Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 17, 1955
NUMBER 40, PAGE 2-3b

Yes, There Is "A Difference"

M. C. Kurfees

The following article is from the Christian Standard of April 30, 1910. It is in response to a query from a brother in North Carolina. The answer which the editor of the Christian Standard gives to the querists very reasonable and proper inquiry is so thoroughly evasive and misleading that we give it a place in our columns in order that we may expose its fallacy, in the hope that at least some of the readers of (he Standard will see our reply. We may ask of our readers a careful examination of this article before they read our reply.

Is There A Difference?

"We must thank those thoughtful brethren who bring to our remembrance important matters which, in this busy period of our development, might otherwise be overlooked. The following letter is from one who doubtless is a representative of that class.

"If we speak where the Bible speaks, and are silent where the Bible is silent, and are not permitted to read any other meaning into it, then where is the scripture for C.W.B.M. and Y.P.S.C.E.? (Christian Womens Board of Missions, and Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor - - JLH.) If we baptize just because the Bible teaches it then would it not be better for us to do away with the above mentioned institutions and do only as we read in the Bible and not cause so many of our brethren who do not believe in these things to stumble? (James F. Moon, Pfaffton, N. C.)

"We have not repudiated the old motto, and we have not heard any better statement of the method of procedure commonly accepted from the beginning of the movement to restore New Testament Christianity. The question in this case is, How can our position as to cooperative agencies be harmonized with that on the subject of baptism in the light of the favorite maxim? At first glance we appear to be facing a logical dilemma to escape which we must do one of three things: (1) Yield our position as to baptism; (2) discard all agencies not specifically authorized in the New Testament; or (3) repudiate the declaration that "where the scriptures speak, we speak; where the scriptures are silent we are silent.

"The puzzle yields readily, however, when we give it careful consideration. The scriptures do speak, and that clearly, as to baptism, making it plain that nothing short of the immersion of a penitent believer in water in the name of Jesus Christ can properly be called baptism. Those who go this far speak where the Bible speaks. Those who would knowingly baptize the impenitent or unbelieving, perform the ordinance in any other than the Lord's name, or substitute something else for the prescribed act, are silent where the scriptures speak. Those who go no further than the scriptures demand are silent where the scriptures are silent ....

"When we come to the preaching of the Word, the ease is similar. As to the thing to be done, and the importance of doing it there is left no room for doubt or discussion. The gospel must be preached to all nations; and the Master himself laid that duty on his disciples. The man who carries out that command speaks where the scriptures speak, whether he go on foot or by ship, at his own charges or sent by others, supported in his work by one disciple or one church or a hundred congregations working together. If he stops short of full compliance, either in the message he delivers or in the field he recognizes, he is silent where the scriptures speak. Those who add nothing to what has been revealed are silent where the scriptures are silent. If any, having preference for certain methods or work, would insist that theirs is the only right method, they are speaking where the scriptures are silent. The apostles laid down no rule as to the methods to be employed. Those 'who were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the Word,' apparently on their own responsibility. Some were sent out by their brethren and helped on their way by the churches. They went singly, in pairs, or in trios. They preached the gospel in prison, on board ship, in the heathen acropolis, or to their fellow-craftsmen as they worked with their hands. Paul could take Barnabas and Mark, or he could separate himself from both and choose other companions; he even declared that he could take a wife with him if he chose to do so.

"The acrimonious discussion of means and methods is ill-timed; the Lord has left his people free at this point. The method of one period may not be suited to another. That method is apostolic and scriptural which without infraction of any principle, best carries out the command given to the disciples by our Lord ...."

Concerning the points made, we desire to observe:

1 — The Fallacy In The Word "Method"

How deftly the Standard shifts the issue from the society itself, which is the only thing in dispute, to a mere "method," which the society may employ and which is not in dispute! The society after it is founded, has to adopt some "method" of going. The issue is not over "methods" of going, if you please, which either a society or a church may employ, but over the society itself. Instead of attempting, in a fair and manly way to defend the society itself, which is the only thing here in dispute, our contemporary adroitly tells his querist that it makes no difference "whether a missionary go on foot or by ship," which is not now and never was in dispute anywhere with anybody, but which everybody everywhere admits. Of course it makes no difference whether missionaries "go on foot or by ship," whether by railway car, buggy, carriage, wagon, ox-cart or what not; but it does make a difference whether missionaries go under GOD'S SOCIETY OR MAN'S SOCIETY. (Emphasis M.C.K.) God has not prescribed the method of going, but he has prescribed the institution under which to go. (Emphasis M.C.K.) This is the only point in dispute here, but the Standard cleverly covers it up and defends something which nobody denies.

2 — The Standard's Use Of The Expression "One Church Or A Hundred Congregations Working Together" (Emphasis M.C.K.)

Those who oppose the Missionary Society founded by man not only have no objection to "one church or a hundred churches" or any other number of churches working together, but they believe and urge this very thing upon the churches. But they do not believe in "one church or a hundred churches" or any other number of churches, founding and doing missionary work through a different society from the one which God himself provided for this purpose. The church is God's missionary society and is provided with its own divinely appointed board of overseers and managers, and in the days of the apostles each church managed its own business, handled its own money, and sent it directly to the missionaries in the field. There is not the shadow of an instance where "one church or a hundred churches," or any other number of churches, ever put their money into the hands of a central board with power to choose and control missionaries. The modern society which is now in dispute and to which the Christian Standard is committed, takes the money out of the hands of the board of managers in the local church — a board appointed by the Lord to attend to the Lord's business — and puts it into the hands of a man appointed board, which not only controls and disburses the money, but chooses the missionaries, sends them out and calls them in at its own authoritative dictation, while the churches have no voice in the matter at all. They may believe a missionary to be ever so unfaithful and unworthy, yet if this man appointed board wants to retain him on the field and propagate his heresy, the churches can do nothing but submit. Why did not the Standard tell the difference?