Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 30, 1967
NUMBER 46, PAGE 8b-9a

"Campaigns For Christ" And I Cor. 9:22

Larry Devore

Recently (Oct. 2-9, 1966) the liberal churches of Christ in the Kanawha Valley held a giant meeting called, "ACCENT: CHRIST". This was a prime example of unscriptural co-operation and was vigorously opposed by the faithful brethren in Charleston. The Daugherty St. church, (where I now preach) pressed the liberal brethren hard and persistently for Scriptural authority for this campaign. They sent out tracts in the mail, preached against it on their radio program on WKLC, and two days prior to the campaign, ran a half-page ad in the Charleston paper, similar to the one ran by the faithful brethren in Santa Barbara, California, (see Gospel Guardian, Vol. 17, pg. 744-745). Verily, brethren, we received a good amount of mail from this, and most of it was unsigned, just to "tell us off", and accuse us of being narrow-minded, anti-everything, persecutors of the faithful, ad infinitum. But a few were signed, and one letter from a brother some miles away led into a lengthy exchange.

His main argument was based on 1 Cor. 9:22, which was a new one on me. The passage reads, "To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak; I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." Now my brother said, "When Paul says all things, all men, and all means, all means without exception." I replied, brother, be careful here. If what you say is true, then you have thrown the door open to every innovation devised by man. I could, according to this reasoning, use a missionary society, benevolent society, pie supper, give away $5 bills, use entertainment, instrumental music, fellowship societies, ladies aid societies, youth programs, hospitals, homes for unwed mothers, rehabilitation centers for alcoholics and handicapped, and on and on. You said, all means without exception, so you couldn't deny the right to use these means to get the gospel message across. According to this reasoning, we could throw away the rest of God's Word, because all means all means without exception!

My brother countered this by saying, "In the field of church work and service everything is thought of and carried on in the field of what is fair, honest and right." But what he needs to do, and all of our other liberal brethren need to do, is to prove that it is not only, "fair, honest, and right", but it must be Scriptural! That is what we need to prove.

The truth of the whole natter is that Paul was not speaking of church action in 1 Cor. 9:22. Paul was rather talking about things he should or should not do, that he wouldn't be a hindrance to the gospel. In vs. 12 he said that he had certain rights, but he did not use them, that he might bear all things, that he would be no hindrance to the gospel. As I understand it, in verse 22, he is speaking of conforming to environmental customs (as an individual) that he might bring men unto Christ. What is needed to justify "ACCENT: CHRIST" is church action, but this passage is individual action.

What is really needed to justify this "ACCENT: CHRIST" campaign and the Herald of Truth, and every other sponsoring church arrangement, is the passage of Scripture, where one church sent to another in the field of evangelism, and the passage where one church oversaw even a part of the work of one or more other churches. In this "ACCENT: CHRIST" project it Charleston, the Washington St. church in St. Albans, W. Va. assumed the "oversight" of the thirty-five contributing churches. Where is the Scripture? Then the Washington St. church appointed "committees" to carry out the work. Where is the Scripture? And, "personal workers" were imported from Ohio Valley College at Parkersburg, W. Va., to do much of the door-to-door work. These brethren did it big! They even had a blimp flying over the city! Of course, "dynamic" Jimmy Allen was there to do the preaching (?). It seems that brother Allen was on local TV during the "campaign", and when they called him "Rev." he did not object, but merely laughed it off, by saying that this meant, "Ready to Eat Vigorously." Isn't that cute?

These liberal brethren begged $17,000 from the Lord's people for this meeting. This figures out, that each of the thirty-five contributing churches would have had ample funds for two gospel meetings each. Certainly, seventy gospel meetings in thirty-five localities could accomplish more, than one eight day meeting. If they could prove it Scriptural, it still would be poor judgment, to spend the Lord's money this way! And think of all the strife they caused by forcing their "expedient" upon the Lord's church.

If the gospel preachers here in the Kanawha Valley had any misgivings about any of this, they certainly kept it to themselves. These brethren, and especially the elders of the Washington St. church in St. Albans, W. Va. , are guilty of presumptuous sin, Psa. 19:13. They are like those Paul wrote about in Rom. 10:3, they have not submitted themselves to God's righteousness, but rather established their own righteousness. That was not pleasing to God then, and it certainly is not today. The Washington St. elders had no authority to oversee anything, except the flock of God which is among them. 1 Pet. 5:1-4.

There are evidently scores of gospel preachers in the Ohio and Kanawha Valleys, who think that discretion is the better part of valor. They stand by and say little or nothing about the unscriptural practices being perpetrated upon the brethren by the devil's henchmen. Our prayer and heart's desire is that these brethren, and all others who have forsaken the Word of the Lord, would return and carry out God's work in God's way. "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." 1 Pet. 4:11.