Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 25, 1966
NUMBER 16, PAGE 10-11a

Permian Basin Campaign For Christ

R. L. (Bob) Craig

I shall begin this article by stating simply that the only thing wrong with the aforementioned effort is: there is NO Bible authority for such. God has nowhere made provision for a cooperative of churches. There is no command, example, or inference that two or more churches ever worked together in a common effort and under a common headship. Many have been crying out about cooperative efforts for several years now. We warned at that time that this thing knows no stopping place. It would naturally get worse and worse. This which I am now discussing is an outgrowth of the attitude that has permeated the Lord's churches and those who could not see what we were talking about before (they said) surely ought to be able to see the error in this thing. If they cannot, then may the Lord help them!

The Permian Basin Campaign for Christ is not A church neither is it the work of A church. "Churches of Christ throughout the Basin are combining their efforts for a gigantic gospel meeting which will attract the attention of every citizen in the Basin." (Campaign Newsletter, June 1st) By their own admission we see what it is: not A church but a COMBINE of churches.

Not only is the PBCFC a combine of churches, it is many churches working together under the headship of a board of directors or to more exact---under an "Executive" committee. Four other committees ---Services, Grounds, Personal Work, Advertising ---work with this Executive committee. The Executive committee is made up of two elders from three different Odessa churches. They are not functioning as elders of a local church, but as members of this Executive committee, brought together specifically for this PBCFC. The members of the other committees, in like manner, are drawn from the many churches throughout Odessa. "The North A and Tennessee congregation in Midland (is) coordinating the efforts in that city, with all local churches assisting in their immediate city." (ibid.)

Now, what do we have? We have an organization made up of at least four churches. Its title is "Permian Basin Campaign for Christ." (ibid.) PBCFC has its own budget of $18,000 to $20,000." PBCFC has its own treasury. PBCFC has its board of directors---the Executive committee. PBCFC is doing the work God has assigned to the local church or to an individual---preaching the gospel. PBCFC is taking contributions from churches to carry on ITS own work. Notice this diagram of what is taking place. I am borrowing and adapting this from a chart by Jess Jenkins:

Chart Goes Here

Now, is this the rantings of a "wild-eyed fanatic?" Some will immediately say, "yes," because he is opposing what they are pleased to call "a good work." But hear one of reputation from among themselves--a man help in high esteem by these participants in the PBCFC and one who has held meetings for some of them---Reuel Lemmons, editor of the Firm Foundation.

"Brethren should learn from the sad experience of others. We have been all to free to 'appoint' and 'select' intercongregational committees and 'boards' of various kinds. Good brethren are quick to say that there is no harm, and nothing wrong, in a harmless area-wide 'board' or a group called a 'committee.' And there seemingly isn't in the embryo---but let the thing get full grown and you can well have a full fledged denomination. We have a demonstration of this very course in the Christian church program."

"If brethren have the God given right to set up machinery nowhere sanctioned in the Bible, and appoint 'boards' and other such groups to 'give the church effective expression in the world,' upon what grounds then could they object to the total restructure program of the Disciples? If a little 'board' is scriptural, why is not a big 'board' scriptural? If it can control or direct the actions of ten congregations, could it not control and direct the action of ten thousand congregations? Board defending brethren should learn a lesson from the sad experience of those who have had boards for less (more) than a 100 years." (From an editorial in FIRM FOUNDATION, Dec.10, 1963.)

In principle PBCFC is exactly what the missionary society of the Christian church is. Certainly specific details differ, but the principle, as stated by brother Lemmons---"if it (a board or committee-- RLC) can control or direct the action of ten (or four ---RLC) congregations, could it not control and direct the action of ten thousand congregations?"---the underlying principle, is the same. Some will object on the grounds that this is just ONE action and is a TEMPORARY arrangement. Let's use brother Lemmon's logic on that. If it (a board or committee) can TEMPORARILY direct one phase of the activity of four congregations, could it not PERMANENTLY direct the activities of these four congregations or four thousand? That is, would not the same scriptural (?) principle that allows the little thing also allow the big thing?

It has been suggested that since this is none of my business, why not let it alone? It so happens that the church in Crane, of which I lam a member, has not only been invited to be a participant in this endeavor, but has been urged. Peter said "to be ready to give an answer." I feel that we are obligated to make known why we will not be a party to this unscriptural mess. In the meantime, are the preachers (Rickman, Henninger, Billingsley, Walker) or the elders who are involved, ready to give a SCRIPTURAL answer for the PBCFC? I, and others, in the Permian Basin, stand ready to publicly meet them and deny the scripturalness of their arrangement. Will they try to defend it? Will they even try "to give a (scriptural) answer?" We shall see.

I am also hearing of plans for other area-wide Campaigns: Austin, Houston, and New Orleans that I know of. I do not know the specific details of the arrangements in these places, but I know this: if there are as many as two churches involved in a joint effort, such effort will necessitate some kind of control. And the New Testament does not reveal any plan for such control of such organization, hence, they will be operating outside the scope of scripture. It will have to be some kind of human arrangement because God has not revealed any. Hear the apostle: that ye LEARN in us not to thing of men above that which is written " (1 Cor. 4:6).

-Box 1294 Crane, Texas 79731