Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 28, 1954

Where Do We Go From Here?

Floyd Embree, Ontario, California

On my desk as I write this article, is a church bulletin from Uptown Church of Christ, 3707 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, California, which came through the mail yesterday (January 6, 1954). The outside of the bulletin is very attractive. There is a sketch of the church building and the address given along with the name of the congregation. On the back of the bulletin, the first thing which caught my eye is this announcement in rather bold print: "WOMEN'S LUNCHEON AND PROGRAM." Since I wasn't interested in the Women's Luncheon and Program, I look on the inside.

The first page has "The Parable of the Prodigal Father," which I had never heard before. Then I pass on to page two. Here is what I find: "Announcing YOUTH WORSHIP SERVICE each Sunday, 10:45, in lounge, DON HARDAGE, youth minister." All this is in bold letters, some as I have indicated, bolder than others. Then: "For many months, this church's leaders and minister have recognized the urgent need of a youth worship service which would feature sermons, songs, and prayers designed primarily to interest young people. After extensive thought and planning, this special service will be inaugurated this Sunday, January 3, 1954.

"Since this group will contribute tomorrow's leaders, numerous opportunities to lead songs, meditations, and prayers will be afforded to youth.

"ALL SCHOOL-AGE YOUTH who are not baptized members of the church are invited to attend this worship service.

"Those who are members will of course be privileged to have the Lord's Supper in the Sanctuary of the regular church service first. Then, if they so desire, they may quietly leave the Sanctuary to attend the youth worship service.

"Let us resolve to give this new phase of our church life FULL SUPPORT."

Brethren, I just guess that I have never been to church "UPTOWN." It has always been in the country or someplace else, for truly, I have never seen anything like that portrayed in the bulletin. I would have a hard time on Sunday morning there, for I would not know whether to look for the Sanctuary (note they used a capital S every time) in the basement, in the auditorium or on the ceiling! And I wouldn't know which preacher to go hear for one is called the "minister" and the other "youth minister." Now, is the youth minister a "youth minister" because he is young, or because he has a special gospel just for youth? If it is because he is a youth, is it better to have the "youths" teaching the youths, or would it be better for older people to do the teaching? And, is there a different gospel for the "youth" of a congregation to that for older people? If not, then why wouldn't the gospel delivered to the older members of the congregation "fit" the youth of the congregation?

And listen to this: ALL SCHOOL AGE YOUTH who are NOT BAPTIZED MEMBERS of the church are invited to attend this worship service." Are there some members there who are "NOT BAPTIZED" members? Can one be a member of the church without being baptized? Maybe this is a typographical error, and if so, it should certainly be corrected in the next bulletin. If it isn't a typographical error, then other corrections need to be made.

Then listen to this from page three in "Secretary's QUAINT QUIPS": "LOSERS in basketball game at Poly Monday nite were our Harvesters as the First Christian walked off with laurels." Does the expression "our Harvesters" mean that the "Harvesters" belonged to the church? And it looks like the "Harvesters" got "hailed out" by the First Christians! QUAINT INDEED, for the church of our Lord!

Then on the next to the last page, I find the following: "SENIOR HIGHS — Join the group that spends Tuesday evenings in forum discussion and play in the Fellowship Hall, with Don Hardage as leader." And, "YOUNG MARRIEDS — Remember the evening of recreation and refreshment on Friday, January 8, 8:00 'till you want to relieve the baby-sitter at home! STAY YOUNG"!

The first question which entered my mind on reading these things was, Is this a church of Christ, or is this a First Christian parading under that name? Brethren, what is the business of the church? Is it a social institution where our SENIOR HIGHS can get together and PLAY in the FELLOWSHIP HALL, and where our YOUNG MARRIEDS can spend an evening in "recreation and refreshment .. . . 'till you want to relieve the baby-sitter at home, and STAY YOUNG"? If the church is such an institution, I have a lot of errors to correct where I have preached!

And, did you ever look up the word "sanctuary" in the dictionary? And did you ever check on the use the New Testament makes of the word? It is never used in connection with the New Testament church.

Brethren, I give you these things quoting from this bulletin, lest someone may say, Such exists only in the imagination of the writer. Many do not believe such things exist in churches of Christ today. If you doubt that they do, come see for yourself. Brethren, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?