Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 16, 1964
NUMBER 49, PAGE 4,11c

Congregational Subscriptions


We have lately had some inquiries about the cost of sending the Gospel Guardian to every family in a congregation. It seems with the renewed drive now getting under way to get the "schools in the church budgets," and the increasing speed of new departures from the simplicity of the New Testament pattern, a number of brethren are becoming more concerned about the necessity of teaching every family and every individual Christian concerning "THE ISSUES AND PROBLEMS OF THE DAY." It is not enough that a few strong Christians be present in the congregation, brethren who are well informed and able always to meet the specious arguments and reasonings that are advanced; unless the general membership be taught and informed there is very real danger that the liberalists will be able to stir up prejudice, animosity, and tensions to the point of dividing nearly any church. It has happened over and over again these past few years. The cities and towns in our nation can be counted not by the scores but by the hundreds where a few faithful and well taught Christians have been driven out of the church houses (which they had often sacrificed to build), and have been told that they are not welcome unless they are willing to accept and remain quiet about the "idols" of benevolent societies and evangelistic cooperatives which are being promoted.

The remedy for this tragic situation, of course, is in teaching. There must be a constant and unremitting effort to teach (indoctrinate!) the membership of the churches. We mean they must be indoctrinated on "the issues and problems of the day." Brethren must be taught that churches are not being divided over whether it is right to help orphans are not; but are being divided over the building and support of church benevolent organizations and societies. Churches are not dividing over the rightness or wrongness of preaching the gospel over the radio or on television. We have yet to hear any Christian who considers such to be wrong; but churches are being divided by the promotions of evangelistic cooperative associations and societies which violate fundamental New Testament teaching. Congregations will not divide over whether or not it is right to teach Bible classes in secular colleges; but they will divide (and that in great number) when brethren begin to promote and solicit and encourage church contributions to secular colleges.

Religious Journals

While all these questions should be dealt with firmly and fully from the pulpit, it is certainly true that much much more teaching is called for than would be either wise or possible from weekly pulpit preaching alone. And there are many other sorely needed teachings which should be given from the pulpit. The so-called "issues and problems of the day" (benevolence societies, federated cooperative organizations for evangelism, and church support of secular educational institutions) are certainly not the only problems before us! Far from it.

We have reason to believe that increasing consideration is being given by thoughtful elders in a number of churches as to the possibilities and potentialities in sending a weekly journal to every family in the congregation. In a well written journal, carefully edited, there will be a weekly renewal and reminder to every family, and in such form as to permit close, thoughtful, and meditative study of a wide variety of topics — topics both controversial and inspirational. There will be basic articles of first principles which strengthen and "root" the Christian in the faith; there will be articles of information and inspiration; there will be articles that move to deep sacrifice and service.

In short, a well prepared and carefully edited weekly religious journal coming to every family in the congregation will strengthen any church! It will pay great dividends in increased devotion, more faithful adherence to principles of truth and righteousness, a deeper concern for the welfare of the church, and for the salvation of the lost. An informed membership is the only sure way to prevent church division and congregational confusion. The weeping words of Hosea, "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge...." (4:6) have been found true in hundreds, if not thousands, of congregations through the years.

Congregational Literature

This method of teaching should not be a "one shot" operation. On the contrary a wise and thoughtful approach to the project will envisage the weekly religious journals as coming to every family on precisely the same basis as the regular distribution of booklets and quarterlies to the students of the Bible Schools! And the cost of such a project will ordinarily be appreciably less than the cost of the Bible School literature. For one subscription will suffice for each family, and will cost the congregation only $2.00 per year; whereas in a family of four, for instance, each member of the family will ordinarily have an individual booklet or quarterly (or annual), and the cost to the congregation for supplying this literature may run as much as six or eight dollars per year to this same family.

And just as the religious literature for the Bible School is a continuing project (not for one year only), so also should be the weekly religious journal coming to every family in the church.

We urge brethren everywhere to consider the possibilities here. To help make this constructive work possible, the Gospel Guardian will cut the subscription price exactly in HALF ($2.00 per year), for any congregation wishing to send this journal to all the families on your church roll. Furthermore, and as an additional encouragement, these subscriptions can be paid for on a monthly basis. Only TEN DOLLARS PER MONTH will send the paper to SIXTY families — or an average congregation of 100 to 150 members.

Brethren, think this over!