Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 30, 1964

Who Loveth To Have The Preeminence

Floyd Embree

Should all preachers and elders be given a free hand to address a congregation of which they are not members at any time and upon any subject they may choose? Do elders of a congregation have the right to oversee the teaching and preaching program of the "flock of God which is among them"? Or should any transient elder or preacher be given opportunity to speak at any time he chooses, whether the elders deem it wise or not?

I think most any member of the church should be able to answer the above questions without hesitation, and it goes without saying that every elder and preacher should be able to do so, No person of another congregation, be he elder, preacher or king on his throne, has a right to speak where there are elders unless invited by the elders to do so.

But such is not the case with some. I speak specifically of an incident that occurred in Yuma, Arizona, on March 13, 1963. Bro. W. F. Cawyer, an elder of Highland Church in Abilene, Texas, came to town and contacted one of the elders of 5th Ave. congregation (the other elder was out of town). He wanted to speak in behalf of the Herald of Truth. When he was refused permission to speak by this elder, said elder was dubbed a "Diotrephes" by Bro. Cawyer in the presence of witnesses.

From whence has the elder from Abilene the right to demand a right to speak upon The Herald of Truth in a congregation other than Highland? Is it really a fact that the Highland elders do not try to coerce other congregations into submitting to them? What was bro. Cawyer trying to do other than browbeat an elder into accepting him and his message from the Herald of Truth? Has the missionary society ever used stronger tactics on congregations and elders than this? If so, when and where? Haven't the elders of Abilene always contended there was nothing coercive about them and the Herald of Truth? If so, what do they have to say for the actions of their fellow elders? Will they correct him?

— Rt. 1, Box 570A, Yuma, Arizona