustees of these institutions have admitted things that have been charged, recognized the conditions as they exist and have expressed themselves as desiring to perform the needed reforms. If all those in the high places were of the same mind, and others upon whom they have apparently depended for leadership, were of the same disposition, the institutions could hold the respect, confidence and support of a great many brethren who are now unalterably opposed to their practices.

The Church and the School

If education consists merely in the training of the intellect, we need have no concern for the establishment and maintenance of such colleges. But it is the keenly felt need of heart training that has brought the "Bible College" into existence. Education has its degrees; and, grammatically speaking, physical culture is the positive degree, intellectual culture is the comparative degree and moral culture is the superlative degree. Hence the demand for schools that will give emphasis to the moral above every other line of human development. The Bible being the greatest textbook of morals in the universe, it is but a matter of simple reason that it should be prescribed in the course of study by a school seeking to reach the heart, as well as the mind. Because the Bible has thus been adopted by such schools, they have been denominated "Bible colleges," while in fact, all other branches of learning found in all colleges of arts and sciences are also taught. But the name "Bible College" has confused the minds of many and become the occasion for the age-long discussion of the "relation of the school to the church."

It is generally agreed that the Bible teaches that the work of the church is twofold: First, evangelistic—pertaining to the spread of the gospel, the salvation of souls. Hence, the church is called "the pillar and ground of the truth." Second, benevolent—pertaining to the care of the poor and needy. The Bible further teaches that the church is all-sufficient to carry out these divine missions without the aid of human machinery. Any organization larger or smaller than the local congregation is an unscriptural organization through which to do the work that the church, as such, is commanded to do. It is agreed also that the missionary society would be auxiliary to the church, a human machine doing the work that God has commanded his church to do, and without argument here, is agreed to be unscriptural.

What, then of "Christian Colleges"? It, too, is an auxiliary, but not properly or scripturally, to the church. The mission of the home is to "train up a child in the way he should go," and it is the duty of parents to their children to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." But when the child reaches a certain school age, when it must pass from the home into the school, does the responsibility of the parent cease? Is it not still the serious duty of the parent to select the school where the influence of the home is continued? In this matter, then, the school simply takes the place of the home and the teacher assumes the responsibility of the parent. So the "Bible College," or the "Christian College," or whatever you may please to call it, is no more than an auxiliary to the home. It supplements the work of the home. Some who have not made proper discrimination have wrought confusion by associating such colleges with the work of the church. Others have, therefore, opposed it on the ground that it is a "church school," while others think it is wrong and sinful to teach the Bible in school. Of course, such a conclusion would drive the Bible from our homes and force the conclusion that it can be taught only in the meetinghouse on Sunday.

These principles are fundamental. The lines should be drawn clearly. The school being an auxiliary of the home, a privately owned and operated institution; it is not the business of the church to run it. The church is not in the school business. Appeals made to churches, in behalf of schools are wrong—fundamentally wrong—wrong in principle. Let the school stand where it belongs, apart from the church, as supplementary to the home. Let parents and individuals whose responsibility it is to educate their children, or any other individual interested in such, maintain them.

The Home and the School

Innovation in church work and worship has often found impetus in the erroneous ideas that whatever is proper in the home is permissible in church. On that fallacy some have sought to justify the use of instrumental music in the church. When Paul heard that the Corinthians had turned the Lord's Supper into a church dinner, he scathingly asked: "What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?" What would have been entirely proper in home life was not at all permissible in the church. The same principle will apply to the work of the church as well —is its worship.

To grant that the home is a divine institution does not warrant the conclusion that everything related to the home may have the same relation to the church. The state is also a divine institution. (Rom. 13.) Shall every auxiliary of the state be made agencies of the church?

The home and the church fill distinctly different spheres. One is the sphere of moral right and privilege; the other is the realm of scriptural authority. In the home, anything right, right in itself, is permissible; in the church, only what the New Testament authorizes, a "Thus saith the Lord." Christ is not only head of the church, but he is head over all things to the church. (Eph. 1:22, 23.)

Secular education is not the work of the church. But Christian men and women have the same right to conduct such schools as they have to engage in the mercantile business, farming, banking, publishing houses, or any other honorable business. They also have the right as individuals to teach the Bible in such schools as in any other sphere of individual life. Such schools should not derive their name from the Bible any more than from science, mathematics, philosophy, and other knowledge it imparts. In choosing the atmosphere in which to educate their children, it is not only the right of parents, but their duty, to choose schools in which the influence of the home will be continued. The teacher assumes the responsibility of the parents and the school supplements the work of the home. It furnishes no parallel for institutions and organizations which supplant the church.

Whatever the church, as such, is commanded to do can be done only through the church. And the only way to do anything through the church is to do it through the local church, which is the only organization known in the New Testament. The missionary society performs the functions of the church. It stands between the church and the work being done. Its organization supersedes and usurps the organization and work of the church. The missionary society, therefore, supplants-displaces -the local church.

But individuals have certain rights and privileges. Individuals may establish publishing houses to publish papers for those who subscribe to them or they may establish schools to educate those who patronize them. They do not have to bar the Bible and religion from such in order to have the right to operate them. But such endeavors thus conducted are private enterprises, and the individuals conducting them have no right to make their own enterprises adjuncts or agencies of the church.

If it is permissible to have a Bible college as an agency of the church in the work of education, it could not be denied with any consistency to have the missionary society as an agency of the church in the work of evangelization would also be permissible. But nothing is "permissible" as an auxiliary, adjunct or agency of the church which is not scriptural. And it is not scriptural for the church to delegate its work to boards and organizations other than the church. Institutions cannot be made mediums and agencies of the church, scripturally. The only way the church can scripturally do anything is through its local organization of elders and deacons—and that is the church at work.

Institutionalism has been a menace to congregational independence as taught in the New Testament. It has wrought havoc to the church in the past, and growing tendencies present hazards for the future. The truth of this has been seen by the more conservative element in the Christian (digressive) Church. They are trying to swing back. But while they are swinging back, in the same spirit of digression which led them away the leaders of these "movements" and "campaigns" are swinging away again, trying to sweep the church with them. The simplicity of the work and worship of the New Testament church needs re-emphasizing now in a very serious way.

Colleges, Societies and Companies

In an article that was featured in editorial space in the Gospel Advocate the president of one of the colleges defined the difference between the missionary- society and the college as being in the fact that the society controls preachers and the college does not. That is not the only objection I can raise to the missionary society. If they had no control over the preachers; if the churches selected the preachers and controlled the preachers, but operated through the organized society as an agency, I would still oppose the society. We oppose them on the ground of what they are as well as of what they do.

But does not the college control the preacher member of the faculty, and other faculty members, who teach the Bible in the school? Does the church engage them; are they in the employ of the church; and could the church dismiss them? They are, of course, employed by and subject to the college, and the church contributing to the college is doing its work through a college board as its agency. Moreover the church so doing would be giving to the support of an institution engaged in the main in a work chat is not even a part of the work of the church—namely, the teaching of arts and sciences, of sports and dramatics, and all that belongs to a college curriculum. If the church can support such activities, then our criticism of churches that have organized local church baseball and football teams, tennis games, and the like as churches, was all wrong. If it is right for the church to contribute to the institution engaged in. such secular work, then it would be right for the church itself to do so. If not, why not? Still further, the teaching of arts and sciences, dramatics and sports, et cetera, that the students enrolled in them may receive the various academic degrees, is the main work of the college, for it has always been insisted that the teacher on the faculty only exercises his personal, individual right to teach the Bible in the school as in any other business in which he may be engaged. Since the article mentioned cited the "Hardeman Hardware Company" at Henderson, Tennessee, as an example, the logical consequence of the comparison would be that it would be just as scriptural to put the Hardeman Hardware Company in the budget of the churches, on the ground that it is doing good (people working in it even teaching the Bible), as it is to put the "Freed-Hardeman College" in the budget of the church. If it is right to do the one, it is right to do the other, by their own illustration. The whole truth is that the colleges are privately owned and privately operated institutions, engaged in the education business, and churches are neither responsible for them nor obligated to them, and cannot scripturally support them.

"Christian Education an Adjunct to What?"

Comes now the representative of Abilene Christian College in an article given editorial space in Christian College, which was published also in the college bulletin, asking: "Christian Education Is Adjunct to What?" and he asserts that the colleges are not adjuncts of the church, in fact, the adjunct of nothing! Now, the heading of the article is a bit misleading "Christian education is an adjunct to what?" We are not discussing Christian education, as such, on this point—we are discussing the institution through which it is done; whether or not the institution is an adjunct or not. The college agent had as well try to prove that the missionary society as an institution is not an adjunct of anything by asking the question: "Gospel Preaching Is an Adjunct to What?" Well, any human institution that demands the church to have the gospel preached through it would be an adjunct to the church. It is the institution that is the adjunct, not, the education or the preaching in either case.

This representative thinks, in order for a thing to be an "adjunct—" of something else it must become "a vital part" of that other thing. He should have consulted the dictionary before he pulled that one so green. I suppose Webster would be an authority on the word "adjunct" and he says just the opposite of this brother's assertion. Here is his definition Adjunct, attending; consequent—something joined or added to another thing, but not essentially a part of it, a person joined to another in some duty or service; colleague; associate; in logic, a nonessential quality." Webster then refers to the word Adjoin as meaning, "to lie contiguous to; to be in contact with; to abut upon." Very well, just take your choice of the above definitions and we will prove that the church is being made an "adjunct" of the college by the campaigns now being conducted! The churches are certainly being called upon to "attend" to college affairs; to be "associated" in raising money, and therefore "colleagues" in and "joined" to them as the other person or party "in some duty or service." And if these calls from the college for "district meetings" of the churches to raise money for the college financial campaign do not cause the college "to be in contact with" the church, neither words nor actions have any significance. Webster says "contiguous" means "in actual contact; touching; adjoining"; and he says "adjunct" means contiguous. So when the church is in contact with, or touches, the work of the school it becomes contiguous to, an adjunct of the college.

It appears to the most of us that when the colleges call for district meetings of the churches, for the evident purpose of lining the churches up with and behind the schools, that they are "touching" the churches, "in actual contact with" and "lie contiguous to" and "abut upon" the churches. And when they turn right around and deny their activities with their evident and obvious aims and purposes, if they are not careful they will not only "lie contiguous to" but may lie some other way.

Our reaction to this effort of the financial wizard of Abilene Christian College to escape the fact that they are making the church an adjunct of the college is, that he may be a great financial campaigner, but he would not qualify for the English grammar department of the college, and he will do less harm to his cause if he will write fewer articles on the subject.

But if he or anyone else wishes still to quibble over what is or is not an "adjunct," it certainly cannot be denied that when the church puts the college in the budget, or in any way contributes to it as a church, the college becomes the agency through which the church is doing what is done. If and when the government makes a contribution to a certain project (another illustration used by the college representative) the government is certainly using that particular project as its agent in the thing done. Webster says that makes a thing an adjunct, but if the agent of A. C. C. thinks it does not, everybody else knows that it does make it an agency, and that word serves our purpose fully as well as the word adjunct. According to their idea of an adjunct, a missionary society would not be an adjunct—so we would ask if the missionary society is a scriptural agency through which the church may operate? If not, then we ask is a college board of trustees a scriptural agency through which the church may operate?

But again—if the representative of the college wishes to insist that the college is not an adjunct, not an auxiliary, to the home, to the church or to anything else, not even an agency, but something else altogether its own—then that removes it even farther from a thing that the church can scripturally support or put in its budget. Why put anything so completely outside the realm of the church into its budget? If the college is made an adjunct, auxiliary, or agency of the church, it is unscriptural; and if it is not such, then there can be no ground upon which to obligate the church to it, and to attempt to do so is both inconsistent and wrong.

Of course, anybody who is thinking in proper terms, without trying to justify an unlawful practice, knows that schools supplement the work of the home, and therefore, according to both Webster, common sense and ordinary intelligence, they are adjuncts, auxiliaries, supplements, agencies and mediums of the home—simply secular institutions through which parents may educate their children or in which individuals may educate themselves. The men and women employed by the college to teach school are simply engaged in a secular calling, as much so as, if they belonged to the faculty of any other college or university, and have the right as individuals to teach the Bible exactly as they would teach it at home or in any other personal way. Let the colleges keep this distinction and they will not be always embroiled in a fight that hurts them far more than it helps them. But as long as they persist in putting on these campaigns which involve the churches, we shall fight them to the last ditch; with the result that their losses in the good will of thousands of worthy brethren will far over balance all they may hope to gain by such campaigns. As the matter stands, the colleges are antagonizing many brethren, confusing many others and are doing irreparable harm to the Cause of Christ thereby.

Theory versus Practice

As an example, a very fine man of my acquaintance in the North has been brought up under the "Sommer influence." he has for years heard arguments pro and con. In his contacts with various brethren and preachers from the South and West, be was repeatedly assured that Sommer had misrepresented the "college brethren"; that none of us believe in annexing the colleges to the churches financially or otherwise, nor in taking money from church treasuries to support them. About this time Daniel Sommer came South and West, visited the colleges, returned North and stated that he had been assured by the college officials that such was the truth about the matter, whereupon he had modified his views on the college controversy. The brother here referred to, with many others, accepted that version and were rapidly ceasing to make an issue of the college question. But to Lo! hardly had this progress been made until agents of the colleges, partisans of the schools, and campaigners for money began to call upon the churches to put the colleges in their budgets. Debates were held in which attempts were made to justify churches supporting the colleges. This brother in confusion on the question felt that the brethren in the South and West had deceived them by their assurances, naturally thinking that these campaigners and debaters on the issue were representative of the churches on the question. After some further study of the matter, however, and talking with others of us over these questions, he was able to see the extremes of both the Sommer brethren and the "Church Budget" brethren, and expressed himself to me as now being able to charter his own course in the matter. Such has been the experience of many sincere people who have every right to feel that the colleges and their representatives have not dealt forthrightly with these issues. They have theoretically taught one thing but in fact have practiced another.

The College as a Machine

The point raised by Brother W. W. Otey is not to be overlooked in this matter-namely, the power that has through years been gained by these colleges. Therein lies the danger. Brother Otey wonders if they can be stopped. There is no doubt that the colleges, all combined, do have the power to dominate even the churches through their organization, influence, patronage, enrollment and thousands of members of the church who belong to the alumnus of the various schools, enthusiastic young people who are unable to discern the issue, and out and out zealots for the colleges honeycombing the churches. But machines, as powerful as they are, can be stopped—by the truth. Abraham Lincoln said, "Let the people know the truth and this country is safe." We say, Let the members of the church know the truth in these matters and the church can be safe. But not until then, and some of us are determined that the churches shall know the truth.

We sincerely hope and pray that the ciders of the churches may realize the divine mission of the church, and discern the error of these campaigns to make the colleges the agencies of the churches, and have the conviction and the courage to reject their demands. Human organizations and agencies supplant the church in fulfilling its divine mission. "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."

Doubtless now, because the college presidents have been answered and their statements challenged, they will retreat for a time to wait more favorable sentiment. Meanwhile their partisan followers will cry misrepresentation and charge that we have attacked the colleges. But ours is the defensive; theirs the offensive. The colleges and their representatives are the aggressors in this controversy, as in the years previous when the issue has repeatedly been revived, and when it became imperative, as now, that their aggression be repulsed. If their present extremes are tolerated further, or if the issue is compromised now, more serious extremes will follow in rapid succession, as has been ably pointed out by Brother Otey in articles that all lovers of the truth should appreciate. Then it will be too late.

Who are the enemies of the college, and who are its friends? Some of us believe that we who seek to correct their evils are the real friends of the schools. The real enemies of the colleges are those who so loudly profess to be their friends. It is the effort to affiliate church and school, by the budget system, that is driving away the patronage of many brethren whose influence and support they need. Thereby they become the worst enemies of the colleges. On the other hand, if the colleges would listen to reason and sincerely right their wrongs, they would receive the unanimous support of those individuals among the brethren who are interested in the causes espoused by the colleges. It is a case, therefore, of the friends of the colleges becoming their enemies, for as surely as these departures continue there will be a steady, determined and unrelenting opposition, and if the torch falls from the hand of one, it will never hit the ground, for the hand of another will bear it upward and forward. So help us God—they shall not pass! —F. E. W. Jr.