Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 6, 1959
NUMBER 13, PAGE 8-9b

1959 Edition Britannica Book Of The Year

George C. Garrison

The following is a quotation taken from the Britannica Encyclopedia in the section concerning:

"Churches of Christ. Approximately 1,000 church buildings were erected or enlarged in 1958. Mission work was carried on in 52 nations during the year by members of the church. A survey was made of vacation Bible schools which indicated more than 700,000 pupils enrolled in 5,000 schools in the United States in 1957 and an estimated 1,000,000 for 1958. The national radio program "Herald of Truth" carried the gospel over 170 radio and 31 TV stations weekly. The largest attendance in history was reported at the Biblical lectureship at George Pepperdine college in Los Angeles, California, and the 1958 European lectures at Frankfurt, Germany, also had their largest attendance, with 15 nations represented. Rapid growth was reported in the work in Nigeria, Japan and South Africa.

A new monthly magazine, the North Atlantic Christian, was established at West Hartford, Conn. The 20th Century Christian at Nashville, Tennessee celebrated its 20th anniversary by moving into an enlarged home office. Power for Today, a family devotional guide, reported that more families were conducting daily worship in the home, and the Gospel Advocate, also published at Nashville; began a new graded Bible school lesson series. Firm Foundation, published at Austin, Texas, celebrated its 75th anniversary with special issues.

A new college was started on a $3,000,000 campus at Albion, Ida. More stress on benevolence was highlighted by a second campus for Boles Home at Stephenville, Texas, with cottages planned to care for 100 homeless children. 'New schools were established at Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas, and Bible Chairs were added at East Texas State Teachers college, Commerce, Texas, and Tyler Junior college. Central Christian college moved to Oklahoma City to occupy its new campus. Pepperdine college announced a $3,000,000 development program, and Lubbock Christian college opened a new administration building. (M. N. Y)"

By carefully observing the foregoing, one would wonder as to whether he were reading of the Churches of Christ, or of some rapidly growing denomination. To begin with, what individual has the authority or right to speak on behalf of the church of Christ? These organizations mentioned are individual concerns and should by no means be listed as a part of the church of Christ. After about the first half of the first paragraph there is nothing in the article that concerns the Lord's church you read of in the Bible. As far as the teaching of the New Testament is concerned, many of the things mentioned are unscriptural or are contrary to its teaching. The person who wrote the article, as anyone can observe, has all sorts of information at his disposal which could not possibly be complete. I know of several congregations that are very active in the Lord's work, and which make no reports to anyone. It is not likely that all of the reports that were received and recorded were received by the same person or paper. Therefore how would one know as to whether the several recordings that were received, were recorded two, three, or even more times? The article did la mention that the church of Christ does not have any earthly headquarters and therefore no possible way of recording something of this sort correctly. Now the Southern Baptists have their conventions, weekly reports, and such, and can be fairly accurate concerning such matters, but we have "at present" nothing even near such. If we had these conventions, when and where did we meet; and if so, who gave this person authority such as he took to write for the churches of Christ?

Then, comes nothing less than "THE" national radio program "Herald of Truth." Not "a" national program, but "THE." Looking back to the beginning of the article, it mentions "Churches of Christ," that is what the article is to be about and how, within the limits of the scriptures, could the church of our Lord support a radio program that is nationwide? But who now-a-days needs authority or scriptures for anything that is taught?

Anyone not acquainted with the church of Christ, would, by reading the article in the Britannica come to the conclusion that the church had started this new "monthly magazine," and not just one of its members. The writer was sure not to forget mentioning those that are leaders in all of the "new things" that have been recent in the church. One paper had its 20th birthday, another, its 75th. Also another began "a new graded Bible school lesson series." One would think by reading the article in the Britannica that all of this was a part of the church of Christ.

If the church of Christ today has so many of the earmarks of a denomination, it will be extremely hard for a person to state that it is not one. The writer of the article in the Britannica forgot to mention the fact that these different organizations, or at least some of them, are causing the Lord's body to become divided. Yes, it is hard to explain that the church is undenominational and still adopts so many characteristics of such. Our denominational friends who feel we are as much a denomination as they are, are storing up all of this proof.

Not only do we have brethren writing as though they have authority to speak to the world for the church as a whole, but also others practicing "many things" for which they have no God given authority. The church of our Lord works in three fields of which most of us are familiar. These can all be found in the teachings of the New Testament: (1) Preaching the gospel. (Eph. 4:12; 3:10; an example, I Thess. 1:8.) (2) Edification. (Eph. 4:16; Titus 2:1-8; II Tim. 2:2; Acts 20:32.) (3) Ministry to poor. (Acts 11:29,30.) One of our brethren states that he does not know what the work of the Lord's church is, for he made this statement; "If the church is not for the purpose of re-creating the new man after the image of God, then I have misunderstood its primary function." I am afraid he missed it. The church is to do that which we have already mentioned in accordance with the scriptures, but not "re-creating the new man after the image of God." When someone is made new in Christ, he surely does not need re-creating in the image of God. To be plain about it, the church does not re-create a "new man" but it "maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." (Eph. 4:16.) The Bible says that we are created in "His own image." (Gen. 1:27.)

There is a fact that I must admit, and that is this: The brother that wrote the article in the Britannica has just as much authority for what he is doing, as the individual that made the foregoing statement about "recreating man," or just recreation as a work of the church. I even know a preacher that failed to leave recreation alone, but said that it was not a work of the church. Due to the circumstances that followed, he was forced by his own convictions to move.

The church is growing today and that is a well known fact. But I'm afraid it is growing in two different directions: one of doing the Lord's commands and building churches and the other in the field of materialism and of building odds and ends for the young people.