Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
NUMBER 23, PAGE 1,8b,10b

October 15. 1964

Herald Of Truth Convention

Hoyt H. Houchen. Abilene. Texas

The American Christian Missionary Society was organized in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the year 1849 at a general convention. A resolution was proposed and passed that (1) the Society shall be called the American Christian Missionary Society, (2) the object of the Society shall be to promote the spread of the Gospel in destitute places, (3) Society shall be composed of annual delegates, (4) the officers of the Society shall consist of a President. 20 Vice Presidents, a Treasurer, a Corresponding Secretary, and a Recording Secretary, and (5) the Society shall also elect 25 managers, who together with the officers and life directors of this Society, shall constitute an executive board to conduct business of the Society. (Millennial Harbinger, 1849, p. 690). For the benefit of any of our readers who may not know just what a missionary society is and how it is set up, we have given this summary of the resolution that was passed at the 1849 convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, and resulted in the first missionary society among our brethren.

The Herald of Truth Society, under the direction of the elders of the Highland church, Abilene, Texas, has a paid coordinator, secretary, and a treasury that is separate from the Highland church. Highland contributes $30,000 per year to the Herald of Truth, according to Highland's 1964 budget. If the Herald of Truth is not a society, an evangelistic organization, we are at a loss to know what it would take to make it one. This organization is no less a society even though it operates under the board of elders. It does not cease to be a society any more than would the ACMS, the UCMS, or any other such society if they were put under elders. Some brethren have the false idea that if anything is placed under elders then it exists with divine authority. They have not learned as yet that elders have no scriptural right to be over anything but the church, the local church in which they have been made elders. The Herald of Truth has elders as its board of directors and the missionary society has an executive board that is not composed of elders, at least not of any one church. If placing elders over a project makes it scriptural, then the gate is wide open for elders to be placed over anything under the sun. Merely because elders are over the Herald of Truth as directors and overseers does not in any way cease to make the Herald of Truth what it is, a society. If the Bible classes of the local church were set up as is the Herald of Truth, with a superintendent (coordinator), a secretary, and a treasury separate and apart from the local church and with a budget that calls for a stipulated sum to operate and maintain such an arrangement, there could be no argument whatsoever that this would be the old denominational machinery, a denominational Sunday school, an edification society. The only difference, as we have pointed out before, is that this would be local in scope whereas the Herald of Truth Society is nation-wide in scope.

In the Abilene Reporter News, August 11, 1964, is a report of the exhibit space to be reserved at the West Texas State Fair. Included in the article is the statement: "The following 76 firms and organizations have reserved space for exhibits." Then listed among those 78 "firms and organizations" is "Herald of Truth." Even in the eyes of the world "Herald of Truth" is an organization. A Baptist preacher here in Abilene, made the remark to this writer some time ago that the Herald of Truth is a missionary board for churches of Christ. He was correct in that it is just that for some churches of Christ. Hundreds of churches do not do their work through the Herald of Truth because they recognize and respect the authority of God's word that teaches that each congregation is to its own work and that the elders of each church are to be over the church in which they were made elders and that they are not over another church in anything else. They recognize and respect the authority of the scriptures that teach that contributions to another church were made only when the receiving church was in need (Acts 11:27-30; Rom. 15:26; I Cor. 16:1-4; 2 Cor. 8 and 9). When a church is able to contribute $30,000 to an organization such as the Herald of Truth, how can anyone say that it is a needy church? Brethren, think! We have reasons to believe that there are yet honest brethren who will see that the Herald of Truth, the "brainchild" of two young preachers, is an arrangement in violation of God's word, that it is a missionary society that has subtly worked its way into churches of Christ.

Prior to the Tant-Harper debate in 1955 at Lufkin, Texas, Dr. A. T. Degroot, a leading scholar in the Christian Church wrote: "In April and June, 1955, one church of Christ minister will debate another at Lufkin and at Abilene on the subject of Missionary Societies which have emerged in the Church of Christ " (Booklet, 'Detour from Unity"). The outside world knows what the Herald of Truth is, scores of brethren know what it is, that it is a missionary society under the name of "Herald of Truth."

Now, like other missionary societies, the Herald of Truth has just had a convention. In the August 26, 1964 issue of the Abilene Reporter News is the story of the "Herald of Truth Workshop," hosted by the elders at Highland. The two day meeting took place at the Starlite Inn, Abilene, and was to attract about 250 men from across the nation. What was the purpose of the meeting? To inaugurate a key man campaign to promote the Herald of Truth, now operating under a $700,000 annual budget. Men associated with the program were speakers to stimulate key men, "pushers," in various sections of the nation. Shades indeed of the Missionary Society, convention, delegates, managers,!

Brother David Lipscomb, in opposition to missionary societies, wrote:

The simple congregations can cooperate, help, assist, by each of them doing just what the Master commands them. We have strong and implicit 'faith in the concept, harmony, cooperation, success that arises from all obeying implicitly, the laws of God the commands of the great captain. If we will do that without care on our part, not a jar, not a discord will be found in all the movements of the King's armies. They will all work harmoniously, effectively, successfully. All the churches in the world thus cooperate under the Divine Head.

...What are usually termed co-operations are really not cooperation of churches. They are organizations, combinations that do the work of churches. So destroy all church operation and cooperation. There can be no cooperation with out operations. Operation is working. Cooperation is working together to the same end. Two churches, both working by the same law, for the accomplishment of the same end are cooperation. (David Lipscomb, "Cooperation Again," Gospel Advocate Vol. XVI, No. 29, 1874, pp. 8).

The Bible teaches that churches cooperated, but they did not do so through such arrangements as the American Christian, United Christian, and Herald of Truth Societies. Each church did its own work and this is cooperation. To this we heartily agree.

2958 Grape St.

Abilene, Texas