Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 21, 1963

Ohio Valley College's Intrusion

Weldon E. Warnock

The following letter was sent to a congregation in southern Ohio by Don Gardner, President of Ohio Valley College.

Dear brother _________________.

You will rejoice that Ohio Valley College is doing well. However, it is important that we keep Christians informed about the college personally.

Accordingly, I am presumptuous in asking for an opportunity to preach for you on Sunday, February 17, at your morning service. Following the services I like the privilege of giving a 10 minute report concerning the state of the college. The church would not need to pay me anything for coming.

I would like also very much to teach the High School class.

Your cooperation is urgently desired. When the elders have reached a decision please indicate their answer on the back of this letter and return in the enclosed envelope.

Sincerely, Don Gardner

If the foregoing letter does not indicate a desire to intrude and encroach upon a local congregation, I don't know what would. First of all, why does brother Gardner want to preach at the morning service? Couldn't he come and listen, and then request a few minutes to speak after the service? Or does he want to use the preaching period to get a few "licks" in for the college?

Also notice that he is very much interested in teaching the high school class. Why not the adults or the third or fourth graders? Why the high school class? The reason is obvious. He wants to try to influence them to come to Ohio Valley College. Hence, the period set aside by the church for the high school group to study the Bible, President Gardner wants to use to peddle the college.

It is about time that churches told the colleges to stay in their places and tend to their own affairs. The schools have no organic connection with the church and are to be kept separate and apart. A man might as well use the services of the church to promote his filling station, drug store, etc., as to use them to promote his school. All are human and individual enterprises. I presume that President Gardner sent letters similar to the preceding one to several congregations. How many of them will let him gradually tie the school in with the church, I don't know. If churches don't draw the line deep and wide now in the Ohio Valley, they will be unable to draw it in years to come. Such is also true elsewhere.

Schools have their place and can do a good work. Their place, however, isn't to evangelize, to make policies for the church or to pressure the church into line to suit the fancies of the schools. Their place is to offer a well balanced education to those who desire it. This involves physical, social, mental and spiritual development.

Some schools are doing a poor job in developing our young people spiritually. Many graduate with hardly an ounce of conviction. The schools teach them that there is nothing wrong with churches supporting or maintaining colleges, youth camps, human benevolent societies or for the church to engage in various forms of recreational and social activities. They turn them out with the idea that there is no pattern for many of our practices and that we don't need to have authority for everything we do. I can't endorse a school that propagates such, nor can I endorse a school that doesn't condemn such.

Bethany College was a big factor in corrupting churches less than a century ago and colleges today will do the same thing unless they remain in their place. Let the church function as God intended and let brethren operate their schools in their place.

— Lawrenceburg, Tenn.