Tag Archives: Christianity

The Oliphant-Smith Debate

In 1929, in Shawnee, Oklahoma (just 10 miles from The Cobb Six Headquarters), there was a debate held between W.L. Oliphant (Christian) and Charles Smith (atheist).  The propositions were:

  1. “There is a Supreme Being (God, Creator).”
  • Affirmative: W. L. OLIPHANT.
  • Negative: CHARLES SMITH.


  1. “Atheism is Beneficial to the Race, and is most conductive to Morality of any Theory Known to Man.”
  • Affirmative: CHARLES SMITH.
  • Negative: W. L. OLIPHANT.


  1. “All Things Exist as the Result of Evolution, Directed by no Intelligence.”
  • Affirmative: CHARLES SMITH.
  • Negative: W. L. OLIPHANT.

This book is available in print from us or from Amazon, but it is also being made freely available in a digital form as part of the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary.

To read the book online, just click the link below.  Or, if you want to download it to your computer/tablet/smartphone/whatever for later reading, simply right-click on the link below and “save target as…”

Oliphant-Smith Debate (1929)

Christianity and Labor/Management Relations (Christian Solutions to Modern Problems – Part Five)

In this, the conclusion of F.W. Mattox’s speech on Christian Solutions to Modern Problems, he tackles the issues of big business, and of Labor/Management relations.  It is incredible that something written primarily dealing with the social structure in the late 1940s is still so relevant to today’s social structure.  But, as Mattox said, whenever the principles of Christianity are put into place, it doesn’t matter what the social structure is–it makes each person and endeavor better.

Enjoy this, the final installment of this series.  And if you want to download the entire tract as a single pdf file, simply click here.



There has been too much misunderstanding in regard to the place of big business in American life. Too long has it been pictured as a monster of evil. There is no ulterior motive for my defending it. I don’t own a penny’s worth of stock in any company. I have no special friends in the management of any big company. I’m just an ordinary college professor with a smaller than average income, but I listen to a fine radio— produced by big business. My food is preserved in a fine refrigerator. I drive my own car, take a trip on the train, or on occasions I travel the airlines, all made possible by big business. Last year I built a home. It contains a modern kitchen, automatic furnaces and three bath rooms. Where else in the world can a fellow like me enjoy such conveniences? And why can I afford it? Only because it is all inexpensive—thanks to the big business corporation, the American method that allows all of us to pool our strength. The keynotes of big business are economy of operation, maximum production and improvement of techniques so that lower selling costs will result. Most big business is owned by many stockholders who share in its profits. Stockholders invest money for tools that make the products all of us use. There is no reason for it to be corrupt just because it is big. There is no reason for it not having a heart. In fact it has.

In general, it works for the welfare of employees as well as stockholders. And in many companies, employees are also stock-holders.

The effort that some labor leaders and social planners are making to destroy harmony between management and labor is un-Christian. Big business will bring us increasing conveniences if those so engaged recognize they are a part of a great team. This mutual interest is the result of brotherhood and Christianity builds the most cohesive brotherhood known to man. The law of supply and demand regulates the type and quantity of production. Competition results, not only in better products at cheaper prices, but also in new products, expanded plants and more jobs. The results add up to a higher standard of living for all and this, too, is Christian. The government should serve only as a referee, and allow these natural laws to operate.


There is no limit to the practical applications of Christianity to modem life. No matter the sphere of activity in which one finds himself, he will be impressed with how accurately the Christian principles apply.

Let us consider the case of management in business. Christianity demands that modern management in business assume responsibility for the welfare of its employees. The manager of a business that employs a thousand men must say in his heart, “I am responsible for these families. I must see to it, if possible, that there is enough profit in this business to maintain continuous salaries at a living wage. This means that I must replace worn-out machines, and develop a backlog of capital that will see this business through recessions or depressions and take care of any adjustments made necessary by increased competition. I must not only provide for employees today, but look out for their future.”

This is a serious responsibility. It is a responsibility that labor has apparently failed to understand. Too many workers have the attitude that management is their enemy. This is truly unfortunate.

The gulf that has developed between management and labor is eliminated by the application of Christian principles. Management has the responsibility of assuring labor that both are friends and that the business is being operated in their behalf as well as in the behalf of stockholders and that the accumulation of “venture capital” is for their good.

Management has the responsibility of informing labor of the necessity for profits. From the Christian viewpoint, any business management that does not make profits sufficient to replace machines and provide a backlog of capital to care for plant expansion and enlargement so that sons of present employees might have some opportunity for employment, has not assumed its full Christian responsibility.

Christianity, therefore, demands that management assume responsibility for sound management. It is a serious matter to have a great number of human beings looking to you for food, clothing, and shelter. Christianity will cause this responsibility to be taken seriously. In view of these ideals, wages will be increased as much as is possible in the light of the above mentioned responsibilities. Working conditions will be improved in every manner possible, motivated by a feeling of brotherhood and mutual sharing of responsibilities.


Christianity gets down into the lives of every human and improves conditions and attitudes of all. The laborer must assume his share of responsibility, also. He must understand that if he receives $1.00 per hour for his work that he must create in that one hour, not only $1.00 in value that would come back in the form of reimbursement to his company, but he must create enough more than $1.00 in that hour to provide for the upkeep and replacement of his machinery, the upkeep and expansion of his plant, and additional value that will be stored back to provide for further emergencies in the time of depression or financial recession. This must come into the understanding of modern labor if there is ever to be harmony between labor and management. Christianity requires that labor assume these responsibilities.

In this, we see a formula for success that applies to every young man who wants to get ahead. Christianity would say to such a young man, “Your income can depend only upon the value that you create minus replacement of machines, required supervision, and a small deposit for insurance against future calamities.” The more a young man creates in value, and the more responsibility he assumes, the better care he takes of the machines, and the less supervision that is required to keep him on the job, the more income he can receive. In this way, a greater share of his creation of value belongs to him. Christianity gives one this feeling of responsibility.


There is no end to the applications of Christianity to modem life. The principles of honesty, fair dealing, sympathy, humility, as well as responsibility are applicable to every human being in every walk of life. A husband is a better husband for being a Christian. He is dependable, loyal, sympathetic, understanding, and kind. A wife is a better wife because of being a Christian on the same basis. Children are better children because of being Christians. Christianity lessens the harshness, the unkindness, and ill-will that has so marred human relations in the past and replaces these negative qualities with positive principles which improve human relations on every hand.

In society under the Caesars, human life was very cheap. Even those motivated by the very highest form of pre-Christian philosophy had not learned the value of a human life. The Roman Stoics, in their practice of slavery, would have no consideration for a slave who had become old and useless. There was no provision for his welfare and the only suggestion he would receive would be to take his own life. With the coming of Christianity into the world, every human institution felt its impact and through the years, society has come more and more into harmony with its idealism. Not only has the Christian idealism proved itself in practical applications, but stands ever ready to take humanity to still greater heights.

If modem society with its scientific know-how would work seriously to make Christian application to its social and economic problems, we would experience the dawn of a new day in which standards of living and human satisfactions would reach levels undreamed of in past generations. The challenge is to you to apply Christianity where you are today.

Christianity and Communism (Christian Solutions to Modern Problems – Part Three)

Greetings!  We hope that you have been finding F.W. Mattox’s work on “Christian Solutions to Modern Problems” to be interesting and challenging.  Today’s installment looks at–among other things–the assertion that the Bible endorses communism.



Karl Pollanyi, the Austrian economist, has criticized Christianity on the basis that it presents no over-all plan for society. He calls this the greatest blind spot in Christianity. His criticism is that it is entirely too individualistic; that it might have worked in former periods, but since there are so many people living in large groups, the Christian individualistic idealism does not apply.

I would answer this charge by saying that while Christ did not give us a detailed blueprint for the ideal society, which could have been applicable in only given localities, he instead left us underlying principles which will take root in any society and bring it to a more ideal state. All who have looked into the matter of law and studied its value are impressed with the fact that no system of regulations is more effective than the majority of the members of the society will support. In other words, laws and regulations, to be effective, must be supported by the majority of the members of the society involved. This means that had Christ given the ideal social order, it would never have been effective until the majority in any society would support it as individuals.

Instead of approaching it from this angle, Christ gave plans that will build in the individual social responsibility and ideals of conduct that would make him the ideal citizen in any form of society. Not only does Christianity build into each individual heart the highest social responsibility; it requires that each individual be a missionary of these ideals to such an extent that each will use his power and influence in developing in others the same responsibility and noble principles of conduct. This plan is far more effective than any attempt would have been to require a perfect social order.

Not only is this a better plan ideally, but it is the only plan that could work from the practical point of view. If Jesus had advocated a perfect social order, it would have meant there would be outward opposition by his followers against all opposing orders and thus have caused social upheaval in the Roman Empire as well as in all subsequent times. But by working through the individual, each order is gradually improved as the principles of Christ are accepted.


As Pollanyi has criticized Christianity for having no over-all plan for society, others have claimed that Christianity endorses Communism. Accordingly, the adherents of such an idea say that the Communistic philosophy is in harmony with the Christian religion. This definitely is a mistaken idea. The passages of scripture that are used to prove such a claim are passages in the Book of Acts telling of the church in Jerusalem.

In Acts, 2:44, the scripture says, “And all that believed were together and had all things common and they sold their possessions and goods and parted them to all accordingly as any man had need.” Again in the 4th chapter, and the 32nd verse, it reads, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and soul: and not one of them said that aught of the things which he possessed was his own: but they had all things common . . . for neither was there among them any that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto each, according as any had need.”

These passages of scripture in no way endorse the Communistic philosophy, but rather, are statements of the unselfishness that Jesus taught in regard to Christians sharing with others when occasion demanded.

There is a great difference in Christian sharing and Communism. In Communism, the state takes over all of the property, even by force, and it is controlled by a small minority, theoretically for the good of all. Communism would take all wealth from all individuals. This is not what we have read in the above passages of scripture. Those who sold lands and possessions, sold them voluntarily and gave their money voluntarily to the apostles and this money was distributed, not equally to all who were Christians, but only to those who were in need.

Not only is this true, but we have the record of those who did not sell their possessions in the church at Jerusalem.

An outstanding example of this is Mary, the mother of John Mark, who owned a large home in the city of Jerusalem, which was used as a meeting place for many of the Christians. (Acts 12:12-14.) Further evidence is the fact that the Apostle Paul in his instructions to Christians in their giving, laid down the plan that each is to give as he has prospered. (I Cor. 16:2.) This clearly indicates that there were differences in prosperity.

This also indicates that the New Testament scripture does not demand equality of possession. Jesus said, “The poor will be with you always.” This, by no means, however, should be taken as a sanction of poverty but rather it is an indication that no matter what a person’s financial status, he is responsible for helping his fellow man. The conclusion is very strong that the New Testament scripture does not sanction in any of its plans, a Communistic set-up such as is being advocated today. The scripture does set forth very strongly the idea of individual responsibility and one of the greatest weaknesses of any Communistic development is the elimination of responsibility on the part of the many and the assuming of complete direction in the hands of the few.

Tracts From the Past – Christians Outside the Church?

Here is another tract written by James Bales.  The date is unknown, but the content is well worth reading.

Christians Outside the Church ?


One can be a good moral man outside of the church, but can one be a Christian without being a member of the church which is the body of Christ? The New Testament only can furnish us with the answer.


If one can be a Christian outside of the church it is evident that one can be a Christian outside of what the church is. The church is:

(a)  Composed of the called out (John 17: 14, 20; 2 Thess. 1:1;.2:14; 2 Tim. 1: 8-9).

(b)  The kingdom of heaven (Matt. 16:18, 19; Col. 1:13; Mk. 9:1; Lk. 24:47; Acts 1:8; 2-1-, 47; 8:12; 28:31)

(c)  Composed of those who have been born again (John 3:5).

(d)  The house of God (1 Tim. 3:15).

(e)  The pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15).

(f)   Composed of the sanctified (John 17:17, 20; 1 Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1).

(g)  The body of Christ (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22, 23; 1 Cor. 12:27).

(h)  The saved are added to it (Acts 2:41, 47).

(i)    Baptized into it for we are baptized into Christ (Acts 2:41, 47; Gal 3:27).

What person, who knows the Bible, will affirm that one can be a Christian and not be in the church? Of course, the church does not make a person a Christian; obed­ience to the gospel does that. However, when one obeys the gospel God adds him to the church. All Christians are in, not outside of, Christ.


If one can be a Christian outside of the church, one can be a Christian without that which is in the church. The church is the body of Christ. What is in Christ? Here is the scriptural answer: salvation: forgiveness; saints; the faithful; spiritual blessings; the chosen; the accepted; re­demption; no condemnation; the gathered; the inheritance; the sealed, the quickened, and the raised; God’s spiritual workman­ship; the covenant relationship: those who have been made nigh by the blood of Christ; the one new man; the reconciled; the holy temple inhabited by God’s Spirit; God’s promises to both Jew and Gentile; God’s wisdom is made known through the church; access; glory to God; truth; the inheritance; grace and members of His body (Acts 4:12; 2:41, 47; Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:14; Eph. 1:7; 1, 3. 4, 6, 7; Rom. 8:1 and Gal. 3:27; Eph. 1:10, 11, 13; 4:30; 2:5-6, 10, 2, 3, 6, 21-22; 3:6, 10, 12, 21; 4:21; 5:6, 9, 30; 2 Tim. 1:9).

All these things are in Christ and no one who knows and respects the Scriptures can maintain that one can be a Christian and be without these things. The important question is: How does one come into Christ? Paul taught that we are baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27). Scriptural bap­tism is the burial and resurrection, with Christ, of a penitent believer (Rom. 6:2; Col. 2:12; Matt. 28:19f Mk. 16:16).


Christ purchased the church with His precious blood and it is composed of the re­deemed (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 1:18; Col. 1:14). Christ placed great value on the church and those who maintain that they can be Christians and remain outside of the church, do not realize the mind of Christ on this subject. Furthermore, they overlook the fact that one can be a good moral man and still be lost. Cornelius was devout, religious and moral but he had to hear words whereby he was to be saved (Acts 10:1; 11:14). Christians must be morally good but moral goodness alone does not make one a Christian. Cornelius, a good moral man, had to be baptized into Christ, into His church. And so do you, if you have never been buried and raised with Christ for the remission of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).

Becoming a Christian, and becoming an actual member of the church, amount to the same thing. That which puts you in­to Christ, puts you into His church, The baptized are added, the saved are added, to the church for baptism is into Christ (Acts 2:41, 47; Gal. 3:27). Of course, to have meaning baptism must be preceded by faith and repentance and be a part of the obedience of faith.

Search the Scriptures diligently and you will be led to the conclusion that one can­not be a Christian and be outside the church. Christ is the Savior of the church, which is His body, and you must be in that body (Eph. 5:23). Do not reject God’s word on this subject for by His word you are to be judged (John 12:48).

Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?

A year ago today, I wrote this article.  The message is still timely.  I pray that it is encouraging to you.

Who’s gonna fill their shoes?  Who’s gonna stand that tall?   Those words were made famous by George Jones, the legend of country music who died Friday morning.  The song was written mourning the passing of many classic country singers.  It was also written mourning the fact that the “new country” of the time was becoming more and more like pop music instead of country.

When the song was first released, there were people who were up and coming in country music who still held to their musical roots.  There were people like Alan Jackson, George Strait, Randy Travis, and others who kept more traditional county music alive.  If the question were asked today, however, the answer might well be “none.”  Real “country” music has just about disappeared from the airwaves, and all that is left is pop/rock music with an occasional fiddle or steel guitar.

Those country singers who truly play country music have been ostracized and rejected.  Even though the soundtrack to “O Brother, Where Art Thou” sold over a million copies, it was deemed “too country” for country radio.  Two of the most popular country artists of the 90′s (Alan Jackson and George Strait) accused the record companies of killing country music in their song “Murder on Music Row.”  Brad Paisley gathered together some legends of country music and recorded a song in protest called “Too Country.”

But George Strait and Alan Jackson are rarely heard on the radio anymore and Brad Paisley has defected to the synthesized pop side.  And again, the question lingers, Who’s gonna fill their shoes?

What does this have to do with the Bible and Christianity?

As more and more preachers, elders, and other faithful Christians pass on, we need to seriously consider the question of Who’s gonna fill their shoes?  Who is going to step up and continue to carry the banner of true Christianity?  It seems that a lot of Christians think that somehow the church will just keep on going strong without them—so they do nothing.

Jesus pointed out to a group of disciples that there is much work to be done, telling them “The harvest is truly great, but the laborers are few.  Because of this, pray to the Lord of the harvest that He will send laborers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2).  Jesus was concerned about who was going to carry on when He was gone.

Today, there is a massive push to leave real Christianity behind and go with a man-made imitation.  The ones who stand for the truth are labeled with such epitaphs as “legalists,” “boring,” “outdated,” and even “dead.”

There are Christians who speak out, but their voice is being marginalized.  Even when “big name” preachers speak out for the truth, their words are given little attention.  And more preachers and Christians continue to defect to the imitation Christianity that is supposedly more “popular” with people.

So, the question again rises and smacks each of the faithful in the face: with more preachers, elders, and Christians passing on, Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?

Are you willing to stand up and say, as the great prophet Isaiah did, “Here am I, send me!”? (Isaiah 6:8.)

Who’s gonna fill their shoes?

I am.  And I pray that you will too.  You are needed.