Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 29, 1951

Slot Machine Religion

William I. Ivy, Levelland, Texas

In this modern age, one can, by dropping the correct change into a slot machine or automatic server, take out nearly anything from a cup of coffee to a suit of clothes. Automatic vending machines have just about eliminated the waiter or clerk from many fields.

The churches of Christ are developing very much the same system. We have orphan homes to care for orphan children; we have Christian schools to educate our children and teach them the Bible, also to produce preachers; we have missionary combinations to do our mission work for us. And we are getting some old folks' homes to take care of the aged for us.

Thus it would seem now that about the only thing left for the elders to do is to come together about the first of each year and work out a budget to support such a program. The congregation can meet and lay by in store on the first day of each week; the elders can meet once each month and decide how much money goes into each slot, and the work is done! Indeed, the elders are gradually being relieved even of this burden, for more and more the money is dropped into the collection plate already marked and designated for some particular slot or other.

Shifting Responsibility

I have before me as I write a little four page paper, "The Herald of Hope," published by the Gunter Home for the Aged. On the front page of this paper is a letter from a certain congregation which, along with the elders, leaves the name blank. I can't say that I blame them. I don't think I'd want my name on a letter like this either. But here is the letter:

Dear Brother Ramsey:

We have here a Sister __________who is a member of this congregation, and who has been a member of the Lord's church for 48 of her 66 years. Her children are every one dead, and also her husband. She has been a widow for 25 years, and for the past 14 years she has had only one leg and has had to go about the house on a crutch and in a wheel chair. For seven years she had to stay in the home for the unfortunate of ___________ County. Since she is a "widow indeed" as described by the New Testament, the elders here are confident that Sister deserves a place in the Home for the Aged at Gunter. Please make room for her. Let us hear from you soon.

Yours in Christ

________Church of Christ

"A Widow Indeed"

"Let none be enrolled as a widow under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, well reported of for good works; if she hath brought up children, if she hath used hospitality to strangers, if she hath washed the saints' feet, if she hath relieved the afflicted, if she hath diligently followed every good work." (I Tim. 5:9, 10)

The brethren of this BLANK church are to be commended for their reading of the New Testament to find out that Sister BLANK is a "widow indeed." If they had spent just a few minutes more in reading in that same chapter, they would have found out what to do (verse 16) with Sister BLANK. Here is what it says, "If any woman that believeth hath widows, let her relieve them, and let not the church be burdened; THAT IT MAY RELIEVE THEM THAT ARE WIDOWS INDEED.

Be honest, brethren of this BLANK church, is not your duty clear? Can you shift to some Home for the Aged, or any other centralized organization, your God-given responsibility to care for Sister BLANK? Do you think God will release you from responsibility because somebody else will provide a home?

Brethren, this "slot-machine" religion, by which we put money in the slot and let others take our responsibility for us, is not the religion of the New Testament.