Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 7, 1951
NUMBER 6, PAGE 4-5,11b

Ibaraki Christian College, Church Supported


It is with a measure of sadness that we write this editorial. All the urgings of friendship combine with a native reluctance for controversial matters to stay our pen. But when there are eternal principles at stake, no friendship and no fleshly timidity can be sufficient to turn us aside from what we believe to be right.

Readers of the Gospel Guardian are aware of our deep and sincere conviction that it is a violation of New Testament principles for churches as such to found and operate secular schools, such as David Lipscomb College, Abilene Christian College, etc. We firmly and fervently support such schools as private institutions, completely separate from the work of the church. The operation of such institutions does not fall within the scope of the church's mission; they are to be built and supported as private institutions, receiving their support from individuals and not from the churches. A fierce battle has been waged over this question here in the States the past few years; the issues have been clearly defined, and the Guardian is fully committed to the belief that church support of the schools is wrong.

In view of that conviction, we have been much concerned at what has seemed to us rather persistent efforts to get the churches to do in foreign work that which generally they will not do in this country—i.e., promote and contribute to the support of secular schools. The particular foreign school which is seeking and receiving such church support is Ibaraki Christian College in Japan. We believe church support for such a school is just as wrong in Japan as in America; we see no way by which it could be right to support such a school in Japan and at the same time wrong to support it here in America. We believe it violates New Testament principles regardless of where it is done. Whatever makes it wrong in America makes it also wrong in Japan.

The following exchange of letters will set forth some interesting facts on this point:


April 3, 1951 Mr. E. W. McMillan Terrell, Texas Dear Brother Mac:

I was surprised to see in this week's Firm Foundation your statement that, "Brother Yater Tant also seemed to think I said something in my last article that I did not say at all. I suppose he thought I meant what he said I said.' I believe you know me well enough to know that I would not deliberately misrepresent you, and that I stand ready at any time to correct any unintentional misrepresentation. From your article (or letter) in the F. F. of December 12, I honestly thought some of the money being sent through Union Avenue by various congregations was being used for school purposes. Here are the statements in your letter which led me to that conclusion:

1. "Some congregations giving regularly by the month directed how their money was to be spent in Japan.'

2. "When that was done, the Memphis brethren in forwarding the money conveyed those directions to the brethren in Japan.'

3. "If it be asked, 'What has the money sent by the Memphis brethren been spent for?' the reply is: (6) Some of it was spent in erecting school buildings.'

4. "In some instances, congregations sending regularly, stipulated 'we want to help the school in Japan'.'

It was in view of these statements that I wrote in the Gospel Guardian of February 1, that "Brother McMillan says that Union Avenue Church was spending a part of the money sent to it by other churches `to help the school work in Japan.'

Now, if my conclusion is incorrect, and if none of the money sent through Union Avenue by other churches has been used for school purposes, I WANT TO CORRECT WHAT I SAID. I will gladly do it through the Guardian. A clear-cut, unequivocal statement from you will be enough for me. I'll take your word for it. I submit the following two statements; one of them is TRUE, one of them is FALSE. Will you please write TRUE after one statement, and FALSE after the other:

1. SOME of the money sent through Union Avenue Church by other congregations has been used "to help the school work in Japan.'

2. NONE of the money sent through Union Avenue Church by other congregations has been used "to help the school work in Japan."

I regret that our work does not permit us to be together more often. I have enjoyed your friendship through the years, and am hopeful that some day I may have the chance to be with you more. But, meanwhile, I certainly do not want to misrepresent you in even the slightest degree, either intentionally or unintentionally. I am persuaded you fully understand that if there is any misrepresentation it is of the latter kind.

Please let me hear from you as quickly as possible, so that I may make whatever correction is necessary.

Yours as always, Yater


April 27, 1951 Mr. Yater Tant Abilene, Texas Dear Brother Tant:

Your kind, brotherly letter of recent date was fully appreciated. I wrote you a brief recognition of it immediately and promised a follow-up letter later. The fact that I am on the go all the time, except for brief stops at home, with the added disadvantage of having to be my own secretary temporarily, has given me some good reason for further delay.

Immediately after receiving your letter, I wrote my reaction in long hand; this letter is chiefly the typing of that letter.

Of course, I appreciate your reassurance of the friendship which has come across the years for me. I can assure you, also, that I have never entertained the thought that you consciously, or in any sense willingly, misrepresented me. To whatever extent there is misunderstanding it comes more from interpretation than from anything else.

My letters of December 12, 1950 and March 17, 1951 to brother Showalter, published in the Firm Foundation, were in reply to brother Otey's claims that the Union Avenue Church had acted as a "Centralized controlling' agency in relation to the mission work in Japan. I showed that this was not true for the following reasons:

1. They have never controlled, or tried to control, any missionary in Japan as far as I know.

2. In forwarding funds given by other congregations they passed the expressed wishes of those congregations on to the missionaries in Japan, along with the funds as they were sent. These facts prove that the Union Avenue Church was not a "centralized controlling' agency; they were merely a channeling medium at the request of others. If the Gospel Guardian did no more to try to control the judgments of all elders on mission work than the Union Avenue Church has done to control the money and the missionaries on the field, there would be no "central control' in either place in any way.

Now, when you tried to answer brother Showalter, you said, "Brother McMillan says the Union Avenue Church has been spending a part of the money sent to it by other churches, 'TO HELP THE SCHOOL WORK IN JAPAN'.' If you had said, "Brother McMillan says that some churches request their gift to be sent to the school, in which cases the Memphis brethren comply with their request," that would have been quite a different statement and would have made a different impression on those who did not read my article in the Firm Foundation.

I am sure that you will be willing for me to word my own answers to your alternative questions at the close of your letter.

1. In the sense charged in brother Otey's articles, and in the sense implied in your word, "spending,' the Memphis brethren have not spent the contributions of other donors.

2. In complying with the requests of others by sending those requests on to the missionaries in Japan concerning the disposition of their contributions, the Memphis brethren but refrained from being a "centralized controlling' agency in the disposition of that money.

3. When the Memphis brethren received money and were told to "use this as seems best to you,' they did so and in so doing did what you would do if money were sent to you to be used in the spread of good religious literature. You might even use it to send the Guardian to some one who had not paid his own subscription, which you would have the right to do. And that would not be "centralized control" either, as I view the case.

I hope that these observations are satisfactory in reply to your letter, the spirit of which, to repeat, was most Christian.

It is always a pleasure to see you or hear from you. Visit me as you may have opportunity.

Sincerely in the Lord, E. W. McMillan



It is obvious from the foregoing exchange of letters that the editor and brother McMillan were looking at the matter from two different points of view. Whereas we were concerned about the matter of church contributions going to support the school, brother McMillan was apparently quite willing to concede that that was the case, but objected to our saying that Union Avenue was "spending' the money of other churches—either in school support or any other way.

In keeping with our promise to him, we have gladly published his letter. We acknowledge his correction of our statement, and offer our apology to him for any misrepresentation that may have been done him by our comment. Instead of saying that Union Avenue was "spending a part of the money sent to it by other churches 'to help the school work in Japan,' we should have said that Union Avenue was "sending a part of the money sent to it by other churches `to help the school work in Japan'."

Brother McMillan's letter, therefore, confirms and substantiates the thing we had feared: IBARAKI CHRISTIAN COLLEGE IS RECEIVING CHURCH CONTRIBUTIONS! And this in spite of repeated assurances a couple or three years ago that only individual contributions would be used in support of that school, and that church contributions would not be used.

We are concerned for the preaching of the gospel in Japan. We want to see the church firmly planted there. We believe Ibaraki Christian College can serve a worthy and useful place in giving the right kind of education to young people in Japan, both Christian and non-Christians. We believe such a school is worthy of the support of Christian people both in Japan and in America.

But we are unalterably opposed to that school or any other, being supported by the churches. We cannot encourage it; but on the contrary are bound by conscience to do everything within our power to oppose and discourage such contributions. Surely there is a way by which the school can be supported by individuals rather than by churches! Cannot that way be found? Are the brethren in control of the school fully determined to continue in their course of fostering a "church and school' tie-up, knowing that in so doing that will alienate thousands of their brethren in America who cannot endorse or support the school under such a policy?

We plead with our fellow-Christians in control of Ibaraki Christian College to follow the example of some of the schools here in our own country in making it a firm and unwavering practice of the school that they will "neither solicit nor accept contributions from churches.'

We have urged this privately in our conversations, we have urged it by letter, and we now plead in this public way that such a course be followed. By firmly adhering to such, the school can merit the confidence, the good-will and the support of many thousands who, as it is, cannot view their work with anything but the deepest of apprehension and misgiving. There is a principle involved in this matter about which the Guardian cannot, and will not, keep silent!

— F .Y .T.