Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 25, 1951
NUMBER 37, PAGE 4-5a

Will History Repeat?


That is the question many brethren are asking these days as they see ominous signs that may point toward an affirmative answer. Truly, those who are concerned for the cause of Christ are facing a difficult and trying situation. On the one hand, they want to encourage, strengthen, and sustain in every way they possibly can all that is being done to spread the gospel to the nations of earth that have it not. On the other hand, they recognize certain clear-cut and unmistakable evidences of developing apostasy in the very methods being used to promote these missionary endeavors.

What shall we say then? Shall all missionary activity cease? Shall the churches simply refuse to do anything because some are headed in the wrong direction? That was certainly a short-sighted and foolish answer to the problem. It is no answer at all. The true answer lies in the very opposite direction. It is by missionary work of the right sort that the wrong and dangerous practices can be most quickly and most effectively stamped out. Therein lies the salvation for the church.

We have had much to say in recent weeks about the Lubbock Plan for the raising of money for the foreign work. This plan provides a way by which church members are invited to go around, circumvent, and disregard their local elderships in their support of the German work. From one of the regional missionary rallies we were sent this quotation from the lips of brother Gatewood: "If the elders of the church where you worship are opposed to making a contribution to this work, don't let them stand in your way!" The people were told they could send their money either directly to Germany or to the Lubbock church. That is nothing more nor less than an invitation and an encouragement to the various members to circumvent their elders. The Gospel Guardian has opposed this plan, and will continue to oppose it. That does not mean, nor shall we let, anyone think it means, that we are opposed to preaching the gospel in Germany, or anywhere else. It is simply that we see in this particular arrangement a dangerous and portentous precedent. Once the ball starts rolling, there is no stopping of it. We feel the Broadway brethren themselves have not fully thought it through. We have pleaded with them, and shall continue to plead with them, to find another way, or ways, to get help for that work. We have suggested one other plan, entirely within the realm of scripture teaching.

We rejoice to know that in some of the regional rallies the Lubbock Plan was not introduced. Where there was enough objection to it, it was held back. But where no objection was voiced, it was used. We truly hope more and more churches will voice their objections to the scheme, and that it can be eliminated before it becomes too big to stop. For be assured of this: once the Plan gains momentum, there will be no way either to stop it or to control it. Good men, moved by the very highest of motives, may see in it a way to accomplish worthy objectives; but in the very reaching of those objectives they will have laid the ground-work for future disaster.

A Permanent Arrangement

This Lubbock Plan is envisioned by its promoters as a permanent arrangement. It is not contemplated as being any temporary or emergency measure. But we were told "the Lord's work does not stop; we will go forward so long as there is any place on earth that needs the gospel." So the plan is for a permanent set-up in which the Lubbock brethren will be constantly seeking to increase the number of contributors who send to them.

The Missionary Society Pattern

This plan is an identical parallel to the steps taken in the formation of the Missionary Society in Texas seventy years ago. The editor's father, J. D. Tant, was present in Austin in July, 1886, when the break came. He wrote and talked much about it in the years that followed. The Missionary Society did not spring forth full-grown. It was developed by "regional meetings" which were more for the sake of fellowship and inspiration; these "regional meetings" finally grew into "State meetings." But still there was no thought of any kind of Society. But after a few years the "State meetings" began to seek individual contributors to support a "state evangelist." This evangelist did not work under a society, but under the elders of a church. The church at Sherman had this oversight perhaps more often than any other congregation, although Pearl and Bryan at Dallas was also fairly prominent in the matter. At any rate, after 19 years of this (1867 to 1886) the Society was the outgrowth. The Lubbock Plan seems to us to be following the identical pattern of this apostasy. If anything, it is more dangerous, for under the previous plan the "over- seeing church" was changed from year to year. Under the Lubbock Plan there is no change, but the same elders continue to exercise increasing and permanent authority.

The future

No man can predict what the future may hold. Grave fears are entertained by some that the situation has already gone too far, that there will be no turning back on the part of these brethren. Many hearts are heavy, and more than one aged saint who experienced the grief and sorrow of that previous division has been worried and fearful and troubled.

To be perfectly honest, the Guardian's editor does not completely share that anxiety... at least, not yet. The hour is late; but not too late. We have anxiety, of course; but beneath that anxiety there beats the strong hope that the apostasy of the last century, may yet be beaten off and turned back in its new manifestations. The editor finds it exceedingly difficult to believe that men as earnest and sincere as he believes the Lubbock brethren to be will continue in a course that is absolutely certain to bring apostasy and division. Particularly so, in view of the fact that there is a perfectly simple way, entirely within the realm of scriptural precedent (which we have pointed out before), by which the money could be raised for the German work. The Lubbock Plan is not only dangerous and unscriptural—it is unnecessary!

When brother G. C. Brewer was preaching for the Broadway congregation, he outlined a clear, simple, and scriptural plan by which churches might cooperate in preaching the gospel in a foreign field. Had the Lubbock brethren followed that pattern no word of criticism could possibly have been offered. But they have not followed brother Brewer's suggestion; they have departed widely from it. But the departure has not been wholly agreeable even within the Broadway church. We still have hopes that there may be enough respect and regard for brother Brewer within that church that they will reconsider and give heed to his proposal—that his influence there will be strong enough to swing that great congregation back into the scriptural program which he outlined.

The days ahead are fearful and ominous ones, to be sure; there is a growing uneasiness throughout the whole church. It is surely a time for earnest prayer and deep, deep searchings of the heart by every one. It is a time calling for a supreme and magnificent effort on the part of every church and every Christian to preach the gospel to "every creature" under heaven. It is also a time for absolute firmness and an uncompromising determination to stand by the principles of New Testament Christianity. That is the ground on which the Guardian has taken her stand; we shall not be moved from it.


Richard Donley, 206 Gale Ave., Peoria, "Four baptized and two restored here yesterday. One of those restored was until recently a deacon in the Christian Church. James Judkins and Grover Wallace are now the bishops of the church here. They were ordained to that work two weeks ago. For the information of those brethren who have said that the only people converted in the North are natives of the South: four of those who obeyed the gospel here yesterday were born and reared in the North."


A. V. Isbell, 216 N. Adams, Elk City, Okla., Jan. 10: "Eight responses here the past two weeks: two baptized, three restored, and three by transfer of membership."