Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 5, 1964
NUMBER 43, PAGE 1,12a

Dealing With Current Issues

Roy E Cogdill

Those who have promoted the various "brotherhood projects" have caused the strife and division by the introduction of such practices into the church. They sustain an affirmative relationship to what they are doing and must produce New Testament authority for what they do or stand condemned because it is not lawful. I have never seen one of them try to produce any kind of "pattern" from the scriptures for what they practice, either specific or generic. They try to prove it by someone's inconsistency, sophistry, hypothetical cases, etc. Without a pattern in the scriptures of some kind, either specific or generic, there is no authority and without authority, it is bound to be wrong. They offer very little scripture bearing even indirectly on what they are doing.

The charge is made that "some of you believe in 'two patterns'." Surely no one denies that benevolence is on a somewhat different basis in many respects to evangelism in the New Testament teaching. For example, the home and government both are benevolent in their function and God is the author of both. But God gave but one evangelistic institution and that is the church. Is this what is meant by "two patterns"? The Gospel Advocate crowd and Guy Woods believe that the churches can build other organizations to do their benevolent work but such is wrong in evangelism. They say the church its own missionary society but is not its own benevolent society. Is this what they mean by "two patterns"? They are forced to do this to keep from endorsing the principle of the missionary society. Yet they have the audacity to shout "two patterns" at us. Sectarians have always shouted "two patterns" at us when we teach that the sinner reaches the blood of Christ by one process and the child of God by another. But both of them constitute God's arrangement and require obedience. There is one pat-. tern of church cooperation; negatively, it can be stated like this — "There is no Authority in the scriptures for a centralized agency of any kind through which churches cooperated in accomplishing their mission." Would anyone affirm that there is one instance? If so, where is the scripture that sets it forth?


Perhaps there is no better way of studying the issues than simply to approach it affirmatively and then negatively in terms as simple as I can state it and thus list what I find in the New Testament to throw light on this present controversy point by point. It should not be forgotten however that the burden of proof rests upon those who introduce such practices. They must have authority of some kind — generic or specific — or their practice is unscriptural.

1. Each congregation made up its own funds by the contributions of its individual members. (1 Cor. 16:1-4; Acts 11:27-30)

2. Each church selected its own messengers to entrust with the delivery of this fund to those for whom it was contributed. (Acts 11:27-30; 2 Cor. 8:19; 1 Cor. 16:3)

3. Each church sent its own contribution by its own messenger directly to the church being assisted without any intermediate agency or centralized medium being used.

4. This contribution was received and distributed to its needy by the elders of the church being assisted.

5. When churches contributed to the support of the preacher — cooperated with a preacher or in the support of a preacher — they sent direct to the preacher thus sustaining a direct relationship with the preacher being supported. (2 Cor. 11:7-8; Phil. 2:25; Phil. 4:15-17)

Now let us notice some things for which there is no scriptural authority of any kind, for they cannot be found in the scriptures:

1. No church solicited and raised the money it contributed to anything, from other churches.

2. No church contributed to another church unless it was in need. There is no exception in the scriptures to this!

3. No church made another church its agent in forwarding, delivering, handling, or distributing its contributions to anything.

4. No church delegated its responsibility to another church either in caring for the needy or preaching the gospel.

5. No congregation became a centralized agency through which other churches cooperated in doing any work.

6. There was no pooling of funds by the churches of the New Testament.

7. No eldership of any congregation exercised any control over the members, discipline, fellowship, resources, or activity of another congregation.

It cannot be denied successfully that the above are being practiced both in the Herald of Truth and the sponsoring church type of evangelism carried on by many of the churches today, as well as in the orphan homes which profess to be under an eldership. Until scripture of some kind, command, example, or inference, specific or generic, can be produced to authorize such practices they are sinful and presumptive, because they are without scriptural authority.


Certain questions which have been asked:

1. What constitutes need? It is not a promoted emergency brought about by being too ambitious or the use of wild judgment. An eldership could contract a debt for a building for which they knew they could not pay. They might do so on the expectation of help from other churches when they failed to meet the obligation. Any eldership can promote more work than the church where they are elders can pay for. Individuals can do the same thing, but it would be dishonest. It is one thing for a family to be in need of the necessary things of life and another thing for them to need a second automobile, trip to Bermuda, or enough to sustain all their relatives so they did not need to work for a living. To the one need I could readily contribute, but to the other one I would not give a dime. Common sense would determine the difference.

2. What can be sent? I would not know of anything which could not be sent if the church was destitute and really needed it. Even a New Testament — or enough lumber to build a door or glass for a window to keep out the rain and cold. We do not know what form their contributions in the New Testament examples took. They may have sent the commodities needed — it would not matter whether money or merchandise to fill a specific need. The need was supplied. You cannot produce a contribution of anything from one church to another when there was not need. There would be no point in such a contribution.

3. About Acts 11:22-24. This certainly was not a church sending either money or merchandise to another church. This is an example of a church sending out a gospel preacher to help evangelize a community as well as confirm those already in the infant church planted in Antioch. Here again is corroborated the fact that in evangelism the church sent the preacher — or sent to the preacher — sustaining a direct relationship between the church supporting the Gospel and the one preaching it.

4. To pool money from many churches in one congregation beyond the satisfaction of its own needs is to concentrate power. Resources mean power. To contribute a New Testament would not be a concentration of power. If a parallel is sought, then why not select a church such as Highland in Abilene, let all the churches send their money to Highland and let them have charge of distributing New Testaments and tracts for all of the churches both in their own communities as well as elsewhere? That is what they do in their radio preaching.

5. In the New Testament, one church contributed to another church to enable it to meet its own needs and Obligations in time of need. One church never contributed through another church to anything at all. If so, where is the passage that says so?

6. The Highland elders and Guy Woods have surrendered (they did so in the Birmingham debate) the contention that the Herald of Truth is exclusively Highland's work. They threw Harper's work out of the back door and junked the argument of Warren and Deaver that when they assumed the work it became exclusively theirs. Thus they have come around to what we knew all the time that one church has assumed a "brotherhood work," and their elders have become "brotherhood elders" — the first step toward Romanism! What will the end be? How much concentration and centralization do you have to have before it becomes wrong?

— 8156 McNulty, Canoga Park, California