Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 18, 1951
NUMBER 36, PAGE 4-5b

Here We Go Again

It is impossible, of course, for any gospel paper to print all that comes to it. The Guardian, seeking to be as fair as possible, has tried to lean over backward to give those who are of opposite persuasion to us free and full expression in our pages. We would guess that there is not a paper in the brotherhood that has carried as much material contrary to its editorial position as has the Guardian. Brother James D. Bales has kept us well supplied with articles of that nature, and in this issue we publish two more from his pen, together with our comments on them. It might be well to read his articles and then read our review.

Contempt Or Realism?

In an editorial opposing "The Lubbock Plan" for raising money by solicitation of individual contributions from thousands of people who are not members of the Lubbock church, we declared that "the very basis of 'the Lubbock Plan' is a contemptuous attitude toward the elders of the churches." Brother Bales takes exception to this, and replies that it is not contempt, but simply realism.

In response, we would say it is both realism and contempt. That brother Sherrod's appraisal of some elderships is true and accurate is too tragically the case to admit of denial. Indeed, the Guardian has recognized that problem for a long, long time, and brother Bales quoted from numerous editorials of ours showing our cognizance of it. It is a sad, but evident, fact that "many elderships are without vision, and without interest in preaching the gospel in foreign fields." We do not think their number, however, is as large as some seem to believe.

But then the contemptuous attitude comes in. The Guardian, as keenly aware of the problem as is brother Bales, brother Sherrod, or anyone else, would like to seek a solution to it within the framework of a scriptural procedure. But the Lubbock Plan would brush aside the rights and privileges of the elders, and would solicit members of various congregations to support that which they themselves say the elders of those churches would not support—indeed, conceivably, might even oppose! When a man refuses to recognize and abide by the rules and regulations of a duly constituted and authorized court, he is in contempt of court." When brethren refuse to recognize the authority and position of God's elders, they have a "contemptuous attitude toward the elders of the churches;" they are seeking to circumvent and by-pass those whom God has ordained shall "have the rule" over the church.

Behind this "Lubbock Plan" is exactly the same argument that was made by the advocates of instrumental music. Since so much of the singing in the congregations was off key, dissonant, jarring on the ear, and generally of terrible quality, the organ advocates were "realistic" about the matter and decided the only logical solution of the problem was to bring in the organ to "aid" the singing. Others, more concerned for the purity of the doctrine and worship, recognized as much as anybody else the pitiable weakness of much congregational singing—and straightway went to work to teach and encourage the churches to have singing schools, develop song leaders, and correct the deficiency in the right way!

Instead of ignoring and by-passing the elderships, would it not be far better to go to work in a scriptural way to teach, instruct, and encourage godly men to prepare themselves for the eldership, and thus solve our problem within the framework of scripture teaching?

Is It A True Parallel?

In this article brother Bales takes exception to the parallel we suggested between soliciting regular sustaining contributions from the members of one church to be given to another church and the soliciting of regular attendance from members of a sister congregation.

The Case Is A True Parallel. For Observe:

1. The question is NOT whether a member of a given church has the right to visit another church; neither is it a question of whether or not an individual has a right to make a contribution to another church. All brother Bales has to say along that line is off the issue and beside the point.

But The Question Is:

2. Does any church have the right to cross congregational lines and SOLICIT either the regular contribution or the regular Sunday night attendance of members of another church.

3. Be it noted further that in both cases the solicitation is not for complete abandonment of the home church and commitment to the soliciting church; but only for a portion of one's contributions, and only for the regular Sunday night attendance. Presumably the member would still give the major portion of his contribution to his own congregation, and would attend his own congregation regularly except on Sunday nights.

4. There is a parallel there—absolute, detailed, and undeniable. Brother Bales can write more words than any four or five men we have ever known or heard about, but we do not think even he can write enough words to obscure that parallel from our readers! —F. Y. T.