G.C. Brewer warned, but we have not heeded! The results are before us.

No Substitute for Preaching

We are turning out preachers today in greater numbers than any generation before us ever knew. We have more jobholding preachers today than even the Divine Mind ever foresaw. We have new methods and we have much psychology and a great deal of talk about the method of approach and the way to reach the masses. But we do not have the hour long expository preaching and the argumentative methods that were used by the two generations that have just preceded us, to say nothing of the all night preaching of the Apostle Paul.

We are tending to substitute a ceremony for preaching and using methods to displace the message. We must attract large crowds, enroll great numbers and expend millions of dollars. Yes, we are now a show! Perhaps the church is on the march, but many who are marching with us have no conviction and would not know sound doctrine if they heard it and many of them would not tolerate it.

We are having training classes, but these training classes are training teachers to train other classes and those classes will train people to train yet another group. In this paradoxical age of ours, we have said more about sociology than was ever said or taught in any other generation of the world and yet we have more unsocial and antisocial behavior than any other generation we know. We have more teaching of domestic science and more girls are specialists with high degrees in this science than the world ever knew before. But we have fewer home-keepers and home-cookers than any generation that has preceded us. Girls take a course in domestic science so they can teach others to be teachers of domestic science. What we need is the practice of such science. In like manner, what we need in the church of the Lord is people who will practice religion and fewer people who will train people in some line of science or theology.

We build educational buildings at the cost of half a million dollars, but what do we educate our people to do? To teach and to boost and to build other educational buildings that cost more and more and enroll more students? Or, do we educate people for life here and life hereafter? Do we educate people to be Christians in the business relationships, the domestic relationships, the social relationships, the political relationships and the other relationships of life? If we are doing this, then God will bless us and our work will bear fruit, not only in present enrollments and announcements, but in the lives of future generations.

It is to be feared, however, that some of these educated people, as well as some of the educators, don't know the difference between Protestantism and Catholicism and can't tell the difference between a Methodist and a Mormon and would not recognize the disparity between a Campbellite and a Christian.

We need more who will put their talents, their energies and money into preaching Christ and not into advertising the church of Christ. The church of Christ as a sect isn't any better than any other sect, and membership in a sect is quite a different thing from the regeneration of the soul. We need to emphasize the difference between sectarian propaganda and gospel preaching. -- G.C. Brewer, Excerpt, pp. 151-153, Harding College Lectures, 1955.