Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 22, 1954
NUMBER 11, PAGE 1,11b-12

"It's In The Book!"

L. B. Clayton, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

A few months ago a certain young fellow made a very popular record, "It's In the Book." He told in a very eloquent way and in "preacher" tones the story of Little Bo-Peep who had lost her sheep, every once in a while asserting, "It's in the Book!"

This sounds like some of the articles dealing with the present controversy concerning the care of orphans, mission work, and the "Herald of Truth." Those who are opposed to the methods being used by brethren in these various matters cry with a loud voice saying, "They are unscriptural — it's in the book!" Those who favor and promote the methods used, likewise cry with a loud voice, "It's scriptural — it's in the book!"

Being personally disturbed concerning the proper method of doing these works, and also being further disturbed for fear the controversies might destroy the real purpose and good done by these works, I have read everything I could find on both sides of the question. For some reason, so far, I have not been helped much; I am still confused. I want to have a part personally in certain good works; and as an elder, I want the congregation I serve not to fail in its obligation concerning orphans, widows, preaching the gospel both at home and in distant fields, and in any and every good work the Lord would have us undertake. Surely there is a right and proper way of doing these things!

I find it difficult to understand how a person can be sure the way a thing is being done is the wrong way unless he knows the right way. If one is positive a certain thing is being done wrongly, he should be able to point out the right way. We do not teach a child how to do things by always telling him the way he is doing it is wrong and not showing him the right way.

Our Local Program

The Church of Christ at 10th and Francis Streets, Oklahoma City, conducts two gospel meetings each year. In planning this work we obtain the services of preachers we believe can well do the work we want done. We take care of all their needs while here, so that they need not be concerned with anything except the work at hand.

We have built facilities for a well planned Bible School each Lord's Day. We have a well trained and capable group of teachers who conduct the classes. We supply them with whatever materials and supplies they require. We buy these supplies and materials from various concerns who are engaged in the business of publishing or manufacturing them, and we pay for the supplies according to the invoices received. We also feel that our members should do personal work, and should have well written tracts and pamphlets on various subjects to leave with the various people on whom they call. To meet this need we obtain such tracts from various business houses or individuals who offer them for sale, and pay for the things purchased out of the church treasury. We also buy a considerable quantity of such tracts and pamphlets for free distribution not only in Oklahoma City but also in several other places where we are helping to establish the cause.

There have been some occasions when this congregation has had within its membership certain elderly sisters who required constant nursing service. At such times we either obtain the services of a competent and dependable nurse, or else take the aged widow to a nursing home, and pay for her keep out of the church treasury.

In our efforts to teach the gospel in virgin fields, we are supporting, all or in part, several gospel preachers who devote all their time to the work. We send money and other necessities either directly to these men, or else to the congregations where they are serving. We send a monthly contribution to one small congregation in Montana to help them pay for a local daily radio program.

"So far, so good," say all.

Care Of Orphans

That brings us to the matter of caring for orphan children. In the past it has been our practice to mail checks each month to Tipton Orphan Home and Turley Orphan Home. This we have done for several years. Until recently we gave it no further thought. But now questions have arisen. And we no longer can have the approval of all in this method. Nobody questions that the churches do have an obligation to the fatherless children. But how can we discharge that obligation? What method shall we follow?

I believe we should be consistent in all our methods; and I believe we can be consistent in them. Thereby we can have the approval and whole-hearted backing of all. Let us see:

Let us suppose we have in Tenth and Francis congregation certain orphan children who are our responsibility and for whom we find it impossible to provide proper care locally. We are brought to the necessity of putting them in an institution — an Orphan Home — somewhere. In keeping with what we have outlined above, would we not be consistent if we could obtain the services of a well equipped and adequately staffed Orphan Home, owned and operated by devout Christians, and PAY them for the keep of these children? We would be buying what these brethren have to sell, and paying in proportion to the services rendered. If we had five children there, we would expect to pay exactly five times as much as we would for one child. It would not matter particularly where the home might be located, or whether it were under a Board of Trustees or privately owned by a single individual.

If the several small and weak congregations we are helping had a burden concerning either widows or orphans, we could send them money to help pay for their keep in a home for widows or a home for orphans. This way we would be contributing to the local need of that particular congregation. We would send the money to the congregation, and they, in turn, could arrange with the nursing home, Orphan Home, or other institution to pay each week or each month for the care of the one whom they had sent there. By this simple method we could help any congregation in the world to care for its needy — the needy whom they could not care for by their own ability. Would this not be consistent?

"Herald Of Truth"

We appreciate, above measure, the desire of the Highland Church in Abilene, Texas, to preach the gospel throughout the nation and the world by radio and television. We believe the program has been a great help in some of those mission points where we are particularly interested, and where we are sending support.

However, if we send money to Highland Church in order to have a part in this work, we can no longer have the approval of all. But could not the work be done by an application of the same procedures outlined above? I believe by the same principle and method as outlined in the paragraphs above, we could have a part in this great work, and could possibly even enlarge the program and extend it to cover the whole world.

We believe the brethren who work so faithfully in the preparation of these programs have access to what is necessary to build and develop very acceptable radio and television transcriptions and films. The programs being presented are proving this. Why could not these brethren form a company, a corporation, or whatever might be necessary, prepare and record these transcriptions and films, and then let the various churches purchase them just like they would Sunday School literature or tracts?

Each congregation then, having arranged to buy the transcriptions, could enter a contract with one or more radio and television stations, anywhere they might desire, to carry these transcriptions. They could have them put on the air in their own community if desired, or in some far distant state, or even across the seas in some foreign country. That would depend on how much money they had to spend for radio and television work.

Possible Objections

At first glance I imagine some of the following objections to this idea might be advanced by those favoring the present set-up:

1. A national broadcasting program needs promotion, which would be impossible under the above plan. In reply to that let me say that the plan outlined here would need promotion too! It would not be an easy, effortless venture. "Herald of Truth" as it now exists has required tremendous promotional efforts. The same brethren who have worked so faithfully and so diligently in bringing "Herald of Truth" to its present great size and influence could undertake the task of working out whatever problems might be connected with the above proposal. Highland Church could enter into a contract with the net-work to broadcast the program over one of the Abilene stations affiliated with the network — whether Mutual, National, or American — and Highland Church could pay for its own local program. Provisions could be made in that contract for time on other stations in the chain at rates comparable to the number of stations carrying the program. A map showing the locations of the stations carrying the program, or covered by the contract, could be furnished interested congregations. Then each congregation could pick out whatever station, or stations, they might desire to use, and the contract could provide that these stations bill the congregations buying their time.

In this way there would be no crossing of congregational lines, no "centralized elderships" and none of the features in the present set-up which have been objected to so seriously by some and affirmed by others. The same, or an even greater, work could be done.

2. There are costs involved in preparing transcriptions and films. Certainly there are. And there are also costs, sometimes tremendous costs, involved in printing Bible School literature. But the cost of preparing all transcriptions and films could be charged proportionately to each congregation by the simple matter of figuring the cost in the price charged the churches for the transcriptions and films.

3. There must be some clearing house for mail, requests for sermons, and other information. Each program could conclude with some such statement as the following:

"If any information is desired concerning this program, the Church of Christ, or if a copy of this sermon is desired, please write the station to which you are listening, etc."

Space will not permit all the hypothetical questions concerning this plan, but, "Where there is a will there is a way." I don't believe there is any difficulty in this proposal which could not be worked out if the promoters wanted to do it this way. Certainly our congregation here at Tenth and Francis could wholeheartedly subscribe to such a procedure, and if they so desired, would be financially able to carry such a program on many, many stations. What is true of us is probably true of a great number of other congregations over the land. As a consequence, if some such arrangement as the above were worked out, the program could be carried over a thousand stations instead of a few hundred. Those congregations particularly interested in foreign countries could arrange to have the program carried there, proper interpretations being made in the transcription sound tracks so as to put the sermons in the languages these various peoples could understand.


There are certain far reaching advantages in the plan as I have suggested here, whether it be for mission work or for benevolent work. For one thing, doing business this way would eliminate the hazard of misconduct on the part of those operating orphan homes or those preparing the radio and television programs, because they would be dependent on the sale of their services. Any congregation spending several hundred dollars per year for the upkeep of certain orphans would be much more concerned with the services being received than is now the case.

Likewise a congregation vitally interested in spending much money in some certain mission field would certainly keep in contact with what was being taught the people over the radio and television. They could listen to every sermon before the transcription was sent to the station. That way we would not have one eldership "having the oversight" of the teaching for a thousand other churches; but each eldership would have its own authority to either buy a transcription or reject. This would certainly have the advantage of keeping local elderships much more interested in accepting the responsibility of their work. If congregations just settle down to mailing a check each month to Abilene for a national radio and television program, many will feel they are fulfilling their duty to God to carry the gospel to other people, and will cease to observe or be interested in what is being taught. They will not receive any blessing, because no one will tell them directly that they have been helped by the program. But if a congregation is paying for the broadcast on a particular station or Stations, and someone - writes or calls that station that congregation would receive the information and thereby be encouraged in knowing that they were doing good.

Summing Up

In teaching — let us teach, and if helps are profitable, let those helps be purchased from whatever source acceptable material can be had.

In taking care of widows and orphans — let us be sure we do the work the church is obligated to do; and take care of the persons involved rather than the institution.

In mission work at home and abroad — let us support individuals and congregations directly, not pooling our resources to be distributed through some centralized agency or eldership.

In national radio and television work — let us obtain the services of the best we can find to prepare the program, then let each congregation buy the film and transcription and purchase time for its broadcast over what- , ever station, or stations, it wants to employ.

Let us be ready unto every good work!!