Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 17, 1951

Who Makes The College A Test Of Fellowship?

Chas. M. Campbell, Akron, Ohio

In the American Christian Review for September, 1950 A. R. Sommer was, as usual, riding his hobby. I think even the horse has left him on the "Bible (?) college;" and he asked the following question:

"If it's wrong for churches to support such schools, why isn't it also wrong for churches to support preachers and papers that in their own turn support such schools?" If the editor will turn to page fifteen of the same issue of his own paper, and also consult and consider some facts pertaining to the practice of some of his own staff, he may find the answer to the erudite query for himself. Listen to the sound of the Sommer song with reference to supporting the Review.

"We now have several hundred recommended names on our Waiting List that are being transferred to our Regular Mailing List just as fast as sufficient funds are received." He further admonishes his readers: "So if you can't (?) solicit names for new readers, your funds can co-operate with those who carefully select and supply names to the Review."

If it is perfectly safe for an individual to contribute to a fund to send the Review on its mission of a "religio-secular" nature, surely Sommer does not think his paper comparable to the church or divine in its origin and mission, why is it wrong for an individual to contribute to a college? The American Christian Review and the colleges are human organizations. If it is permissible to contribute to one such organization, as an individual, it is perfectly all right to contribute to any other of a similar nature under like circumstances. The impugning of motives and charge of dishonesty in connection with some such contributions are matters hardly within the prerogative of the Review editor to judge. Such could apply with equal force wherein the funds for the Review are concerned. People could be "cutting down Christians financial aid to the Lord's church and sidetracking that finance to aid his religio-secular" paper. Nevertheless, it is altogether fitting and proper for Sommer to solicit funds for the Review, but it is a terrible sin for individuals to give money to the colleges. So much so that Sommer wants all papers and preachers who support colleges—in any sense, I suppose—to be disfellowshipped by the churches. That he refers to individuals who contribute to the schools as deserving of condemnation and excommunication is proven by his attitude as explained on page ten of the issue already mentioned. He said: "If I don't believe in cutting down Christians' financial aid to the Lord's church and side tracking that finance to aid his religio-secular school."

And, Sommer succeeds in his papal ambition among those over whom the Review has sufficient influence by its factious filibusters. The churches divide over the idea of individuals contributing to the colleges; and the Review anti-group insert clauses in deeds to church property after the following fashion. —"That no missionary or educational society not mentioned in the New Testament be advocated therein, nor any preacher advocating such things be allowed to preach on said premises. . ." The deed from which this clause was copied is recorded on Deed Record 74, page 447, in the Court House at Grants Pass, Oregon. J. C. Roady, Sommers most successful subscription salesman and a regular contributor to the Review columns, preaches for such groups in opposition to those who do not support the college out of the church treasury but who do not drive the wedge of division into the body of Christ over individual's personal business.

Of course Roady conducts schools of his own; and the churches where he engages in such procedure state that "room and board will be provided at reasonable rates." Those schools are partly supported by the churches where they are conducted. Partly, I say, for I presume that the students pay their board to some member, not the church. That practice, however, places Roady and the Review, and therefore, Sommer, in the school business. See the Christian Leader November 15, 1949, page 6.

The elders of the church where Sommer worships—North Indianapolis—have said they do not agree with his attitude toward the colleges as expressed in his paper, but that they consider his paper his private business. So, Sommer can thank those elders that they do not apply his own rule where he is concerned; for, otherwise, he would most assuredly be disfellowshipped. Surely Sommer makes an individual's contribution to a college, or a preacher's or a paper's position that the church must not support the college but that an individual may—or, merely moral support, a test of fellowship. Roady rides with the Review, preaches where the college is made a test of fellowship, conducts his own schools after the Review fashion, and still he would have brethren believe he is not opposed to the colleges wherein the Bible is taught. Such is a mere pretention. And to ever satisfy all open minds that it is so, here is a direct challenge to J. C. Roady of Sullivan, Indiana and the American Christian Review. Will you, brother Roady, say openly and aboveboard that you do not agree with editor A. R. Sommer in his position on the College? Will you cease preaching for factious groups that divide the church over "college preachers, etc.?" Will you just kindly answer plainly in the Review?

Reader, take warning, do not hold your breath until J. C. Roady answers in the affirmative. Such an attitude on his part should convince these preachers in the Ohio valley who think otherwise, otherwise.