Vol.VIII No.I Pg.3
March 1971

Change Of Signs

Jim R. Everett

The pool hall was a hang-out for the local riffraff. The joint wasnt classy enough, so a billiard table was added, carpet was laid over the cracked, wooden floor and the sign out front was changed to read Billiard Parlor. The same people frequented the place. As always, they gambled and boozed a little on the side and the townspeople knew that Billiard Parlor was a highfalutin way of saying pool hall — its practice hadnt changed at all.

Someone persuaded the community, shade-tree mechanic, who knew motors inside and out, that he should present a better image for the sake of community. He went to a mechanics school and paid good money to learn what he already knew. After graduating, the sign on the fence which used to read Joes Garage said Doctor of Mechanics — Joseph C. Jones. A certificate hung on the wall to prove that Joe was a qualified mechanic.

Of course, Joe still tuned an engine by sound and smell while the electronic gadgets stood in the corner gathering dust. And if you stood just right when you looked through the knothole in the new sign, you could still glimpse a worn, chain hoist which hung from the shady, old oak out back of the place.

On some buildings hangs a sign cracked and weather beaten by time — Church of Christ. This sign is supposed to signify that Christs people meet there to worship God and do His work. They are supposed to respect His authority, preach just what The Book says and give book, chapter and verse for everything believed and practiced. However, in addition to sounds of worship and Bible teaching. one hears kindergarten nursery rhymes, the pitter-patter of tennis shoes in the basement gymnasium, the click of billiard balls in the upstairs recreation room and the banging of pots and pans in the newly acquired kitchen and fellowship hall. These are strange and divisive noises coming from meeting places where once echoed a unifying plea — We speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent.

In attempting to defend feeding, recreation, and entertainment programs being conducted by the church, a preacher told me that the N.T. does not say how the church building is to be used. I agree, hut this is only a quibble — the real issue is determining the scriptural work of a congregation. If a person understands what the work of a congregation is, he has no difficulty understanding how its facilities are to be used.

Neither is the issue what individual Christians may or may not do, hut rather what a congregation may practice by Gods authority. I do not find scriptural authority for church kindergartens. gymnasiums, baseball teams, fellowship halls, etc.

Methinks that not only does the practice not fit the sign (church of Christ) but also that the practice is a sign of change. In this instance there should be a change of signs to fit the practice. ——verett