Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 31, 1957
NUMBER 38, PAGE 8-9a

Reading The Bulletins

Charles A. Holt - P. O. Box 493 - Florence, Alabama

I've Got It All Figured Out

Now I'll tell you what we could do. We could send a contribution each month to a college operated by our brethren. And we could send a contribution each month to an orphan home. And we could send a contribution each month to a congregation in Texas to preach in Europe. And we could send a contribution each month to a church in Tennessee to preach the gospel in Japan. And we could send a contribution each month to another church in Texas to preach the gospel here in the United States. And we could send a contribution each month to a group of men in Tennessee to write a periodical. And we could send a contribution each month to a group of men in Texas to publish articles in a National magazine. And we could build us a recreation room and install ping pong tables, television, etc. And we could run an encampment and charge so much per head per week. And we could build a Bible chair. And we could start a "Dial-A-Devotional" service. And we could hire us a youth director. And we could hire us a minister of visitation. And we could get some business men to sponsor us on a television program. And we could form us a wedding chorus and a junior chorus and a senior chorus. And we can appoint us a budget committee.

Brethren, what do you think of the idea? You could think that the preacher is a very modern modernist. And he would be if he advocated the above. You could think that he had no conception and NO REGARD for the work of God. And he would have none if he advocated the above.

Yet all of the things listed (and I could have listed as many more) ARE advocated and practiced by so-called churches of Christ.

The conditions outlined above are brought about by the following misconceptions:

1. The first century gospel will not suffice for a twentieth century church.

2. The local congregation cannot do what evangelistic work God has enjoined.

3. The local congregation is not able to do what benevolent work God has enjoined upon her.

4. We must ape the denominations around us in matters of entertainment, etc.

5. We may do whatever the Bible doesn't say NOT DO.

6. Human institutions are necessary to do the church's work.

— A. C. Grider, Louisville, Kentucky

Modernity And Keeping Up With The Jones'

In these days of modernity, religion has fallen into a nit that has all but destroyed its influence with a great many people. In the religious world denominations compete with each other in constructing great buildings which are designed to appeal to the pride and vanity of man."Modern" churches are building meeting houses which cost from a quarter to a half-million dollars that have every thing from ping pong tables to dance floors and banqueting rooms. You can get just about anything from a cup of coffee to a quotation of the "Lord's Prayer." The building is opened on Sunday morning for a couple of hours, and on Wednesday night for an hour or so. The other five days of the week the doors are locked and the windows are darkened except for the eating and playing within. The pews long outwear the eating tables and the recreational facilities for the simple reason that they go unused. And we are beginning to "keep up with the Jones'."

Hundreds of thousands of dollars of the Lord's money is being funneled in the direction of game rooms and banqueting halls in an effort to "keep up with the Jones'." (Denominations.) The smell of coffee and cake and fried chicken is permeating our places of worship and the odor is sweet to the nostrils of the shallow and unconverted. Bible lovers are looking on in alarm as bellies are being filled and souls starved as the words of Paul ring on, "Have ye not houses to eat and drink in?"

The "modern" church has led millions into spiritual darkness and confusion. Only the ancient church can lead them out and point the way back to God. No church can do better, nor should it desire to do more.

— Jesse Kelley

Is Practice Authority?

It is only natural and right that one should attempt to justify his religious practices, but in doing so he should appeal to the proper authority. In current discussions among brethren, I have been astonished at the reasoning employed by some in their arguments. Instead of citing authority of Christ, they have given prominence to the general acceptance with which a practice has been met. Little difference exists between this and the open and expressed appeal to tradition on the part of the Roman Catholic Church.

A thing is neither right nor wrong merely because of practice, regardless of how highly esteemed or despised those engaging in it may be. Martin Luther was protesting against established practice when he objected to the sale of indulgences. Jesus Christ was condemned because he did not conform to "established practices" among the Jews.

Gospel preachers have always cried out against those "established practices" in conflict with the word of God. (II Tim. 4:1, 2.) On the other hand, there have been instances when a thing has been condemned because it was not previously practiced. But practice, as such, does not constitute authority. Authority is vested in Christ. (Matt. 28:18.) What did the apostles do? (Phil. 4:9.)

What does the Bible say? (II Tim. 3:16, 17; I Cor. 4:6.) A practice is right when there is divine authority for it. It is wrong if scriptural authority is lacking.

What one has (or has not) said and done in the past does not change this in the least.

— H. A. Fincher, Louisville, Kentucky

Social Drinking

It is a fancy phrase, "social drinking," very tony, and impressive to people who do not think. It does not impress me, who has been thinking on the subject for three-quarters of a century. The figure is exact, for I was at the age of three when I first awakened to the painful fact that my father was "a drinking man." Thereafter I watched him for 30 years or so, and strove in vain to help him until he died in delirium tremens. Also I watched three uncles, southern gentlemen all. One of them, a Confederate naval hero, died in an "institution," and another of the uncles at the age of 40 went into Central Park and put a bullet into his head.

I have figured the life spans of the drinking writers, and averaged them with the life spans of all Americans. I find that the drinking writers sacrificed 15 years of their lives for the pleasure they got out of their "social" habits. Learn these figures and quote them at your next cocktail party.

One of these fellows (outstanding writers, JPN) told his terrible story in a book, "John Barleycorn," which you may find in the library. He closed with the proud statement that he had learned to drink properly now — it is one of the ways the drinkers fool themselves. Poor fellow, he passed judgment a couple of years later, by ending his life with poison, at the age of 40.

So you see, to me social drinking is no pleasure and no joke. It is a social crime. All my life I have had to be the sober man at a feast, and that has hurt me, but the hurts were minor. The real hurts were the waste of genius, of vision and imagination — of the happiness we all might have had if these men had not died in anguish in the middle of their life spans.

(Taken and adapted from Shreveport Times.)

(Editor's Note:) Strange that people who are not Christians can see this matter clearer than those who claim to be true followers of Christ, and members of his Spiritual Body. Seems that the words of Jesus in Luke 16:8 are appropriate here: "The children of this world are wiser in their generation, than the children of light." The deceitful practice of "social drinking" comes into more favor year by year, even among some church members. But remember, when we begin to wink at social drinking, we begin to smile at sin! Beware!

— James P. Needham, Bellaire Banner, Bellaire, Texas Enthusiasm is the greatest business asset in the world. It beats money and power and influence. Single-handed the enthusiast convinces and dominates where a small army of workers would scarcely raise a tremor of interest. Enthusiasm tramples over prejudice and opposition, spurns inaction, storms the citadel of its object, and like an avalanche overwhelms and engulfs all obstacles. Enthusiasm is faith in action; and faith and initiative rightly combined remove mountainous barriers and achieve the unheard of and the miraculous. Set the germ of enthusiasm afloat in your business, carry it in your attitude and manner; it spreads like a contagion and influences every fiber of your industry; it begets and inspires effects you did not dream of. It means increase in production and decrease in costs; it means joy and pleasure and satisfaction to your workers; it means life real and virile; it means spontaneous bedrock results — the vital things that pay dividends.

Bulletin, Central Church, Owehaboro, Kentucky