Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 24, 1956

1836 To 1956

Judson Woodbridge, Mulvane, Kansas

In the June 1836 issue of the Millennial Harbinger the following report was made:

"Co-operation Meeting in Hancock County, Indiana. Brethren from six congregations — namely, Brandywine, Union, Beaver, Meadow, Republican, Noblesville, and Little Sugar — met at Sugar Creek on Lord's Day, 17th April, 1836; and on motion, Brother Chaney Butler was appointed president, and Brother Eddy Cole secretary. The brethren manifesting a desire that the word of God increase and the disciples should multiply greatly, it was agreed that brethren Peter H. Roberts and Gabriel C. M'Duffie should ride as evangelists the ensuing year in this district of country to proclaim the glad tidings, and also churches which we represent sustain them that the good work be not hindered. Also, that Brother Chaney Butler ride for the same purpose, with permission to labor in some counties south, having been requested so to do.

It was resolved to hold another co-operation meeting, to commence on Friday, before the 3rd Saturday in April next, at the Republican congregation in Marion county. The proclamation then being made, three persons became obedient to the faith, and the disciples participated in the Lord's Supper, and parted in peace, rejoicing in God."

An analysis of the above:

1. Congregations cooperating to support men to preach the gospel.

2. This was a good work — the work the Lord wanted done.

3. The congregations sent representatives so they would have a voice in the arrangements.

4. Participation was voluntary.

5. They cooperated in a systematic arrangement (organization) with a president and secretary over these Meetings.

Finally, an organization developed that took control of work congregations voluntarily turned over to them. The organization is known as the United Missionary Society.

Now look at 1956:

1. Congregations cooperate and send men to preach the gospel — a scriptural thing to do. Benevolent work is also done.

2. This is a good work — the work the Lord wants done.

3. In many present day projects congregations do OT have a voice in the arrangement. They only send money to the sponsoring church.

4. Participation is voluntary.

5. They cooperate in a systematic arrangement (organization) under the direction of a board of men, who have delegated to themselves to oversee a work for a number of congregations. Often, these men are elders of a congregation, who look beyond work of their own flock, and plan brotherhood projects. Then some of these projects call for organizations through which the work is done.

"Oh, there is no danger!" Can you believe it? Instead of looking to 1836 or 1956, I am sure it would be better for us to look at A. D. 33.

1. The congregation cared for its own needy — Acts 6 2. If a congregation had more than it could care for (these needy disciples were members of the church that received the relief) then other churches sent help to them. — Acts 11:27-30.

3. Congregations had fellowship with the preacher — Phil. 1:5; II Cor. 11:7,8. This was cooperation.

4. But all of this was done without the cooperation meeting with it's president and secretary; without the United Missionary Society; without the overseeing centralized church; without the self-appointed board; etc.

Peace will come when brethren learn to respect God's way.