An Example Of "Sponsoring"
If the extremes which we are witnessing in organizational functions of some of the churches now had been in evidence at the beginning, the sponsoring that received sanction and encouragement then would have been condemned and opposed. Personally, I would never have concurred in anything that I believed at the time to be what is being done now, or that would lead to what is being done by the central sponsoring churches now. It is a far cry from what churches first set out to do in supporting preachers in various fields of work.
For instance, the elders of one of the large churches whose practices are in question, sent a representative to another church to induce that church to contribute the full amount necessary to the support of a preacher, but to enter this entire amount into the budget of this other church, which would take charge of both the salary and the preacher. When this was opposed, the representatives insisted and attempted to convince the elders of this church that it was the thing to do. If anything any of us have ever said in the past on the subject of "co-operation" has led to a thing so wrong as that, those of us who realize it, can but regret it and do what we can now to oppose it. I am ever willing and ready to rectify any mistakes of my own and to correct any errors, past or present, in this or any other issue.
— Foy E. Wallace (Torch)
Elders Must Work
An elder should be devoted to his task and willing to devote time and serious thought to his office. He should be unselfish, ready at all times to labor and anxious to be used. When true devotion exists among elders, and abounding love of the church is present, and courage to go forward is abundant, then the church abounds unto every good work. Lacking such love, devotion, or courage the church will lack that leadership needed to strengthen and expand the kingdom. An elder, selfish of time or lazy of mind or body, will fail to perform his obligations. He should be willing to give of his time and thought and planning that the church might be a busy workshop for the Lord.
The planning of the work of the congregation should be with broad vision. "Where there is no vision the people perish." Every phase of activity should be planned: The minister with his preaching and teaching and visitation, the Bible school, vacation schools, singing, radio work, revival meetings, fellowship meetings, local cooperating work, establishing new congregations, aiding needy congregations, Negro work, Mexican work, U. S. mission work, and foreign mission work. All these need to be planned if they are to be done by a church in a business-like and orderly way.
Now the planning of these is good, but the stimulation and encouragement of the whole membership that they may feel that they have a necessary part in them is better. Christians grow by work. I am convinced that they will usually accept a challenge to good work and accomplish it and be ready again and again for further challenges to do Christian work. This has been proved many times over in the one congregation that I know best.
— John G. Young (20th Century Christian)
We Commend "Brother" Dark
The "doctor" fever has broken out among gospel preachers about like it did among sectarians of fifty years ago. It is no longer good enough to call a man "Brother" or "Mister." It is suggested that this is only to impress the world with our educational attainments, but that is the very thing our Lord taught us against. We do not want to impress the world with our educational attainments but with the gospel is entirely out of place for brethren to be "doctoring" one another and especially around a Christian school. To call one man "doctor" and another "brother" or "mister" in the next sentence is to violate the very principles which our Lord taught.
Harris J. Dark is head of the department of mathematics at David Lipscomb College. He has a Ph.D. degree which he received from George Peabody College at Nashville. At the opening of the year, brother Dark explained to his classes at Lipscomb that he had no desire to be called "Doctor." He asked those students who could conscientiously do so to call him "Brother Dark," and suggested that if any did not care to do that then "Mr. Dark" would be just fine. We commend brother Dark for his common sense.
We also note that some of the churches over the country are advertising some of these doctors among us as "Dr. Blank will preach in a meeting." Denominational people will think they mean "doctor of divinity" and thus the advertising will damage rather than help the church. When will brethren quit trying to impress the world with things borrowed from the world and start preaching the gospel?
— George DeHoff (Christian Magazine)
At Home And Abroad
Several weeks ago all the indebtedness against Austin Avenue church was paid in full, and the vacant lot on the northeast side of the educational annex has been purchased by the church.
We are now amply able to support a preacher in another land. In the November business meeting the island of Guam was discussed at length and favorable as a fruitful field. However, neither the man nor the place has been chosen yet.
We hope to find a preacher willing and worthy of the gospel calling and of the confidence of the church. For it is generally known in the church here that it is impossible for a group of elders in Texas to exercise oversight of a man in a foreign land. If the man does not remain true to the Book, or does not do his work in a satisfactory way, and we find it out, all the elders here can do is to stop paying and endorsing him and get some one else in his place.
Many Christians in the church here know very well indeed what inspired men planted when they went into foreign lands, and they would not be willing at all to send a man anywhere to establish or plant anything except the church of the Lord. And the elders here would not try to exercise oversight of the churches he plants. Men who do not know enough about the work of elders to know that they cannot be overseers of a church in Texas and in Guam at the same time, without violating the Scriptures, do not know enough to be elders at all. Imagine the elders of the church in Ephesus trying to exercise oversight of the churches in Crete. If such arrangements had been right or practical then, Paul would not have left Titus in Crete to appoint elders there. (Titus 1:5) If such is right today, we ought to be ashamed to criticize the "bishop over a diocese."
There are very few, if any, of the members in Austin Avenue church who do not know that God never gave anyone to be head of any church or group of churches except his Son. (Eph. 1:22, 23) They know that no man could become the head of the church anywhere without becoming the vicar of Christ in that place, and they would not want to support any man in any land, if he tried to become head of the churches he plants.
Some of the brethren and sisters here understand quite well what the New Testament teaches on autonomy and independence of the local church, and therefore they would object vehemently to any proposal to by-pass the elders of other congregations and to cover the United States with pledges of solicitations of funds that should be contributed to the treasuries of the churches of which the contributors are members. We would expect to support the man we send, and for that reason I believe many would become more liberal in the matter of giving.
When Paul went into a foreign land to preach the gospel he converted the people from idols "to serve the living and true God." (I Thess. 1:9) He taught them to sacrifice and suffer for the name (I Thess. 1:6); that they must, even at the great cost, sound forth the word. He did not say one thing to lead the new converts to think that he would leave the work in Europe, return to Asia to solicit funds to build for them a chain of meeting houses across Macedonia and Achaia. So many of the Christians in Brownwood know this, that they would not want any preacher they were supporting in a foreign field to leave the impression on new-born babes in Christ that everything was going to be done for them and that they would have nothing to do but receive.
— Cecil B. Douthitt (Brownwood Christian)
"Foreign Work For Tenth And Francis
The 1951 program (budget) took cognizance of the fact that not half of our $5,000.00 appropriated this year for miscellaneous evangelism was spent, so we cut down that item for 1951 to $3,000.00, and added an item of $5,000.00 for "new mission work," as it is listed in the program. The commitment is to employ an additional man, fully supported by Tenth and Francis, and send him into an entirely new field.
— Jack Meyer (Gospel Visitor)