"Not Too Fast, Teddlie!"
After reading Brother Tillit S. Teddlie's article "Not Too Fast, Gentlemen!" in GA January 20, 1955 I wish to make a few observations. I have not written on the subjects which are disturbing the church today, because they seemed very cloudy for awhile. However, when much writing is done by men of great learning and both arguments fairly considered, it isn't hard to see matters clearly. I have never been so amazed at the reasoning of my brethren. I have heard much of Brother Teddlie but never had the pleasure of meeting him.
Brother Teddlie in an effort to show that some are opposed to cooperation (?) sets forth three Bible references. First, Exodus 17 when Israel was in conflict with Amalek at Rephidim. While Moses was at the top of a hill with the rod of God in his hand and he held up his hands, Israel prevailed. However, Moses hands were heavy so Aaron and Hur took a stone and Moses sat thereon; and they stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side. Now Brother Teddlie says, according to some modern teachers it might have been recorded thus: "And it came to pass, that Aaron and Hur came to Moses to hold up his hands, but Moses perceived their thoughts and saith unto them, not too fast, gentlemen. This would be an act of cooperation and therefore entirely unscriptural — only one at a time, please."
Now Brother Teddlie needs to show first that someone is contending ALL cooperation is wrong. I don't believe anyone has taken that position. Second, he needs to show that they continued to hold his hands day after day, week after week, and month after month. They rendered the needed help and then turned elsewhere. Besides these were individuals and not congregations. Brother Teddlie surely you don't believe that churches and individuals have identical cooperative license. So the first reference is altogether out of order.
Then 2 Corinthians 8:19, 23, 24 concerning the messengers of the churches of Asia and Macedonia, who collected funds for the poor saints at Jerusalem. Brother Teddlie says, "And it came to pass, that Paul having seen a group of messengers selected by the different churches of Achaia and Macedonia, and said unto them, Not too fast, gentlemen! churches of Christ can not cooperate in collecting funds for the poor saints at Jerusalem. Only one congregation can have part in this work. Any work larger than the local congregation cannot be undertaken by a plurality of churches. This would be cooperation, and therefore entirely unscriptural!" Now Brother Teddlie, just a second glance at this, shows that what happened in 2 Corinthians 8 is not a 42nd cousin to what is being done about the needy today! You will have a hard time proving that the church went out and gathered these poor saints and then asked these churches to provide for them. Also you will find it most difficult to prove that these messengers went back month after month to get a contribution to take up to Jerusalem. Certainly a church may assist another in time of emergency, such as confronted Jerusalem. But that doesn't /Dean to continue to assist her after the emergency is over. One must show first, that the churches continued to send money to Jerusalem after the emergency. Second, that Jerusalem gathered these poor saints from all over the country and thus created an emergency. Third, that the Jerusalem church, even in the time of emergency, continued telling churches to send us your needy and we will provide for them since these churches are bringing us a contribution. Then will you have a parallel and not before.
Yes, the same principle of congregational cooperation is as true today as it was when Paul established it among the early churches. But let one show that the principle so many are following today in gathering orphans from all over the land and then soliciting churches to provide for them month in and month out is the same as that mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8. To attempt this is to attempt an impossibility. Surely these brethren will soon recognize the error in their logic!
I can hardly believe that these learned men would willfully attempt to cause the church to practice any unscriptural thing.
Yes, the Lord's church must do its benevolent work as surely as it must preach the gospel but that benevolence does not comprehend every fatherless child, anymore than it comprehends every widow. There is the church's part and there is the Christian's part.
Brother Teddlie, Not too fast! Consider the logic of your arguments and see if they prove what you think they do.