Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 8, 1956
NUMBER 27, PAGE 1,8b-9

Here And There With Guy N. Woods (IV.)

James W. Adams, San Antonio, Texas

We regret that it was not possible for us to prepare these articles so that they might appear weekly, but circumstances have made such impossible. The congregation which we serve is in the process of consummating a building program and the resulting confusion around the meeting house has made it difficult to do successful work in the preacher's study. It is hoped that the remaining articles may appear consecutively.

No Pattern

An amusing aspect of the controversy over centralized control and oversight has been the wild threshing about that its proponents have done in search for arguments with which to sustain it. A new champion is born every time the inventive genius of some hopeful preacher begets an "irresistible" (?) argument. When this occurs, the chorus of the "me too" brethren joins in from coast to coast to popularize the invincible (?) tune until a new lyric is hatched.

It has been successfully contended that: (1) the church at Jerusalem was the sponsoring church for the benevolence of Acts 11:27-30; (2) the brethren who "were chosen of the churches" to carry gifts from churches in Asia Minor, Achaia, and Macedonia to the poor among the saints in Jerusalem constituted an organized body parallel in character and functions to the boards of directors of brotherhood institutions of our day; (3) the church at Philippi was a sponsoring church in the support of Paul at Corinth receiving and disbursing the funds of many churches, and that the proof of this is to be found in the Greek terms: "eis logon, dosis, and lepsis"; (4) centralized control and oversight is scriptural not because it is authorized by precept, approved example, or necessary inference, but by a fourth means, namely, "principle eternal" or "the law of expediency"; (5) the "component parts of the total situation" considered absolutely independently "are scriptural, therefore, the total situation is scriptural"; (6) "there is no pattern of one church giving to another church for any purpose." This is the latest.

Woods And The "No Pattern" Argument

Woods continues to aver, despite obvious, radical changes, that his convictions have been "substantially the same" on these matters from the beginning of his preaching experience. He so affirmed in his Birmingham speeches. Now, if this be true, the brother must have some giant-killer arguments on the questions involved. Surely, in "twenty-five years of gospel preaching and one hundred debates, twenty of them with the anti-Sunday school brethren," his unaltered convictions on present issues coupled with his self-conceded polemic prowess should have given birth to original arguments that are not only "irresistible," but incontestable, indisputable, impregnable, irrefutable, irrefragable, undeniable, overpowering, overwhelming, and besides this "obviously" convincing. But, is this the case, brethren? Why, no! To the contrary, in the Indianapolis debate with Brother W. Curtis Porter, instead of relying on his own arguments spontaneously generated from his immutable convictions of twenty-five years and his extended polemic skill and experience, Brother Woods fastened on to Brother Thomas B. Warren's "component parts and total situation" argument (created to defend such as "The Herald of Truth") and adapted it to a defense of brotherhood benevolent societies under institutional boards.

Having heard the tapes of the Indianapolis debate, those of us who heard Woods in Birmingham expected a lethal dose of "component parts and total situations." Brother Woods said in Indianapolis that Warren's argument was one of the strongest he had heard in "twenty-five years of gospel preaching and one hundred debates" and that it was absolutely irresistible. To the amusement of us all, the Warren argument was embarrassingly conspicuous by its absence, even by implication, from Woods' three speeches in Birmingham. It seems that W. Curtis Porter's simple rejoinder at Indianapolis in the form of a devastating analogy embracing the missionary society did more to educate Woods polemically speaking than the combined influence of his "twenty-five years of gospel preaching and one hundred debates" even if "twenty" of them were "with the anti-Sunday school brethren."

Some months ago, Brother G. K. Wallace threw his hat into the ring with a defense of present centralized control and oversight arrangements based on the assumption that "there is no pattern or example" of one church giving to another church for any purpose. Passages that our brethren have been using for more than a hundred years to prove local church autonomy, therefore, action of the church as such, Brother Wallace declared to have no such meaning at all. This was a new approach for a loyal preacher. Of course, the digressives have been using the "no pattern" idea to support their innovations from the beginning of their apostasy. Wallace's contention was solemnly saluted and obediently chorused by the faithful, "me too" brethren everywhere.

This did not surprise us. What did shock us was that a man of Guy N. Woods' self-confessed stature should join the chorus and appropriate to himself this argument as his chief weapon in the Birmingham speeches. Woods made the following statement in the development of his argument: "There is not a case in the New Testament that clearly shows that one church as such ever sent a dime to another church." Like G. K. Wallace, he denied that the help sent to the Judean elders from Antioch (Acts 11:27-30) was sent by the church as such, but by individuals. He likewise denied that the help sent from the churches of Asia Minor, Achaia, and Macedonia (1 Cor. 16; 2 Cor 8,9) to Jerusalem was sent to the church as such, but to individual, poor saints at that place.

If these brethren succeed in establishing their contention, they will not have helped their cause a whit. They will only have established the fact that it is unscriptural for one church to give to another for any purpose, unless, they are willing to assume the position that one does not need to have authority for that which he does in religion. But, let us, in this connection have a look at

Brother Woods Past And Present Again.

It is interesting to note that our brother, in 1946, took an altogether different position with reference to the examples just cited from that which he affirmed in Birmingham in 1956. In 1946, he said:

"'For it hath been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints that are at Jerusalem.' (Rom. 15:26.) Paul labored at length in the provinces of Macedonia and Achaia. (See Lessons X and XII, Third Quarter.) When these brethren heard of the distress that was occasioned in Judea because of a famine in those parts, they determined to send relief. There were many poor saints in Jerusalem at this time. The brethren there had undergone many persecutions and had likely been spoiled of their goods. The Gentile churches had profited by the fact that the Jews had brought the gospel to them, and they determined to repay in part this obligation by sending to their needs in a financial way. Paul explains it thus: 'It hath been their good pleasure; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual thing?, they owe it to them also to minister unto them in carnal things.' (Rom. 15:27.) Concerning this contribution, see 1 Cor. 16: 1,2; 2 Cor. 8:1 and 9:2. For another such contribution for the Door in Jerusalem. see Acts 11:27-30. It should be noted that THERE WAS NO ELABORATE ORGANIZATION FOR THE DISCHARGE OF THESE CHARITABLE FUNCTIONS. THE CONTRIBUTIONS WERE SENT DIRECTLY TO THE ELDERS BY THE CHURCHES WHO RAISED THE OFFERING. THIS TS THE NEW TESTAMENT METHOD OF FUNCTIONING. We should be highly suspicious of any scheme that requires the setting up of an organization independent of the church in order to accomplish its work." — Annual Lesson Commentary, Guy N. Woods, Gospel Advocate Co., 1946. (Caps mine for emphasis. JWA.)

On June 10, 1956, according to Woods, 1 Corinthians 16:1.2; and 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 constituted an example of individuals sending to a church. But, in 1946, according to the same Guy N. Woods, in both instances churches sent to elders of churches. In 1946, there was a pattern.

In 1956, "there is no pattern." Verily, a decade can produce great changes, and true it is that "Old Reliable's" champion of today is haunted by the specter of the wild and reckless pronouncements of the, shall we say in his words, "immature" (Firm Foundation, 1942) yet prolific scribe of yesterday. Despite this fact, Brother Woods yet contends that his views are "substantially the same." It is quite evident to everybody, excepting only Brother Woods himself, that the man has changed his views so that they might adapt themselves to his present defense of the popular schemes and promotions of the, brethren. We patiently and hopefully wait for Woods' acknowledgment that this is so.

"No Pattern" Argument Vs. Its Predecessors And Woods Himself

Another notable feature of the "no pattern" argument is the fact that it slaps in the face so many of Woods' co-champions of present brotherhood "cooperations." When asked for authority for their practices, they have uniformly pointed to the benevolence sent Judea and Jerusalem as examples of many churches sending to one church for general distribution. Now come Wallace and Woods denying that these instances are examples of such. The Gospel Advocate has published with editorial sanction both views. Which is correct, if either? What does the worthy editor of this century old journal believe about the matter?

Too, where does this leave the scholarly, exegetical efforts of Dr. J. W. Roberts of Abilene Christian College. Editor Goodpasture gave implied editorial endorsement to Brother Roberts' learned essays in which Roberts adduced evidence from the lexicons and sectarian commentators in an effort to show that both Jerusalem and Philippi were in effect sponsoring churches. Appended to Roberts' articles was an editorial note calling attention to the fact that Roberts is a PhD. with a major in Greek and a professor in A.C.C. If however, Woods is right in his "no pattern" argument which was first published by G. K. Wallace in the Gospel Advocate, Brother J. W. Roberts does not know what he is talking about, and his learned exegetical efforts were so much nonsense. Will editor Goodpasture endorse his star scribe or the learned professor? Is there an example, or is there not? We rather doubt that the talented editor of "Old Reliable" cares that his scribes contradict one another so long as (in Brother Woods' elegant diction) they find "a bond of union in opposition" to the Gospel Guardian.

Woods vs. Woods. At Birmingham, Woods as has been pointed out affirmed that there is no pattern. Then, later in his speech, he argued that for a church to send a preacher to another church is the same as to send money to a church, and in this connection, suggested scriptural examples of preachers being sent. If as Woods contends, it is the same to send money as to send a preacher, and churches did send preachers to churches, then he arrays himself against himself by contending that there is no pattern of one church sending money to another church. If the two practices are the same, and we have an inspired example of one, then we have an inspired example justifying both, hence a pattern. So, it is Woods vs. Woods.

Conclusion Our series will continue to expose the inconsistencies and outright perversions of the word of God characteristic of Woods' defense of present brotherhood practices in the fields of evangelism and benevolence. Our next article will deal with his finding "The Herald of Truth" in the great commission and his making a liar out of Paul with reference to the aid sent by the churches to "the poor among the saints" at Jerusalem.