Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 20, 1964

The Social Gospel --- Lubbock Style

Thomas G. O'neal

The following article appeared in the bulletin of the Broadway church in Lubbock, Texas, December 22, 1963, page 4:

Smithlawn Supports "Service Center"

Editor's Note: The following is a digest of an article which appeared in the Sunday edition, December 15, of the "Avalanche-Journal." Several congregations in the Lubbock area are helping to support this work,

Formal open house ceremonies were held Friday night for members of the Smithlawn Church of Christ which is providing the principal support for the "Service Center" at 1013 Main.

"We will work with state and other welfare agencies in order to 'fill a gap' in services heretofore available here," said Joe Toombs, Chairman of the Smithlawn welfare committee.

Joe B. Phillips, who is Chairman of Smithlawn home committee added, "Our aim is to get the church more directly involved in the purpose of helping and working with people."

Jack Bates is the Minister and an Elder of the Smithlawn Church. Other Elders are B. S. Lewis and W. J. Blair.

Family counseling services, aid to the downtrodden, counseling and help for juvenile delinquents and teenagers with problems, a home for unwed mothers, and other social services will be directed through the Main Street "Servic Center." A clinical psychologist and a trained social worker will be employed as soon as possible.

As an example of the work the center will do, interim financial aid might be given a destitute family which has not lived here long enough to qualify for aid from the City-County Welfare Unit.

Overnight lodging might be provided for a needy family passing through the area. An adoption service also is to be operated by the "Service Center." The organization will work with other agencies, too, in helping rehabilitate alcoholics.

The "Service Center" already has in operation a home for unwed mothers. This home is the only one of its kind, between Fort Worth and El Paso. Eventually it will be expanded to care for more than one hundred girls.

The basement of the "Service Center" building at 1013 Main Street has been converted into facilities for providing food and clothing for destitute individuals and families. A soup kitchen will be operated when needed. Doctors have volunteered for services for an out-patient clinic to be operated in the basement.

Complete files will be kept so that efforts of the "Service Center" can be coordinated with those welfare agencies and congregational programs. Toombs stated, "It is our feeling that by being of direct service to people who need help, the Church is fulfilling its true mission."

It is a sad day for the Lord's church when there are elders who do not know what the mission of the church is, or do not care when the Lord's body departs from her God-given mission. The above article suggests that there are several elders in the Lubbock area that are willing to turn the church into a glorified Red Cross organization. This is exactly what the Salvation Army and other materialistic groups have been doing for years. Now come men who are supposed to be elders, knowing what sound doctrine is, that evidence that they are willing to turn the church down the same road of a sectarian materialistic denomination.

This is an example of the social gospel in operation. There have been evidences from some of the larger liberal churches in the past that they at least were headed in the social gospel direction. This example is another step further down the social gospel road. Note that they admit that what they are engaged in are "social services" supported by "several congregations in the Lubbock area." Look at the list of things entirely social: (1) Family counseling services, (2) aid to the downtrodden, (3) help for juvenile delinquents and teenagers, (4) a home for unwed mothers, (5) a clinical psychologist, (6) a trained social worker, (7) a rehabilitation center for alcoholics, (8) an out-patient clinic, (9) a soup kitchen. Now what else is necessary to have a church engaged in the social gospel on a full fledged scale? All of these are designed for the here and now and all of them put together will not begin to prepare one soul for eternity. The church engaged in the social gospel will preach some gospel, weak and watered down to be sure, but the emphasis is on the social aspect of the gospel.

It should be pointed out that the Broadway church several years ago originated her own institutional orphan home with the elders of the church as the board of directors followed by her own Bible Chair and now comes more of the social gospel. Notice that one of the things they have is a clinic and time will tell how long it will be until they have a hospital and it will surely come.

That the concept of the church's mission is entirely materialistic, observe this statement: "It is our feeling that by being of direct service to people who need help, the Church is fulfilling its true mission." Think of it, brethren, rehabilitating an alcoholic, giving an unwed mother a home, and setting up a soup line necessitated the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross. Yet some preachers like brother Gus Nichols with others would have many believe the thing that is causing trouble in the church today is church support of orphan homes.

It is time that elders like those supporting this social gospel "service center" be set down and taught some real Bible lessons on what the church is and what her mission in the world is, yes, even by an old fashioned corn field preacher. By the way, what scripture would the elders in Lubbock give authorizing this social gospel or would they admit they are doing this without Bible authority?

— Jasper, Alabama