Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 25, 1961
NUMBER 4, PAGE 1,12-13a

Church Support Of Colleges

James A. Allen, Nashville, Tennessee

We copy the following from brother Earl Fly, Orlando, Florida, as published by brother Richard Weaver, in The Westvue Messenger, Murfreesboro, Tennessee:

Church Support Of Colleges

Earlier I pointed out some valid reasons why Christians could not support David Lipscomb College in Nashville, Tennessee. One reason was that the college endorses and accepts church contributions. I pointed out that there is absolutely no Bible authority for the church to contribute to any college. Yet the practice continues. The following is taken from the January 25, 1960, bulletin of the Charlotte Avenue church in Nashville:

"Next Sunday is the Day to invest in the future of God's children.

"The entire contribution next Sunday, the 'fifth Sunday' of January, will go to the cause of Christian education at David Lipscomb College.

"This special contribution was set aside by the elders of Charlotte Avenue on behalf of the college because it is felt that a sound Christian education for the boys and girls of today is necessary if the church is to grow and prosper in the years to come. (Emphasis mine - Earl Fly.)

"One objective of Lipscomb is to hold up Christ as the example to follow in every field of activity — in elementary schools, in high school, in college, as well as in later life.

"Christian Youth Is Worth The Cost"

This example by one of the more liberal churches no doubt will be followed by others. It has been evident for a long time that some brethren were determined to put the college in the church budgets. The idea was once fought out, or rather driven back until the people could be prepared in mind for it. It now is necessary to fight the battle all over again.

Notice that the elders gave this contribution because they felt "that a sound Christian necessary IF THE CHURCH IS TO GROW AND PROSPER IN THE YEARS TO COME." This makes the growth and prosperity of the church dependent upon a HUMAN INSTITUTION. It is a grave reflection upon the church and God's revealed word. The early churches grew and prospered WITHOUT the aid of HUMAN INSTITUTIONS!

Brethren, the battle line is clearly drawn. Preachers, elders, and others who endorse and support David Lipscomb College at the present time should either preach and write in defense of CHURCH contributions to colleges, or else withdraw support from DLC and oppose it. We are obligated to take a stand one way or the other, not privately but publicly, for this is a serious matter that involves the question of whether the Lord's money is MISUSED in appropriating it to a HUMAN institution for SECULAR work. Let us not compromise by remaining aloof and silent! Be not ashamed to speak!

There is something wrong when any one takes money from the divine institution and gives it to a man-started institution. Do they think the human institution is greater and more important than the divine institution? Do they think that the divine institution is dependent on the human institution for anything? Something must be wrong before any one can divert the money "laid by in store, upon the first day of the week" to a man-started institution. It is sinful to take the money of the church and give it to the college. Those who divert it, and those who receive it, must answer to God for it in the judgment It is not true that the college "is necessary if the church is to grow and prosper in the years to come." This would mean that the church is not complete and perfect, but is dependent on the college, which, certainly, is not true, or the apostles would have established colleges. There would be no college except for the church. There are no colleges where the church has not preached the gospel. Colleges are only one of the many blessings of the better life that results from the work of the church. Without the influence of the church over it, the college would be a curse to the world. Witness the great universities of Germany, with their world-wide fame, before World War I. Also witness the great scholars and schools of Greece and Rome in the first century of the Christian era. "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (I Cor. 1:21) The great, heavily endowed universities of our own country are permeated with infidelity, masquerading under "modernism" and "science," and make it a tragedy for fathers and mothers to permit their sons and daughters to sit at the feet of such teachers. Even Bethany College, started by A. Campbell, is today, and has been for many years, a menace to New Testament Christianity. All other colleges, as they become larger and more heavily endowed, will go the same downward way. No! Colleges are not the answer to the world's trouble.

Nor is it true that the colleges can give a sound Christian education to the boys and girls of today, or to any one else. Only the church can give any one a "Christian education." Teaching the word of God is the only thing that can give a "Christian education." God has ordained the church to teach his word. "To the intent that now unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God." (Eph. 3:10)

To organize and incorporate a college to teach the word of God is the same sort of sin as organizing and incorporating a missionary society to preach it. God, in his wisdom, appointed the church to teach his word, and only the church is "complete, furnished completely" to do it. Only the church "is the pillar and ground of the truth." While the Bible should be studied everywhere, by every one, only the church is "complete, furnished completely" to teach it. Its teaching is under the oversight of its elders, who see to it that all who speak, "speak as the oracles of God." If there are members of the church, "sound in the faith," "faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also," teaching in a college, they should teach the word of God to all with whom they come into contact. But the "Doctor," "Professor of Bible," conducting a "ministerial course" in a theological college is not a fit man to teach it. He needs to be taught.

No college is a "Christian College." A secular college, teaching grammar, mathematics, history, literature, arts and sciences, including instrumental music, cannot rightfully change itself into a religious institution and call itself a "Christian College" because it includes a daily Bible lesson. Business men have had Bible study periods for their employees. A certain Christian business man would stop his factory at a certain period and have a Bible lesson for his employees. If a Christian is running a factory, a farm, or a printing office, may he put himself above all other Christians in the same business by advertising his as a "Christian Factory," a "Christian Farm," or a "Christian Printing Office?" Certainly not! And certainly Christians should teach school, and they should teach the Bible to their patrons. Fathers and mothers would sin against their children to send them to school to infidels. But Christians teaching school cannot rightfully change that school into a religious institution, which is done when they call it a "Christian College," and beg the churches for money to pay teachers to teach secular subjects.

The church, the local congregation, is the only "Christian College" on earth. It is the School of Christ. Christ, the Great Teacher, is the Head of it, and he directs and controls it through his apostles. The things that he commanded his apostles to teach, and that they are now teaching through the Bible, as they did in person while alive, constitute its curriculum. The local congregation is the school in which Christians are trained and developed. It is the only school on earth that gives a "Christian education." It is, truly, the only "Christian College."

Nothing has so greatly hindered and retarded the growth of the church, and the establishment of new churches in new places, as has the "Christian College." It has taken more of the ablest and best preachers away from the work of the church than any other one thing. It is tragic, indeed, that so many preachers of the gospel are giving so much of their time and labors to building up colleges, instead of building up congregations. Do they think that it is greater and more important to establish a college than to establish a congregation? The ambition for the worldly honors, and for the money, attached to being on the faculty of a college draws them away from the infinitely greater and more important School of Christ. They speak many words for the college to one that they speak in the work of the church; they think more, and plan more, for the college than they do for the church; and they induce men and women to give millions of dollars to the college to the comparatively little or nothing they put into the work of the church. Their actions, speaking louder than their words, say that, with them, the college is the main thing. Such men are not giving their time and energies to preaching the gospel.

The union of church and college, like the union of church and state, is pure Catholicism. The apostles established churches, not colleges. They did not teach that the church is dependent on the college for any thing. They did not establish church-colleges, nor teach the church to support the college. With the Great Apostasy already well on its way came the establishment of the first college to teach religion, at Alexandria, Egypt, in the second century, which has been called "the grave of primitive Christianity." From that time until now no religious college has ever been an asset to the church, but, in every case, has always turned out to be a deadly liability. Such, in the nature of things, must always be, and will always be the case.

The influence that the "Christian College" has come to exert over the churches is so overwhelming that it has been said, "As goes the college, so go the churches." And why not? How soft and easy for the college to control the churches! It has members of its faculty installed as "the minister" of many of the largest and wealthiest churches; and from the combined exertion of all this pressure, joined with the prestige of its millions of dollars, the powerful influence of the college over the church becomes most obvious. Such a deadly thing certainly ought not so to be. The evil lies in the college ceasing to be a secular educational institution and changing itself into an ecclesiastical institution, calling itself a "Christian College," and moving in on the churches. This is the thing to which we are opposed. Certainly we do not oppose a college, as long as it remains a college, as it can only rightfully be. But when it becomes an ecclesiastical institution and moves in on the churches, the quickest way it can be liquidated is too slow.

Let us have a college that is a college, not a church-college; and let us have a church that is a church, and whose every member functions under the supervision of its own overseers and deacons, and that utilizes every iota of its resources in doing the work that God has ordained it to do.