Two or three years ago, Sam Hill, Jr., wrote a number of letters to me that were published in The Examiner. They were interesting and thought-provoking. This is another letter that l share with you. - CAH
Well, I know it must be a shock to hear from me. I know it has been too long since I wrote, but we sure do seem to be busy down here. You know how it is with farmers, the weather is too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry. It is easy to complain but we all understand that without all that weather we would not be able to grow our crops at all. It does keep us busy though.
I went over to help Daddy on his farm a few days ago (he is getting a little old and I try to help as much as possible) and the people from the local Church of Christ over there were in a real big stir. It seems that the Elders decided it would be a good idea to incorporate the church and it sure did upset some of the folks. When something like that happens some of them come out to talk to Daddy because they think he will sympathize with them. Well, he sure did surprise them this time.
They ask Daddy if he didn't think it was wrong to incorporate the church and he said he didn't think there was a thing wrong with it if that is what the members want to do. He said "after all, you folks built it, it is yours, and you can do what you want with it as long as it is not immoral". Well, you can just imagine what a discussion that started. It took some of the folks a long time to recover their breath, but when they did., they really got after Daddy for saying such a think about the "Lord's Church."
I couldn't help but be a little bit tickled listening to their thoughts. The congregation took a vote and it was decided by a majority that they should incorporate. Yet, they say it is "a blood bought institution that belongs to the Lord" and, of course, they said that "the church is just people". Charles, I know I am not too smart but if it belongs to the Lord wouldn't He have to decide whether or not to incorporate? And another thing, can you incorporate "Just people'? I seem to remember that I read somewhere that a corporation is a legal person separate and apart from its owners, members, and/or employees. If I understand that correctly, wouldn't that mean that it is impossible to incorporate "just people?" A corporation is a legal entity having an existence of its own.
We asked them why the Elders wanted to do it in the first place and they said it would limit liability, and "make it easier to borrow money". Well, there again, that just sort of proves the point. Limit liability means that those folks can back off and say to the world "don't look to us, your claim is against that thing called "The Church". Isn't that the same as saying "the Church is not us but something or someone else"? And the only reason I can see that it would make it easier to borrow money is because it makes it clear that this "person" that man has created by law can hold title to property which can be pledged to insure payment of debts. It can put out a statement of income and expense to prove it can repay the borrowed money just like any other business would.
Well, those people kept asking Daddy if it violated anything in the Bible to incorporate the church. He explained to them as he has many times before that there is nothing in the Bible about a church. They just can't seem to understand that the English word church and the Greek word ekklesia do not mean the same thing. The church idea is a man made invention and ekklesia is a descriptive term the Bible uses to describe all that group of people that the Lord has assembled together to follow his example and live as God would have them live.
You know, if people could just understand that one point, most of the disagreements between sincere religious people would be resolved. Nearly all the things religious thinking people disagree about relate to that organization called "Church". They argue about how it should be organized, how to run it, who has authority in it, how it is to raise money, how to get in it, qualifications for its officials, and that list could go on and on. Then they go to a book (Bible) that says nothing about it to get the answers to all those questions. Since the answers aren't there, they have to force an answer and, of course, people come up with different conclusions, then try to make other people accept their "Bible answer". If they could understand that going to the Bible to learn how to operate a church is like going to the Bible to learn how to operate the Boy Scouts then everything would clear up.
Well, I guess I have rambled on enough about all of that. Mother and Daddy said to tell you hello and all of us sure would like to see you folks. Hope you can come down this summer. We will have plenty of black-eyed peas and fried chicken to feed you. I sure do enjoy your little paper but I would rather talk with you in person.
Your faithful friend,
Sam Hill, Jr.