Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 4, 1954

Brother Brewer And The Missionary Society (Continued)

Charles A. Holt, Franklin, Tennessee

In the previous article I made a few remarks about Brother Brewer's speech at David Lipscomb College on WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE MISSIONARY SOCIETY. Actually we saw that Brother Brewer does not think there is much of anything wrong with it. I want us to study the matter further and see what is wrong not only with the MS but with its modern counterparts.

Now there are two issues at stake in this study so it seems. First, is the MS wrong in its basic principles — those principles and ideas upon which it was founded? This question does not have to do especially with its abuses and the extremes to which it has gone. Things that are right within themselves may abuse their rights and go to ridiculous extremes. In such cases it is only in the abuses and extremes that the thing is wrong, and not in itself per se. A congregation may abuse its liberties and rights, and go to extremes in many things, but this does not mean that it is wrong to have a congregation! If it is only in this sense that the MS is wrong, that is, in its abuses and extremes, then we certainly need to back up and retract most of our preaching on the subject. Then we should join in and help curb and oppose the abuses and extremes, and get the MS in line so we can all work THROUGH that arrangement to preach the gospel. Is this the course Brother Brewer would recommend? He says, "The MS is an institution that builds and controls other institutions." Yes, it does NOW, but it did not start out doing this. Engaging in building and controlling other institutions was a later result — an extreme! Should the MS cease to build and control other institutions would Brother Brewer accept it as scriptural? If it should cease building and controlling orphan homes, colleges, and hospitals, would Brother Brewer approve of the MS as a medium and arrangement by which and THROUGH which churches of Christ may work to preach the gospel? It would seem that this is Brother Brewer's position.

If the MS is wrong ONLY in that it builds and controls other institutions, does that mean that Boles Home is wrong because it does the same thing? If not, why not? Brother Brewer thinks that Boles Home is a scriptural work, yet this institution is guilty of the same thing that he charges against the MS. Boles Home is an institution and on this point we are agreed. Boles Home also builds and controls other institutions — a school (all grades through high school); a farm; a dairy; a hospital; a laundry; printing company (which does work for people in many different places); and a number of other such things. The other orphan homes are like Boles Home in that they more or less build and control other institutions. Why would it be wrong for the MS to engage in such and not equally wrong for Boles Home?

Furthermore, why would not the same logic (?) as used by Brother Brewer make some of our churches wrong? Some of them certainly build and control other institutions. For example, the Broadway Church in Lubbock. This church is now engaged in the building of another institution — an orphan home for all of West Texas. No one can doubt that Broadway will control it. This orphan home is certainly not the church in any sense. It is an institution of which the elders of the Broadway Church are the "supervisors," and THROUGH which any and all of the churches of Christ may work to care for orphans. The Broadway Church then, as does the MS, BUILDS AND CONTROLS OTHER INSTITUTIONS. This church has also built and controls a school in Germany.

If the Broadway Church, the MS and Boles Home have a right to exist at all, then why would not each one have as much right as the other to build and control other institutions? They all do this. Why is it wrong only in the case of the MS? If it is said that the MS has no right to exist at all, then Brother Brewer should cease all his palaver about its building and controlling other institutions and get down to the issue of what is really wrong with the MS. This is the point about which we are really interested. Is the MS scripturally right in the basic principles upon which it was founded? Let Brother Brewer say — if he will.

The second point at issue in our study is this: Are the orphan homes, the old folk homes, and THE HERALD OF TRUTH parallel in the basic principles upon which they are built and operated, with the principles upon which the MS was built and operated? This is the real issue involved in this matter. If the MS is unscriptural in its basic principles, and the orphan homes, the old folk homes, and THE HERALD OF TRUTH are built and operated upon these same unscriptural principles, then it must follow that these arrangements are likewise unscriptural. Can this parallel be established? That such a parallel is a reality some of us verily believe and we have opposed these arrangements upon this basis. We believe that the MS is an unscriptural organization and arrangement; that it is a human arrangement and is without any justification in the Divine Pattern.

Not Parallel In Every Respect I do not know of anyone who thinks that the institutions of our day are parallel with the MS in every respect, and this is not necessary to prove both unscriptural. Brother Brewer seems to think, along with a lot of other men, that for the parallel to be established that they must be parallel in every principle and even in the extremes and abuses, and because they are not parallel in every regard he assumes that the MS is wrong, but "our" institutions are not. If the things were parallel in every regard then they would be identical! No one thinks that such is the case. It is not that they are identical, but that the basic principles upon which the orphan homes, the old folk homes, the "Broadway Plan of Mission Work," and THE HERALD OF TRUTH are founded and maintained are the same as the principles upon which the MS was launched and supported. This is the point for which we contend. That such is true cannot be seriously doubted when carefully studied. Therefore, it is a matter of proving the MS is right or proving these modern arrangements and institutions are wrong if the basic principles upon which all are founded are the same. Just what is the truth about this matter? We shall save this for discussion in future articles. The next will be a discussion of the Missionary Society.