Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 28, 1960

Our Circulation Drive

F. Y. T.

It was just one year ago that we announced the opening of a concerted effort on the part of scores of faithful friends to double, triple, and if possible even quadruple the circulation of the Gospel Guardian. Now that one year has passed, we think it might be well to bring you up to date as to our progress. We have achieved our first objective this past year — that is doubling the circulation of the paper. Now we want to go on in 1960 and double it again. That will mean twice as many new subscriptions in 1960 as in 1959!

We have talked to a great number of people this past twelve months who said, "Oh, yes, I have been planning to send in a list of thirty names, but I just haven't got around to it yet." We are confident that if all who told me that, and all who planned to send the names (and did not) had sent in their lists, we would be already well on the way toward achieving our 1960 objective.

And what about you who have been sending the paper to a list of thirty (or sixty, ninety, or one-hundred-fifty) these past months? What should you do ? Would it be wise to continue your same thirty (or more) names, or should you drop that list, and send in a new list of names? That, of course, is for YOU to decide. Some will want to continue the paper right on to their old list; others will want to take a new list for 1960. In either event, stay with us in this drive, and help to enlist the aid of others!

Most of the arguments, pro and con, have been made. We will continue, of course, to carry material on both sides of the current issues; but we think the time has come when more and more emphasis should be given to those problems that confront us all in building faithful New Testament congregations throughout the land. We hope to give increasing space to material designed to be helpful in that field, and to give somewhat greater variety and diversity to the paper. We solicit your interest and cooperation (especially of the writers) in this endeavor.

We say "thank you" from the heart to those faithful ones who have labored so diligently and so enthusiastically this past year; and we pray that 1960 may be a truly happy and fruitful year for all of us in the service of our Master.

- F. Y. T. New Arguments

In the article above we said that "most of the arguments, pro and con, have been made," but we must tell you about two new passages which we recently had brought to our attention as proving ( ?) that the New Testament churches did, indeed, have, and do have, an obligation to administer benevolence to those who are not members of the body. We were asked if the Bible teaches that the church has an obligation to the poor and needy who are not members of the church. The reply was that we knew of no passage which taught it.

Then Came The Passages:

Acts 6:1-6 The widows of the "Grecian Jews" were cared for by the church in Jerusalem — and there is not one word in the text which says these widows were members of the church. Therefore, all opposition to the church caring for those who are not members is based on pure ASSUMPTION — the assumption that these widows were Christians!

I Timothy 5:16. A Christian woman is providing for her aged mother who is NOT a Christian, but is perhaps a member of some denomination. The Christian daughter becomes obstinate, and finally refuses to provide for her mother. In that case she has "denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever." If that happens, it is the duty of the congregation to withdraw fellowship from her — and then take up the task of providing for her mother! If we are to confine the church's benevolence to the saints, then we must ASSUME that the aged mother of this Christian woman is herself a member of the body.

Thus the whole case against church benevolence to the non-Saints is built on ASSUMPTION - pure and simple!

Well, as we said, those were a couple of new verses to be used so far as we were concerned. But the context of Acts 6:1-6 shows conclusively that the "widows" were among disciples. It is a strained and really incredible exegesis which would assert otherwise. Is this the best support that can be given to the contention for a general benevolence on the part of the church? It shows to what desperate extremes otherwise good brethren will sometimes go to support a hobby.

The other passage, I Timothy 5:16, assumes the very thing under discussion. Who says that the church is under obligation to discharge every responsibility of those members from whom she withdraws? Is the church obligated to pay the grocery bill of the member who has been disciplined? Is the church obligated to pay off all notes owed to the bank by the member who is withdrawn from? Who made up this rule, anyway?

We cite two arguments merely as curiosities. We hardly think even the most liberal among us will take them seriously (however, we may be mistaken in this). But they are fair samples of the tortured, twisted, squirming exegetical gymnastics resorted to by brethren who become obsessed with some pet hobby or theory. Let them be a warning to all of us! And at the same time let us commend the fact that these brethren, misguided though they are, felt it necessary to seek some kind of Scriptural authority for their practice — an attitude all too easily surrendered by some of the more liberal brethren among US.