Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 19, 1953

A Solution At Last

Walter Dobbs, Yuba City, California

There has much been said and written, pro and con, in the last few years in regards to how mission work should be done. Much about "Congregational Cooperation." At last someone has found and presented a solution (?). In the September 24 issue of the Gospel Guardian of this year there appears an article by Chaplain David C. Sprague entitled "The Christian In the Armed Forces." In this article by Chaplain Sprague we must have that solution for brethren Tant and Cogdill remain silent on what is written in the article. He writes, "Members of the Armed Forces may request permission from a Chaplain to hold services of their own during basic training." And in the same paragraph he continues, "The offering or contribution at these services should be definitely designated to go to a particular place or project. This may be to one of the churches of Christ in towns nearby or to mission work anywhere. This must be announced at the service, the offering turned over to the Post Protestant Chaplain's Fund, and a check for the amount will be sent to the designated place."

So there we have the solution which has been sought for so long. Instead of sending our money for mission work to Lubbock or elsewhere just send it to the brethren in the service and let them place it in the Post Protestant Chaplain's Fund, and then the Chaplain can send a check to the designated place. Just this question here, If the brethren in the army, etc., can do such a thing why can't brethren out of the army, etc., do such a thing?

I would like to notice a few other statements in the article by Chaplain Sprague. On several things written by him we can agree but he mentions a few that we can disagree with. In his story the characters, John and Jim, are had at their basic training and at the end of the week John has forgotten that tomorrow is the Lord's Day. Then in the same paragraph. "All men were to remain within the Company area — no passes, no going to town for any reason. John found out that they would be restricted to the Post for three weeks ... ." Then later in the article, "For three weeks, then, Jim and John did not worship. Soon their minds forgot God. They left off daily prayer, and though the army furnished them with a New Testament and a large edition of the whole Bible, they forgot to study God's word." Then Chaplain Sprague asked the question, "Did the army do this to them?" And his answer. "No." If the army didn't do it to them will Chaplain Sprague be so kind as to inform us just who did it to them? The army forced Jim and John to remain within the Company area — gave them no passes for any reason. They neglected to meet and worship God, and Chaplain Sprague would have us to believe that the army had nothing to do with it.

Why doesn't Brother Sprague use his influence to help the boys in the service to obtain permission to leave the Post to attend worship? This can be done and has been done even during basic training. The Constitution of the United States grants that right. I believe that Brother Sprague is aware of this. Only a few months past I wrote a letter to the Commanding Officer at Camp Roberts, California, in behalf of a young Christian who was at the time taking his basic training, stating his convictions and the young man was granted permission to leave the Post to attend worship in town.

Brother Sprague suggests that more brethren should become qualified and enter the Chaplaincy, in order to supply the needs of our brethren. If Brother Sprague will explain what he means by a "general Protestant service" or a "general service where the Chaplain was of the church of Christ," perhaps the brotherhood will be better informed just why more gospel preachers do not enter the Chaplaincy. If gospel preachers can hold that type of service in the Army, Navy, or Air Force why can't they hold the same type of service outside of the Army, Navy, or Air Force?