Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 28, 1952

The Stampede Toward Socialism

Leslie Diestelkamp, Minneapolis, Minnesota

We are living in an age of socialism. We have become accustomed to the "subsidized life." The government subsidizes almost everything. Be that as it may — the purpose of this article is not political.

But socialism is invading the church. The TREND is to make the church a blanket to cover everybody. Some churches of Christ are so socialized that the church is, to the members, a recreational organization, an insurance company, a social club, a humane society, a benevolent institution, and sometimes a political party.

One prominent gospel preacher wrote: "Any social gatherings and entertainment that the elders may think will improve the relationship of the members one with another, may be, even should be sanctioned by the elders, and the expense of such functions may be paid by the church...It is a part of the work of caring for the flock..."

But what does the Bible say about such? It is as silent as the grave. The inspired scriptures furnish us for every good work, but never mention entertainment, etc., as duties, or even privileges of the church as a church activity. Peter said that God has granted unto all things that pertain to life and godliness. But God has not granted unto us anything with regard to the duties of the church in the directions mentioned above. Therefore, the things mentioned must not be activities for the church.

One congregation is making plans now for mutual insurance. The plan is for each of the members to give to the church as he would for hospitalization insurance. Then the church is to be responsible for all his medical and hospital bills.

Is there anything wrong with this plan? Much, in every way! It is not the business of the church to try to guarantee health to its members, nor to assume responsibilities for members who are able to pay for themselves. It was never God's plan for the church to act as a social agency, for promotion of health, entertainment, etc.

But some may ask, "Is such insurance not good?" Grant that it is. That does not make it in any sense the responsibility of the church. Banking, government, industry, commerce, fanning, and sports are GOOD. Why should everyone not give of his savings into the church to establish a bank? Why not all give so the church could buy a factory where we could all work?

All of those things may be good in their places, but none of them is a duty of the church!

The church cannot do everything that is good within itself. The church can only do what God authorizes it to do. Its duties are limited to preaching the gospel and ministering to the needy. That does not include making people dependent upon the church. About such, Paul said, "Let not the church be charged."

Let the church do its own work. Apostasy can come from wrong work just as well as from wrong worship. God gave the church and He knew what He wanted it to do. Let God's will be done!