Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 12, 1954

The Herald Of Truth -- No. 2

W. W. Otey, Winfield, Kansas

In the early days of the Missionary Society movement, much of the opposition was directed against the waste in high overhead costs. Moses E. Lard seemed never to have gotten beyond this view. For some years Benjamin Franklin worked with the society movement. He began first to find fault with the mismanagement and waste within the organization; and this caused him to review and study the whole question, from which study he became a strong and unyielding antagonist against the very existence of the society. Cost of over-head and mismanagement did not go to the root of the issue. The scriptural right of the societies to existence was the vital thing. Cost and mismanagement were only secondary. The attention they received and do receive should be secondary.

In the same fashion the scriptural right of Herald of Truth to exist is the basic point involved in this present day controversy. The waste of the Lord's money is a secondary matter; but, even though secondary, it is not unimportant. In this paper I want to point out some of the extravagance and wasteful expenditure of the Lord's money in this modern project. Here I insert pages 2 and 3 from the November, 1953, report as issued by the Elders of Highland Church. In order that no mistake be made, I am clipping the pages directly from the bulletin and sending them to the typesetter exactly as they are without any copying of them at all.

Financial Breakdown For Herald of Truth — With Average Monthly Expenditures — Feb., 1952 - Oct. 1953.

For Preaching the Gospel To the People

Financial Breakdown for the Herald of Truth - Feb. 1952 - Oct. 1953

This twenty-one months' total gives you a chance to form an estimate of the most of the work. The television work will offer more expense, of course, but the overhead will be much lower proportionately.

Facts You Need To Know

FACT NO. 1 — The Herald of Truth radio program is a work of the Church of Christ at Fifth and Highland, Abilene, Texas. The elders of this congregation direct and oversee every phase of this work from preparation of sermons to mailing of printed copies of these sermons. The Highland elders have never delegated any authority to any person, but have as a unit directed this work.

FACT NO. 2 — Every person working in connection with the work is a faithful member of the Lord's church. Since December 15 Brethren E. L. Crawford, W. C. Smith, and J. F. Reese, elders of the Highland Church, have been charged with disbursing all funds used for carrying on the radio-television work. All checks are to be signed and counter-signed by two of these brethren.

FACT NO. 3 — The Herald of Truth radio program is not the church or one of the churches. It has no organization of its own and instead of directing work it is a work of the Highland congregation. Since the work of the church should be distinguished from the church, a name was given to the program, the Herald of Truth, the same as naming a tract, a bulletin or an article. Its purpose is to herald or preach the truth; thus, its name.

FACT NO. 4 — The Highland Church merely asks sister congregations to have fellowship with her in this work. All checks are to be made payable to Church of Christ, 5th and Highland, marked for the radio work.

FACT NO. 5 — From February 1, 1952 through October 31, 1953, percentage of funds used in connection with the office work amounted to 12.11%, an average of $4,054.06 per month, of which $2,539.50 per month was wages. See financial statement attached.

FACT NO. 6 — Questions and criticism are welcomed, but since this is a work of the Highland congregation, to maintain its autonomy or independence, the elders must make the final decisions. As was stated in the report sent to the brotherhood for December, 1952: "Every question. suggestion and criticism of the construction and administration of this effort is given full consideration and valued highly by the elders at Highland. Changes have been made from time to time, and no doubt shall continue to be made, in an effort to present the gospel of Christ in its purity and simplicity." Feel free to write at any time to the Church of Christ, Box 1858, Abilene, Texas.

FACT NO. 7 — The proposed television work will be conducted in exactly the same way.


Fifth and Highland, Box 1858

Abilene, Texas March 44, 1954.

About 1,080 congregations contributed to carrying on the broadcast in 1953. Signed, John F. Reese, for the elders.

The scriptural right for the Herald of Truth to exist and function as it does, is the vital point at issue. But the matter of waste of the Lord's money is certainly due some notice. I presume no one will say that it is not a sin to waste the Lord's money, whether done ignorantly or knowingly.

The astounding statement over their own signatures lists: "Office and overhead, $85,135.08." Read it again. That is "eighty-five thousand, one hundred and thirty-five dollars and eight cents." Of this amount, $9,801.73 is listed for "Travel and promotion." Brethren of the 1,080 contributing churches, can you continue to give the Lord's money, giving it as an act of worship, to be wasted in this manner. Personally, I believe that when the godly elders of the vast number of churches seriously consider the whole grandiose scheme, they will cease to be a party to this unparalleled enterprise. Figure it up, and see if it does not cost about $270.00 per minute.

But what is the message for which churches are paying this almost unbelievable amount? Is it teaching that exalts Jesus as Savior and imparts a knowledge of the gospel and the church? In short, does it lead sinners to Christ and edify the church? The answer is left to the reader. I now quote from pages 6, 7, 8, and 9, of the October bulletin giving the sermons for that month as delivered over the radio.

"In the early spring when the shrill cry of the blue jay is heard, and the warm sun bestows its benedictions upon the earth, the voice of the baseball umpire can be heard as he steps up to the plate and cries, 'Play Ball!' This sound is familiar to most Americans as the game of baseball is one of the most popular in our country. When Abner Doubleday laid out the first baseball diamond in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839 little did he think that within the lifetime of his grandchildren all of America would be playing the game.

"It is interesting to notice several comparisons between baseball and the game of life. In baseball there must be an umpire to direct the game and see that it is played according to the rules.

"In the game of baseball the players have a set of rules by which they are governed, and they do not receive the pennant of victory unless they abide by the rules.

"In the game of baseball the objective of each player is to score. The umpire steps to the plate and cries, 'Play ball!' The ball is delivered and the batter knows that to score he must at least make a hit. But he may stand until three strikes are called on him, and he is out. Or he may knock the ball into the field, and then he must strive with all his might to reach first base. The player knows that he cannot cut across the diamond to second base without touching all the bases. He must touch first base before he can go on to second. But if the batter has three strikes called on him, or he is thrown out, we say, 'He never even reached first base.'

"In the game of baseball the player cannot run to first base and then demand that his team be given a score. No ball player ever yet scored while he remained on first base.

"In the game of baseball the player must not only touch first base; he must also touch second base.

"When one views a ball diamond he observes that after second base comes third, and learns when he studies the rules that a runner must not only touch first and second but he must also touch third.

"In the game of baseball the runner who stands on third has not scored. He must yet go to home plate to score."

How much did it cost of the Lord's money to have this brief lesson on baseball. Only about $13,620.00! That is enough to give a very liberal support to two gospel preachers for a whole year in some needy field, and then have some left over. Are the churches of the Lord and sinners throughout the land, in such dire need of lessons on baseball? Ought it not to fill the hearts of Christians with grief to learn of such use of money from the treasuries of the church? Surely no one will be so irreverent as to attempt to justify this unparalleled waste by reference to Paul's brief allusion to some ancient games or practices of the heathen peoples.

The cost from February, 1952 to October, 1953 is given as $702,662.59. That would support more than one hundred gospel preachers in needy fields a whole year, at $6,000.00 each. How many churches have been established? The waste of money surpasses anything of which I have any knowledge in denominational or political circles, much less to the church of the Lord. No words at my command can do it justice.

It should be remembered that no two men, even if they were mature and of the best qualified in the whole church of the Lord, can possibly present the entire gospel and church in a perfectly balanced completeness. It takes many preachers supplementing each others' deficiencies to perform the best work that men can do. Paul, the most nearly balanced preacher that ever lived, recognized this fact when he wrote: "I planted, Apollos watered." (1 Cor. 3:16.) Even though Paul was the greatest of all preachers he knew that his preaching could be helped and increased in effectiveness by the preaching of his fellow workers. It is a lesson that all gospel preachers should consider seriously.

The cost of "Office and Overhead," given as $85,135. 08, would support seventeen gospel preachers a whole year at $5,000.00 each. Many years one of our strong and effective arguments against Missionary Societies was the great cost of "office and overhead." It was often referred to as "oiling the machinery." The Herald of Truth report gives such expense as 12.11 percent of all monies received by them. For twenty-five years I was a close observer of the costs of operating the Missionary Societies. I received much of their literature as it came through the mails, studied and analyzed it carefully. I also went to the headquarters in Cincinnati, into the office of F. M. Rains, then secretary of the Foreign Society, and got their publications. While I do not now have the figures on the cost of their operations, my memory is that it was about eight percent of contributions. I feel sure that the cost of operating Herald of Truth program is by far more costly than was the operation of the Societies up to about 1910.

What has thus far been presented may be classed as mismanagement and waste. I scarcely think that any one will make a serious effort to justify such misuse of the Lord's money. The expenditure by the elders of the money given into the Lord's treasury is a most serious responsibility. To spend it wastefully in preaching the gospel is a most serious matter, and what shall we say of spending it to exploit and advertise worldly sports? To sandwich such sports between thin layers of gospel teaching does not sanctify such to the glory of God. It is out of harmony with the whole gospel teaching and spirit of Christ. How many sinners have been converted to the Lord, and how many churches have been established by the expenditure of the $702,662.59 up to October, 1953? What would have been the fruits of perhaps more than two hundred gospel preachers spending their full time in needy fields for a full year? These questions bear directly on the basic principles of the gospel. They cannot be brushed off as of no importance in the work of the Lord.

(To be concluded)