Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 29, 1951
NUMBER 46, PAGE 10-11

Reviewing Broadway's "Facts"

James W. Adams, Longview, Texas

What It Is All About In The Light Of "The Facts"

One of our "present," practical, persistent "problems" is, was, and seemingly will continue to be the scriptural manner in which churches may cooperate in performing their divine mission, especially with reference to evangelism. Volumes almost have been written pro and con—some of the writing relevant, much irrelevant. It would be wonderful when problems arise in the church if the issues could be understood by all, and the principles that create the issues dealt with forthrightly. It is a serious reflection upon our intellectual capacity to say nothing of our Christian character that no issue can be discussed without personal reflections, imputation of wrong motives, and recrimination. It is doubtful whether much can be said now that will undo the confusion that has been created by those who either do not understand the issue or else studiously ignore it. This article is an effort to clear the atmosphere of the verbal smoke-screen that hovers over the issue and to set forth in specific detail the practice that is being questioned. This is not the first effort that has been made along this line and the present writer claims no superior ability in such matters, but it is thought expedient that another effort should be made to clarify, for better understanding and in the hope of settlement, the issue that exists. It is my fervent desire and aim to set forth clearly the precise activity of the "sponsoring church" that has occasioned the controversy, and to indicte explicitly the scriptural principles which it antagonizes.

Two courses only are open to those who have set themselves in defense of the practices of "sponsoring churches:" (1) They can attempt to prove that no such activity as shall be set forth in this article has been practiced; or (2) they can admit the practice and engage to show that it is a scriptural activity. To date, the controversial issue has been considerably obscured by the fact that the churches whose practice has been questioned concerning "centralized control and oversight" have been denying such practice while certain preachers and papers have been defending the right of churches to engage in such. However, let it be said in fairness to them that they are unwilling to admit that what they defend is "centralized control and oversight." An article by the elders of Broadway church in Lubbock, Texas, entitled "Facts Regarding the German Work," affords the occasion for my article.

Regarding Elders

The elders of a congregation of believers after the New Testament order have my profound respect and admiration. For sixteen years, I have labored under them as a preacher of the gospel of Christ. Through all the years, my relationship with them has been entirely pleasant. No issue has ever existed between them and me which has affected our mutual regard for one another or the peace and happiness of a congregation. I am not an elder critic. What the church needs today is more qualified, consecrated elders, and be it far from me to say anything that might reflect upon, discourage, or otherwise hinder a good elder anywhere in any good work. For the elders of the Broadway church of Lubbock, Texas, I have nothing but respect in their God-ordained realm of activity and authority. Against their Christian character or the purity and sincerity of their motives in their evangelistic program I have no charge to make. I salute them for their zeal for souls and for every contribution which they have made by their example to the energizing of members of congregations everywhere with reference both to financial contributions to the Lord's work and evangelistic fervor. Growth in liberality with our material means and enthusiasm for world-wide evangelism is eminently desirable in all the churches. Let the Broadway church receive all and more of the credit that she may deserve. We are not concerned with who shall receive credit for what. This article is not an indictment of the elders of a church. It is an examination of a practice characteristic of numerous churches, and is motivated by a sincere and deep-rooted fear concerning its tendencies and scripturalness.

What The Issue Is About

No objection is registered and no issue exists because the work is being done by "big" churches. The Lord says nothing concerning big or little churches. The question has nothing to do with the fact that the thing is being done "in a big way." The size of the operation affects the issue only as it determines the degree of consequences. Hundreds of churches becoming subsidiaries of other churches can easily be seen to be more alarming than two or three becoming such. No objection has been raised to the practice of one church contributing to another church to aid in the performance of a work that is peculiarly its own. The objection which has been raised and the fears that have been expressed have been concerning the matter of many congregations seeking to fulfill their mission in the performance of a work to which each contributing congregation bears equal responsibility with the sponsoring congregation. The sponsoring church plans the work, selects the field, selects and oversees the worker, receives, applies, and accounts for the contributions. The contributing churches surrender their funds to the "sponsoring congregation" for the accomplishment of the work. The "control and oversight" of the work unquestionably belongs to a single congregation, the "sponsoring church." It is therefore "centralized," hence the fears concerning "centralized control and oversight."

The next question to arise, in view of the article "Facts Regarding the German Work," is:

Does The Broadway Church Of Lubbock, Texas, Do This?

I assume that their statements as set forth in "Facts Regarding the German Work" are authoritative. Quotations shall be given from this article to show that existing fears are well founded concerning "centralized control and oversight."

The extent of Broadway's oversight. Note the following quotations:

"Of these 38 workers only three are under the direction of the elders at Broadway."

"The Broadway church has always fully supported brother and sister Gatewood. We are also fully supporting Helen Baker, who is from this congregation." "So far this church has contributed $65,000.00 to the German work. Thus this local church has more than provided all of the expenses incidental to the collection and forwarding of funds to Germany, so that every dollar contributed by those outside of this congregation is applied to the work in Germany."

Several things are worthy of emphasis in these statements. It will be noted that the $65,000.00 contributed by the Broadway church is said to more than cover the expenses incidental to the collection and forwarding of funds.

The article in question is remarkable for one thing, namely; that which it does not say. It would be interesting to know, and this fact we and the brotherhood, I am sure, would like so much to have, just how much money has been contributed through the Broadway church by how many different congregations? It would be interesting to hear the Broadway elders say whether they received, controlled, and applied these funds in Germany or not. Of course, they did, and since they did, will someone please tell us why this is not "centralized control and oversight." How much of this money was "undesignated," and who decided how and where such "undesignated" funds should be applied? The sum of money which has passed through the Broadway church to the German work must be considerable since the elders feel justified in spending almost $65,000.00 in collecting and forwarding it. How much has passed through your hands, brethren? From how many churches did it come? How much of it was "designated" and how much "undesignated?" These are pertinent questions. Answers to them will help immensely in determining whether "centralized control and oversight" exists at Broadway church or not.

Whether or not "centralized control and oversight" exists on a large scale can be determined by ascertaining exactly how the funds collected by Broadway church are applied in the field of operation. Note these quotations:

"Monthly report of money expended from funds sent from America are furnished by brother J. C. Moore, Jr., the treasurer of the English speaking congregation in Frankfurt."

"In no sense are we elders of a church in Germany. We are only engaged in helping each of the four churches in Frankfurt and others in Germany as independent entities."

There are nine churches, I believe, in Germany. We are told that they are being helped by Broadway as distinct entities. As best I can determine, this is the procedure up to a certain point: Many churches send their funds to Broadway church thus releasing control and oversight to that church; these funds are transferred to the treasury of the English speaking congregation in Frankfurt; they are placed under brother J. C. Moore, Jr., treasurer of that church (brother Moore, however, is not really a member of that congregation as he is under the control and oversight of Hillsboro church, Nashville, Tennessee); the funds are then distributed to the nine congregations in Germany from the treasury of the English speaking congregation.

The question that is suggested at this point is: Who decides where and how these funds are applied? Does Broadway church decide this matter? Is it the English speaking church in Frankfurt? Is it brother J. C. Moore, Jr.? Or, could it be brother Gatewood? During the lectureship at Florida Christian College, brother Gatewood was pressed for an answer to this question, but he never gave it. He said, "We do." He was asked, "Who are we?" He said, "The nine congregations and their evangelists." He was asked, "Do you mean that you have a meeting and decide as a group?" He said, "No, it is used as the need arises." He was asked, "But who decides whether the congregation which asks for funds for a particular need receives them?" He began the cycle over by saying, "We do." I am asking the elders of Broadway church the same question that brother Gatewood would not answer: Who controls and applies the funds that are sent to the English speaking church in Frankfurt and dispensed by the treasurer, brother J. C. Moore, Jr.? Brother Gatewood is, I believe, the evangelist of that church. Below is a diagram of what I learn from the "Facts" concerning the program of Broadway church in Lubbock, Texas:

Many American churches release their funds to the Broadway church, Lubbock, Texas. Broadway church releases these funds to the English speaking church in Frankfurt, Germany whose evangelist, brother Otis Gatewood, is under the control and oversight of Broadway church and whose treasurer, brother J. C. Moore, Jr., is under control and oversight of Hillsboro church, Nashville, Tennessee. The funds are then dispensed "as the need arises." Once more the question is raised: Who is invested with the authority to decide upon the urgency and validity of "the need," and who is authorized to grant the funds to alleviate it? We are hopeful that this "fact" will be given to the brotherhood at an early date.

Another article will follow this one continuing the examination of published "facts" concerning the German work to see if it can be determined whether or not there should be any fear regarding "centralized control and oversight." In the meantime, an answer to some of the questions raised in this article would be helpful.