Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 11, 1983
NUMBER 38, PAGE 8-9,13d

News And Views

Charles A. Holt, 4862 University Dr. Wichita Falls, Texas

Items Of Interest

Robert C. Welch Is Now Laboring With The Church In Springfield, Missouri. He Was With The Mound & Starr Church In Nacogdoches, Texas. Yater Tant, Who Is Working With The Church In Nacogdoches, Teaching Classes Especially For The College Students, Will Do Part-Time Preaching For The Church In Nacogdoches Until A New Man Is Selected... L. R. Hester Has Moved From Orange, Texas, To Work With The Church In Bonham, Texas.... Frank Thompson, Who Had Been With The Church In Tularosa, New Mexico, For Over Seven Years, Has Moved To Work With The New Church In Hobbs, New Mexico.... A Sound Church Is Now Meeting In Frederick, Oklahoma. Frank Reeder, Who Moved From Abilene, Texas, Is Working With This Small, But Energetic Group....Jack L. Holt Has Moved To Dallas, Where He Will Labor With The Forrest Lane Church. Holt Has Been With The Church In Longview, Texas, For About Two Years. Osby Weaver Who Was At Forrest Lane For Several Years, Is Now Working In The Hawaiian Islands....It Was A Real Joy To Me During The Month Of December (10-14) To Assist The New Midway Congregation, Meeting About 15 Miles North Of Florence, Alabama — On The Lawrenceburg Highway, In A Short Meeting. In Spite Of Very Severe Weather We Had Good Attendance And A Fine Meeting. Robert Pressnell, Who Lives In Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, Has Been Working With This Group For Sometime. They Have Made Wonderful Progress In Every Way. They Have A Very Nice Building And A Congregation Of About 65 Members. It Is A Source Of Thanksgiving To See The Fine Progress Being Made In Lauderdale County (And In All That Section) For The Truth. There Are Now Six Churches Standing For The Truth; Whereas In 1960 There Was But One Really Doing So. The East Florence Church, Where Barney Keith Is Doing Such A Good Job, Continues To Be Aggressive For The Truth. The College View Church, With A Very Attractive Building And A Solid Membership, Where Curtis Flatt Preaches, Is Equally Holding The Line And Opposing Liberalism. Lindsay Allen Is Preaching For The North Lexington Church — Another Solid Group. In Addition To The Midway Church, There Are At Least Two Other Small Churches Which Have Positively Taken Their Stand Tor Truth And Right. The Prospects For Even Other Churches Coming Out From Under The Liberal Influence Seem Good. Truth Will Always Gain When Actively And Effectively Taught... Carl Allen, Who Has Been With The Church In Crockett, Texas, Is Soon To Move To Mt. Pleasant, Texas, To Labor With The Southside Church.... Texas Bible Banner, Owned, Edited And Published By Bob Craig, Box 36, Lometa, Texas, Is Again In Publication. The First Issue Came Out In December And It Has Some Good Material In It. It Is A Neat, Printed Paper And Is Worth Reading By Anyone. It Is Published Monthly And The Subscription Price Is $1.00 Per Year. Send Your Sub To Craig.

The Position Of Elders

(Note: The following article is worthy of serious study. It is a brief study of a matter that needs some sober and careful study. Perhaps this brief article will provoke some further articles by others who have something to offer along this line. May I suggest that you do not "jump on" the author; but write objectively whatever your views may be. Our brother says in his article that "voting has no place in the church, in a business meeting or in an elders' meeting." Apparently he would eliminate anything that might be considered "voting." Is it possible for any group, whether two or two hundred, to reach an agreement or a decision without a "vote" of some kind? Have we let the unscriptural practice of "voting people into the church" mislead us as to what voting is? If one, whether as an elder in an elders' meeting or in any other group, has the right to be heard or express himself, is that not the same as saying that he has the right to "vote"? Almost without exception some kind of "voting" takes place, but as long as it is not called "voting" then no one seems to be disturbed. Be sure to read the following article carefully. Does the Bible really teach the oft-heard statement that "elders have complete authority in matters of judgment"? — CAH)

The Position Of Elders

"Tend the flock of God which is among you...neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you but making yourselves ensamples to the flock." (1 Peter 5:2.3)

The elderships among the Lord's churches have degenerated in some cases to a sort of exclusive club or executive branch where those appointed by the church, having been qualified by the Holy Spirit, have no greater task than the hiring and firing of preachers, setting the time of services and selecting men to conduct gospel meetings. It has become common place to hear brethren say that elders' judgment is law, and it seems to be generally believed that if we "violate the judgment of the elders" we are guilty of insurrection and sin. I have high regard for Christians who serve the Lord within the limits of His word, whether they are elders, preachers or class teachers. But I am disturbed at the inflated and exalted preeminence so often given to these men and the high position granted upon the basis of the "authority of the elders." It is ridiculous on the very face of it to say, as some have, that "it is a greater privilege to be an elder in the church than to be president of the United States." This statement reflects power and preeminence not commensurate with the work assigned them. (See Matthew 20:25-28)

Jesus Christ, our Lord, said: "All authority has beer given unto me." (Matt. 28:18) If this is so, and He delegated none to another; then Popes Catholic Bishops, preachers and elders have none. In matters of faith, elders and others are regulated by the word of God. In matters of judgment, elders must be regulated by the welfare of the church. This does not mean a popular vote, for voting has no place in the church, in a business meeting or in an elders' meeting. I am not an elder, in point of family qualifications, maturity or appointment; but I can know what, in matters of judgment, the congregation desires and is good for it simply by associating with the members. When elders are not self-willed, "lord's over God's charge," they will try to determine the wishes of the congregation in matters of judgment. When the congregation shows bad judgment they will use their wisdom, and justify the confidence the church which appointed them has shown in them, to PERSUADE the brethren to follow another course; and they will not seek to accomplish this by their self-imposed will.

As it now stands, if the elders want to do something in the area of judgment and the whole church, or a greater part of it, is against the measure, "the authority of the elders is binding"; and brethren are made to believe that they sin in violating the "authority of the elders." Even Paul, the apostle, was not so misled or drunk upon his own ability that he made his judgment law. "Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: but I give my judgment....I think....that it is good for a man to be as he is (unmarried), But shouldest thou marry, thou hast not sinned...." If elders will realize that their job is not simply spending the money of the church, hiring and firing preachers, and arranging gospel meetings and will get out and work among the brethren to edify them and help them with their problems, the church will be much better off and we will not have so many elders who think it is their prerogative to bind and loose in matters of judgment.

Some have misunderstood Titus 2:15; and have thought that since Titus is urged to "speak and exhort and reprove with all authority," that the statement of Matt. 28:18 is modified and the foregoing conclusions are false. The marginal reading of the ASV gives "commandment" in place of "authority" and is the correct idea.

I hold the work of elders in the highest esteem and look forward to the time when we shall have more men qualified by the Holy Spirit for the work, but I do not believe the truth is taught when unlimited responsibility and right of decision is handed any man or group of men in the area of "judgment." — R. L. Burns, — Bulletin, Central church, Grand Prairie, Texas

On The Sale Of Church Bonds

Webster defines a bond "in a business sense" as "an interest bearing certificate issued by a government or business, promising to pay the holder a specified sum on a specified date: it is a common means of raising capital." This practice has been used by many congregations in order to build a place to meet and worship. The place to worship is authorized in the command to assemble. (Heb. 10:25) The way the Church finances the building of a meeting place is to "lay by in store as God hath prospered us." (1 Cor. 16:1-2) The funds that have been laid in store are used as collateral to borrow money to build this meeting place. Other times a contract can be made with a legal bonding agency who will put up the money necessary to construct the building and sell the bonds. Most of the time members of the church buy the bonds and I do not know of a case where anyone ever collected interest that accrued to the bonds they purchased. Selling bonds is the borrowing of money and agreeing to pay a specific amount by a specific date. Both the sale of bonds and borrowing money bring the same results and do the same thing for the church. Now the question is, are they scriptural methods by which to raise money to build a meeting house.

I can see no violation of the pattern of 1 Cor. 16:1-2 in selling bonds or borrowing money. Money that is borrowed is paid back out of funds laid by in store. Money that is paid back on the sale of bonds is repaid by money laid by in store. In both cases money that is laid by in store is collateral. Now, to those who see a violation of 1 Cor. 16: 1-2, I ask where do either of these methods of raising money violate it? Do you think it is scriptural to borrow money at a legal rate of interest from the Bank or some Insurance Agency? If so, is this a violation? The action of the pattern (1 Cor. 16:1-2) concerns the raising of money. In both borrowing and selling bonds the money laid by in store is the money used to finance the Lord's work. It cannot be compared to raffles, pie-suppers, cake walks, and the like. The church does not sell items for entertainment or engage in commercial business when it sells bonds or borrows money. The church simply uses its own money to do its own work and repays either the loan or bond without using any other method of getting money than laying it by in store as God has prospered.

— Dudley Ross Spears, Blytheville, Arkansas

More On The Same Subject

In the Nov. 15, issue of the Guardian, you have an article by brother Bill McMurry on the scripturalness of selling bonds in order to finance construction of church buildings. Brother McMurry asks, "Is the selling of bonds and laying by in store on the first day of the week the same? If not, one of them is wrong. Which is it?"

According to our brother, since buying on credit is not the same as laying by in store, it would be sinful for the church to have a charge account anyplace. According to his reasoning, no church can build a meeting house unless it can pay for it "cash on the barrel head — Sunday's contribution." It could not borrow from the bank!

Surely brother McMurry must realize that if the church borrows money by bond issues that it is no different from borrowing it anyplace else. The church building here was financed through bond sales and the Money that pays for this building comes out of the first day of the week contribution at a set rate of $74 per week. This is the way this congregation is paying for their building, each one "laying by in store upon the first day of the week."

Nothing the church pays for is the "same as laying by in store," but what it pays for is paid for by WHAT is laid by in store. Is it unscriptural for a church to borrow money to be paid back by "laying by in store?" Is it unscriptural for the church to buy merchandise on the credit, printing equipment, typewriter, etc.?

— Paul Brock, 2121 Blanding, Jacksonville, Fla.

'Financial Empire' Behind Cigarettes Hit By Doctor

Jacksonville, Fla. (AP) — A University of Miami medical professor said Thursday doctors and health organizations have not prevented deaths from lung cancer and emphysema because of "the financial empire behind cigarettes."

"Unless something is done to correct the present trend in smoking, this country will face the biggest medical catastrophe it has ever known within the next 25-30 years," Dr. C. Frank Tate, Jr., told a workshop sponsored by the Florida Conference of Tuberculosis Workers.

"The doctors are to blame," he said. "We've known about this for at least 10 years, but we've never pushed it.

"We must urge people to stop smoking. The economic repercussions would be fantastic. Naturally this sways us all, but we can't afford to let this influence a matter of health."

Tate said the most frightening problem is the number of teenagers who are smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

Tate said a disease which has been less publicized than cancer but is equally fatal is emphysema. It comes from chronic bronchitis.

— Via Beaver Dam (Kentucky) Beacon