Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 2, 1950

Where Did They Originate?

L. L. Freeman, Lazbuddie, Texas

The schools that are spoken of as "our schools", where did they originate? Were schools, like the present schools of the brethren, in existence during the lifetime of the apostles? Are not the schools that are called Christian Colleges, in many respects "Theological Seminaries"? Are not these schools the places where preachers are made "doctors", or where the desire is created? Do we have among us, today, those supposed to be Gospel preachers who are wearing the title, Dr.?

There is one thing certain, no evidence can be found in the word of God to indicate there was such a school in existence in the days of Christ, or the apostles. There is no authority for such a school in the word of God.

According to history, the first school of such like, or resemblance, is found in Alexandria, in Egypt, in the second century. This information is found in Mosheim's History. Alexander Campbell, commenting on the same, in the Christian Baptist, page 61 has this to say, "Mosheim, from the mass of evidence upon this subject to which he had access, satisfactorily shows that the first "theological seminary", established at Alexandria, in Egypt, in the second century, was the grave of primitive Christianity. Yes, it appears that the first school instituted for preparing Christian doctors was the fountain, the streams whereof polluted the great mass of Christian professors, and completed the establishment of a paganized Christianity in the room of the religion of the New Testament".

After Mr. Campbell gave to his readers, the reading found in Mosheim's History, pages 163,473 (in the edition he had), he had this to say: "Let the reader bear in mind that a high churchman unequivocally represents primitive Christianity as having been buried in the rubbish of Egyptian philosophy by the first doctors of divinity in the first theological seminary that ever existed in the christian church; and that many of those vanities, ceremonies, mysteries, and mammonian institutes are come down to our time, and inserted in our creeds. Christians, read your Bibles, and be admonished to explode from your religious faith and practice what you cannot find in the scriptures. The New Testament is the creed, discipline, and formula of Christianity. Most of the popular schemes and dogmas, and institutes are Egyptian, Babylonish, Roman."

So, we understand that if Mr. Campbell was correct, that the first theological seminary was the grave of primitive Christianity, also that it was responsible for the establishment of paganized Christianity in the room of the religion of the New Testament, and the doctors of divinity to take the place of gospel preachers. These are serious charges brought against the first theological school, and certainly seems to be true from the amount of evidence found.

Where did brethren get the idea of such schools in the restoration? Certainly they must have come from the camps of sectarians. Then the desire to be like their neighbors, and to walk in their own wisdom brought about such schools as Bethany college, established by Alexander Campbell. May we call your attention to some of the results of Bethany College? Probably before the death of Campbell, or very soon thereafter, teachers in the school began to teach false doctrine, and this installation was a source of corruption to primitive Christianity and continues to be so even today. It had brought into existence, or encouraged about all that the first school was charged with, and would have corrupted the church completely, had it not been for a few gospel preachers, who had the courage to use the Sword of the Spirit against its innovations. How many of "our schools" refuse to follow the Digressives?

Today, what do we have? "Our schools" trying to get their financial agents hands into the church treasury. Then, because some gospel preachers who love the church more than institutionalism, take the sword of the Spirit to these agents, and have them stand off like a milk pen calf which has been hit with a club, some one is ready to cry, 'You don't believe in Christian education.' Yes, we are the ones who do believe in Christian education! We just do not believe in letting a parasite, in the name of Christianity, fasten itself upon the church, and suck its life out.

The following statement is from the pen of G. K. Wallace, from an article in the Firm Foundation, January 24, 1950. "Let those of us who oppose taking money from the church treasury to support Christian education rally to it by individual support. If we do this there will be no need for brethren to even make a call to the churches. If we do this, no doubt we will save the schools from fasten themselves upon churches."

I am sorry to disagree with brother Wallace on this suggestion as the cure to keep schools out of the budget, or as he puts it, "fastening themselves upon the churches". I would suggest that a return to preaching the Gospel in its purity. This would take everything off the church that tries to fasten itself on, and would free the church of institutionalism without a pay off. Then, too, take more time and space to glorify Christ in, and through the church, and less time and space to exalt human institutions, which are the products of men.