Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 20, 1962
NUMBER 33, PAGE 8-9,13b

News And Views

Charles A. Holt, 4882 University Dr, Wichita Falls, Texas

Some News Of Interest

Bill Haynes has moved from Bonham, Texas, to work with the Olsen Park church in Amarillo. He will be followed in Bonham by L. R. Hester, who has been working with the church in Orange, Texas.... Robert F. Hendrix has moved from Woodbury, Tennessee, to Birmingham, Alabama, where he will labor with the Bellview Heights church....I have just finished a four-night debate with Vernon L. Barr, an experienced (if not a purely PROFESSIONAL) debater for the American Baptist Association churches. The debate took place in Borger, Texas. The attendance on the part of brethren (of course, brethren of liberal churches did not attend) from that area was very good; especially the good church in Dumas. However, the Baptists did not show up in any large number, even though the local preacher had bragged that his people would be there in great numbers from all over that section. They were most conspicuous by their absence. Kenneth Hoyle, the faithful preacher for the Franklin and Juniper church, has been working Baptist error over on their Sunday radio program. The local Baptist preacher of Barr's brand took exception and began to make reply. Hoyle asked him to debate and sent him propositions; but when the propositions were returned, they had Vernon L. Barr's name on them. So Hoyle called me to meet Barr since they had gotten an experienced and outside man. The local Baptist preacher did not want any of Hoyle (he was getting more than he could handle with the radio discussions), so they sent off for Barr — their champion — to come in and do the job. It was an interesting and profitable debate; and already some good effects are coming from it. A debate always helps the members of the church; and it is my opinion that a debate is worth the time and the trouble even if none but members of the church attend. Barr is an expert quibbler and he knows all the tricks in the trade. He employs all such things to the fullest extent; and he rarely ever actually tries to deal with the point at issue or an argument that is made. He is long on "thunder," and is bold and brazen in his assertions. How any HONEST and THINKING person can keep from seeing through all of this sham and pretense I do not know. Pointing out dodges, tricks, sham, "thunder," and quibbles that Barr makes constitutes a main part of the work in meeting him. I was glad of the chance to meet him again — it has been seven years since last we met. I am grateful to the church in Borger and to brother Hoyle for inviting me to represent them in this effort. Hoyle served effectively as my moderator. I think that the church there will continue to see good results from this discussion... .I am very happy to announce that the new church here in Wichita Falls, kn"wn as the Westside church, has made excellent progress since Its beginning. We have already bought complete facilities for our purposes. We have purchased the old property belonging to the Episcopal church, located at 4326 Barnett Drive (parallel with Faith Road and Lake Road; and between the two), in the Faith Village area. It affords an excellent set-up for us in every way. Not only do we have adequate auditorium and classroom space, but there is ample off-street parking; and a substantial start on needed classroom equipment. The property is situated in a good residential area. There are some repairs needed, and a baptistry to be added, to put it all in the first-class condition that we desire. For the first six weeks this church has averaged 98 in classes; Ill for morning worship; 91 for evening worship; 77 for midweek service, and $336.50 in contribution. We look forward to the future with pleasant anticipation. We cordially invite any and all who may be visiting in the city or passing through to visit with us for any and all services. Should you have trouble finding the building, please feel free to call me for directions.... Edwin Hayes is now working with the church in Palmetto, Florida....Bob Franks is now working with the Timberline Drive church in Lufkin, Texas.

Response To Question — Church Bonds

In this column recently, I presented a question asked by Leslie Sloan, of Jasper, Georgia, regarding the scripturalness of churches' using bonds to finance such things as building projects. Sloan asked a question in all sincerity and surely with no purpose or motive of stirring up or creating any other "issues" among the brethren. In the same issue, I presented a brief article by Bill McMurray, of Oklahoma City (Westside church), in which he was presenting what he believed to be objections to such a practice. Likewise, I declared on his behalf that he was not trying to create any new "issues" among brethren. Yet, as was expected, such charges have been made against these two men; and against me in particular, for allowing their question and views to be expressed through this column. It is getting to the place that one cannot dare raise a question about any practice without someone's charging him with trying to raise some new "issue' to disturb and divide the brethren. I am very fearful of what this concept and attitude would do if it should become widely accepted.

In this column I want to give some of the responses which have come in relative to this question. I appreciate very much the fact that some have had the interest to write regarding this matter. However, I am frank to tell you that I do not believe a single man actually deals with the ISSUE involved in the question. It seems to me that every man has ASSUMED the point that needs the proof and has in effect begged the question. I am certain that ridiculing those of us who have asked about this matter will NOT help any of us know and understand the principles involved in this practice. Calling some of us "ignorant" and telling us that we do not have "sound judgment" by raising such questions, will not help get the FACTS out so we can all see them. Am I wrong in saying that every man assumes in his article that "selling bonds" is nothing more or less than borrowing money? So it appears to me. The very terms used make me know that such cannot be true. Do churches have the SCRIPTURAL right to engage in the SELLING business — bonds or anything else? These bonds have to be sold, and churches are often engaged in this practice. I have seen several notices from churches advertising that they have bonds to sell! Many individuals have taken it on themselves to go among brethren both near and far and sell bonds. Sometimes PRESSURE has been used to get people to BUY these bonds, especially in the local church; and they are more or less made to feel like a "heel" if they do not respond by BUYING A BOND FROM THE CHURCH! In some instances the people are told that by buying these bonds they will be doing a twofold work: (1) Helping advance the kingdom or the Cause of Christ; and (2) make a financial profit for themselves. Pretty good proposition, wouldn't you say? BUT IS IT TRUE?? I have mentioned all of these things to point out this fact (as I see it): There is a lot more to this practice than simply borrowing some money! In fact, the practice focuses attention on a number of things that need and deserve some serious study. Do churches have the scriptural right to engage in the buying and SELLING business — even if they can SAVE some money on interest and get the needed funds a lot easier? Perhaps the Manhattan Project (building, a sixteen story building sell off the upper fourteen stories to help pay for their building) is not as wrong as some have thought. Just how far do these principles involved in this practice extend?

Read the following articles.

Re: The "Bond Issue"

"Selling Bonds" — perhaps misleading nomenclature to those ignorant of the nature of a "bond" — is nothing more nor less than borrowing money.

Some churches borrow money from a bank, and repay the money with funds raised by free-will offerings. (1 Cor. 18:10) Other churches borrow money from a number of individuals, and repay this money (retire the bond, as, in the case of the bank, they would pay off the note) with funds raised by free-will offerings. (1 Cor. 18:1f) In either case, the means of obtaining the money with which to repay the loan is the important thing.

Fees, closing costs, etc., connected with the bonds, or with obtaining a conventional bank loan, should be carefully scrutinized to avoid unsound business practices. In the same vein, churches should use care and sound business judgment in purchasing building materials, etc.

Further, editors, preachers, and writers should use the dictionary and sound judgment before casting such "Bond Issues" as this before brethren who have more than enough issues to tax their strength. — Robert F. Turner, 206 E. Live Oak, Burnet, Texas.

Editor's Note: With the exception of the last paragraph, I can appreciate my brother's remarks above. I can even overlook the apparent contempt which he has toward anyone who would question such a simple thing (to him), and the seeming air of finality with which he speaks forth his opinion on the matter. With but a wave of his hand he passes it off as but a question arising from the ignorant and uninformed. Of course,. those of us who are""ignorant" and "uninformed" have been laboring under the idea that to get rid of our "ignorance" and lack of "information," it is right to ask some questions, get the facts, in order to study such matters. In spite of my good brother's certainty that the practice is perfectly scriptural and simple in solution, I cannot accept his mere assertion. At least, if I had to make up my mind on the basis of the evidence he presented, I would certainly be "ignorant" still.

In his last paragraph, my brother leaves the real question to tell all "editors, preachers, and writers" how to conduct themselves. He didn't merely offer this as his opinion, but he gave it as a sort of pontifical edict of what constitutes "sound judgment.' Now I freely grant to him the right to exercise himself in what he conceives to be "sound judgment," and to even differ with and reprimand me when he thinks that I fail to exercise such. However, he does not determine such thing FOR ME; and the mere assertion of what he believes to be "sound judgment" may not seem to be such to me. In fact, there is the remote possibility that he could be wrong in such.

As I have stated before, I regret to see this idea growing that anytime anyone raises a question about some "church of Christ practice," that he is creating some new "issue." Besides, I suspect that "sound judgment" will not be learned simply through the use of "the dictionary." Also, just whose "sound judgment" are we to accept In such matters? The idea prevails in some quarters that we should not raise any question about, or give any serious study to, any other practice or teaching until AFTER we have fully settled the current institutional problem. We just cannot have more than one "issue" before us at one time, seems to be the idea. Well, I am not at all in favor of making an "issue" out of every question that arises, and I deplore the attitude that wants to draw lines about every question or principle over which we may disagree; but I just do not have the "sound judgment" to see that there is ever any time or place when we should not study any question or practice that comes before us! And I hardly see how "the dictionary" can help me along this line. Nothing would make the devil happier than for us to focus all of our attention on the institutional problem, and neglect or refuse to train our "guns" on other areas where he is making inroads and subtle attacks. Whether my brother intended it or not, he is actually blaming those he calls "editors, preachers, and writers" with creating these so-called "issues." Apparently all we need to do to put an end to "issues" is for these people to just stop "casting such....before brethren." His language implies that these "issues" are in some sort of "cage" (perhaps), and these "editors, preachers, and writers" should only let the "issues" out one at a time so as not to "tax" the "strength" of "brethren who have more than enough Issues.'

Perhaps it is true that sound churches face danger from those who may be rightly labeled "fanatics"; who do actually press principles beyond the bounds of reason and revelation. But there is always the ever-present danger of the other extreme — the view that with complacent smugness treats with disdain and contempt the questioning of any accepted or traditional practice save that which FREY are willing to allow. This idea of overloading churches with "issues" does not sound good to me; even though I certainly do not believe that everything advocated or opposed either is or should become an "issue." I do decry making every question or practice an "issue" over which we must choose up sides, but I do not share the view that we should thereby refrain from studying any point or question other than the so-called "current issue" of institutionalism. The main thing that puzzles me about this latter concept is this: Who is the one with the "sound judgment" and authority to "call the shots" and tell us just what "issue" is to be discussed and when; and just when we will finish with the "current issues" and be ready to take on another? But enough of this for now.

One other question: In discussing the use of bonds by churches, it has been asked if there is any sense in which the church becomes its own bank or loan company? While all the bond set-ups may not be alike, some of them certainly "should be carefully scrutinized to avoid" getting involved in something contrary to the Scriptures. This is more important than avoiding "unsound business practices." Also, I can see that space will prohibit giving more than one more of the articles received. — Holt

A Reply To Brother McMurry

Brother Bill McMurry wrote a short article regarding the sale of bonds to finance a church building. I, too, "am wondering just how much consideration he has given to this matter." By this I mean, that according to what he has written, he knows very little or nothing at all about them except he is "agin" it.

The thing that amuses me most about his article is this statement: "Many who consider themselves conservative is their attitude toward the New Testament are also 'swallowing the bait' and going for the bond program idea 'hook, line and sinker'." Bro. McMurry, not all that the liberals practice is unscriptural. This reminds me of a discussion I had with an anti-Sunday school preacher. One of his best "arguments" (?) was that the classes were wrong because the Baptists used them. I am not ready to accept the fact that because a liberal practices something, it is automatically wrong.

First, I would like to point out that most churches never have the cash money to build a meeting place, especially young congregations, hence they have to borrow money. Bro. McMurry, is it wrong for the church to borrow money to build a building? Would it be a violation of 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 to lay by in store on the first day of the week and take part of that and pay a note at the bank on said money? If you would have taken time to check the bond plan, you would find out the following:

1. The church buys the services of a bonding company who prints the bonds and makes the arrangements at the bank that will be the paying agent for the bonds at maturity with the interest.

2. The church, instead of borrowing money from the bank, borrows from individuals by selling them bonds.

3. The church lays by in store on the first day of the week and pays a prescribed amount each week into a sinking fund at the bank. The church cannot write a check on this fund but the bank assumes the responsibility of paying off the bonds at their maturity with the interest.

4. If the church fails to pay the "payments," a foreclosure will be made, the property sold and the bondholders paid off.

The only difference between borrowing money from the bank and through the bond plan is simply this.... When from the bank, you borrow from an institution and when through the bond plan, you borrow from individuals.

The reason that many churches use this plan instead of the bank is the difference in the time of repayment, less interest and lower payments.

At the end of bro. McMurry's article he asked, "Is the selling of bonds and the laying by in store of 1 Cor. 16:1,2, the same?" I would like to ask him a question. "Is the borrowing of money from the bank and laying by in store of 1 Cor. 16:1,2, the same?" — Bob Franks, 109 Parker, Lufkin, Texas