Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 30, 1950
NUMBER 30, PAGE 4-5a

Objections To The Lubbock Plan

As our readers know, the Broadway Church in Lubbock is now in the midst of a nation wide campaign to raise money for the work in Germany. We do not know of any Christian anywhere who does not favor the preaching of the gospel in Germany. And all of us recognize the great contribution the Lubbock church has made in arousing an interest in mission work in foreign fields. Surely there is no Christian under heaven who does not pray that the church may be firmly planted in all the earth. We rejoice that there are so many fine elders in the land who are determined to do all they can to see that the church does not fail in her solemn and sacred obligation to evangelize the world.

But we believe the present plan of the Lubbock brethren (a plan to ask thousands and thousands of individual Christians over the nation to send a part or all of their "missionary contribution" each month to the Broadway elders) is one of the most vicious, destructive, and dangerous proposals we have ever seen in a New Testament church. We have pleaded with the Broadway brethren, both publicly and privately, to adopt a less objectionable and dangerous method. But they feel they are perfectly in their rights in prosecuting their present plan, and apparently have no intention of changing it.

We list herewith a few of the objections we have to the plan:

Circumvents The Elders

1. The plan is admittedly based on the desire to go "over the heads" of the elders of local congregations in order to get the members, as individuals, to support a work in which the elders would make no contribution. This is certainly a violation of the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12) even if no other passages were transgressed. If this procedure is widely adopted, it will not be many years (probably months) until every dollar of a congregation's "missionary money" will be going to support work other than, planned by her own elders. And the mission field to receive the support will be determined not by the elders of the church, but by the project having the best publicity agent and most persuasive "salesman."

Weakens Other Churches

2. The plan to siphon off money from individual members of a congregation rather than to seek it from the elders of that church is bound to weaken many churches and build up the one church that receives the funds. If the Broadway elders receive $50,000.00 a month from individual contributors (contributors who are members of other churches than Broadway), it is perfectly obvious that that $50,000.00 has come from people who would ordinarily have contributed it to their own home congregations—or, at least, a very substantial portion of it. There will be some, of course, who will contribute as individuals to Broadway who would not have given to their home church. But can anybody deny that once a man is completely sold on the Lubbock Plan, his inclination will be more and more to cut down his contributions to his home church and to increase his contributions to Broadway. For if he thought his home church were doing a work in every way comparable to the Broadway program, he would not give at all to Broadway, but would give all his money to his own congregation. The very fact that he gives anything to Broadway indicates that he feels Broadway is doing a more excellent work than is being done by his home church!

Concentrates Power And Authority

3. The Lubbock Plan calls for the Broadway elders to spend the money contributed by multiplied thousands of Christians who are not members of Broadway church but who are members of other New Testament congregations. That concentrates power and authority in the hands of the Broadway elders which normally would be in the hands of scores (perhaps hundreds) of other elderships.

Is A New Departure

4. The Lubbock Plan is a new and novel departure from the acceptable practice of present-day New Testament churches. That, in itself, would not be sufficient to condemn it; but we mention it because some effort has been made to defend the Plan as being nothing new or different from what we have always done. It has been argued that Christians have always felt free to make a contribution to any worthy work, regardless of whether that work was being supported by their home congregation or not. Certainly that is the case we conceive a vast difference between an individual voluntarily deciding he wants to make a contribution for some special cause and a planned, carefully worked out project for soliciting members of other churches for permanent, sustaining contributions.

We take it that the elders of Broadway Church, for example, would not be particularly alarmed or disturbed if some member of Broadway Church should occasionally desire to attend a service at one of the other Lubbock congregations. Perhaps he has a relative or a very close friend conducting a meeting at Southside or Pioneer Park, and decides to go over there one Sunday night instead of coming to his home congregation. Nobody would think much about it, and nobody would raise much objection to it. But what would be the attitude of Broadway Church if the elders and preacher of any other congregation in Lubbock put on a well planned campaign to solicit every member in Broadway and ask him to leave his own Sunday night services and become a regular attendant at one of the other churches? Would not Broadway resent the intrusion? And rightly so! Yet Broadway is doing in the matter of contributions that which she would resent bitterly from another in the field of attendance. Is not this a true parallel? Can not the brethren see it?