The following article titled, “Brethren, we are drifting” was published in 1924 in a Church of Christ magazine titled, The Gospel Advocate. Is the church world still drifting?
The last thirty – year epoch has made wonderful changes in the church of Christ. I would to God this article could be copied in the Firm Foundation and could be repeated in both papers continually until brethren could see their drifting from the ancient simplicity of church houses that once controlled churches of Christ.
In the long ago, I held a number of meetings in Nashville. At that time Bro. Lipscomb told me we had sixteen congregations in Nashville, and more members than in any other city of the world, yet not a church house in the city that cost as much as five thousand dollars.
I noticed, two or three years ago, a young preacher was located in Texas with a congregation in a small town, and was rejoicing over an eighty-thousand-dollar church house he was building. At least seventy-five thousand dollars of the Lord’s money was spent on pride for that house. But the last report I got from that church was that their preacher was gone, the church hopelessly in debt and greatly discouraged, and their future outlook was dark.
Sometime ago I lectured for the Webb School for boys, at Bellbuckle, Tennessee, and learned that Mr. Webb had built up the greatest school for boys in the South, yet all his buildings for thirty years had cost less than ten thousand dollars. From there I visited a leading school in the church of Christ, and found them heavily in debt for building an eighty-thousand dollar dormitory that would care for only eighty girls.
All over Texas and other states the churches of Christ are going crazy over fine church houses and expensive school plants. Brethren have quit the pulpit and are out on the road begging for more money to build fine church houses and schoolhouses. Churches of Christ are being overtaxed, and our papers are becoming disgraceful in begging for more money. From five to fifteen of our preachers are advertising each week in all our papers, begging for a call to get work to preach the gospel, with expensive church houses costing thousands of dollars going up in many towns, with a desire to cope with the sects and build fine houses like they do.
If my brethren had been satisfied with common, comfortable church houses in Texas during the past fifteen years, and had spent in preaching the gospel the money that has been wasted on fine church houses to gratify the pride of some, more than one hundred congregations could have been built up, hundreds of preachers now begging for work could have found work, and many men and women could have learned the way of life who will be lost.
Brethren, We are drifting,