Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 28, 1954

Earl West And "Congregational Cooperation"


Our age has not produced a more thorough and careful student of the Restoration Movement than Brother Earl West of Henderson, Tennessee. He has written two volumes on "The Search For the Ancient Order," tracing the gradual emergence of the true church out of the confused and groping sectarianism and denominationalism of past generations. He has completed a voluminous biography of the great David Lipscomb, which ought soon to be in book form. And in numerous articles, special papers, and lectures he has demonstrated a familiarity with and an insight into the lives and writings of the Restoration leaders which clearly sets him forth as an authority in this field.

Last year Brother West wrote six articles under the title, "Congregation Cooperation — A Historical Study," which were published in the Gospel Advocate, and later reprinted in The Preceptor, the Gospel Guardian, and perhaps other journals as well. The articles were factual, documented, and positive. They set forth the history of the problems that have arisen through the years over the question of "congregation cooperation," and indicated the various answers that have been given by different groups to the question. Brother West was quite well aware that perhaps the biggest problem facing the church at this moment has to do with this very matter. He called for an earnest and brotherly discussion of the subject; and his articles were intended to provide the historical background for an intelligent approach to such a discussion.

The matter of congregational cooperation is indeed a live issue, for this is the real question behind the current writings and controversies on the "sponsoring church" plan of mission work, the institutional orphan homes, and, more recently, the widely advertised "Herald of Truth" project. An intelligent reading of the West articles will show that all of these matters have been discussed in principle and hotly debated for a hundred years or more. There is really nothing new in them, except that they are new to our generation.

Ever since Brother West's articles were published, we have been receiving inquiries as to whether they are, or would be, available in tract form. Both preachers and congregations have written us that they would like to have them for study and distribution.

This present article is being written simply to ask, Do you want the material to be put into tract form? If we can receive enough response from this inquiry to justify it, the Gospel Guardian will publish the entire series in tract form. We would need to have advance orders for about 5,000 tracts before the venture could be undertaken. But if we can receive assurance of that wide a distribution, we will bring out the tract. Price schedule on it will be:

Single copy — 25 cents Per dozen — $2.50

Per 100 — $17.50

Per 500 — $75.00

Now, the matter is up to YOU — our readers. How many tracts will you take at the above figures? We already have a good start, for a goodly number of gospel preachers have written us or talked to us urging that the tract be printed, and promising to take all the way from a dozen to 500 when, and if, it became available.

Additional Material

There is one bit of interesting information to add to this article: when, and if, the tract is produced, it will contain the article Brother West wrote in reply to Brother G. C. Brewer's mistaken report of the famous "Henderson meeting" of 1910, and David Lipscomb's reaction thereto.

Readers of the Gospel Advocate will perhaps recall how a few months ago, Brother G. C. Brewer gave his views on the "Henderson meeting," and sought to show that David Lipscomb did not object to the work, or the plan of work, proposed at Henderson, but only to the fact that it was "the meeting" putting forth the proposals. Brother West replied to the article with documentary evidence (Lipscomb's own words) showing conclusively that Brother Brewer misapprehended the matter.

The Gospel Advocate refused to publish West's review of Brewer.

Brother West asks us if we publish the material in tract form, to include his article in reply to Brewer. Which, of course, we will do. The article has not been published in any journal anywhere, so far as we know.

We are ready NOW to take orders (DO NOT SEND MONEY YET) for the tract. We will file your orders, then if we print the tract will mail your order to you, and you can send remittance then. If we do not get sufficient orders within a reasonable time to justify printing, we will make announcement on this page.

But write us NOW, while you're thinking about it.

F. Y. T.