Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 21, 1961
NUMBER 20, PAGE 3,10a

Christian Colleges Over State Schools

James A Allen, Nashville, Tennessee

Dear Brother Allen:

Please tell me, do you favor our Christian Colleges over our state schools? Should we abolish our Christian Colleges and let the state schools educate our children?

I have noticed that you carry advertisements of our Christian Colleges and have some fine lessons on the Church and Christian Living.

Yours fraternally,

(signed) Dr. R. E. Owens If you are right in calling certain schools our "Christian Colleges," our reply is, Yes, we favor anything that is "Christian" over all things. If the colleges are "Christian" Colleges, we do not favor anything over them, not

even the church. Any institution that is a "Christian" institution is a divine institution. The church itself cannot be anything more than a divine institution. If it is right, then, to denominate any college a "Christian" College we must "favor" it or be anti-Christian.

Everything that is "Christian" comes from the apostles. There can be no controversy here. All that is "Christian" is of divine origin and is a part of "the faith that was once for all delivered unto the saints" by the chosen, authorized spokesmen of Jesus Christ, "whom he named apostles." But no apostle ever started a college. They started congregations. They did not start anything else. They made the congregation the greatest school on earth. They laid down the curriculum of the Great Teacher in the congregation and set in order his way of teaching. No human institution is, or can be, in position to properly give the teaching and instruction that the apostles ordained that the congregation should give. The congregation is the greatest school on earth. There is none like it. It is the only divine school, the only Christian College. It is the only religious school or Bible School that can rightfully exist.

But the colleges you are erroneously calling "Christian Colleges" are certainly the best colleges to which parents may send their children. Parents have a fearful responsibility in choosing the school to which to send their children. It is a very grievous sin against children to send them to schools where they are under worldly or infidel teachers and where the environment and practices are sensual, worldly, licentious. There have been cases where I would not patronize either city, county or even state schools without calling on the proper authorities for a house cleaning. There have been conditions in what you are calling "Christian" colleges that needed rectifying, as everyone will agree. Would you call a college a "Christian College." where some of the teachers were modernists or premillennialists? The big universities, with their many millions, and their modernism and sensualism are not fit places to send anybody. Yet these are the cancerous, lactiferous institutions that have graduated and given degrees to the men who are running the "Christian Colleges." Are true Christian colleges dependent on such infidel colleges to qualify the men that run them? Such is the present set-up in some "Christian Colleges."

Many teachers in city, county and state schools are faithful Christians and are just as good teachers as any in "Christian Colleges." My mother was a teacher in the Nashville City Schools until her marriage. I do not know of a teacher in any of the "Christian" colleges that is or would have been in her class. Her father for many years was the Principal of one of the largest Nashville City Schools. H. S. Srygley, son of the lamented F. B. Srygley, was the Superintendent or the head of the City Schools of Nashville. Did this make the Nashville schools "Christian Schools?" Many of the city, county and state schools have true, faithful Christians teaching in them. Even a big university sometimes has a few Christians teaching in it. H. S. Lipscomb, who at one time was President of David Lipscomb College, later was Principal of one of the Nashville City Schools. What do they mean by the term, "Christian education," that is used so much for begging purposes? At the time brother Horace Lipscomb was Principal of a City School, he was an elder of the David Lipscomb College Church. Was he not as much a Christian while Principal of a City School as when he was President of David Lipscomb College?

Many of the schools have more or less Bible reading. What makes a "Christian School?" Because it is got up and run by preachers who had rather be on a college faculty than to give themselves to "the school of Christ," which is to devote themselves to preaching the gospel?!

The evil lies in wedding the colleges to the church. It is not the business of the church to run the college. Joining the school to the church was one of the early steps of the Great Apostasy from the teaching and practice of the apostles. The apostles made the congregation the school to teach the Christian religion. The only school the apostles started was the congregation. It is the Christian School. No human institution is.

We are not opposing schools, any kind of good schools. But what we are opposing is the Catholic invention of theological schools and the Catholic device of merging the school and the church. We only call attention to the fact that from this merger comes the professional clergy. We are simply pointing out from the Bible that this sort of thing did not come from the apostles, but that it came from Rome and that it is Romish from beginning to end. The apostles made the congregation the theological school, and the only theological school.

The purpose of schools is to serve patents in giving an academic education to their children. Of course, the teachers should be Christian men and women, as others are not fit to associate with youth. While the teachers should teach the Bible, as all Christians should, in their business and to all with whom they come in contact, still all agree that the school is not a religious institution, but that to make it a religious institution is sinful. To call a school a "Christian" school is to make it a religious institution. The congregation is the Christian School.

This is the whole issue and should be kept clear. All should favor schools, all kinds of schools, even business and technical schools. But they are purely secular institutions. They should keep off of the church and let the church strictly alone. They cannot do any of the work of the church. The teachers, being members of the church, as members of the church should exert a Christian influence on their pupils and on everyone else with whom they come in contact. But still the school is a human, secular institution and cannot infringe on the work that God has appointed the church to do. There can be no controversy over the schools until the schools move in on the church. This one thing is the single cause of all the controversy that has raged bitterly for these many years. And all agree that for the school to lay a hand on the church is sinful, and is pure Catholicism. And this should forever settle the school controversy. But the half-taught churches are easy prey and most of the schools, in their never-ending and quenchless thirst for money, seem so far not to have been able to resist the temptation.

We wish to very kindly submit that it is amazing that the churches should be so indifferent to their own welfare, and to the successful accomplishment of their own work, as to allow the colleges to exert such a tremendous influence over them. In a city of some thirty five or forty churches, it is a matter of peculiar significance that members of the faculty of the college are able to hold the office of "the minister" in most, if not all of the churches, especially the larger churches. A good salary from the church, and at the same time another good salary from the college, constitutes a really very fine bonanza and is quite the antitheses of the old apostolic way of preaching the gospel. The strange thing is that the church would be so blind to its own interest as to pay a man a good salary when it itself knows that he is spending the most of his time and talent working for another good salary somewhere else. If a man conducted his business in such a way, it would not take him long to go into bankruptcy. One of the evidences that the congregation is a divine institution is its continual survival despite the manhandling it receives from its friends. No human institution could stand up under such treatment.

The church can never measure up to the successful accomplishment of its great and wonderful work unless it concentrates upon it all of its energies and resources. It cannot allow any human institutions or organizations to bleed it white until it is too anemic, too impotent, to properly function. This is the issue and the only issue. No one opposes colleges, but everyone favors them, just like they favor any other legitimate and necessary secular enterprise. All anyone opposes is the colleges trying to be something that they are not. Let them be secular schools, giving boys and girls an education. And let the church be the School of Christ to teach the world the Christian religion.

As to the Apostolic Times publishing an advertisement for a college, when a college asks for such space, I know of no reason to refuse, if the advertisement is a proper one. We have a rather large circulation that affords a good advertising medium and I am glad to help the colleges in any rightful way. I gladly recommend that parents patronize them. They are great schools. I only point out that they have nothing whatsoever to do with the church. They are a secular business, designed to give young people an academic education. As long as they realize and recognize that they are merely human, secular institutions, and do not try to take over the work of the church, all Christians should not only patronize them, but render them any assistance possible.