Vol.VIII No.V Pg.5
July 1971

Whole-Man Facilities

Robert F. Turner

In the early 40s some of the first Teacher Training classes were being conducted in churches of Christ; and I believe much good has come of efforts to develop genuine teaching situations — suiting material to pupil, and stressing the need for more thoroughly prepared teachers. But we turned, naturally to secular educators as instructors in these schools, and they brought the whole man concept with them. The Ideal Educational Situation included social and recreational facilities, provided by the church.

I asked an A.C.C. lecturer for Bible authority for such, (an old-time Anti practice) and he cited Lu. 2:52 and then closed the discussion period (an old-time liberal practice). The scripture cited (and used today) says Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man. So, there are mental, physical, spiritual and social aspects to mans development. Neither this passage or any other make this development the function of the church. But promoters are not bothered by a little detail like the fallacy of non sequitur — it does not follow.

The Donelson church, Nashville, Tenn., is now building a gymnasium — although they will not call it that. Their bulletin says, It will be adjacent to the present Bible School wing and contain four classrooms for teenage classes, a lounge reception room, a kitchen, and a large area which may be used for banquets, basketball games, or provide area for teacher training sessions, mission forums, youth rallies, etc.

The Christian Activities Center evidences a depth of insight in the leadership of the Donelson congregation. It evidences an understanding of Christianity that reaches to the whole life of the individual rather than considering the only legitimate activities of the church as being worshipping and preaching.

The church as a spiritual institution, to administer to spiritual needs, is a concept long forsaken by this church. And you may as well call their new building a gymnasium — its spiritual (?) significance will fade.

Negative journalism? Maybe so, but the church-social promoters did not like it any better when we begged them, 20 years ago, to join us in a positive study of the church and her God-ordained work. We pick up such items as the above, now and then, not because it delights us, but as object lessons to those today who are just starting down such a path, and think they can go a short way and no more.

I believe Christianity affects the whole life of the individual. Eating, or refusing to eat certain meat at the feast of the unbeliever should be done to the glory of God. (1 Cor. 10:31) Domestic and business relations have Christian significance (Col. 3:17-25) but this does not involve the church in banqueting or secular business, except as we teach Gods truth on these matters. Rom. 13: does nor authorize church politics.

Basketball challenges worshipping and preaching — it is enough to make the whole man cry.