Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 20, 1949

Some Progress Is Being Made

Will M. Thompson

Since the battle began over the idea of putting the college in church budgets, two colleges among us have declared themselves as all schools should, viz.: "they will neither solicit nor receive contributions from any church".

These two schools are Florida Christian College at Tampa, Florida, and Central Christian College, now in the process of being established at Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The Boards and Presidents of these two schools should be commended by the entire brotherhood for their scriptural stand.

I wrote one of the first articles in the recent scrap against the practice of soliciting and receiving contributions from churches to support the schools. This article was printed in the Firm Foundation in April 1947. I received a letter of commendation for my article from the President of the Board of Abilene Christian College. He remarked in his letter that he was going to Abilene before the regular meeting of the Board in June and see if something could not be done. I suppose he went, but no report have I seen that anything was done to change the course that had been undertaken by the campaign managers at A. C. C. They have said nothing in print that I have seen which would indicate any change in their attitude in this matter.

From what I see in the papers, David Lipscomb College over at Nashville is highly in favor of taking money from church treasuries to support this human institution. It seems that with many it is "Get the money" any way you can. Scripturalness of method seems to be the least of their worries. The almost certain apostasy of the churches if this method is followed seems to bother them not at all.

The older men among us who are connected with the schools ought to have set the example for younger men and schools to follow. But it appears that the very opposite is the case. Florida Christian College and Central Christian College, with Brethren Cope and Wilson as presidents, have set the pattern. The godly men directing these schools think more of the church and the truth than they think of the dollar.

Sometimes men become so learned in worldly wisdom that they feel they are too big to admit to having made a mistake. It takes real manhood to confess one has erred; but men who love the Lord and his church are never too big to admit and confess their blunders. Such action is always to be commended.

The college has no more right to ask for or receive a contribution from the church than any gospel paper would have. Neither has the right. Actually, the gospel paper would probably be able to put up a better case for such contributions than would the school. But should we ever reach the place where the colleges control or own the leading papers among us, then indeed the church will be facing grave peril!

If all the churches would put the colleges in their budgets, what then? Merely having a contribution from the churches would not be enough; they would still not be satisfied. They would want more, and more, and more, increasing the pressure for greater contributions till the church would be so weakened and her treasury so depleted that she could never do the work God ordained she should do.

Any preacher who would raise his voice in protest against such would be boycotted. There is no question but that the colleges would oppose such a preacher wherever he might undertake to labor. It has been so among all the denominational colleges, and would be no different among us.

Some years ago because I endorsed the position taken by Bro. Showalter on the subject of "Commercialized Athletics" in the college, a certain elder of a certain church came to the town where I was preaching and tried to put the pressure on me. He went to one of the elders of the church I was working for, seeking to discredit me with that congregation. He was told that the elders and deacons stood 100 percent behind me and my preaching, and returned home without accomplishing his mission. This man had at least one, and perhaps two, of his family on the football team at the college. Personally, I'd rather parch goobers for a living than to crucify my convictions on any subject of vital importance when I know these convictions are founded on the word of God.

I'm not opposed to colleges if they will stay within their human sphere; but when they cross the line into the divine realm, I shall certainly lift my voice and use my pen in defense of the church. I am a long way from subscribing to the idea that the college is the only place to receive a "Christian education". I believe that many of the greatest preachers of the past received their Christian education without ever darkening the door of a college.

The church of the Lord progressed rapidly before there was ever a religious college on earth; and she would continue to go forward if every such school should cease to exist. The church is not dependent on any human institution on earth for her success. She can develop elders, teachers, preachers, deacons, and make Christian men and women of her members if every school among us should close her doors never to open again.