The following is part of an article in the May 17, 1928 issue of the Gospel Advocate. It is as timely and needed today as it was then.
How The Ministry Is Viewed
By F. W. Smith.
A note from Brother J. B. Nelson containing the views of himself and those of a Federal judge is here given, with some reflections regarding the matter, with the hope that serious thought may be provoked:
Dear Brother Smith: I really believe that there are preachers who are moral cowards when it comes to preaching against public sins; and yet there are some—Billy Sunday, Gipsy Smith, and others—who have the courage to condemn the public sins, but too cowardly to tell a sinner to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. There are preachers in the Christian Church who are too cowardly to condemn the unscriptural practices of the church. I am afraid that in the church of Christ we have some preachers that are so soft and mushy they touch the gospel very lightly when confronted with popular audiences.
Brother Smith, if there ever was a time when the church needs preachers with backbone enough to stand up against all forms of humanism in the church, it is today…
We now give the Federal judge’s criticism referred to in the note above: High-salaried “city preachers who are afraid to say what they should from the pulpit and school-teachers who teach merely by books and fail to teach the young to be moral and law-abiding citizens” were castigated from the bench here Saturday by Federal Judge R. L. Williams.
His remarks came during the arraignment of persons indicted by the Federal grand jury earlier in the week, a large number of whom were youths.
“They used to say education was the panacea for all ills,” Judge Williams said, “but I tell you, unless the teaching is of the right kind, education has just the opposite result. All the money spent for education is wasted unless it is accompanied by moral teaching.
“I notice where all the preachers in Kansas city said the world is growing better. They mean their salaries are getting better. The world may be improving—I don’t know; but I often wonder about it, with the penitentiaries filled all the time.
“Preachers ought to devote a certain percentage of their sermons to law enforcement. They used to do it. Now the vestrymen get liquor so they can have the eggnog at Christmas time, and the preachers are afraid to say anything about observing the law for fear their salaries will be cut.”