Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 13, 1951

Ask Brother Brewer, He Knows

Chas. M. Campbell, Akron, Ohio

In the Gospel Advocate of April 5, 1951, brother G. C. Brewer gave his answer to several questions, which had been presented, to him by a lady subscriber. Among the propositions over which the mind of the querist had been pondering and to which she sought a scriptural solution was the matter of the churches of Christ—some of them—promoting social functions. She asked: "Is it scriptural to use money from the church treasury to buy ice cream, pop, and prizes for a picnic of the Sunday school children and candy and nuts for a Christmas party"?

Brother Brewer gave the following dogmatic answer as if it were all that could possibly be required to settle the matter for time and eternity. "The elders are stewards of God (Titus 1:7), as well as overseers of the flock. Any social gatherings and entertainment that the elders may think will improve the relationship of the members one with another, will promote their interest in one another (Eph. 4:26; 6:30; Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 6:15), may be, even should be sanctioned by the elders, and the expense of such functions may be paid by the church if the elders think it wise to do it that way. It is part of the work of caring for the flock. It is to the moral and spiritual interest of the members, if it is simply an occasion of innocent eating and drinking and playing together."

In the references submitted by brother Brewer as proof that the church should finance social gatherings among the members, and those who are not members—for many of those in the Sunday schools are not members--Paul simply showed that the members of Christ's church constitute but one body. If, therefore, sustaining that relationship to one another proves that the church should promote social affairs, we should be able to find a few examples of such functions among the records of the activities of those churches to which Paul addressed those epistles. Will brother Brewer please bestow a favor upon us by informing us as to just where among the letters of the great apostle the records are to be found? If, as brother Brewer asserted, the church is to promote and finance entertainment among the members, and even those who are not members, just where are the limitations to be drawn on such activities? That is, on such entertainment as is innocent? Some of the digressive churches have bowling teams, and some not quite so digressive have basketball teams (up Detroit way). What about baseball teams, softball teams, golf teams, football teams and numerous other pastimes in the field of sports? How about a few hunting parties, fishing parties, some garden clubs and what have you of innocent pleasure?

Now, for brother Brewer's information, and that of the lady, who, no doubt, was very sincere in her effort to obtain the truth in answer to her query, the church of the Lord is a spiritual body; and every member of that body sustains the same relationship to Christ and to every other member whether or not such an one ever sees the other members of the body of Christ in this world or not. And the money which was contributed by the members of the body of Christ in the first century, and of which we have a record in the New Testament, was hardly contributed in the interest of, or at any place or period misappropriated by the elders to, the promoting of social functions of any kind or class. And it will require far more than brother Brewer's groundless assertion to prove otherwise to a whole host of members of the body of Christ. Members, who have not been influenced by the grotesque reasoning of some among us.

As to the elders thinking a practice right actually making it so, such a misrepresentation and perversion of their office was the cause of the origin of the papal power and the corrupting and destructive influence of Romanism. Since when did what the elders think about a matter of a doctrinal nature constitute an authoritative basis for a final decision regarding it? Fortunately for the churches and their elders, most elders know better than to accept brother Brewer's mere opinions. Let us hope that the lady querist knew better than to do so.