Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
NUMBER 37, PAGE 5,14

Some "Quotes" And Comments

C. D. Crouch, Lumberton, Mississippi

"What are these societies? I affirm that the use of them is authorized in the New Testament Scriptures and pleasing to God. What are they? They are voluntary organizations composed of Christian people who are banded together for the promotion of the cause of Christ. These organizations are made up of men and women with the love of God in their hearts, and with a desire, under Christ, to advance the interests of His Kingdom. They are acting in the name of the great head of the church, and are engaged in forwarding the interests of His Kingdom. They aim to edify Christian people and turn sinners from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God." (J. B. Briney — Briney - Otey Debate pages 160, 161)

"When a thing is commanded to be done, and the method of doing it is not prescribed, those commanded are at liberty to use their best judgment in devising ways and means to carry out the command, and they are to act under the principle laid down by Paul in 1 Cor. 14:39, 40: 'wherefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. But let all things be done decently and in order'." (J. B. Briney — Briney - Otey Debate, page 162)

There you have it from "headquarters," so to speak, as to what Missionary Societies really are. Briney was the champion defender of such things only a half century ago. "They are voluntary organizations," so declared Briney.

And of course, we all know that no church went into them, and no church goes into them now, except voluntarily. The Societies may bring "pressure to bear" upon churches to induce them to go into the organization, but the church goes in voluntarily, or it stays out.

How often have we seen the statement in the Finn Foundation recently, that Voluntary Associations of Churches can not be wrong? And the Gospel Advocate has been singing the same tune. So, those papers are not now opposed to such "Missionary Societies" as J. B. Briney attempted to defend.

Athens Clay Pullias produced a tract entitled "Where There Is No Pattern" and on page 4 of his tract he says "The issue arises in a situation where God has given a commandment and has not given a plan, or method, for the execution of the commandment. This does not mean that there are blank spaces in the Christian's life not covered by the Scriptures. There is one scripture which covers everything not otherwise specifically covered: "Let all things be done decently and in order" (1 Cor. 14:40)."

Thus we see that Briney and Pullias use the same scripture, and in the same way to justify their "Institutions." They both pervert 1 Cor. 14:40. Paul is not, in this passage, stating a principle to govern the observance of a command which is given in language that is not clear and specific. On the other hand, it is the last sentence in some instruction Paul is giving to the church in Corinth on spiritual gifts. The 12th, 13th and 14th chapters of 1 Cor. are devoted to the discussion. He gives specific instructions. Let one speak at a time. If one speaks in tongues, and can not interpret, and there is no interpreter present, let that man keep silent. It would not be "in order" for more than one to be speaking at the same time. It would not be decent. For one to speak in languages not understood by the audience, would be out of order, and indecent.

So, instead of his statement, "Let all things be done decently and in order" being the statement of a principle to cover the observance of commands that are general and indefinite, it covers the observance of commands just given that are definite and specific. Briney used the passage to justify missionary societies, and "No Pattern" Pullias uses it to justify benevolence societies. It is amazing that any one could fail to see the simple meaning of the passage. It sustains neither the missionary society, nor the benevolence society.

"Brother in his very first sentence uses three of those "loaded expressions" for which this new movement is famous: (1) sponsoring church (2) benevolent societies, and (3) centralized control. Neither of these expressions describe what churches are doing today. All three beg the question and assume an unscriptural practice which simply does not exist. This type of thinking has been characteristic of this movement since its beginning. If these brethren were robbed of these "loaded expressions" they would have very little, if anything left.

There isn't a man in the brotherhood who believes in, or champions the cause of either sponsoring churches, or benevolent societies or centralized control." (Editorial, in Firm Foundation, Nov. 29, 1960).

Some of us have been aware of the fact for some time that certain "expressions" are loaded so heavily with truth that they worry some brethren who are departing from the "simplicity which is in Christ." Perhaps the editor did not mean to convey that idea by using the phrase "loaded expressions." And perhaps he did not mean what he said in the last sentence quoted above. We have been aware of the fact all along that the brethren will not "champion" the cause of sponsoring churches, etc., but we have been inclined to think that they "believe in" them. The editor rises to the supreme heights of Mary Baker Eddy and in his superior brilliance (?) declares in effect, "there ain't no such things" — they simply do not exist! Well, just about six pages further over in that issue of his paper he publishes an article by H. B. Frank, Jr., entitled: "Commending a Sponsoring Church." And the first sentence of that article says: "I want to commend our sponsoring church, etc." Why did Reuel allow such an article in the F.F. if there is no such thing as "sponsoring churches"? We all know there is no such thing as a sponsoring church in the New Testament. And we know that there is no such thing in the New Testament as a benevolence society, except the local church. The church is its own missionary society, and the church is its own benevolence society.

No, the editor cannot, with a wave of the hand, or with an assumed brilliance of Mary Baker Eddy, simply abolish these "institutions" that are causing such trouble in the churches today. There are "sponsoring churches," even if we do not find them in the New Testament. There are benevolence societies, even though the editor of the Firm Foundation can't recognize them. And when churches pour their money into the treasury of another church that the elders of that church may spend it for them, you have centralized control of the funds of those contributing churches. So, if the editor does "not believe in sponsoring churches, benevolent societies and centralized control" he ought to speak out against such. Denying the existence of such things will not help the cause of Christ one bit.

I have known for a long time that when brethren are determined to have their own way regardless of what the Bible teaches plainly, they will resort to most anything to carry their point, including lying. It seems that Reuel has decided "robbery" will have to be resorted to, in order to deprive brethren of such expressions as "sponsoring church," "benevolent societies" and centralized control." Well, it won't work. There are too many "watchmen" on the walls for "Robbery" to be effective. But, it looks like those who are departing from the way of the Lord have given up all hope of establishing their theories, and it looks like they may next try "robbery."