Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 17, 1961
NUMBER 15, PAGE 6-7,10

News And Views

Charles A. Holt, 4662 University Dr., Wichita Falls, Texas

A Weakness And The Solution

In the July issue of the Fort Worth Christian Journal, page 4, brother Jack Green of Fort Worth Christian College, tells of a conversation he had with an old acquaintance with whom he had previously studied, and who is presently teaching in a state school.

Brother Green writes, "When this man learned that I was working for a Christian college, he said, 'I am not in sympathy with Christian colleges.' I replied, 'We find that 75 per cent of the young folks of our Christian homes are dropping out of worship when they attend state schools, and we feel this fact alone justifies our existence.' Then he said, 'This shows that what you have is no good, (he referred to religious faith in the infallibility of the Bible as 'hogwash') — that when your youngsters get true instructions from learned state school professors then they learn better than to believe in fables and stories.' "

While I am not in sympathy with this man in his views regarding the Bible, there is a portion of truth in his statement which points out the reason for the glaring weakness described by brother Green that, "75 per cent" of our young people drop out of worship when attending state schools.

If this figure is true, it is both enlightening and shocking. "Seventy-five per cent lost to the cause of Christ when they attend state schools." Why is this so?

Let me suggest that our young people do not "have" because they have not received. What they are receiving and "have" is not sufficient to cope with the problem of false teachers. We send our boys and girls off ill equipped to deal with the world.

They are not grounded in the truth at home, because the parents are too busy, and the majority of parents don't know enough about the Bible themselves to ground anyone in truth. The parents shift their responsibilities to the church.

The teaching program of most churches as relating to young people consists largely of social activities. There are camping trips, many forms of recreation, etc., provided for them. They are taught such meaty subjects as "How to Enjoy Dating," "Should I Go Steady," etc. The "Young Peoples' Program" in most churches consists of one party after another, catering to the fleshly side of man. Thus, our children are not receiving the proper instructions in the home nor in the churches.

What do we do? We begin to treat a symptom with the wrong medicine, rather than treating the real disease. We build "church of Christ" communities, where property is only sold to members of the church. In doing this our boys and girls can associate with those of like faith or whose parents are members of the church. They are protected from coming in contact with those who are not Christians to the end that they might not be corrupted. We send them to schools operated by brethren, from kindergarten through college. We build a hedge about them to protect them, rather than equipping them properly. They are not grounded in Truth, and what they "have" is no good in dealing with the problem. This is why "75 per cent of our young people are dropping out of worship." No, the schools operated by brethren are not the answer to the problem. The answer is to be found in the parents.

We should bring up our children in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord" that they might have "the full assurance of understanding," to the end, "that no one may delude you with persuasiveness of speech." (Eph. 6:4; Col. 2:3, 4)

In Old Testament times the parents were commanded to teach the Law to their children "when thou sittest in thy house, when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." (Deut. 6:7) We MUST fulfill our responsibilities to our children in teaching them the truth; not just tell them the "church of Christ is right," but teach them the basis for our belief, indoctrinate them with truth.

What guarantee do we have anyway that our children will be taught truth in colleges operated by brethren. In almost every apostasy, the so-called "Christian" colleges have led the way. We are in the midst of a great apostasy now and schools operated by brethren are playing an important part in leading many into digression.

I am not opposed to schools being operated by brethren, but our faith should be in the Word, rather than in some man or school.

Having our faith in the Word of God, and a "full assurance of understanding," we will not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. — Harold Fite, Fort Worth, Texas.

"Carrying The Torch" For Another Congregation

We all know what the phrase "carrying the torch" signifies. It is often used to describe a person who has once been in love, and having broken off the relationship, cannot adjust to loving another; but goes on "carrying the torch" of devotion, as it were, for the former love. Such a person is so infatuated with pleasant memories that he cannot comprehend or appreciate the beauties in another because of the lingering vision of his erstwhile beloved.

This phrase, "carrying the torch for another congregation," was made in my presence recently and was suggested as a reason for a vague unrest and unhappiness, in many congregations today. The idea holds much merit. This is a moving generation. As a result, saints must worship with many different congregations during their life time. It is not difficult to see that, in the course of time, they are going to find a congregation that pleases them better than others. When this happens, they are often haunted by the ghost of that church as they continue their travels. They virtually "carry the torch" for that congregation which hinders them from ever rendering a happy service for Christ in new places. This can happen even to preachers.

The cause for the torch is generally social in nature. Saints are human and fall heir to the temptation to put a pleasant social life before the spiritual. These people speak of that well-known, oft-heard, much-remembered "church back home." The Christians there were "friendlier," they "had folks in their homes more," they "visited more," etc. Whatever the nature of the comments, the infatuation is based on social standards more often than spiritual ones. Needless to say, it is difficult indeed for these folks to be happy with their social relationships in another church.

Still others "carry the torch" for a preacher they have known in the past. They cannot work happily with anyone who, to them, is inferior — and of course all are inferior to "Brother Wonderful." A few are often so enamored with a STYLE of preaching that they are discontented with the same Truth wrapped in "other ribbons." This torch-bearer is critical of new preachers and often finds it difficult to be happy with the WORSHIP of the church anywhere else. Personal tragedy often results from this attitude.

Whatever the cause or the consequence, such "torch-bearing" IS A SIN. We cannot condone error or digression in any congregation. This article does not deal with error or digression but with love improperly placed. Our love should be Christ-centered, not church-centered. "We love him because he first loved us." (I John 4:10) This love CAN be demonstrated, it MUST be demonstrated, wherever there is a church that loves HIM. It is true that all congregations of the Lord's people are not equally mature in Christ. If we love CHRIST, however, we will accept the immaturities, the imperfections, the heartaches, the disappointments, which inhere in HIS congregation where we are. We will search out and cultivate the good, the true, the fine, and in so doing the church where we are will soon personify the character of the perfect standard, the perfect Christ.

Paul was not one to "carry the torch?' He worked as zealously in one place as another. He had to forget "the things that are behind" in order to "press forward to the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ." (Phil. 3: 13-14)

It is enough for us. Blow out the torch, brethren. Love Christ. Press on.

— Bill Fling, Anaheim, California

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"Sickening Exploitation"

A SOBERING ARTICLE appeared in the March, 1961, Readers Digest, entitled, "How to Stop the Movies' Sickening Exploitation of Sex." Hollywood's "moral code" has been criticized widely in recent months, but the box office continues to loosen the code.

IN MID-APRIL the movie Academy Awards for 1960 were presented. We copy the following newspaper report: "All of the top winners were involved in rascality and sex. Miss Taylor played the girl of easy virtue and many lovers. Lancaster portrayed a preacher who specialized in seducing women. Miss Jones was an out-and-out prostitute, and Ustinov's role called for him to provide girls for the gladiators. 'The Apartment' was a study in loose morals with co-star Jack Lemmon providing his quarters as a trysting place for his bosses."

THE READERS DIGEST article mentioned above is highly recommended for those unaware of the morally sick situation in movies. The writer suggests as a remedy, "If the picture is a 'sick one,' stay away. Your abstention is the most powerful vote you can cast. The industry counts tickets sold, not protests received."

MATURE CHRISTIANS will certainly want to exercise conscientious selectivity in their use of TV or movies for entertainment, and those less mature will need the restraining influence of Christian parents in their selection. The marvel of motion pictures should have a nobler use for producers than the portrayal or suggestion of immorality, and for parents than simply a place to dump the children for a few hours!

— Harold Hazelip, via 12th St. Bulletin, Bowling Green, Kentucky

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Commendation From An Older Preacher

May 29, 1961 Dear Brother________:

I have appreciated reading your views on the papers and colleges. You have expressed what I have always believed better than I could do it myself. Good things can he wrongly used and emphasized. The church of Jesus Christ is a perfect institution. Men can run colleges, papers, etc., but the church is not dependent upon them.

My health is not good, but I am still in the field full time where I have been for forty years. Three fourths of my preaching has been done in a radius of one hundred miles of my home.

Yours for truth and right, Fred E. Dennis

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The Tobacco Habit

Many people who are addicted to the use of tobacco are highly insulted when their practice is called in question. Some will dare to say: "You just show me a verse in the Bible that condemns tobacco." I have seen some brethren quit the church because the preacher had said something about smoking, dipping or chewing.

The average cigarette smoker has no idea how offensive his practice is to the person who does not smoke. Exhaled tobacco smoke, breathed by another person, is a sickening experience. I, for one, cannot smell such without becoming nauseated. Exhaled smoke burns my eyes and leaves a stench in my nostrils. I just can't stand to be shut up in a close room filled with smoke. (And, I am not the only one affected for many people have told me the same things I am telling you.)

Any person, especially a Christian, who knows that his practice is offensive to another, yet has no respect for the feelings of that person, cannot be in accord with Christ and his law. A man cannot be a gentleman while knowingly offending another. Much less can he be a Christian. I cannot appreciate any person coming into my house and filling my humble abode with foul odors. I am not only offended, I am insulted.

Some brethren will dare to stand in front of church houses and smoke their tobacco, causing the place to look more like a beer joint than a place of worship. In some instances, brethren have so little respect for their fellowman that they will smoke in the church house.

Surely no member of the church of Christ could be so uncouth and ignorant that he would deliberately offend the feelings of another person. You must know that thousands of good people in this world look upon the use of tobacco as downright sinful. You should not want to face God in the judgment, knowing that you had caused some person to turn away from a church house because of your careless habit.

Now it will do you no good to get mad about this article or try to excuse yourself by saying that tobacco is no worse than some other things. Just be a man about the matter and face up to the real issue.

Paul said: that he would not be brought under the power of that which is good to the offense of another. (I Cor. 6:12) How much less can one be brought under the enslaving control of a thing which is not good? Any person who is not the master of himself is not perfect in God's sight. He should strive to put aside any weight that would impair his influence for good and pray God for courage to abstain from all forms of evil.

— Wilson M. Coon, Phoenix, Arizona

Where Do You Stand?

Jesus said, "....for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light." We submit to you the following article from a man of the world who seems to be wiser than many who profess to be children of God. Read it carefully.

"One of our human failings, as I see it, has been our admiration for the 'middle-of-the-roader.' Certainly many of us agree that the exercise of restraint is one of the marks of the good man. But in some areas compromise is flabby and dangerous. Any person of real conviction and strength must choose one side of the road or the other. It would be a strange kind of education that urged us to be 'relatively' honest, 'somewhat' just, 'usually' tolerant, 'for the most part' decent. As you read history and biography, I think you will not come to equate greatness with compromise. Rather, you will find it in decisiveness, combined with charity, gentleness and justice. There will be some wrong decisions, of course, but so long as mistakes are recognized the loss is far less serious than that occasioned by playing the middle of the road, sitting on the fence, undecided, unconvinced, incapable of strong feeling. Life should be a continuing search for those people, those ideas and those causes to which we can gladly and wholly give ourselves."

— William G. Saltonstall, via The Perk-Up, Phoenix, Ariz.