Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 4, 1964

Totty And His Bootlegging Churches

Cecil B. Douthitt

In the Garfield Heights church bulletin of April 19,1964, W. L. Totty expresses his inability to see the difference between the truth and liberalism on two counts. The two points that he says are so "peculiar" to him have been presented so many times by the "anti-anti" hobbyists, and explained so many times by gospel preachers, that the whole thing has been somewhat clich for several years.

The first thing which he says is peculiar is: Why is it scriptural for an incorporated publishing company to sell religious literature to churches to use in their work, but not scriptural for churches all over the world to donate money from their treasuries to the Highland Church in Abilene, Texas, so the elders there can use some of the money to preach on the Herald of Truth program, and the rest of it as they please without ever giving an account to anybody?

But Totty shows that he knows the answer to that "peculiar" point by the next question he asks: ''If the editor were to reply that he is only selling services and not receiving donations, would he agree that it would be right for the churches to pay the Highland church in Abilene, Texas, a stipulated amount to do their teaching on the radio instead of donating to it?" Therefore, we know that "it does not take a sage to see" the difference between buying and donating, because Totty can see it.

Publishing houses, whether incorporated or unincorporated, have a scriptural right to sell their services and their products. Neither the Highland church in Abilene nor Garfield Heights church in Indianapolis has a scriptural right to go into secular business of selling either services or products. Is Totty trying to argue that Garfield Heights church has a scriptural right to charge for its services, or engage in the business of selling products that it may print or manufacture? Does he deny that a publishing house does have that right?

Bootlegging is selling something which the seller has no right to sell, whether it be shoes, molasses or services. When a church goes into the business of selling its services or products, which it has no scriptural right to sell, that church is a bootlegger. Churches do not have a right to buy the services of the Highland church, because it is just as sinful to patronize a bootlegger as it is to bootleg. "Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God; he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son." (2 John 9.)

If Totty would just sit still and keep quiet long enough to learn the difference between legal sales and bootlegging, he might be able to understand why a publishing house has a scriptural right to sell products and services, but a church does not.

— 712 Victoria Place, Louisville, Ky. 40207.