Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 28, 1955

Too Many "A's"

P. J. Casebolt, Fairmont, West Virginia

Generally, an "A" denotes achievement, or success of a high degree, and we are pleased when our children obtain an "A" in their schoolwork. At this writing however, I wish the "A" to signify an "association," for that is exactly what it stands for many times, and there are entirely too many "A's" in the average church member's activities. There is the PTA, FHA, FFA, and many other like organizations that are receiving time, influence, and finances that rightly belong to the church of the Lord.

But certainly there isn't anything wrong with these organizations, or a church member's participating in them, is there? It may well be that there is nothing wrong with a thing in itself, and again there are things that are wrong within themselves. The principle, and purpose of the above named associations may be all right, but when the church begins to suffer because of our allegiance to any political, fraternal, or religious organization, it is time to curtail our activities in these associations, or if necessary, cease them altogether. It is no wonder that some brethren become "hobbyists," when the thing they oppose has become the "hobby" of some church members. It is difficult to keep from being over severe, when an outrageous abuse of certain principles is prevalent. I do not mean to condemn the PTA, FFA, FHA, YMCA, 4-H or anything else, unless these organizations practice things contrary to divine law, which they sometimes do. But, I do mean to reprove and rebuke those members who allow such extra-curricular activities to hinder their obligations to the church, and thereby impede the progress of the church.

These foregoing conclusions are reached because attendance is being impaired because of our commitments and obligations to varied institutions. A local church can have a protracted meeting booked for three or four years, and yet when the preacher arrives for the meeting, many of the members are too busy with other activities to attend the meeting. Did they not know the meeting was booked? Did they not have ample time to prepare and arrange their activities so that they would not conflict with church work? It seems to me that four years, three, two, one, or even six months would allow the church plenty of time to prepare for a meeting. The preacher is allowed no excuse; he must be there ready to go, and he must not miss a night. But the family he takes dinner with excuses themselves for that night's service, because there is a PTA meeting. The family with which the preacher makes his home cannot come one or more nights, because there is a Hi-Y meeting, and their son or daughter is a chief wheel in its machinery. Such laxity in attendance is even due at times to sporting events, and leaves the impression with me that some are "lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God." (II Tim. 3:4.)

The church does not stop suffering at this point. Not only is attendance affected, but membership is affected as well. Too much of our effort is being funneled into institutions of human origin. Good though these institutions may be, yet we must allow that such as we have mentioned are not soul saving institutions. Our labor is being expended upon an enterprise that helps no one spiritually. Yet, how zealous some church members are in furthering the borders of some fraternal or political order! They will recruit new members, even from among other church members, in their annual membership drive. They are able to extol the praises of the Farm Bureau, or the Red Cross, and answer any questions that prospective members may ask. Yet, that same member of the church cannot, or does not, influence one single person to become a member of Christ's church in the course of a year. They will even air their grievances against the church before those who are not members of the body of Christ.

Up to this point, there are probably some who disagree with me. From this point on, there will be a few more. Sometimes the brethren are not affiliated with any of the things I have mentioned, but they start themselves an institution or movement of some nature, which is not conducive of enough good to justify its existence. and fiddle away their time (or the Lord's time) with their own playhouses. These" are very jealous of their own inventions, and if one dares to question their conduct or offer criticism, the one who opposes them is a "hobbyist" and opposed to individual enterprise. A thing is no longer on an individual basis when the church is entangled in that thing's activities, even to the extent that it thrives on church support, from the treasury of he church, or to the extent that church policy is dictated by and from those connected with such an "individual" movement.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt. 6:33.) The church is so important, that we place the law of that church foremost in our lives. It is a soul saving institution, to such an extent that no other institution besides the church can lay scriptural claim to that position. (Acts 2:47; Eph. 5:23.) "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Eph. 3:21.)