Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 12, 1953


J. C. Reed, Barnhart, Texas

O Tempora! O Mores! Are there not a few among us whose eyes are still open, who can see the destruction sweeping upon us? Are good men all asleep to the forces of centralization that are carrying the church into full apostasy?

Fifteen years ago it was barely perceptible to a few of our ablest observers; but today as it sweeps flood tide upon us, even a novice should be able to see this enveloping paralyzing force (or at least its manifestations).

Our generation has seen a concentration of power such as never existed before in many fields. It extends into government, labor (labor unions), press, education, and religion. More and more people are led by fewer and fewer leaders. The evils of centralization: conspiracy, corruption, are apparent in some fields and should warn us to expect the same in religion. Certain examples of this are already at work:


Today the religious papers are often controlled by a group of men who try to control the brotherhood — this enables them to sell their books, etc., and dispense certain favors to those of their party. One not of their stripe has little chance of writing for their paper. Issues are settled not by a study and discussion but by the policy thought best by this control group. This is centralization.


The schools are mostly in the hands of the rich and/or highly popular brethren (rarely are these outstanding for spirituality). The supporters of the schools can expect certain favors and privileges. Those who warn against corruption at the schools may expect the reverse. These institutions by placing and influencing preachers are exerting strong pressure upon local churches and whole sections of the church. The blind will deny this, as will those with vested interests, but the honest man knows it to be true. Truth is hidden and the popular man is made to stand even though unworthy — sometimes highly honored. This is centralization. Our refusal to face these things is proof that we are in bondage to these forces. We are sickened by the misrepresentations and politicking, but have we risen to fight these evils? Why not?

"Pastor System"

We have dodged this issue all the time by saying that it is the other fellow who is guilty, but to be frank and really honest we must admit that most of the brotherhood is controlled by the preachers. It is this unwritten and unadmitted organization that controls and in turn is controlled by the other forces of centralization. One must belong to this "club" if he is to go places. Woe unto the man who tries to stand against the popular trend.

Missionary Combinations

This is the linking together of workers and churches who support the work with the churches, missions or schools on the field. (Usually these are foreign fields.) This combination often combines groups of churches on both ends as well as schools on each end and sometimes publications on each end. Thus we have colleges and papers promoting the group on this end and schools and papers on the field tying the work together still more. This combination of power has corrupted the independence of local churches both at home and abroad. It has covered up misconduct and false teaching and even endorsed and promoted those who were guilty. Herein appears part of the evil of centralization.

Benevolism Let this term cover all the benevolent institutions supported by the brotherhood. Here again the supporting churches are tied together in the operation of a centralized project. This includes many things; even a TV program with a woman speaker. The danger is extended when the exes go out into other congregations and these become a part of the system. What has been said on other points may apply here. There is the tendency to defend the "status quo" whether their position is right or wrong. Then there are those who have a "vested interest" in some projects; who will fight for their "pets."

A more dangerous move is now under way as a super organization is being formed. All the Children's Homes are to be banded together. The October 14, 1953 issue of the Christian Chronicle tells of this first meeting to be held in Tipton, Oklahoma. Some items on the program arouse our interest and suspicions: Public relations with church (the money getting angle); Critics and what to do with them; and location of 1954 meeting (suggesting' the organization will be permanent).

Furthermore, centralization is often compounded by one force of centralization being banded together with another as: a college owning part of a religious paper, or leaders in the missionary combination controlling the newspaper of the church. THIS IS THE ROAD TO ROME.

The Remedy

- Before someone yells, "What would you do?" or accuses me of only a negative type thinking I will outline a remedy for this apostasy in which we are entangled. BACK TO THE BIBLE. First let congregational autonomy be fully restored. Cleanse the temple so to speak (I mean take the profit out of religion). Take everything out of the budget of the local church except what that church actually controls (except emergency gifts to benevolent work under some other local congregation or to an evangelist in a new field). While we are getting back to the Bible might take out the budget too and give as we have been prospered rather than how we think we will be prospered. Put the whole church to work in teaching others as they go everywhere. Be sure that we can find a thus saith the Lord for everything that we preach, teach or practice. Be willing to grow and change as we come to fuller knowledge of the truth. Let us be ready to admit mistakes and correct them, if experience and deeper study prove that some of the above points are erroneous then let me change. Will you help us to find the truth and follow it?