Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 6, 1950

Who Is Opposed To What?

M. F. Manchester, Rising Star, Texas

Without malice aforethought or after thought, I wish to ask a question or two of Brother G. H. P. Showalter. In his editorial on the Firm Foundation of February 21, writing under the caption "Preaching the Gospel of Christ" we find the following: "At the present time, there is a very commendable effort being made on the part of many if the churches in sending and supporting gospel preachers to proclaim the way of truth in foreign lands. There are others who are not preachers who are often associated with preachers doing the work of the Lord and this reminds us more strongly than ever of the work under the immediate direction and supervision of the inspired apostles. Hundreds and now up in the thousands, people are hearing, believing and obeying the gospel in foreign lands. To me it is one of the strangest things that anybody could oppose gospel work in this way."

It is not my purpose to criticize Brother Showalter because I think he is a great and good man, neither do I want to appear learned or smart in writing this review of a part of his editorial; however I think it needs to be done, and I am willing to take the consequences for doing it. If I am wrong in my observations, I am willing to be set right. Speaking of the work in foreign lands he says: "To me it is one of the strangest things that anybody could oppose work in this way." Now the question we would ask, is just who are the ones who are opposing the work in foreign lands? This is a vital question because the brethren as a whole need to know who these opposers are, because such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly. No man who is called a Christian can be in opposition to preaching the gospel anywhere, and still be faithful to the Lord. It is possible for some among us to become so enthused over the work in foreign lands, that they sit in judgment on other members that think it wiser to concentrate their work closer home, and say they are opposed to the work. Surely Brother Showalter knows that there are millions in these United States that have never heard the true gospel.

Now if some congregation with it's elders think it wiser to try to reach some of these millions, does that mean that they are opposed to preaching the gospel in foreign lands? Let us remember that many of these millions have never heard the true gospel, any more than the people in Germany or Italy have heard it. It seems to me then that it is a matter of judgment and not of opposition to preaching the gospel, when some of the brethren think it better to work at home. On the other hand if a church wants to send a brother or brethren to a foreign land to preach the Christ, they have a Scriptural right to do so, and I for one am not opposed to it, and I doubt if any of the brethren are; at least I have not found them. This foreign work Brother Showalter says is "commendable" and I say it is too, however in our efforts to reach every soul under heaven, we must be sure that we do it the Lord's way if we want his commendation.

"My ways are not your ways, saith the Lord." The Lord's ways of having his gospel preached to all nations is set forth in the New Testament, and in it we find no organization larger than a local congregation, neither do we find an example of one church being a clearing house for other churches to send their funds through. Not only is this being practiced today, by a number of churches, but their plans have been urged upon other churches to work through them. Of course the churches who are invited to work through these churches had the right to reject the invitation, but what if they had; would they have been branded anti-missionary? Could it be that because some of us question the Scripturalness of the above plan is why Brother Showalter cannot see how some can be opposed to work in this way? Many of the pioneers of the restoration movement opposed the organization of the United Missionary Society. Were they opposed to preaching the gospel to all nations? If one church has the Scriptural right to start a certain work and then ask the other churches to give to that work through them, then all other churches have that same right, and should they exercise that right it would cause quite a scramble among the churches, in their efforts to line up all the others.

Furthermore if the above plan is found as an example in the New Testament, it should be pushed with all vigor, and if anyone should oppose it, it would prove that they were in opposition to preaching the gospel; but until such example is found, the charge that some of us are opposed to preaching the gospel to all nations, falls flat.

I esteem Brother Showalter highly for his work's sake, and if he proves that we are opposed to preaching the gospel in foreign lands or anywhere else, because we oppose one congregation asking all the others to work through them, I will be among the first to tell him that I was wrong. If he comes back with some strong meat, of which I know he is capable, when he is tenting on New Testament ground; I shall not become angry and have him stop sending me the Firm Foundation. I believe that most all of us love the cause of our Lord, and desire to see it advanced, so let us calmly study that we may know how to advance the cause of the Lord in the Lord's way. I want everyone who may read this review to understand that I am not speaking for the "Gospel Guardian" but for myself alone.