Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 26, 1956

"The Church And Recreation"

Arnold Hardin, Lancaster, Texas

Numerous are the conflicts within the Lord's church today, and, one that is destined to play even a greater role is that of the church and recreation and entertainment for our young people. The advocates of the idea that to save our young people the church must step in and provide the money and facilities for their entertainment programs are lifting their voices more and more. So they should not mind if some of us raise ours. And, as we have witnessed relative to other matters, the plea of many is being built upon false premises and insinuations against other brethren. "Would it not be better to take a few dollars from the church treasury for the entertainment of our boys and girls than to lose one single boy or girl" is a statement heard many times. This I know — if it is right to take a few dollars for the entertaining of our children it is right to take as much as we want or feel we need. If not why not? These statements are designed it seems to me to make some one believe that some of us do not believe in saving our boys and girls. This approach has worked well on other subjects and it evidently will fool some on this. A good friend of mine came by recently and in our conversation he mentioned how bad it was for those who published the Guardian to teach that it was wrong to care for orphans. Whereupon I asked him if he read the Guardian. "No," he said, "Where then did you get such an impression," I asked. He replied, "I have read it many times in other papers." This writer too is opposed to such institutions as Boles Home, for many reasons, but I would label any insinuations that I don't believe in caring for orphans and needy people as false to the core. Such false insinuations and statements leading necessarily to such conclusions as my friend's is sinful and diabolical. Why is it we cannot deal with issues and make our brethren appear only in the light in which they actually walk? We say to sectarian preachers "Stay with the text." My brethren let us stay with the issues.

The issue, of which we speak, is not the need of entertainment and proper social activities for our young people, for this we readily admit; but, the issue is this — Where in all the "oracles of God" do we find that it is the duty, work and responsibility of the Lord's church to provide the funds and facilities for the entertaining of our young? Where is the authority for elders to take the Lord's money and provide the facilities for the social and recreational life of our youth? This is the issue. Don't muddy the water! We have witnessed those that desired that the government feed and clothe them. This we knew to be wrong. We have seen parents that wanted the school system to take over the training of their children. This we knew to be wrong. Now we are in the midst of a crime wave by children unparalleled in our history. "The church is failing our young" is the cry from many so we get our "intellectual reasoning" in motion and out comes the answer. And, when it is boiled down, it is seen that neither the accusations against the church nor our schemes are right. There is no doubt that the church could have always been doing a better job in its teaching programs. But, it is not the failure of the church. as such, when our young people go astray. Rather, IT IS THE FAILURE OF THE HOME. We as parents have desired to shift our responsibilities off on the church or just anyone that will take them, be it Grandma or a baby sitter. It is not Bible. Eph. 6; Col. 3 and Titus 2:4-5. Pressure is being exerted upon elders and preachers. May God help them to withstand it and in turn teach parents that when those youngsters graced their homes they became the responsibility of that father and mother. If my son or daughter does not grow "gracefully" then I dare not blame the church of my Lord. The church is being saddled with so many "jobs," not its duty to perform, until it is nothing but a miracle that the Lord ever has enough money with which to properly carry out its work. Is it any wonder that so many men are literally begging for support in needy places? Let the church tend to the soul and let the home discipline and exercise the body. Let us cease desiring to be like the "nations" about us.