Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 18, 1951

Why Don't They Pass It Around?

Thomas F. Shropshire, Duke, Okla.

I have read a number of articles dealing with the current issue regarding evangelistic work in foreign fields. Some of these articles I have read and reread. As is the case more often than not in the discussion of issues, some of them deal with the issue and some of them are but weak evasions of the issue. Frequently, when a practice is called in question, those who favor the practice will seek to justify it by the end to be attained. They seek to implant in the mind of the reader or hearer the idea that those who oppose the practice are opposed to the end. In reality, many who have called in question a practice, are in hearty accord with the end, but contend that the practice itself must have divine sanction.

Some are contending that the way evangelistic work in a foreign field is done, is a matter of "opinion" and not a matter of "faith." However, when the claim was made that there is no New Testament authority for one church becoming the controlling and directing agency through which all other discharge their responsibility in preaching the gospel in a field foreign to them all, until it can be shown that such practice rests in the judgment of men rather than in the authority of the New Testament scriptures, it will remain a matter of faith and not a matter of opinion. All we need to do is to read up on the history of the church to see what will happen to the church if such matters are left to be decided by opinion.

It has been contended that the practice under consideration violates no principle in regard to the relationship of the congregations involved. It seems that one principle has been overlooked. That is the principle of equal responsibility of the congregations in doing the work the Lord has required. In New Testament examples, where money was sent to the elders of a congregation, it was to be used in and for the congregation in which they had the oversight. This made the responsibility of the one doing the contributing and the one doing the overseeing unequal because of the locality of the work being done. But in a field of work, foreign to them all, the responsibility would be equal and no amount of argument would prove otherwise.

So, why don't they pass it around? Let the "sponsoring" church turn the "sponsoring" over to one of the contributing churches for a while and let the contributing church do some of the "sponsoring" for which they have been contributing and let the "sponsoring" church become a contributing church. This way the church who has become a "sponsoring" church may fulfill their equal responsibility for "sponsoring." Now I'm not saying that this arrangement would make the practice scriptural because I have not found in the New Testament where a "sponsoring" arrangement was used by the apostles or early churches. But I do not think that the above mentioned plan of relinquishing the place as "sponsor," would meet with the approval of some of the present "sponsoring" congregations.


T. T. Marlin, Box 327, Mayfield, Kentucky, January 5: 'Our work is off to a good start. We have had five additions recently. Our Bible school has reached a record high. 550 attended our song service here New Years Eve between 9:30 P. M. and 12 Midnight."