Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 5, 1951

"May Their Tribe Increase"

Editorial Page

"If you don't like the way we are doing it, then show us how you would do it," was a common and irritating retort of the digressive brethren of the last century when their Missionary societies were called in question. The current controversy has not been entirely free of such remarks.

It gives a deep thrill of satisfaction to us, and must to every Christian, to see more and more congregations moving out in the field of "mission work" along lines that are absolutely above question. The work of preaching Christ to the nations of earth can be done; it should be done; and with the loyal and sacrificial support of Christians everywhere it shall be done! Within the last few weeks we have seen statements from several fine congregations to the effect that 1951 will see them sending workers to some "foreign" field, and supporting such brethren entirely by themselves. This is particularly gratifying inasmuch as (so far as we know) not a single one of these congregations has previously undertaken a work of this nature; it is a new venture for each of them. Each of these congregations has supported the preaching of the gospel here in the United States for a long time; but now they are reaching out to more distant realms.

Among the churches who have planned to send and support some gospel preacher in a work outside the United States this year, and whose statements we have chanced to see, are Tenth and Francis Streets Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Preston Road Church, Dallas, Texas; Floral Heights Church, Wichita Falls, Texas; and Austin Avenue Church, Brownwood, Texas. There are probably many, many more who are doing the same thing; but these happened to come to our notice. Each congregation has plans for 1951 to select a field that is new to them, engage a gospel preacher to go to that field, support him in the work, and see that it is possible for him to remain in the field until a church (not a "mission") is established there.

We think two of the congregations named above are particularly worthy of mention. Floral Heights Church, for example, has already selected her field and her man, and he is now on the field, doing the work. She is supporting brother Sidney Kinningham in Calgary, Canada. Floral Heights is a relatively small congregation, having less than 400 members. There is not a wealthy man in the church: common working people—wage earners, store clerics, mail carriers, bookkeepers—make up her roster of members. The congregation last year had an average Sunday contribution of about $375.00, the biggest yearly average in the history of the church. In order to support brother Kinningham in Canada, and to do the other work the elders outlined, it was necessary for Floral Heights to make a 33 percent increase in her average Sunday contribution—to $500.00 per week. When the matter was put before the congregation there was an instantaneous and enthusiastic response. No one who knows the spirit of the congregation can doubt for a moment that the money will be forthcoming.

Also worthy of mention is the Preston Road Church in Dallas. Here, too, we find a relatively small congregation—about the same in number as Floral Heights. But the thing that makes Preston Road's venture into "foreign" work so noteworthy this year is that they are right now in the very middle of a $270,000.00 building program. How many congregations having such a tremendous program as that hanging over them would pick this year as the time to take on an additional burden of $5,000.00 for "foreign" missions? We could name scores of churches (and we do mean scores) that through the years have practically refused to do any work of that sort because they were trying to build a house!

We salute these four fine congregations. May their tribe increase! Not a one of them is asking other churches to turn over their mission funds to them; each congregation is working independently and in its own God-given sphere. Each is undertaking a work that it feels to be within its powers to perform and carry through. If scores, and hundreds, and eventually, thousands of congregations will follow this example, we will have little to fear from the threat or trend toward centralization of resources and responsibility. The best way on earth to prevent and head off the wrong development in evangelism of the world is to push and promote and encourage the right kind. Let us continue to warn and point out the dangerous trends; but at the same time let no Christian feel that he has discharged his personal obligation toward a lost world simply by pointing out the errors and mistakes of others. Our duty in these matters is two-fold: to discourage and oppose every unscriptural practice, and to encourage and help every worthy and scriptural work.