Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 20, 1956

A Case In Point

Luther W. Martin, St. James, Missouri

From time to time, various brethren have warned `us' of the possible consequence of 'our' trend toward ecclesiasticism, in big operations and promotional projects. It has been pointed out that if hundreds of congregations can funnel their funds for radio preaching through ONE 'sponsoring church' and allow her bishops to 'oversee' the radio work (effectively) for hundreds of churches, then it would be equally acceptable to have another congregation's elders serve as the 'sponsoring elders' for all the 'mission work' in a given region, province or nation. If not, why not?

Why not have the elders from one of the congregations in either Nashville, Abilene, Searcy or elsewhere, serve as the 'overseeing elders' for all the 'preacher boys' who graduate from the local college. These elders could become acquainted with all the male graduates desiring to preach, and could thus more 'effectively and efficiently' direct their work in 'mission fields' in other states. All of the churches could send their 'mission work' funds to the 'sponsoring church's elders' and they could then 'oversee' the work of the preacher boys. Of course, we are not bringing up the fact that in both the radio preaching or the work of the young graduates, that it would be a work to which ALL the congregations were equally and respectively related.

Now, to the case in point. We realize that abuses occur in everything, whether the thing is scriptural or not. Of course, Bible students know that the 'sponsoring church' arrangement is NOT based upon scripture it simply sets the pattern for an identical type of departure or apostasy as that which occurred in the first centuries of our Lord's church. Nevertheless, many sincere, honest and conscientious brethren have lent their support to this un-scriptural promotion without giving it proper consideration. The following case in point, clearly illustrates the symptoms of a growing disease.

This is an actual report, published in one of the papers which is edited and published by members of the church. We have obviously changed the names of places, and all emphasis is ours:

"Midwest City — THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 25 MEMBERS HERE; WE HAVE NO EVANGELIST AND HAVE NO CHURCH BUILDING. We meet in the Meadow View school house. As to our work, at present we are helping support an evangelist at River Flat, and contributing monthly to the work in Germany, Japan, Mayville, Donohoe, and to the broadcasts in Perryville and Jaketown. WE HAVE PROMISED MONTHLY SUPPORT TOWARD PRINTING ARTICLES IN SOME OF THE LEADING MAGAZINES, if this plan is undertaken. We have contributed to several building funds."

Obviously, the evangelistic zeal of this little group could well be imitated by all of us. Theirs appears to be a zeal, but not according to knowledge. Of course, it is their business as to the manner in which they use their own funds, but it still demonstrates just WHAT THE BIG SCHEMES ARE DOING to many small congregations.

Please note: This little group (1) Has no building. (2) Has no evangelist. (If several of their number can teach or preach, mebbe' they're better off.) (3) Membership of twenty-five. (4) They send money for the work in Germany. (5) They send money for the work in Japan. (6) They send money for broadcasts and other work to places here in the States or Provinces. (7) Regular monthly support has been promised for the 'PRINTING OF ARTICLES IN SOME OF THE LEADING MAGAZINES."

This writer does not know what the project of 'printing articles in leading magazines' refers to . . . . If it refers to 'THE GOSPEL PRESS,' I trust that the brethren behind that project will NOT accept funds from churches. They originally promised that they would not ...we hope they have kept that promise! In any event, here is a little group that has PROMISED somebody some support for what appears to be the same type of promotion as that of the Gospel Press.

We have referred to this particular PUBLISHED REPORT, because it so clearly describes the conditions that sap the financial strength from small, weak groups, all in the name of "doing the work" of some mammoth congregation (comparatively) in some other State.

(Note: All names except Germany and Japan were altered. L.W.M.) (Taken from a paper dated June, 1956.)