Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 31, 1960
NUMBER 46, PAGE 1,14

Concerning Christian Schools Inc.

H. Osby Weaver, Dallas, Texas

Recently we received a brochure of "CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS INC." with the following question written across it: "Do you think this something good?" We have no way of knowing who sent the brochure and asked the question since it was unsigned, but the question is a proper one and needs to be given consideration.

All we know about this particular school venture stems from the brochure plus what we have seen in the daily papers. We are in favor of schools and believe that people should be constantly interested in improving themselves. This sentiment however is not a blanket endorsement of all schools and what they teach.

The first criticism which we have to offer is the misuse of the name "Christian." It seems to us that the use of the word should be confined to New Testament usage The word or name "Christian" is never used in the New Testament as an adjective but as a noun and applies exclusively to a saved person, yet brethren have tacked the name "Christian" onto everything from a summer playground to a soft-ball club. Such is an abuse and a misuse of the Name. Calling a school a "Christian School" is no more appropriate than calling the church "Christian Church." In fact the latter could more nearly be justified than the former, for the church does belong to Christ while schools do not. The truth is "Christian" applies to neither the church nor the schools.

The real objection to this sort of thing is not to the schools themselves, but to their receiving subsidies from the churches. We are told that "Christian Schools Inc." "will not be church-operated schools or parochial schools. They are being supported by individuals, through endowments and tuition..." (Dallas News, August 22nd.) We understand this to mean that they will not accept contributions from churches. If this be so, we can only hope that this practice will not soon be forgotten. But such schools usually start out of the church and wind up in it. Putting our reputation as a prophet at stake, we predict that this will be no exception. It is generally known that private schools cannot compete with tax-supported schools, at least financially. Constantly faced with a deficit, they are driven to accept support from whatever sources available, not excluding the churches. Furthermore, it would be interesting to know whether the decision to refuse support from the churches (if it is to be refused) was reached as a result of policy or principle. Just how many of those connected with "Christian Schools Inc." actually believe it to be unscriptural for churches to contribute to such schools? If they believe it to be wrong, since "We Be Brethren" they should make an effort to instruct certain ones at Abilene Christian College that favor it.

The above mentioned article in the Dallas News must have been strange reading to some. The article stated that the schools would be opened in "temporary quarters in Churches of Christ around the area... the 8-grade school will be in the Pleasant Grove Church of Christ." Then it was added that these schools "will not be church-operated schools but supported by individuals." Then the article concludes: "Locations of the other schools will be in the following churches: " then followed the list. Is it right for the churches to make a temporary contribution to the schools by providing housing facilities but wrong for them to make a regular and constant one? If providing housing facilities is not church-support, what would constitute such? No wonder the Dallas News in a former article called one of these school organizations an "Auxiliary of the Churches of Christ." We also wonder if the decision to refuse contributions from churches is a matter of policy for the present for the purpose of silencing opposition that might arise to such contributions? Could it be that when the project gets under way and has gained enough momentum to roll over any opposition that the present policy of "no church contributions" will be scrapped, a new one adopted, the objectors told to "jump in the lake", and churches pressured into subsidizing the schools? We are not impugning motives; we are just asking questions!

We are told that the schools "will not be church-operated schools" but are being "supported by individuals." It is good to see that some of our brethren with whom we disagree on other matters recognize the difference between the church and the individual and that what the individual does is not necessarily the church doing it, as is evidenced by their above statement.

To suggest that such schools are good began they wall in and hedge about our children to avoid contamination with the world seems to us to be drawing the line on the wrong class of sinners. The New Testament teaches that we are to withdraw from brethren that walk disorderly but suggest that to avoid contact with sinners in the world it would be necessary to go out of the world. Just when do the proponents of the above idea propose to orientate the children to the world in which they must live? Jesus was criticized for eating with publicans and sinners and answered his critics by saying, "They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." Contact must be made if the sick are to be healed. We could cite any number of instances in which young Christians converted their school maths by teaching them the gospel and living it before them. It never occurred to these young Christians that they were living in "a created vacuum of about 30 to 36 hours weekly in which Christ and the Bible are not even mentioned", according to the brochure of Christian Schools Inc., so they were going right along mentioning both and rejoicing to see their labors bear fruit. We should indeed be distressed to know that our homes had so miserably failed in implanting the Word in the hearts of our children that they could be thrust into such a vacuum for 30 to 36 hours a week and never mention Christ and the Bible. But what is even more distressing is to learn that we ourselves are "spiritually immature" inasmuch as we did not have a "guided program of adults providing educational facilities" such as "Christian Schools Inc." It is most depressing to learn that the church and the home, both divine institutions, are inadequate in providing the necessary training enabling one to "mature spiritually." Especially is this so seeing that they have the God-given responsibility to accomplish this end. But the brochure informs us that the child, "if he is to mature spiritually, must have a guided program from adults providing educational facilities which are compatible and consistent with Christian principles." So there you have it! The two divine institutions are sufficient to get the job done, so you must have one of human origin, operated by human wisdom to supplant the divine deficiencies! It is not a matter of choice or convenience; you MUST have it or else spiritual immaturity results. This is either a thoughtless statement made in a moment of excitement or it is an egotistical claim bordering on irreverence.

No, we are not opposed to schools that stay out of the church treasury and are willing to occupy the humble position as adjunct to the home, but they should not be exalted to a position of equality with the church. We do have some apprehension in regard to the need of such schools and the use of the great amount of money needed to operate them but would not oppose them on this basis seeing that this is a matter of personal judgment, and we could be wrong. It seems to us however, if all the money contemplated being spent on "Christian Schools Inc." were spent preaching the gospel in Dallas, we would have less heathen in the public schools to torment us.