Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 4, 1961
NUMBER 1, PAGE 8-9,14b

News And Views

Charles A. Holt, 4662 University, Wichita Falls, Texas

Notes About This And That

In this column, April 6, I was made to say, "Perhaps the poor attendance during meetings is the reason that the day of gospel meetings is over." This is a mistake on my part or that of the printer. It should have read, "Perhaps the poor attendance during meetings is the reason so many think the day of gospel meetings is over." I either left the phrase out in my copy or else the printer omitted it. In either case I do not believe what the statement was made to say. In spite of the poor attendance characteristic of so many meetings I do not believe the day of gospel meetings is over. Indeed I do not believe that such a time will ever come; for as long as time lasts and preaching is needed there will be a place for gospel meetings....I believe that gospel meetings are worth much and churches should have more of them — not fewer, and certainly it is a tragic mistake for churches to cut out this time-tested and time-proven method of reaching people with the truth. There is no doubt that we are confronted with much indifference concerning meetings, even on the part of members; but I can see but little more, if any at all, concern and work given, percentage wise, to any other effort of the church. Why stop meetings because of the poor attendance and indifference, when nearly all other efforts are treated the same way? What we need is to revive our zeal concerning meetings and really get to work to make them what they can and should be....COMMENDATION: I want to urge a very careful reading of an article by James A. Allen in the April 6 issue of the GG. It is an excellent article and if you skipped over it, go back and read it carefully. His article was called, "T. Fanning To A. Campbell." He says in an effective way so many things that I have wanted to suggest. He deals with the schools and colleges, and gives an appraisal of them in regard to their value and place. It was along this line that I wrote in this column last time.... Here is a statement from his article that gets at the heart of the matter:

"Good men and women have given fortunes to colleges under the impression that they were giving to the work of the church, when, as a simple matter of fact, the colleges cannot rightfullly have anything whatsoever to do with the work of the church

If this is true, and I believe that it is, then how can good men and women, who supposedly understand that colleges "cannot rightfully have anything whatsoever to do with the work of the church," give their fortunes (or the major part thereof) to such human institutions? Do we not sorta half-way seemingly think that when we give to a college (even FCC) that we are really laying up treasure in heaven as A. C. Pullias claims for gifts to DLC, and that actually we are helping the Cause of Christ? While so many preach loudly that the school is separate from the church; has no bearing on the church; is merely an adjunct to the home, and a purely secular human organization, do not we sometimes belie our preaching by our practice in urging brethren to give large or small gifts to such a college on the ground that the schools means so much to the Cause of Christ? Why has so much attention been given in recent weeks, even in church bulletins, to the urging of brethren to support FCC, if down-deep or in the back of the mind there is not the feeling that this school is an asset to the Cause of Christ? Not one time has any one urged such support on the basis that it is an adjunct to the home I Without saying so, and while denying it, there is still the feeling that the school benefits the church and that we need it l. ... Now I am well aware of the fact that my remarks along this line will likely be misunderstood by some and certainly misused by others, but I deem the matter of such serious importance that something needs to be said to cause even US to take a good look at the thing. I should be glad to hear from any who object to what I have mentioned; or from anyone who may care to set me "straight" on the matter....I want to close these remarks by giving some other quotations from brother Allen's article.

"The Christian religion exerts the influence that builds colleges, just like it exerts the influence that builds good roads, better homes, good shops, good businesses, and that builds for the betterment of the human race in every department of life. All improvements in the conditions under which we live are the result of preaching and teaching the gospel. But preaching and teaching the gospel is the work of the church, not of any human, secular organization. No human, secular organization can preach and teach the gospel as it should be done. To undertake to do a thing they are not fitted to do corrupt it and hinders it."

"Mr. Fanning says: 'Finally, it is possibly a misfortune that so many of our able brethren have given themselves to the work of building up schools for youth, instead of laboring in the school of Christ, and you, my venerable brother, must give me the liberty to say, that perhaps if you and I should not live to see the day, the time may not be far distant when myriads may have cause to regret that we have given so much of our time, talent and energy to institutions, certain, ly inferior to the church of God, and in some respects of doubtful religious tendencies."

"All acquainted with the facts know that the time did come when 'myriads' of the best men and women in the church did, and now do, bitterly regret it. Nothing that ever happened to the church ever kept so many preachers from giving themselves to preaching as the ambition to build up huge institutional 'schools for youth, instead of laboring in the school of Christ.' It is 'cause of regret' that great preachers, each of whom could lead thousands to Christ, and establish hundreds of congregations or schools of Christ, refuse to do so because they prefer to be on a college faculty."

Brethren, the above remarks are worthy of some very serious thought. I have one more word to add along this line. Today, even among those of us who are standing for the truth, we see dozens of young preachers and some not so young, who are ambitious to go on into higher educational attainments and earn the higher degrees offered.

Why? In order to make better preachers of the gospel? Who can believe that? Such training may, if properly used, help one be a better preacher of the Word, but even this is doubtful in most cases; but how many men are seeking such attainments merely for this reason? You could count them on one hand! We need to wake up to the simple fact that simply preaching the gospel and working in the "school of Christ" does not lead men to work so feverishly for these higher academic degrees; and having once earned them, they can not find (save only in a few cases) satisfactory outlet for them — they can not feel that such training is being properly utilized, unless they get on some college faculty. Why go to all the trouble and sacrifice to earn one of the things unless it is going to PROFIT the person, and simply being a gospel preacher is hardly ever enough. Some brethren seem to entertain the idea that they can more effectively do the work of a preacher and serve the Cause of Christ to a greater advantage as a college professor, even though they may only be teaching Spanish, history, physical education, or some other-wholly secular subject, than they can laboring in the "school of Christ" as a preacher. I am not talking about those who earn their living by teaching and are known as teachers (an honored and worthy profession which requires devotion and dedication), but I am talking about the idea that prevails that PREACHERS can more effectively serve the Cause of Christ by building up and perpetuating colleges, than simply laboring at the work of preaching. I simply do not believe it. I honor the man who earns his livelihood in secular employment, whether by teaching or otherwise, and yet gives himself to the work of preaching the gospel as fully and as best as he can. We need more of this kind! I have merely been trying to suggest that we need to properly evaluate some of the ideas and practices along this line.

A Desperate Need

Some ambitious preacher or church is missing a golden opportunity in failing to start and SPONSOR a "Dramatic School" to train and qualify personnel for the Herald of Truth. Just think of the possibilities that such a thing offers. Here is a chance for some church to be FIRST in a new endeavor — and who could oppose a church sponsoring a dramatic school to train young and old to be actors and actresses in order that they might be able to STAR in a role on the brotherhood movie — the Herald of Truth! Would this be training people how to be "religious actors?" Well, there are some of the brethren, and not a few sisters, who are already EXPERTS as "religious actors," but somehow I have never before thought of referring to them in that way. There is another term, just one word, which the Lord used in Matthew 23 several times, that seems more fitting in most cases.

Well, anyway, the "Search For Talent" is on, and it is time for someone to come to the rescue. Under the heading "Search For Talent," here is an article from the bulletin of the Burbank Gardens church in Grand Prairie Texas:

"Members of the church who are interested in speech or dramatic training are urgently needed to enact roles in the 'Herald of Truth' national television program that is being filmed in Dallas under the supervision of the Highland church of Christ in Abilene. Brother Robert Holton, for many years active in the movie and television industry in Hollywood, is in charge of training new talent from the congregations of this region.

"All expenses will be paid for those who can occasionally take a part in the program and contribute their time and talent to this effort to spread the gospel. Only members of the church appear on the program and ALL AGES are needed. Send your name age, address, phone number and small photo if you-- have one to: Robert Holton, Fidelity Film Productions,.... Dallas 11, Texas...."

If this mess does not disgust sensible people, who still have respect for the ancient order of things, then nothing could or would! It appears that Highland church is already in the "Dramatic School" business, and they have secured Holton to be "in charge of training talent from the congregations" of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Of course, all of this is "under the supervision of the Highland church of Christ (so they advertise themselves!) of Abilene." Well, if this is not a church running a "Dramatic school," then I confess that I would not know how to get one in the business. This church is in the movie business and through such mockery, sham, "religious acting," and pretense they think, and many deceived, gullible brethren think, that this is a "effort to spread the gospel."

I note too that "only members of the church appear on the program and ALL AGES are needed." In other words, members of the church are to play all the parts — sinners, gamblers, drunkards, false teachers, or whatever other part may be needed. Well, if talent is hard to find, I have some suggestions that I could make of some who are members of the church (to be sure!) who could play some of these parts in expert fashion — if they would only act out their normal life! Observe also that "All Ages" are needed. What does that mean? Does the church have members of "All ages?" What about children — are they ever used on the program, I mean in the movie? Are they looking for some children and babies who are members of the church to be trained in Highland's dramatic school for starring roles in the movie? I could not tell them of any children or babes physically, but I can name them some children and babes spiritually who could become real stars in this field; and some of them would be preachers!

Let me suggest this to Highland church: If they ever have any need for an experienced man to play the role of an "anti" (Herald of Truth movies and other such digressive things) then I want to volunteer for the role and they won't even have to pay my expenses, and I doubt that I will need to go through Highland's dramatic school to learn how to play it. I have had a little experience in this role. Really I doubt that Holton would be able to teach anyone anything about how to be "anti" anything whatever. Maybe I could get a job in the dramatic school teaching some "anti tactics" to the actors and actresses! There is one requirement, however, to my volunteering for the job in their movie where an "anti" is used, and that is, I must be allowed to write the script! And I am sure that I could do as good a job as James Walter Nichols, one of the "fathers" of this church-dividing and unscriptural set-up. In fact, I would want James Walter as my opposing "star." Really it would be more or less the debate we had several years ago in Franklin, Tennessee, relative to the Herald of Truth. I still have it on record and I really think that such a thing put in a movie and made available to all the brethren would do untold good for the Cause of truth. Or, we could have another debate for that matter. Of course, brother Harper would have to play his part as James Walter's chief advisor; well, that is, second to the greatest "actor" of them all — G. K. Wallace, who was Nichols' moderator. Did many of you know that Nichols tried his hand ONE TIME at defending this project he helped "father" and to which he gives so much time, talent and devotion? Well, he did. It was his FIRST and LAST TIME. Bennie Lee Fudge told one of the Highland elders several years ago, that he learned the Truth about the HOT being unscriptural from this debate, and that it was James Walter who taught him! Fudge heard every night of it, and he says that he can not see how any HONEST, THINKING person could keep from seeing the error of the thing just listening to Nichols try to defend it. I agree with Fudge about this. It is no wonder that these brethren have all decided that debates do their cause no good whatever, and they have withdrawn from all discussion of the scripturalness of such a thing. Frankly, I think that Nichols and Willeford are the two men who should have stepped forward to defend their project. Willeford could never be persuaded to try it and Nichols made only one effort.

Yes, it would be very nice to make a movie of this kind and I am very much interested in seeing it done. What about it, brethren?

* * *

We Thought We Had Heard Everything

Some of our brethren constantly amaze us. As we observe the innovations creeping into the church almost daily, we wonder if there is no stopping place; is there nothing too far-fetched for the "on-the-march" elders and congregations.

Things are fast coming to the point where it might well be said of some congregations: "Any similarity or resemblance to the true church of the Lord is purely accidental."

One of the more modern "churches of Christ" over in Levelland prompted these remarks. It seems that a few weeks ago the members began gathering for worship and were greeted by strange sounds as they entered the building. The sounds? THEY WERE HEARING MOOD MUSIC. That's the kind of music you hear in restaurants, dentist's offices, etc. Soft, soothing instrumental music. We congratulate those members who raised their voices in protest and were able to drown out the mood music. But for how long? —

— J. D. Tant, Portales Reflector, Portales, N. M.