Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 16, 1950
NUMBER 40, PAGE 1,5a

Voices From The Past

Cled E. Wallace

It is never proper to quote men, however holy and informed they may be, as authority in religion. We have, however, in the church today, a new generation, many of whom are unfamiliar with the battles waged in the past against digression and the tendencies that developed into it. They appear to be blind to any dangers, and like Galileo of old, "care for none of these things." Some, who by reason of age and experience, ought to know better, appear to be in this class. Some voices from the past are significant, in view of some problems the church faces today. Enthusiasts, hot-heads and the generally forward, are making and putting plans into operation that make it necessary to fight over again the battles of the past. The lessons of the past are forgotten and history repeats itself.

In the Gospel Advocate, 1910, page 364, David Lipscomb had this to say about a situation that today looks very familiar in Texas.

"Now what was that but the organization of a society in the elders of this church? The church elders at constitute a board
to collect and pay out the money and control the evangelists for the brethren of West Tennessee, and all the preachers are solicitors for this work. This very same course was pursued in Texas a number of years ago. The elders of the church at Dallas were made the supervisors of the work, received the money, employed the preacher, directed and controlled him.

"All meetings of churches or officers of churches to combine more workers than a single church possesses is wrong. God's power is in his churches. He is with them, to bless and to strengthen them in their work, when they are faithful to him. A Christian, one or more, may visit a church with or without an invitation and seek to stir them up to a faithful discharge of their duty. But for work, or take charge of their men and money and use it, is to assume the authority God has given to each church. Each one needs the work of distributing and using his funds as well as giving them."

Regarding this, Brother F. B. Srygley commented' in the Gospel Advocate June 4, 1931.

"I do not quote from Brother Lipscomb to prove the missionary society is wrong, but to show how they started among those who wanted to stand by the word of God, When they got the thing in the eldership in Dallas, Texas, it was easy to go on into the unscriptural organization of the regular missionary society."

As Glenn says to me, I say to you, Brethren "please use reason." Is a thing like that any safer in Lubbock and Brownfield today, than it was in Dallas a generation ago? One preacher writes me: "You may feel that the church will go to ruin and commit suicide if you don't ride herd on it." That sort of thing moves me not at all, except that it demonstrates the very need of what I am trying to say. I'm prepared to receive and read, without batting an eye, all the hysterical, ugly and intemperate letters, some sort of spirit moves some brethren to write. Get it out of your system and look for the next issue of the paper.

Brother Lipscomb said with reference to Brother McCaleb when he went to Japan:

"Four churches in Tennessee and one in Kentucky agreed to support him, and their support was to be sent direct to him." (See Gospel Advocate, 1892, page 628.)

Again he said:

"If one church asks all the churches in the state to give it all the funds they can give to general work, that the elders of one church may direct all the preaching and work in the state, then I say this is wrong, is subversive of divine order, and concentrates power in one church that God distributes to many." (Gospel Advocate, page 487.)

Along the same line E. A. Elam said in the Gospel Advocate of 1897, page 358:

"One church sent directly to the missionaries and directly to the poor independently of all other churches."

These brethren gave abundant evidence from the scriptures to sustain their positions. These scriptures are still in the New Testament, and we stand with these brethren in maintaining this position. The attitude of the opposition then was that we needed something more effective, and centralization and digression followed. Is history repeating itself? Enthusiasts and hot-heads wrote the same sort of letters then that they are writing us now. They did not move them, and they will not move us.

Some brethren are so excited, they are casting off their garments, and throwing dust in the air, so to speak. It might help them to cool off, if they began a search for just one example in the New Testament where one church planned an extensive program in some far-away field, and became a clearing-house for funds sent in from churches over a wide area, in their prosecution of that program. When somebody thinks he has found it, we will be prompt in our examination of it. It will take more than the charge that we are opposing a good work to settle this issue. The digressives wore that one to a frazzle before I was born.