Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 15, 1960
NUMBER 32, PAGE 1,13c

Should State Their Position

James A. Allen, Nashville, Tennessee

Before any church of Christ allows itself to be divided over anything, it should state clearly and plainly the position upon which it stands. It should also state clearly and plainly what the division is about. It should also state clearly and plainly who is pushing the division and also who is the head of the movement that is pushing it, and for what purpose such a wicked movement exists. Divisions are promoted in the dark and the real conspirators are hidden behind those who do their work for them. If the brethren and sisters about to be divided knew what the division is about, and who is pushing it, the probability is that there would be no division.

The promoters who are trying to force on the churches things without precept, or example, from the apostles, have no defensible position upon which to stand. Their platform is to be popular and get the money. They have had a taste of big-begging. Big-begging is the biggest business in the world. It is a bigger business than DuPont, or U. S. Steel. There is more net profit to a begging campaign than to any other business enterprise. There is no end to it. Those who get their wealth out of big-begging can always find something for which to start a "drive." It will be so "organized" that it be dangerous not to give to it. Many a business man has had to put his true feelings aside and give to it, not because he believed in it, but because his business would suffer if he did not. The same thing is true in the church. If brethren who know it is sinful have the courage to stand up and oppose it, the effort will be to drive them from the church.

Athens Clay Pullias, President of David Lipscomb College, says that the issue over human institutions ought to divide the churches of Christ. Both he and brother Goodpasture know that the Bible no more authorizes orphan homes, or the churches prostituting their money from their own work to colleges, than it does instrumental music, or the missionary society. There are many faithful men and women in the churches who want to adhere to the Bible as their Guide. Before the college can go into the budget of the churches, on the coat-tail of the orphan homes, these faithful men and women must be driven out of the churches. Hence brother Pullias' horrible assertion that the churches ought to be divided. To drive these faithful men and women, who want to adhere to the Bible (which means, adhere to the things for which it gives the command or records the example) is the objective of Pullias' David Lipscomb College and Goodpasture's Gospel Advocate.

When a young man enters David Lipscomb College to become a preacher, he is under teachers who must support the position of the college on the churches supporting the orphan home and the college. When it is remembered that its faculty-members and its "ministerial students" of the college are "located" as "the minister" of a great majority of the churches, then the deadly, dreadful, strangle-hold that the college has on the churches becomes most apparent. So powerful is this sinful influence over the churches that many think it is almost sacrilege to criticize the college.

Pullias, President of the College, has written a new restrictive clause which he and Goodpasture are trying to get the churches to put into the deeds to their church-houses. This unholy clause would prevent anyone from worshipping God in that house if he opposes the church supporting the orphan home and the college.

All these things make it most obvious that Pullias' David Lipscomb College, combined with Goodpasture's Gospel Advocate, is a menace to the cause of simple, New Testament Christianity, as it was taught and practiced by the apostles and the apostolic churches in New Testament times. If the multi-million dollar David Lipscomb College should eventually own and control the Gospel Advocate, the power of the college over the churches would be dreadful to contemplate. Such a thing demonstrates the evils of institutionalism. It enables unsound and ambitious men, not on their own merit, but through the accumulated power of institutionalism, to exert a power over the churches that no human being ought to have.

And let no one misrepresent me as being opposed to colleges. I am not opposed to colleges. I favor colleges, any kind of college that teaches things that are beneficial, even business colleges. But I am opposed to a college moving in on the churches, on the pretention that it is a "Christian College," and that it alone can give a "Christian education." The indisputable truth is, that no institution on earth can give anyone a "Christian education" except the local church. A college cannot scripturally have any connection with the church whatever, in any way. The church is not dependent on the college for anything. No college in history in past generations has ever been an asset to the church. If it is not kept separate from the church, it will be a deadly liability to it.

It is a tragic commentary on the present state of things, that one college-president suggested that the best way to establish a church in a new place is to first establish a "Christian College." Can he not understand that the church is God's institution to preach the gospel, and that, therefore, the church is the only "Christian College" on earth, because nothing but the gospel gives a "Christian education?" It is tragic that men will give their millions of dollars to institutionalize a college. To establish new congregations does infinitely more to honor God, and to save souls, and to do good to men, than to institutionalize all the colleges on earth. But, of course, I am aware that for the most part the men who swarm around colleges (especially, rich colleges) are not the kind of men who are willing to be just humble, every-day, common gospel preachers. And yet the humble, every-day, common gospel preacher is the one to whom we are most indebted for making this a better world in which to live.

F. D. Srygley, great First-page Editor of the Gospel Advocate when the Nashville Bible School was started, "warned that brother Lipscomb was starting something that he might run all right while living, but that, after his death, he could not run it from heaven." William Lipscomb, brother of David Lipscomb, said: "Brother Davy, if you and brother Harding want to teach school, go out here and rent you a house and teach as long as you please, so that when you get through teaching, there will be nothing left." He was warning against building up an "institution" to fall into the hands of others.

After the death of J. C. McQuiddy, who was the last of the early Advocate editors, sister David Lipscomb, who was still living at brother McQuiddy's death, had grave doubts as to the propriety of continuing the publication of the Gospel Advocate. To continue its publication would leave an immense power and influence, built up through many years, to pass into new and untried hands, and thus render it easy to destroy much of the work of its old editors. It seems tragically certain now that she erred grievously in permitting the paper to survive.