Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 26, 1951

First Century Reports From Middle Judea -- 1951 Style

Jesse M. Kelley, Nashville, Tennessee

The churches of Christ of Judea were very fortunate a few weeks ago when the "All-Over-the-World-Broadcasting Company" extended an invitation to participate in the "Church of the World" program. This is a program dominated by the sects of our fair land, and indeed it was a surprise to "us" to be given an invitation to broadcast a program over such a wide network. Some of the brethren of "Middle Judea" were all a "dither" and feverishly began to make preparations for a program that would "show the world that 'we' are a very capable group." Invitations were sent to all the congregations in Jerusalem to take part in the program by encouraging their best singers to meet with all the other best singers in the auditorium of "Nob Hill" church and practice together regularly until the time of the broadcast. The question of the "most suitable preacher" for the occasion caused no small concern among the more prominent preachers and churches in Jerusalem. Finally however, Dr. Bartholomew, one of our very highly educated preachers in Jerusalem, was chosen. Immediately reports began to go out from Jerusalem to all the periodicals published by our brethren, not only in Judea, but unto the "uttermost parts" of our fair land. Brethren everywhere looked forward to the broadcast. The day finally arrived and the "Church of Christ" was "on the air." The singing was the very best. Finally Dr. Bartholomew was introduced and proceeded to preach a soul inspiring sermon on Universal Brotherhood and World Economics!

The church is taking great strides forward, especially in "Middle Judea."

The "Jerusalem Judean," a large daily newspaper of "Middle Judea" ran a very uplifting and inspiring series of "Pre-Easter" sermons by prominent Jerusalem "Laymen" this year. Among these were some very fine sermons submitted by some elders of the churches of Christ in Jerusalem, and was headed by Simon Peter, president of Mount Zion College here in Jerusalem. This is the first time that most of these men have taken so prominent a part in pre-Easter or Easter activities, and needless to say, it came as a very pleasant surprise to the Pharisees and Sadducees of "Middle Judea." They had heretofore looked on the church of the Lord as a group of narrow dogmatic individuals who thought they were the only ones preaching the truth. But now this is all changed! Some of the most prominent preachers and Laymen among the Pharisees praise very highly not only the "pre-Easter" sermons of these brethren, but their very fine and "commendable" attitude toward this great "Christian Festival." One was heard to remark, "Those people are finally coming around." Wonderful! The church is taking great strides forward, especially in "Middle Judea."

The "Jerusalem Banner," another large newspaper of Middle Judea recently brought Dr. Pomer Heel, the well-known "Denier of the Virgin Birth" to Jerusalem for a special religious lecture. In order that the lecture may be a success the paper thought it necessary to secure endorsements from the leading "clergymen" of the leading sects of Jerusalem. This they succeeded to do with great success. Of course the church of Christ being so prominent in Jerusalem and Middle Judea, it was thought that an endorsement from "us" would be an asset to the lecture. Brother Thaddeus, vice president of Mount Zion College was approached concerning the matter, and pro-ceded to give the "endorsement" for "us," and many members of the church attended Dr. Heel's lecture. We were not present for the lecture but it must have been an encouraging sight to see some of the Christians who attended extend the right hand of fellowship to the sects and to Dr. Heel. In all probability it helped to break down some more of the "prejudice against the church of the Lord."

The church is taking great strides forward, especially in "Middle Judea."

A few months ago the churches of Jerusalem and Middle Judea had the opportunity to hear brother Paul, great missionary to Europe, tell of the progress of the church in that country. We were all very much encouraged to hear of the great work being done in that land. One of the things that seemingly interested the brethren a great deal was the report of "hitting upon the idea of 'discipline committees' for some of the newly formed churches in Europe until they had grown sufficiently to have qualified elders." None of us had "hit" upon this idea for some of the smaller churches in Judea yet; it could be that Middle Judea "don't need no disciplining done," but it must have been a pretty good idea for about 40 or 50 of the more prominent preachers of Jerusalem who were sitting on the stage nodded in the affirmative. Don't be surprised to hear 'of "us" appointing "discipline committees" in some of the small "Middle Judean" churches in the near future,, because "we" want to keep up.

In most instances the church in "Middle Judea" is taking great strides forward, but Europe beat us to this one.

Another and latest evidence that some of the brethren in Middle Judea are taking great strides forward is a recent church ad in the two, daily papers of Jerusalem which advertised a "special Easter sermon" captioned: "Did the Jews Crucify Christ?", with a special invitation to "our Jewish friends."

Many brethren in Middle Judea feel that the churches in these parts are very fortunate to have so many well educated and prominent preachers among them. This accounts, they say, for the church in Middle Judea being so strong and taking such great strides forward.

Maybe so, maybe so.