Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 13, 1952

Is This The Reason For The Bread Lines?

H. F. Sharp. Blytheville. Arkansas

On February 7th I preached at a congregation near Cardwell, Missouri (Antioch church of Christ). I had chosen as the subject for that evening the statement found in Lamentations 1:12, "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by"? Several remarks were made about some preachers in the Japan work who thought the Lord expected us to establish schools, recreation centers and bread lines so we could preach to the people of Japan. We noted that Paul went to different cities in different countries and preached without any establishment of bread lines, recreation centers and schools and did a better job than we are now doing. The question was raised, "Are we doing it the right way"? In the sermon we suggested we send the man where he is needed and eliminate all of the things that take so much of the money and let that be used in preaching the gospel.

An elder of the church of Christ at 7th and Mueller in Paragould was present. He also preaches for the Antioch church of Christ. After the lesson he said we had to establish bread lines or feed the people to get the crowd. He further said that Paul had the Holy Spirit in miraculous manner and he got the crowds that way. Our way of getting the crowds is to feed the people. I just wonder if that is what the preachers think who are over in Japan? Paul did not perform miracles for the purpose stated in John 20:30-31 and Mark 16:20, but to get a crowd together so he could preach to them, according to this preacher and elder. Also, according to this elder, we do not feed them to remove the pains of hunger but just use that as a sort of enticement to get them together so they can be preached to. It is a shame the Lord did not know about this method. It seems to me there is a lack of faith as to the power of the gospel. The gospel is the drawing power; and if that is not the reason for one's conversion, then as soon as the bread line disappears so will one's conversion where the stomach has been made the power to save. We further asked this man if that was so effective in Japan, why did they not do this in Paragould? He said that we have never turned a hungry man away. Neither have we in Blytheville, but we do not use that as a means of getting the people out. Denominations have long used this method to pay the overdue gas bill and have used it to increase attendance (at least when the meal is served) but this is our first time to have a preacher of the church and an elder tell us that this is a substitute for the miraculous powers the apostle Paul had. No wonder the church needs men to cry out against these things, no wonder we need to cry as Jeremiah — "Is it nothing to ye, all ye that pass by"?