Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 30, 1961

"Forty-Third Annual Bible Lectureship"

Roy L. Foutz, Greenville, Texas

This is the heading of the official program of the lectureship which was conducted at Abilene Christian College, February 19-23, 1961. This is the largest annual gathering of members of the church, and is presented by the biggest college operated by the brethren. It is a "big" affair.

In years past, it was truly a Bible lectureship, in which gospel preachers sounded out the word of truth on all subjects. Round-table discussions were held, even on controversial matters, and all who attended were edified by hearing sound doctrine.

In more recent years, especially since Dr. J. D. Thomas was appointed lectureship director, many changes have been made, until now there is little resemblance to the past. Carefully picked speakers, who will not oppose anything the churches and colleges are doing, present material that has already been submitted and put into book form. "Missionaries" who are known to favor "sponsoring church" evangelism give reports of the work in various parts of the world. No church or individual except those who are "on the march" is given an opportunity to be heard in this "great" gathering.

Another addition is on the promotional level. Exhibits of every kind are on display in several places, including the "Exhibit Center Tent." Summer camps, "Bible" chairs, homes for children and aged, publishing houses, book sellers, colleges, and congregations are allowed to sell their wares and promotions to the brethren in an atmosphere that has all the marks of a country fair.

There are also daily classes during the lectureship, and the material for study is outlined in the program. Most of the subjects are good, but many of them seem quite out of place in a Bible lectureship. Here are some of them: "How To Conduct A Church Nursery" — "Conducting Bible Encampments" — "The Work Of The Bible Chair" — "The Work Of Departmental Supervisors" — "How To Build And Operate A Christian Youth Center" — "The Legal Affairs Of The Church And The Christian" — "The Psychology Of The Young Child" — "The Bible As Literature" — "Building And Administering A Church Library" — and "Christian Counseling."

I wonder what part of the Bible was used to enlighten people on these subjects? What "chapter and verse" were used in discussing church nurseries, encampments, youth centers, legal problems, etc. The Lord has revealed unto us "all things that pertain unto life and godliness" but nowhere in His word has He given us instructions concerning these "vital" themes discussed in Abilene recently.

A new feature of the lectureship this year was "The Biblical Forum." Some of the topics for discussion were; "The Validation Of Theories In the Philosophy Of Science" — "The Textual Base Of The R. S. V. New Testament" — "Valentinian Gnosticism" — and "The Declaration And Address Of Thomas Campbell." I am sure that people who heard these lectures learned many things, but I am also sure that it did not help them' to be "thoroughly furnished unto every good work" for the scriptures alone are designed to do that.

It seems that all who claim to be New Testament Christians would be ready and anxious, to renounce such liberalism and social-gospel attitudes as evidenced in this "Bible" lectureship. Many have done so and others are beginning to see the error of such things, but the tragedy is that a great number of people are being carried away at a faster pace by such innovations. Let all who will continue to cry out against all such practices which are bringing the church of our Lord into further digression.