Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 5, 1950
NUMBER 22, PAGE 10-11

Dare We To Deploy Danger In Church Work?

Wallace W. Thompson, Las Vegas, Nevada

Why deal in questionable matters to promote the Lord's work? Since when has danger become a part of the program of the Lord? Is it safe or sane to see how close we can come to the precipice? Departures have constantly been a threat to the Lord's church. The safe course has always been, will ever be, to stay as near the truth as possible. If a thing is questionable, doubtful, it is certainly foolhardy to recklessly pursue the uncertain course. Trends lead to innovations, innovations to departures, and departures to complete apostasy. Human programs and plans have opposed the Lord's plans from the beginning. It is not illogical to believe they will ever clash and interfere with each other. Human works cannot accomplish Jehovah's purposes, so, why should we try to use them in the Divine system so clearly revealed in God's Word? Attempts have often been made to denominationalize the church, groups or classes set up within the pale of the church. Behind every denominational scheme is a loose attitude toward the Bible, a lack of respect for it as the final authority. It is indeed sad to see this attitude forming into a group, at this present time, those who are lax, without restraint to bring into the church doctrines that cannot be secured or anchored in the New Testament, It was an attitude, the attitude just mentioned, that caused a breach in the church when the innovators brought in the mechanical instrument. It was a loose attitude towards the Testament of Christ that caused missionary societies to be tacked on to the church. In fact, this attitude of laxity without Bible restraint has fathered and mothered every innovation that has arisen in any century. When a man has lost his love for the truth he has cut the cable that was tied to his anchor of hope. The same is true of any church. So, we are pleading with brethren everywhere to love the truth, avoid danger, stay as close to the truth and church as possible, and never be reckless with danger where your soul and the souls of others are at stake.

Dangers In Organizations

Once the organization of the church is corrupted, it is not long until the whole lump is contaminated. We are surely familiar with the defection set up by men that brought about the great religious monster. The Roman Catholic Church. It began subtle like with one church exercising more influence than others. Yes, it took several centuries to mature, but once the pattern was cut the complete picture could be seen. Denominations, weak from division, have feared they cannot fight such a system of centralization without confederation, and so the Federated Churches of Christ was born, Of course, the church of Christ has not affiliated itself with this unscriptural organization. But the influence of federation has left its mark upon some preachers, and some congregations. Centralization begins in institutionalism. As long as schools were considered adjuncts of the home, extending the influence of the home, no one opposed them with mature judgement. But, when preachers and colleges began the cry to "put the college in the budget a the churches" it became apparent that designs had been set to force them upon the church as enterprises or projects of the church. Such cannot be sustained from the scriptures. Now, as all Guardian readers know, the one church idea of re- caving funds from others churches to support a program of evangelism in foreign (or local for that matter) fields has been launched. It is the idea of federation, the combining several churches under a central control. It is the middle man, middle church system, setting up one church as an agent between other churches, simply a go-between, a medium through which other churches operate. If this is scriptural, what would be unscriptural? It is hereby charged that all who are thus engaged are guilty of work by proxy, working through a deputy or alternate, a substitute or understudy. God has not authorized churches to' so work. Do we have the scriptural right to delegate authority or work? If so, where in God's word is this authority revealed? Duty cannot be transferred, I cannot deputize another to do my work, nor can a church!

To do so, one passes the buck (that is actually what is done when one church sends to another church that sends for it). Where in the Bible did one church ever convey the gifts of another church unless every member helped carry them out. Churches in the middle of the transaction today do not convey the money of other churches; they use the same medium that is available to every church, the U. S. Mail service. It reminds us of the Embassy of our country, representing our government in a foreign land. Has God really designed that some churches should be representative churches? If so, please furnish the reference. No church ever received any such commission, no church has been appointed to act for another. The headquarters notion is not supported in the Bible, the point of focus is the local congregation, it is the rallying point, the meeting place, the working sphere, and beyond it we dare not go. No church has more power or authority than another. No church has been given more jurisdiction than another. No one church or several churches can play "first fiddle" while others are cast in the minor role of "second fiddle." No brethren, the exchange idea is not taught in the Bible, exchanging money for work, shifting, passing, handing over to others that which ought to be borne by self, The backwards and forwards principle is not laid down in the Testament of Christ. So, let us not barter, change hands in the Lord's work, nor create the warehouse or clearing house idea in the church sending money to a center for shuffling on to areas of need, but send the money where the need is! One church is not secondary to another or subordinate thereto. No congregation needs interference run for it to get the means to the goal. The doctrine of intervention is not found in the inspired writings of Christ and his apostles and prophets. Congregations that become agents for other churches cannot be brought to account. This plainly shows that jurisdiction ends with each local congregation. What church is amenable to another church? We are opposed to the agent idea, the proxy notion, the financial headquarters fancy, the substitute notion, the exchange theory, the medium proposition, the control one church seeks over others in matters of finance. One of two things, or both occurs in such a set up: (1) the giving church loses control of its money, or (2) the receiving church has no authority to spend it only as stipulated by the giving church, and thereby it is controlled by the giving church. Any way you take it one church is exercising authority over another church. Insidious, is it not? One of those harmless things the devil uses which reeks with the smell of division. Acts 11: 29-30

In sending relief to the stricken brethren in Judea (not Jerusalem) the brethren chose Barnabas and Saul to bear the bounty of grace. The money was sent to the elders. To prove that the gift was sent to the elders in Jerusalem for distribution, one would be obligated to prove that the only elders in Judea were in the church at Jerusalem. This would be far-fetched! From the record, Gal. 1:22, there were several churches in Judea. But, the gift was conveyed, not by a single church or a plurality of churches, by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. To say otherwise is to "go beyond that which is written." If the Jerusalem church was over the other churches in distributing funds for the churches involved, it had more than local jurisdiction. I wonder if the brethren who are advocating the idea of one church conveying the gifts of other churches, will they stand upon this Roman Catholic principle? Some of the brethren are closer to the Catholics than I had thought in their missionary (?) activity. Well, the money was sent "where the brethren dwelled." If all the brethren lived in Jerusalem, then all the money was sent there! But who among us would boldly assert that all the brethren in Judea lived in Jerusalem? If that is true, the Holy Spirit caused ambiguous language. I do not believe the Holy Spirit made the blunder, I think some of the brethren are guilty!

I Corinthians 16:1-2

This is a different contribution than in Acts 11:29-30. The churches in Macedonia, Achaia, and Galatia participated in it. This contribution was evidently "for the poor saints in Jerusalem" Romans 15:26. In this case, chosen ones approved by letters, brought the liberality of the brethren. There is not the slightest indication that one church conveyed the gifts. Men were selected by the churches for this purpose. Every congregation accepted its own responsibility. They did not send the money to Antioch, and then Antioch in turn forward it on to Jerusalem, but by the ones chosen and approved by the churches bore the grace of their cooperation. This is cooperation on a scriptural basis, and is accepted by all truth lovers. But to deviate from this pattern, we will not, and if innovators attempt to further their innovations upon the brethren they can expect opposition to the bitter end of the struggle. When men attempt to throttle the truth and impede its progress by human arrangements the faithful of the church will crush them in their ill invented schemes. They are the ones responsible for the hellish and devilish divisions that draw men into perdition.


Sprinkling is a substitute for baptism. The ones who brought it in are church dividers following devils doctrines. Images and relics are substitutes for divine worship. The ones who brought them in are church dividers. Instrumental music is a substitute for New Testament music, singing. The ones who dragged it in are church spoilers and dividers. At their door lies the weighty responsibility of so acting. Missionary societies are substitutes, attempts to take the place of the church in converting the world. The ones who brought them in are the polluters of the pure gospel. The "college in the budget" idea is a substitute, gives the college glory that the church ought to have. The innovators of this new teaching are the "Benedict Arnolds" in the church. The "Headquarters Finance" idea is a substitute connected closely with the latter innovation. The church disturbers do not all live in college towns or in a mile high city. They have been challenged to bring forth one passage where one church conveys the gifts of other churches to do any kind of New Testament work. If they do it the issue will be settled. Until they do the people in the church who love the New Testament and are satisfied to be led by it, they are going to oppose their human principles. Innovators have always accused the faithful of causing division in the church. Do not be deceived by their ill-placed charge. Yes, friend and brother, the innovators of any new doctrine are the disturbers of the peace. I am not yet convinced, that the church in the main, is ready to turn the back of the hand to God's eternal Word!