Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 18, 1960
NUMBER 40, PAGE 1,6b-13


Roy E. Cogdill, Nacogdoches, Texas

(This is article number fifteen in review of the book, "We Be Brethren", written by J. D. Thomas, Director of the Annual Lectureship, Professor of Bible in the Bible Department of Abilene Christian College)

It would be impossible in even several articles to deal with all of the misrepresentations in which brother Thomas engages in his book concerning the arguments and positions of those with whom he disagrees in the matter of "congregational cooperation". We do want to point out some of them in order that it may be clearly seen that either our brother does not know enough about the issues disturbing churches today to write about them or else he is careless and unreliable in his efforts to represent those who differ with him.

It is amazing that a man would inject himself into a discussion after as much writing and debating has been carried on about it as about these issues and yet either know as little as our brother knows about the actual contentions made or be so lacking in principle as to continually and constantly misrepresent those about whom he is writing. Did he expect his book to be read only by our enemies? Surely he knew, that if we read it, his misrepresentations would be recognized and his hand would be called on them.

1. He charges that many of us are unwilling to recognize "generic authority" as adequate in establishing the scriptural right to employ an "aid or expediency" in doing the will of the Lord. We give some brief instances of this from his book:

"The Legalist, sometimes designated as an "anti", is one who has a great respect for the Bible's authority, but whose zeal for scripturalness is not always guided by sound interpretation he does not appreciate being guided by principles — (important generic truths that may cover many minor matters." (Page 29)

"Another type of legalist is the man who says that generic authority is not adequate authority" (Page 30)

"(b) The making of an 'excluded specific' Box 'ES' type) matter out of an optional expedient. To do this is to reject generic authority as being adequate authority, by demanding a New Testament example of an expedient, before admitting that such expedient could be scriptural" (Page 112)

"In summary, a short definition of 'Legalism' is that it is an over-concern for mere law, as such

(3) An over concern to the point that one makes laws where God hasn't, because he feels that every detail must be covered by a sharp law, and generic authority only is too vague for a secure feeling.

In the light of the above, BRETHREN should realize that optional matters, such as the number of containers used in partaking of the fruit of the vine; the class method of teaching the Bible; the sponsoring-church method of church cooperation; and the use of orphan homes, should not be made into laws But we constantly read in the writings of men who oppose each of the above, a challenge — WHERE IS THE EXAMPLE' Such men feel that because no exact example is produced, the item is therefore unscriptural! But to make such an argument is to reject generic authority as adequate authority and is Legalism!" (Page 113)

There can be found many misrepresentations in the above quotations and many others like these can be found in the book "We Be Brethren". We had hoped when brother Thomas's book was announced that we would find in it a scholarly treatise that would make a real contribution to the full and fair study of the issues before the brethren today and help to clarify the difficulties involved and improve the bitter feelings that have been agitated. We have been completely disappointed in it. There is nothing scholarly about it! It is the most rambling, hodge-podge — of misrepresentations and contradictions that we have ever seen. As to the improvement of any feeling of bitterness and tension, well, how could it when it is as manifestly unfair and completely unreliable in its charges and representations as anything which we have seen in all that has been written.

If our brother's life depended on it, he could not find where any of us who oppose his "idols" of human institutionalism have ever rejected generic authority in any sense. We have preached, taught, argued it and been guided by it all through the years. In the debates that have been held it has been contended for in every instance. In the book "Walking By Faith" that evidently inspired the production that we are reviewing, there is a lesson devoted to the establishment of scriptural authority and in that lesson (Lesson III — Page 13) we devoted space to the discussion of Generic and Specific Authority (V.) and illustrated the principle of generic authority by four specific commandments, (a. Go; b. Teach; c. Assemble; d. Sing.) Now, brother Thomas may have had some ground to call in question our application of the principle but to accuse us of "rejecting generic authority as inadequate", is to willfully misrepresent us without excuse or justification. We call upon him to repent of this misrepresentation which occurs over and over in his book and correct it for the sake of his own soul.

When our conclusions differ about the application of a principle it is one thing and when we reject the principle being applied, it is another thing entirely. We differ widely with our brother about what a commandment includes in many instances. We question his judgment in what he thinks is an expediency and aid in many instances. We deny that a benevolent society such as "Boles Orphan Home, Inc." and any others like it are included within the generic command or teaching in James 1:27, "visit the fatherless". Brother Thomas takes this for granted. We deny it and call on him for the proof. It is no more in the command to "visit" than the United Christian Missionary Society or one of its kind is included in the generic command "Go, Preach" or "Go, Teach" His conclusion does not establish the correctness of his contention. Neither his vaunted wisdom, scholarly attainments, or his noted position and accomplishments are sufficient to establish the truth of what he says. We need a little Bible teaching for it and that is all we are willing to accept. It is peculiar that for hundreds of years after New Testament revelation was completed the people of God did not know that these Bible commandments included "human organizations" as authorized "optional expedients". We are afraid that we will have to rely on the scriptures rather than our learned brother's judgment, especially when it comes to including "lemonade" as an "aid" in "teaching" in the activity of the church.

"The flowers and the lemonade are incidentals to and expedient "aids" to commands — to love one another, to be soul winners, and to make disciples. In the vacation Bible School the lemonade is an expedient that aids in the accomplishment of the goal of teaching, just like a blackboard and crayons are aids". (Page 200)

There it is in black and white — no shade of gray about that, brethren! We suppose that if the lemonade is pink — and maybe a little sherbet in it — we could win still more souls and make more disciples — provided everybody liked lemonade! Just how silly and ridiculous can a college professor get How about giving a rub down and massage in connection with baptism, brother Thomas Don't you think that would help the church to grow? Now, brethren, if you are wondering what is wrong with the church today, you can stop. Just such teaching in Abilene Christian () College and institutions of like nature all over the country are flooding the church with this sort of sectarian slush! That is what is the matter with churches!

A great "missionary" out in San Francisco, had a great scheme to put a steam bath and massage parlor on one floor, a haberdashery on another, a hotel on another, and a restaurant on another in the same building with a place for the church to assemble. He had the idea to gather all the derelicts, drunks, and downcasts of society off skid row and clean them up, dress them up, feed them up, rest them up, and then baptize them. He raised money all over the country from gullible brethren to help him do it too. Well, it would only be an enlargement on Thomas' idea of a vacation Bible School and the work of the church of the Lord in such. What are we coming to?

2. Brother Thomas engages in another flagrant misrepresentation when he charges those of us who oppose building and maintaining human organizations to do the work of the church with demanding an example as the only means of establishing New Testament authority. We have dealt with this to some extent in former articles but call your attention to it in this connection again as an example of unfairness and unreliability upon the part of our brother. If he didn't know better, he could have and should have informed himself before he scattered such a charge over a 260 page book.

"He insists that an optional expedient is not scriptural, unless an example (of the same type of expedient) can be found in the New Testament itself. Thus he makes the optional, expedient matter to be an "excluded specific". This group is represented by those who oppose the class method of teaching because no example of such can be found in the New Testament, and they say that such a method is therefore an excluded specific and sinful." (Page 30.)

"In the light of the above, BRETHREN should realize that optional matters, such as: the number of containers used in partaking of the fruit of the vine; the class method of teaching the Bible; the sponsoring-church method of church cooperation; and the use of orphan homes, should not be made into laws! All these are optional expedients; and to make them into law when God has not, is legalism! (Proof of our view that each of the above is no more than an expedient will follow in later chapters.) But we constantly read in the writings of men who oppose each of the above, a challenge — WHERE IS THE EXAMPLE Such men feel that because no exact example is produced, the item is therefore unscriptural!" (Page 113)

"Such organizations to do the work of the church or as a medium of cooperation for the churches are without divine authority and are therefore sinful because they violate the principle of walking by faith. (This is mere repetition. It really says, 'there is no New Testament example:' or 'they are not optional expedients.' But in all these so-called 'Scriptural Objections to Human Organizations,' there has been not one point of real facing of the issues — there has been only wordy claims.) (Page 137)

The bold face part of the above quotation was quoted in Brother Thomas' book from "Walking By Faith" by this author. This is a fair sample, brethren, of the way this man who claims to be a scholar deals with an argument. The book had emphasized over and over and over the argument that there is no authority, generic or specific, command, example, or inference, that includes a human organization built by the church to do the work God has commanded the church to do. Here it was being contended that because there is no New Testament authority (we did not say example, brother Thomas, but authority) such organizations are sinful because they violate the principle of walking by faith. Our brother answers the contention by saying "mere repetition"; it really says, there is no New Testament example". Brother Thomas, why did you mistake between the word AUTHORITY and the word EXAMPLE Don't you know the difference If you do, you still didn't tell the truth about the statement. The statement says AUTHORITY AND YOU ALLEGE THAT AUTHORITY MEANS EXAMPLE. That is either inexcusable ignorance or downright dishonesty in dealing with the matter. You can have your choice. In everything said about authority in the book there has always been the admission and recognition that authority can be established in three ways: 1) express commandment; 2) approved example; and 3) necessary inference. When you charge in your book brother Thomas that we call for and will recognize example only, your charge is a falsehood.

But our brother crosses his own trail again and becomes just about guilty of what he so falsely charges us with in this matter and we point it out by this quotation:

"The Scriptures do not furnish a pattern or an illustration of how to disfellowship a congregation. This indicates that it is questionable as to its ever being done." (Page 232)

Well, we would say that since the Scriptures do not furnish a pattern or illustration (example) of one congregation disfellowshipping another that it cannot be done. Our brother is right in this. It is strange that he cannot also see that the scriptures do not furnish a pattern or an illustration (example) of congregations building a human organization through which to do their benevolence; and neither do they furnish a pattern or illustration (example) of one congregation becoming a centralized brotherhood agency through which many churches undertake to do their work, hence, neither of them can be done, scripturally that is! No man is quite so blind as that man blinded by his own "idols".

3. We have called attention in former articles to the charge made by brother Thomas that we who oppose him on these matters rely upon the "rule of uniformity" alone in determining that an example is binding. This is, of course, just another of his false charges. It is not true in any sense of the word. He creates by it a false issue that only confuses the real issues involved in this discussion. He may not have maliciously raised this false issue for the purpose of confusing but if it was not done purposefully, then it is inexcusable that he should have read so carelessly or be so little informed of what he was trying to discuss. No one — absolutely no one! — that we know anything about, has contended for uniformity alone. Everyone recognizes, that has common sense enough to know anything about such matters, that uniformity might be found in matters that were purely custom in the New Testament day — "saluting one another with a holy kiss", etc. In the same chapter of the book "Walking by Faith" in which the rule of uniformity is discussed there are six other rules given, and they were enumerated, and their application to the question of whether or not an example is binding was discussed. Our brother refers to these rules in his book, dismisses most of them with some trite expressions such as "this is just a truism" and gives them no real consideration or refutation at all, then as if he had not noticed them or they were not there, he boldly charges that we rely upon the "rule of uniformity alone" to determine when an example is binding! What kind of "Christian scholarship" is this? We would have expected better treatment at the hands of the bitterest sectarian than that.

But to show our readers that this charge was boldly made, we give you this quotation from "We Be Brethren".

"First, 'examples of optional matters' could be uniform in their details. These BRETHREN have not even considered the possibility of dealing with examples grouped as optional things and as required things. To do so and to study through several cases of examples that are clearly optional might show uniformity in important details, but such uniformity would not change the examples from the optional group into the required category". (Page 77)

Our learned brother did not consider that we had given consideration to this very point in more than one of the other rules given as the basis for the study of examples and their force as authority. Among these other rules was the "law of Materiality". Whether or not a thing is material certainly has to do with distinguishing between a matter that is "optional" and a "required matter". What does our professor think "material" means. If a matter is immaterial it would be "optional! It is not of the essence in or to the thing commanded, just like a petty requirement would not be of the essence of a contract, and hence if breached would not vitiate the contract. Surely our brother can understand a thing that simple.

This law of "materiality" is stated in this fashion, "Whether a thing is relevant, material, essential to the teaching or practice of God's will is a most important consideration. Incidental circumstances need to be separated from divine law in anything taught in God's word." Is it possible that he could not have understood such simple language as this If he did then the charge was maliciously made in spite of the fact that he knew it had no basis! He referred to the rule, dismissed it as worthy of no consideration in these matters, then turned right around and charged us with giving it no consideration. This is the method of our BROTHER in dealing with his BRETHREN.

But listen to him further:

"An illustration of this point is that in all the examples and references in the New Testament about the partaking of the fruit of the vine, it is UNIFORMLY referred to as the 'cup' (singular), both in literal and figurative usages. If uniformity in examples were the thing that establishes patterns, then we sin today if we use more than one container. Again, the examples of the preaching of the apostles show that in all the cases of conversion recorded in Acts they uniformly preached faith and baptism, but there were variations in the examples as to whether the people were required to repent or confess; so, if uniformity is the criterion of pattern teaching then faith and baptism are required: but repentance and confession are optional! Who is ready to believe it? Even though repentance and confession were required of some of the exemplary characters, what happened to them is an example to us, and it, therefore, definitely takes more than mere uniformity to set patterns!" (Page 78)

We have dealt with the silly and ridiculous points concerning the one "cup" and the so-called variations in the cases of conversion in other articles preceding this. Brother Thomas thinks the law of uniformity is that every time a matter is referred to in the New Testament the same information must be given so that there is no variations in delineating the action. In other words, in every case of conversion everything required must be set forth every time in order for the demand of uniformity to be met. He doesn't even know what the rule is evidently. Brother Thomas, the rule of uniformity is that there are no exceptions or variations from what is recorded. Every case of baptism may not delineate the fact that they went down into the water and came up out of the water as the case of Phillip and the Eunuch but there is no case recorded with any different action to that! It does not have to give that same information in every case! There is no case giving any different information to that! That is the point. It does not record that every church met as did the church at Troas - on the First Day of the Week to break bread (Acts 20:7) but there is no record of that or any church meeting on any other day of the week to break bread. Neither is there any commandment or inference that any church should. This information is without variation both in the divine record and among religious historians who were uninspired. Hence it sets forth the only pattern for worship in observing the Lord's Supper for there is no variation from that pattern and hence no authority for any other practice. When the church did what the Lord commanded the church to do and every reference in the New Testament that tells the story - whether one or many - sets forth an unvaried practice in that thing commanded, does such uniformity and singularity in the absence of anything in the way of a variation make any impression on your mind, brother Thomas? We believe that it should. But listen again:

A third illustration of multiple-example uniformity is in the instances of churches sending benevolent aid to the poor — we note that in each case it was delivered by personal messengers! (See Acts 11:27-30; I Cor. 16:1-4; Rom. 15:25-29; II Cor. 8:18-20.) If uniformity alone established patterns, we could not use the United States mail for these purposes today!" (Page 78)

The profound reasoning of our brother amazes us! We suppose that he would not recognize the United States Mail as a personal service agency now! Why, it is the most personalized service that we can think about. What in the world is our brother thinking about But suppose we couldn't use United States mail and had no such service — does that mean that the New Testament sets forth, either in direct precept or in example, that one congregation can become the messenger or agency for another congregation No! Such reasoning would come as near proving that Paul was a brother to Caesar because he was a Roman citizen. It would have just about that much bearing. But this is the best our brother could do in the matter. He had to throw up some kind of subterfuge or smoke screen so he just said "If uniformity alone established patterns, we could not use the United States mail for these purposes today". Well, who said uniformity alone did Brother Thomas you just made that one up. You should repent of it.

4. Our brother charges in his book, "We Be Brethren", that those of us who object to the institutional orphan homes built by the churches to do their work and to the perversion of God's organization, a local church, into a brotherhood agency by the "sponsoring-church" plan of cooperation, are binding methods upon the churches of Christ that are matters of "expediency" and that hence we are guilty of "making laws where God has not legislated". This is one of his claims to support his charge of "legalism".

This is another of his false charges - straw men -that he has set up to destroy that he might become the hero of the day by solving the problems of the churches and vanquishing the enemy. He is a full fledged "Don Quixote" fighting his windmills in imaginary battle. The whole truth is that in his book our learned professor does not even join issue on the real problem. He does not deal with the problem of finding scriptural authority that includes what he tries to justify. He admits the necessity of it and then assumes the very thing that he is under obligation to prove, viz., that these human institutions that have been built to do the work of the church and these human perversions of the function of God's divine order are mere maters of method or expediency - they belong in the realm of choice. Not once does he really face up to the task that he should have undertaken - that of proving that they come within the realm of that which the scriptures authorize the church to do. He makes assumption but there is no real effort seriously made in the book in that direction. The "ipse dixit" of a P.H.D. seems to be good enough authority to him. But it isn't to anybody that has an ounce of respect in his heart for the word of God.

This charge, viz., that we are binding method upon the church - legislating for the Lord - is entirely imaginary and false as are the rest of his charges. The organization of an institution like Boles Home is not a coordinate with a method. Boles Home is an incorporated institution. It is a legal entity - separate from everything else on earth and its purpose is to "provide a home". It is not the church. Neither is it a home! It is an organization - a society set up - organized according to its Charter - to provide a home for children. Honesty and sincerity demands that these brethren shall recognize this. They have tried to make it simply a method but it is no more a method of doing benevolent work than the missionary society is a method of doing evangelism. They are both organizations that employ methods! The incorporated body of Boles Home is made up of a number of directors who are empowered under the charter issued by the state to "provide a home". They are not the provision! They are not the home! They live at various places and come together at intervals to determine the matters concerning the home and its operation. They have some hired personnel - including the superintendent - to carry on the work under their supervision and control. They are the controlling, directing, body that provides facilities and personnel and necessary provisions for the work they are empowered to do. Brother Thomas, as smart as you are, you must be able to see the difference between an organization that provides and controls the work and the work itself or those who actually do the work. The same thing is true of any other organization. The Board of Abilene Christian College are not the school. They provide and operate the school. Brother Thomas is a teacher in that school, using facilities provided and the opportunity granted to do what he does, but isn't a member of the board of directors, nor is he a part of the incorporated body that provided, and controls the school. Banking is a method or means of taking care of your money but the organization is not the means or method, they provide the facilities and direct the work of banking but there is a vast deal of difference between a person making use of the facilities provided and the organization that provides the facilities.

The real issue is just this simple: 1) God has given the church a work to do; 2) Ministering to the needy is a part of that work; 3) God has given the church an organization through which to perform its work; 4) That God-given organization is the local church with its elders - the congregation; 5) That organization is specifically authorized and set forth in New Testament scriptures; 6) That organization designed by God is sufficient to do everything God has charged the church to do in this world; 7) When churches of Christ build other organizations to do their work, any part of it, they do so without divine authority and are guilty of impeaching God's wisdom, and disrespecting his word. When they build other organizations they add to God's Word!

Again, let us put the matter like this: the work itself is not in issue. No one objects to providing shelter for these who do not have it. No one objects to providing the necessary things of life for those who are destitute of them. No one objects to making provision for those who are unable to care for themselves to be cared for as they need to be. THE WORK IS NOT IN ISSUE.

No one is specifying how the shelter shall be provided, as to method or means - whether rented, bought, leased, or furnished gratis. This is the expediency realm. No one is trying to specify how the necessary food, clothing, and other essential things which are needed shall be provided; whether they shall be bought with money which has been given or the commodities themselves shall be furnished or whether if they are bought, they shall be bought from one store or another, wholesale or retail, These matters again are in the realm of expediency. The same is true with the matter of personnel to care for those who are helpless. Whether it is service furnished gratis, service that must be bought and paid for, or how it is provided is not in issue.

What is the issue then It is the question of WHAT ORGANIZATION shall do the work in this field of benevolence which God has commanded the church to do Can the organization God has designed do the work God has designed it to do and shall we be satisfied with it and accomplish God's work through it or shall we build a substitute organization - such as Boles Home, Inc., which when it is built to do the work of the church must employ means and methods just like the church would have to employ to begin with. This is the issue, Brother Thomas, NOT HOW, AS TO MEANS OR METHODS, BUT WHICH ORGANIZATION SHALL DO THE WORK OF THE CHURCH, A HUMAN ORGANIZATION BUILT BY MAN'S WISDOM, OR THE ORGANIZATION DESIGNED AND BUILT BY DIVINE WILL AND WISDOM! While you pray for unity and that we shall brethren won't you repent of this false charge that we are trying to bind methods - only matters of expediency or choice you don't designate. God's organization just a matter of choice or expediency, do you?

5. While we are this close to the matter, let us discuss another misrepresentation of our position of which our brother is guilty. He charges that we condemn the churches contributing to such institutions as these church built and sustained orphan homes and yet we believe that they are an expedient way of taking care of orphan children. This charge is false!

"On the contrary, those who oppose the Orphan Home classify it as an excluded specific (ES), and thus sinful. In this case they count it an exact parallel to the Missionary Society. They will admit that it is an expedient or advantageous way to care for orphans and if the only requirement or command that it had relation to was, "visit the fatherless", they could admit that it is an optional expedient and therefore scriptural. But, like the Missionary Society, they feel that it also has relation to the generic, "church government;" and since they feel that it also violates "Local Church Autonomy" (or the church government requirement in some way) it is an excluded specific, and thus sinful." (Page 38)

We could not know of whom our brother wrote this He may somewhere have seen some statement written without proper thought and in no way representative of many at all when he states that "they (those who oppose Orphan homes. R.E.C.) will admit that it is an expedient or advantageous way to care for orphans, Who admits any such thing as that Why every informed person knows that the institutional orphan home - the orphan asylum - is about the poorest provision that can be made for the care of destitute children. There is hardly any other way of doing this work that is not better. Most of the states are turning away from state operated institutions to provide for destitute children by hiring them cared for in private homes. Many of the state operated institutions are closed and they are closing others as they can place their children. Brother Thomas is way behind on this matter.

Many of the denominations in the religious world, such as Baptist, are turning more and more from exclusive institutional care to a program of providing homes - actual homes - private homes - for children to live in. They are becoming more and more interested in and convinced that the best interest of the child can be served in a foster home, or an adoptive home rather than an institutional home. In our efforts to ape denominationalism in the work of building benevolent organizations we are running way behind. Experts in child care have long since decided that institutional care is not productive of the best results. It is at best a very, very poor substitute.

But from the viewpoint of the work of the church - and that is the connection that this discussion has - they are not expedient organizations even if they were the best means of providing for destitute children. They are unlawful! A thing cannot be expedient without first being lawful. (I Cor. 10:23) They are without authority when built and sustained by the church. There is nothing that God has said that includes within its authorization the churches Christ building any separate organization from the congregation to do anything and brother Thomas cannot produce it. We deny that these organizations are expedient organizations under any circumstance or in any connection. Get it straight, brother Thomas, for you have misrepresented us in the matter. Such organizations built by the church and sustained by them are without divine authority and therefore sinful if they do nothing at all! Their existence is sinful as church built and sustained organizations. If they never interfered with the autonomy of any local church - which they do - they would still be wrong and sinful as church built and sustained organizations for there is no authority for the churches of Christ to build anything of the kind!

Our brother's idea of "church government" seems not to be very clear and hence he has no clear idea of what our objection is to these extra organizations which are church built and supported as it relates to church government. In his diagrams on establishing authority, in his book, he thinks that under the generic - church government - the required specific is "local church autonomy" and its coordinate - the "excluded specific" is the missionary society. He goes on to state as we have shown in previous articles that the only thing wrong with the Missionary Society is that it infringes upon local church autonomy and usurps control over the churches. This, of course, the Missionary Society denies just like "our institutions" like Boles Home denies the same. This might be done to some extent, though it would not likely be as wide spread by an organization that had "local autonomy". Local autonomy is just one characteristic of the government for the church of which God is the author. The Lord gave specific form to the government, the only government, he ever gave his church. That form is sped-fled in the Bible. Phil. 1:1. Paul wrote to "all the saints with the Bishops and deacons, which are at Philippi". This is the organization, the form of government, God gave his church. You could not elect a president, vice- president, secretary-treasurer, and a board of directors to take the place of this organization which is divine, yen if you gave such organization the element of "local autonomy", without setting aside God's government and becoming a spiritual anarchist. We have no right to substitute a human form for a divine plan. This is the "relation" which such church institutions as "Boles Home Inc." has to "church government." If such an institution comes within the scope of the work of the church at all, then it is actually performing a function which God gave his church to perform through a different body or government (organization). There is no authority for the church building or maintaining that different body or organization. Such institutions are sinful and wrong when they have any relation to the Lord's church in any way.

6. Another misrepresentation related to the two next above in this article is in his allegation that "In this case they (those who oppose Orphan homes, R. E. C.) count it an exact parallel to the Missionary Society". This allegation has been kicked around considerably in the discussion of these matters. It is always a misrepresentation. The man who wouldn't know that they are not "exact parallels" even by the fact that they are engaged in different works - one evangelism and the other benevolence - is too limited in his ability to comprehend to be helped. They are parallel in some points, however, though certainly not identical at every point. Here is the important point of their parallelism? Neither of them have any divine authority to exist. You could point out many other points of similarity or parallelism but at that one point they are standing on exactly the same ground. They have been built by the church, to do the work of the church, and there is no Bible authority for any such organization.

7. In the following quotations is found another of his oft repeated misrepresentations:

"Another optional example that has been made into a law by some BRETHREN is that determined from several passages, but best represented by II Cor. 8:13-15: For I say not this that others may be eased and ye distressed; but by equality: your abundance being a supply at this present time for their want, that their abundance also may become a supply for your want; that there may be equality; as it is written, He that gathered much had nothing over; and he that gathered little had no lack.

(Acts 11:27-30; I Cor. 16:1-4 and Romans 15:25-28 are also used in this connection)

This example is that of church cooperation; where one church sends to another some help for benevolent purposes, and in this particular circumstance the receiving church is in a distressed area and unable to meet all the demands. These BRETHREN add up these facts, and then they claim that this example establishes a pattern, namely, that 'The only way one church can help another in benevolent matters is in an emergency, and it must be a "rich church' helping a poor one.' Such a pattern would be rather cumbersome, as it would require a perfect audit of the financial strength of each congregation. (If the auditor made a mistake, somebody would sin.) (Page 71-72).

Now we have no way of knowing where the quotation included in the above statement in brother Thomas' book came from. He was not fair enough to give the reference and he was unfair enough to give us all credit for that position. We would say that there is an inaccuracy in the quotation he gives that needs correction very badly and that is, "it must be a rich church". Certainly there is a very definite exception to this statement. It is the Macedonian brethren who had a part in the assistance that was sent to the saints in Jerusalem. Paul describes their condition as one of "deep poverty". In spite of their deep poverty they abounded in the Christian grace of liberality and "gave beyond their power". They besought Paul to allow them to have a part in the relief that was to be sent. II Cor. 8:2-4.

But one of the prime elements of the example in this passage is the fact that the contribution, by whomsoever sent and whatever their ability to give, was sent to a church with more destitute saints in it than it could care for. That is the element always present. The ability to give varied with the givers and it was "acceptable as a man hath and not as he hath not"; but the receiving church was always destitute - that is unable to care for its own needs. There is no variation to this. It is one of the roots of the whole matter. Need is the basis for benevolence whether involving individuals or churches. Here is the principle and we challenge Brother Thomas to find anything in the New Testament that teaches differently: No local church ever sent a contribution of its treasury, and there is nothing that teaches that one should, to another congregation unless the receiving church was destitute - in need. had more needy to care for than it could relieve. Today, one church promotes a work that it knows it cannot pay for and through its propaganda and pressure enlists other churches to send it enough money to meet its obligations. There has never been a greater program or a more highly organized, propagandized, and advertised promotion in any religious body than the "Herald of Truth". Yet, in New Testament scriptures, nothing that even begins to remotely resemble it can be found either in precept or example. Let our professor undertake the task if he thinks he can do better than others have done.

The inference in the paragraph quoted above (page 72) is that the incident of Acts 11:27-30 and the contribution of II Cor. 8 and 9 are the same incident in New Testament history. Either the brother was intending to subtly deceive someone by thus combining them or else he is ignorant of simple New Testament history. Either horn of the dilemma is rather embarrassing, or should be, to a "professor of Bible in the Bible Department of Abilene Christian College" and it should embarrass those who are responsible for him being there.

The charge that we believe and teach that it must be a "rich church giving to a poor church" is repeated several times in the book. Such as this one found on page 77: "Between churches, cooperation must be only in emergencies, and the receiving church must be poorer than the giving church"; and again on page 80, "Rich church to a poor church and only in emergencies". Let us call the attention of our readers and brother Thomas, particularly, again to the primary element in the example and in New Testament teaching: The receiving church was always in need - destitute - unable to take care of its own need.

There is no exception to this and this is the principle of New Testament teaching that rules out and eliminates completely the practice of one church sending to another church in order to help it promote a big work. The comparative strength of the receiving church and giving church is not necessarily involved in cooperation. In that there is no particular pattern, for the ability of the giving church evidently varied, as in the case of the Macedonian brethren and the brethren of Corinth or Achaia. But whether or not the Jerusalem church was poorer, or the Macedonian church was poorer, Paul allowed the Macedonian brethren to have a part, at their insistence, in the work. The widow who cast her two mites into the treasury might have needed them worse than they were needed for the purpose to which she gave them but the Lord did not deny her the privilege of giving or restrain or rebuke her for giving too much, though she gave her living. The other end of the matter though does not vary. THE RECEIVING CHURCH WAS ALWAYS DESTITUTE AND UNABLE TO CARE FOR ITS OWN!

It becomes very evident that Paul did not put any pressure upon the Macedonian brethren. They besought him to accept the gift. But because of the ability of the Corinthian brethren and their obligation to share with those saints in Jerusalem who were in need, he did put some pressure by way of teaching them their duty. It was their "abundance" that was to supply the "want" of the Jerusalem saints that there might be "equality".

8. From the following quotations we give you in the author's own words the next misrepresentation that we want to deal with:

"B. They hold that the orphan homes as now organized can, and should, be supported by individual Christians, and also hold that individuals can contribute to sponsoring churches; but they would not allow that individual Christians could contribute to a Missionary Society. Thus they admit that they are not parallels.

"C. They admit that churches can scripturally `buy the services' of the orphan homes, but they deny this could be done from Missionary Societies. so again there is no exact parallel in their view." (Page 144)

I have not seen the admissions that brother Thomas talks about in these paragraphs and, of course, do not know to whom he refers. If they have ever been made, they are not general among those who oppose church support for these human arrangements. It is impossible to pin such accusations down until the author is willing to identify the source of such, if any. This sort of thing is like, "they say". It is impossible to find out who "they" are. Our readers can be certain though that such an admission is not representative of the vast bulk of brethren who oppose churches building and maintaining human organization to do their work. It is, at least, a misrepresentation of the most of us. If these human benevolent societies which churches have built and are maintaining and to which they delegate their work and their resources, have a right to exist at all they have a right to church support. "As now organized" we deny that they have any right to exist. It would be just as scriptural for an individual Christian to contribute to a benevolent society built by the: church to do its work as for that same individual to contribute to a missionary society to do the work of the church. Neither of them have any divine authority to exist in the realm of their activity - that is, to do the work of the church. The benevolent societies are exactly parallel to the missionary societies in the point that there is no divine authority for either as church institutions. They are not parallel at every point but they are in that respect. Brother Thomas admits this himself!

In the correspondence with brother Cecil Willis, brother Thomas was asked this question, under date of Nov. 15, 1958, (see G. G. Vol. 11, Number 26, page 413)

"In order to clarify your position in my mind, would you please answer the following question. You make the point that the board of the orphan homes does not violate congregational autonomy. So this question: If the board that directs Boles Orphan Home were to decide to change its mission from care of orphans, or to enlarge its mission, so as to include gospel preaching, operated just as it is now, except that its work changed, would you endorse it? Could congregations send money to that board and the board make arrangements for the gospel to be preached, just as it does for children's care to be provided?"

Brother Thomas refused to answer the question directly after three letters were written pleading with him to do so. As near as he got to it was to say:

"In further reply to your last letter, my purpose has been to deal with principles and to try to help brethren to think clearly with respect to them. There is no point in my making specific application of the principles as brethren should be able to do that.

"Specifically the question that you asked me to give a yes or no answer to is definitely "loaded" and I would be doing an injustice to answer it in that manner". (same reference as above) (Letter written Jan. 26, 1959)

Now, brother Thomas should have done better than for brother Willis. Why wouldn't he answer the question, if not with yes or no, then fully enough to set forth his views on the matter? The answer is obvious when you remember just a few things in our brother's book.

(1.) Brother Thomas has endorsed completely and absolutely the principle of the Missionary Society. He has said that the only thing wrong with it is the fact that is that it controls and dominates the churches.

"This means, then, that the use of the Missionary Society is excluded and sinful, since it clearly involves an alternate or substitute form of church government. 'Where the Society functions it dominates and controls (in mission activity) the local congregation which comprise its membership, and the 'local autonomy' pattern is definitely replaced." (Page 35)

"The exact point of this 'parallelism to the Missionary Society' is that these 'societies are supposed also to violate and contradict the principle of the autonomy of the local church. It is admitted by all of us that the Missionary Society is guilty here, and this is really the one and only thing that is wrong with it — however, that is sufficient to make it sinful and wrong". (Page 137)

Now "all of us" do not admit that the Missionary Society is guilty of any such thing. The governing officials of the United Christian Missionary Society deny that brother

Thomas' statement is so. But suppose we grant that the Missionary Society - any Missionary Society does control the churches and dominate them in their mission work and that is the "one and only thing that is wrong" with them. (Neither do "all of us" admit that) Then, if they did not or they should cease to dominate and control the churches in their mission work, they would be all right according to our brother and would not be wrong for the "one and only thing wrong" would have been eliminated. So he completely endorses the principle of the Missionary Society though he does not endorse what he believes is an abuse that condemns them.

(2.) Brother Thomas has also taken the position that certain arrangements found in the scriptures and used by brethren today justify the operation of an Orphan Home, as they are organized now, under self-perpetuating boards. (Page 180-181)

(3.) They can have the same form of organization as a missionary society provided they do not act like a missionary society in the control and domination of the churches. Such a form is scriptural, according to our brother.

(4.) The only way that such an orphan home can become unscriptural according to our brother is:

"for it to become like a missionary society in that:

(1.) The will of the church becomes subservient to the will of the organization.

(2.) The organization should legislate and the church obey.

(3.) The organization should dominate and 'control' the church — choose and direct for it and even 'makes assignments,' and truly be its organic superior, with the right to apply organic pressure upon the church".

But suppose that we have a missionary society that does not do that? Brother Thomas denies that the organization that provides the home for children at Quinlan, Boles Home, Inc. exercises any such dominion over the churches, though facts speak very differently in many instances. But suppose there is no such domination of churches as our brother would say makes it wrong, would it be scriptural for this same organization - Boles Home, Inc., to be the medium through which churches preach the gospel? Brother Thomas admitted the parallel when he murmured, "That is a LOADED QUESTION" and we submit that he is entirely right about that.'

Now to put his inconsistency back to him. Brother Thomas, if a Christian, as well as a church, can support such an organization, under a self-perpetuating board of directors, to do benevolent work when it does not dominate the churches contributing to it, why can't both individual Christians and churches of Christ contribute to missionary societies under a self perpetuating board to do the work of evangelism for the churches, if they do not control the churches and dominate them when they contribute to them? You must endorse both if they neither control and dominate the churches. The fact is that some of the scriptural instances that you pervert to serve your purpose (page 81) were instances of preaching and teaching instead of benevolence! Our brother cannot deny to reasonable and honest minds that he stands committed.

As to the second misrepresentation in the paragraph quoted above from page 144, "they also hold that individuals can contribute to sponsoring churches", that is just as untrue as the other. No reasonable and consistent mind is going to condemn a thing as unscriptural and then endorse the individual supporting it. II John, verses 9-11, would condemn that even as to a matter of teaching and more especially the supporting of that which is wrong.

"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds".

The man who condemns a practice and then participates in it, condemns himself and separates himself from God. This is why so many brethren, as honest and sincere as anybody, have had to walk out of so many congregations all over the country in order to keep from violating their consciences and condemning themselves by practicing that which they condemned and verily believed to be wrong. Injecting the support of these human institutions that are doing the work of the church into the budget of the churches so that a part of every dime given by any member goes to their support makes it necessary for the individual that contributes in the worship of that congregation to participate in their support. If an individual Christian believes such to be contrary to the will of God, he can no more contribute to it than he could use instrumental music in the worship against his convictions and conscience. Forcing these matters into churches, even though their supporters admit that they are matters of expediency and therefore non-essential, either makes it necessary for those conscientiously opposed to violate their consciences or get out. That is what is causing the division that brother Thomas is praying for the Lord to heal! If he would leave his idols out, and accept some basis upon which all could conscientiously agree instead of insisting on his own way and judgment prevailing, then he could help answer his own prayer.

The third misrepresentation in the paragraph quoted from page 144 is this: "They admit that churches can scripturally 'buy the services' of the orphan homes, but they deny that this could be done from Missionary Societies". Our brother should have told us who "they" are. This is a very general statement and certainly does not correctly represent any considerable number. It misrepresents clearly the convictions and attitude of many of us. The churches buying services would be patronizing a clearly unscriptural institution. Commodities might be bought from almost anyone without giving any endorsement whatever to the person or organization from whom they are bought under anything like ordinary circumstances. But to send children to a home such as Boles even to be cared for on a commercial or monetary basis or for a specified consideration and with the privilege of removing said children when you wished would give impetus and encouragement and would be construed as endorsement and most certainly would be misused just as our brother has misused even the idea of doing so. Brother Thomas when you represent all who oppose these human societies doing the work of the church as endorsing churches buying services from them, you misrepresent the most of us, if not all.

9. The final misrepresentation of our brother that we want to deal with in this article is found in this statement:

"D. Such BRETHREN have fellowship with Christians who believe and practice the sponsoring - church method of cooperation church-support of orphan homes, but they do not have a similar attitude toward Missionary Societies"

Our brother should know that it isn't the "attitude" that is disfellowshipped. Where did any congregation ever refuse fellowship to any person simply because they regarded instrumental music or the missionary society to be all right? If they did not inject it into the worship and disturb the peace and harmony of the congregation by contending for it, they could be fully fellowshipped. Neither is it the attitude that is dividing brethren over these human societies that are being built by the churches to do their work. It is the fact that you cannot worship with these churches supporting them and contribute in that worship without participating in what you believe to be wrong. The line of fellowship is not drawn because of simply the attitude on either question but because of their being brought into the practice of the church. There are congregations all over the land where brethren differ about these matters but have left them out of the church and its practice and while they are issues that are being studied and discussed, they have brought no disruption of fellowship. We could name you many such places. But where there are those with convictions against such and enough courage of their convictions to be unwilling to participate in the support of these societies in violation of their consciences when they are brought into the practice of the church and crammed down their throats, they always bring a disruption of fellowship just like the practice of instrumental music did a hundred years ago.

As for those who have tried to preach and teach what we believe the Bible teaches contrary to these humanly built societies, the matter of fellowship has been no problem to us for we have been "quarantined", castigated, bemeaned, lied about, persecuted, and called every ugly name in the catalog. Our BRETHREN who are praying for unity, like brother Thomas, have taken care of the matter of fellowship, because of our opposition to their "idols". We get about as much "fellowship" at Abilene Christian College as we could at Baylor University. Don't construe this as a complaint or you will misconstrue it! "None of these things move us" one whit except we deplore the hypocrisy of those who pretend to be so interested in fellowship but are willing to extend it only when you meet their own terms.