Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 8, 1962
NUMBER 39, PAGE 3,11b

And The End Is Not Yet!

A. Hugh Clark, Lubbock, Texas

My heart becomes as heavy as lead as I view the ominous clouds that hang dark and lowering over the future of the Lord's church upon the earth. But remembering the prophecies concerning the perpetuity and indestructibility of the kingdom, and that, as it was with fleshly Israel, so shall it be with spiritual Israel, there will always be a remnant. My fighting temperature climbs almost beyond the readings on my spiritual thermometer as I read and think upon how far afield the brethren have drifted, even in the comparatively short span of my life in the church and as a gospel preacher.

There lies before me now an article cut from a Houston newspaper under date of November 29, 1961. The caption of this article reads in letters half an inch tall, "SEMINARY FIRST OF ITS KIND IN U. S." And then in bold type we are told, "Church of Christ Plans Project Over Next Five to Ten Years." And the word seminary is not here used in its general sense. What is here intended is a genuine "Church of Christ THEOLOGICAL Seminary," — a professional preacher factory!

Those who are acquainted with the history of the churches of Christ in the City of Houston over the last twenty-five years, wouldn't need to be told that this movement stems from the liberal thinking and worldly minded Central church on Montrose Avenue, which is "sponsoring" the innovation. Moreover, the elders (?) of the Central church are the present Board of Directors of the Seminary.

Neither would anyone who is conversant with the history of the development of the present apostasy in the churches of Christ over the nation, the now well matured disposition of softness, compromise, liberalism and sectarianism, which for more than thirty years has been festering within the churches, and which NOW, never misses an opportunity to flout the Ancient Landmarks characteristic of the Restoration Movement and the plea which first was made; I say, neither is any such one surprised that the titular head of this most recent innovation is one E. W. (Eddie) McMillan.

His name among sound gospel preachers and brethren who either know or care for the truth of God, has been a synonym for just such softness and sectarianism as would make him the best prepared man in the brotherhood to head such a departure from the teaching of the New Testament.

In the year 1935, which mind you, was before the present doctrinal looseness in the church had, generally speaking, perceptibly developed, this same E. W. McMillan was, because of his doctrinal indefiniteness and softness in the pulpit, almost completely on the outside of further usefulness to the church. Realizing this, and under pressure of having to make a change of residence at that time, he came to this writer asking what he could do to gain again the confidence of the brethren, and to restore himself to a place of usefulness in the church.

The advice given him was, to complete the story, "Who you need to do first, is to forget yourself, and the personal, impression you are making upon the people, and to learn that a visible affection toward an excessive elegance of language, high-flown diction, rhythmic gesture, etc... are not exactly natural with you; and your effort to practice such becomes immediately obvious, and is distasteful to the average listener. Moreover, these things are not a help to plain gospel preaching anyway, but a hindrance! And second, if I were in your place, I would get out at Crossroads and Bug Tussle, get an appointment for a real gospel meeting, and then preach on Mark 16:16 one night and Acts 2:38 the next night." "Who knows" I said, "you might REALLY get to believing it again yourself, if you kept it up long enough!"

Now, these things are not related here out of jealousy, as some, especially of the younger set, will say; the man hadn't then, and certainly he has not now, anything I could either desire or need. Nor are they said, as others doubtless will say, to do him personal injury or harm; I have no desire to do that. They are said because they are the truth, in the first place, and then, in the second place, they illustrated the point I wish to make, which is how far the brethren have really drifted, in the years that have intervened between then and now! A man who had no standing then because of his softness and his tendencies toward a compromise of the truth, is now to head "The first Church of Christ Seminary in the Nation"; will teach preachers how and what to preach!

Gospel preachers spent the first seventy-five years after the Restoration fighting professionalism in the pulpit and opposing the denominational Theological Seminary, as the source of the professional preachers evil. And then, we have spent the last fifty years denying that some of the so-called Christian Colleges among us were, in reality, church institutions, Theological Seminaries, "preacher factories," as some have called them. And some of us have even opposed the departmentalization of the Bible and related studies in these schools, lest it should be a step in the direction of their becoming virtual seminaries.

Notwithstanding all of this, we are now unblushingly informed in bold headlines in the newspapers that churches of Christ are to have a full-fledged, openly advertised Theological Seminary in the largest City in the State of Texas.

All that is left now to say is, that we have been stupid self-deceivers all along when we tried to tell ourselves and others, that most of the colleges among us were not everything, to us, that the seminaries have been to the denominations; and further, that they have been maintained for the same reasons.

Do some colleges not now openly claim that had it not been for their preparation and training of the preachers, elders, Bible school teachers, etc., there would scarcely be a church of Christ anymore? And are they not now openly advertising "schools for elders" in which they are taught how to be elders? And are they not now advertising "special courses for preachers for the summer," in which the churches are asked to continue the support of the preacher while he attends these special courses, the end of which is better to prepare him to do his work as a preacher? What is this, if it is not the full-fledged work of the Theological Seminary? And further, what is it but the assumption of the very work of teaching, nurture and discipline which every local church is itself to do?

Nothing was said in the Houston article about how the Seminary was being financed at the present, or how it would be financed eventually. But who doesn't know that it is being financed out of the treasuries of the churches. And with this "seminary foot" in the door, claiming the support of the churches because it is a Theological Seminary and not just a Liberal Arts College, who is so dumb that he cannot see where this movement for the support of the Colleges and the Seminaries is headed!

But the worst evil that has stemmed from this College and Seminary movement among us has been the harvest of merely "Professional" preachers, who have found their way into the pulpits of the churches. Preachers who have chosen the "Profession" of preaching, just as others have chosen electrical engineering, medicine, etc., and with them it is just as much a means of making a livelihood. They have striven and they will continue to strive to please the brethren from whom their compensation comes, and to build a name for themselves among the people in general.

Organized religion, the popular denominations, in every city are built around the successful among these Doctors of Theology and it is presently little different among us. And the simple gospel preacher who has the uncompromising zeal of an Elijah or a Paul, and the artless directness of Jesus or John, as a good old sister in the church said to me not long ago, after listening to a Gospel Sermon both in length and content, "Belongs to a passing generation."