Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 4, 1958

Read It And File It

W. W. Otey, Winfield, Kansas

Brother Tant's editorial in the Gospel Guardian of October 16 is the finest analysis of the present situation, and forecast of future probabilities, that I have ever read. Read it again, and file it for future reference. The chief point of his editorial is that our institutional brethren will go on spending their money and time in building Bible colleges and a great variety of other institutions, supporting them from the church treasuries. This will inevitably cause a slowing up in the number of congregations they build. Meanwhile, those who continue to believe the New Testament order of things is best will continue to build churches — congregations. I am sure this is a correct analysis and forecast of the near future. That brings us right up to what I have for several years regarded as the most important and hardest question to resolve during the next twenty-five years: Where are the preachers to receive their education? The demand is about universal that a preacher must have a degree from some of the present colleges; otherwise he is not accepted at all. This is not theory. It is a situation that must be successfully met. If this problem is not met, matters will almost certainly go on as they did for some years in the last great apostasy.

In those years with a very few exceptions all who went to the Christian Church colleges came away as advocates of the innovations. I had personal knowledge of a large family, in the 1890's, six of whom went to a Christian Church college. The oldest married a digressive preacher; the next married a digressive wife and went the entire route of digression. The next two remained with the church of the Lord; but they were never very strong opposers of the innovations. The last two were perhaps never members of the church of Christ after graduating.

Now, again, where are the preachers of the future to receive their education? In the last apostasy I doubt if ten percent of the preachers who remained faithful to the truth, and who struggled so valiantly in rebuilding the shattered forces of the Lord, had ever seen the inside of any college. But men who knew the Bible were accepted as preachers, even though their English might have been faulty. But today it is different. It is generally thought now that a preacher should be as well educated as his hearers. I heartily agree with this idea. Will preachers who have been educated in state schools be accepted? I know some such who are well received. Whether this will be generally agreeable I do not know.

Do not let any one be so naive as to think all "our" colleges, with one or two exceptions, will not go to the limit to indoctrinate the students in their institutions with their own theories and opinions. I have letters from several young men in two of the colleges who inform me that the faculties are doing their utmost to suppress any questioning of the various institutions now turning out preachers almost in assembly-line fashion. One student was rebuked for having written an article which was published in the Gospel Guardian. In the former apostasy it happened over and over again that some faithful man, loyal to the truth, would at great personal sacrifice be able to establish a small congregation in some community.

He would then leave that place and go on to another field — only to learn that some Bible college student or graduate (of faculty members) had come along and turned the weak little congregation into a digressive church! Will this be repeated in future history? This question must be met and resolved. I have foreseen this difficulty for several years; but have waited till I thought it time to raise it for consideration. Brother Tant's editorial brought the situation squarely up to this hurdle, and stopped. Begin now just where he left off, and search for an answer to the question: Where are our preachers to receive their education? The future of the church is involved in the answer.