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

Necessary Things

Jack Freeman, San Pablo

"For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things . . ." Acts 15:28.

"But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Baton, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come." Rev. 2:24-25.

"And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matt. 16:19.

"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." 2 Jno. 9-11.

From these passages we can observe a number of important facts. (1) The Apostles were given the power to bind and loose. What they bound is still bound today: what they loosed is still "loosed" today. (2) No man has the authority to bind that which was not bound by the Apostles. (3) Jesus will be pleased with us if we hold fast to that which was bound by the Apostles. (4) All "necessary" things were revealed by the Holy Spirit TO the apostles, and delivered BY the Apostles TO the Church. (5) Thus, it has not been left to men to determine which things are necessary and which things are non-essential. (6) The only burden which the Lord requires us to bear is that bound upon us by the Gospel of Christ. (7) Those things pertaining to religion which are not authorized within the doctrine of Christ are not only non-essential but sinful as well. (2) To transgress and fail to abide in the doctrine of Christ is to be without the Father and the Son. (9) To receive those who teach contrary to the doctrine of Christ is to partake with them in their evil deeds. (10) All the schemes, teachings, and institutions of men which are without the Authority of Christ are both non-essential and sinful.

In spite of the simplicity of these passages and many others which deal with essential or necessary things, there is a vast difference between what God calls "necessary" and what men call "necessary." There was a day when brethren did not look upon their own schemes as being absolutely necessary. Most men admitted a few years ago that it was at least possible for the Church to do it work without men-made plans and men-made institutions. In those days, those who introduced human arrangements and human institutions into the work of the Church defended their practice by calling their plan or their institution an "expedient", or a "method", or a "tool". However, these men-made plans and institutions are no longer defended as expedients, methods, and tools. We are now told that these things are absolutely essential to the success of the Church. We are now told that the Church CANNOT function properly without man-made schemes and man-made institutions. Let us observe some of the things which some in the Church now claim are necessary. You will note in each case that those things branded as "necessary" by some brethren are not authorized within the Gospel of Christ.

Youth Camps

The following quotation taken from the "Gospel Light" teaches that youth camps are necessary.

"More Bible camps are needed to give the young people the inspiration, Christian fellowship, and Bible training they really want and need for dedicated lives for Christ."

(1) INSPIRATION — I suppose that the author of the statement does not refer to miraculous inspiration through which God's word was revealed. I suppose that by the word "inspiration" he means that the young people need something that will move or motivate them to do good. QUESTION: Where did young people receive this needed inspiration before youth camps were instituted? Does the Bible fail to provide for this "needed" thing?

(2) CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP — It is claimed that more camps are needed to supply the young people with Christian fellowship. Question: Where did the young people in the days of the Apostles receive this fellowship? Must we send our children away from home and away from the Church in order for them to be supplied with Christian fellowship? If one must leave home and the Church to find that which he needs to be "dedicated to Christ" something is wrong with both home and the Church. One of the elders in the church at Hayward once told me of his attitude toward his daughter's stay in the college in Abilene, Texas. He said that he was not concerned about her grades, but that he just wanted her to enjoy the "fine Christian fellowship". Was it necessary for that girl to travel almost 2,000 miles to find Christian fellowship? If so, that certainly is a poor commentary on the Church in Hayward as well as the home of that elder. It may well be true that Christ cannot be found in Hayward.

(3) BIBLE TRAINING — It is claimed that more camps are "needed" (necessary) to supply Bible training for young people. QUESTION: Did young people receive Bible training before the advent of youth camps?

Does the Bible fail to provide for the Bible training of any age group? A look at such passages as 2 Tim. 2:15, Eph. 6:1-4, 2 Tim. 3:15, 2 Tim. 1:5, and Eph. 3:10 will show that the home and the Church provided Bible training during the days of the Apostles. We need not think that two weeks in the mountains with "yarn-telling" preachers will provide any necessary thing for the young people. All necessary things for all age groups (that is, things necessary for salvation) are provided by the Scriptures. 2 Tim. 3:14-17, 2 Pet. 1:3. Even though we are told that more camps are needed, I have been unable to find one preacher in California willing to defend such institutions as "Sierra Bible Camp". A lot of preachers are brave enough to urge children to attend these camps. These preachers even demand that the young people "bring your shorts", but the same men are lacking in courage when asked to defend their practice.

Centralization Of Oversight And Funds

We are now told that the centralization of oversight and funds is necessary if the Gospel is to be preached throughout the world. The following quotation is from the "Christian Chronicle" November 17, 1959 under the heading "Campaign for $1 million Begun for Far East". The article was written by Ira Rice, Jr.

"Throughout the talks we emphasized and re-emphasized that with the raising of this Million-Dollar fund, we simultaneously wished to avoid any unnecessary 'centralization' as well as violation of any congregation's local-autonomy.

"Still, in order (1) to assist those churches already sponsoring work in the Far East as well as (2) to encourage additional churches to accept sponsorship of sending preachers into all other unevangelized nations of the Far East (by 1961), it was agreed by all present that at least $1,000,000 additional money should be raised for the Far East between now and the end of 1960.

"In order to get things rolling on the "Million-for-the Billion" Campaign, it was decided at the Graham, Texas meeting that the first step should be to get the churches now sponsoring work in the Far East (1) to agree to receive funds from this million dollar drive, and (2) to permit their names to be used in our advertising.

"Once all the churches (or as many as possible) would agree to receive funds and let us advertise accordingly, it was felt that the advertising program to be sponsored by the Gladstone elders at Fredrick, Okla. could swing into action. By listing these churches as "receiving" churches, from the start, then contributions could begin to flow.

"By asking these churches and brethren contributing to the various efforts to send their contributions directly to the church sponsoring the project they chose to help, not only is no congregation a receiving agent for another, but everybody's autonomy is respected, both senders and receivers being left free to allocate and disburse their own funds as each sees fit."

By sifting through Rice's double talk, we are able to see what he really believes to be necessary. (1) Rice believes it necessary to have some centralization of funds; he only wishes to avoid any unnecessary centralization. (2) "Sponsoring churches" are encouraged to continue to sponsor. (3) Other churches are encouraged to become sponsoring churches. (4) One church is asked to receive funds from many churches while the receiving church is not in need of funds in order to do its own work. (5) The sponsoring church is called a "receiving" church. (6) Rice tells us that the sponsoring church is a receiving church for many churches but NOT a receiving AGENT for another church. Thus a church in the United States receives money from many churches. This money is sent by the receiving church to the Far East — but Rice would have us believe that the receiving church is not a receiving agent. Somewhere along the line Rice should have learned what an "agent" is. (7) Finally, we are told that everybody's autonomy is respected since both sender and receiver is free to allocate and disburse their own funds. The truth is that in such a set up, someone has to lose autonomy. If the sender tells the receiver what to do with the money, the receiver loses his autonomy. If the receiver does as he pleases with the money received, the sender loses his autonomy. Thus, such a scheme is not only unnecessary but sinful as well. The article introduced no passage of Scripture to show that such a plan is authorized by the Lord; rather we are told that "Holton and Rice back the plan". Since Holton and Rice back the plan, but the New Testament does not authorize the plan, we are evidently expected to have greater respect for the "backing" of Holton and Rice than for the authority of Christ.

The Herald Of Truth — One Example Of The Centralization Of Funds And Oversight.

We are now told that it is not only expedient but absolutely necessary that we contribute to the "Herald of Truth". An active propaganda campaign has been carried on by the advocates of this program through the pages of the "Christian Chronicle" and other papers. This program is now called "the challenge of the century" — "an opportunity to reach 100,000,000 people every week in 1960" — "an opportunity to carry the Truth to lost and dying souls." Those who do not contribute to the "Herald of Truth" are accused of failure to take advantage of an opportunity to reach the lost — thus, accused of sin. Those who do not contribute to the program are accused of "padlocking the door of the church from within" — thus accused of sin. No longer are we told that this program is just an expedient way to reach the lost; we are now told that it is the only way to open the door of the Church. We are expected to believe that no one could obey the Gospel without this program to open the door of the Church for them. Evidently Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom to the Highland elders rather than giving them to Peter as He promised to do. Just think, Luke tells us that the saved were added to the Church — Acts 2:47 — But how could this be possible since the Highland elders were not there with their program to "open the door"? The Church was established almost 2,000 years ago, but the door padlocked until a young preacher a few years ago discovered that the "Rev" was the Herald of Truth program. Such is the only conclusion that one could reach from reading the propaganda put out by the advocates of this program. Who can believe it? Let us be thankful that our salvation does not depend on contributions to men-made organizations or the "brain-storms" of preachers and elders. Let us be thankful that the Bible is sufficient — that it reveals all necessary things.