Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 2, 1956
NUMBER 13, PAGE 3,12d

Letters To Lanier (III.)

C.E.W. Dorris, Nashville, Tennessee

1103 Caldwell Lane, Nashville 4, Tennessee

November 16, 1955 Mr. Roy H. Lanier,

Nashville, Tennessee Dear Brother Lanier:

In your first article of your series, you said: "Preachers and brethren are divided over the subject of Congregational Cooperation," and then asked: "Why are the preachers divided?"

I think I made it clear in my former letter why brethren are divided over the subject, by pointing out the fact that all agree that to send support directly to the laborer in the field, is union and scriptural ground on which all can stand and work in harmony, and that your "cooperation brethren" brought about the division when they left this union and scriptural ground and began operating through sponsoring churches, a method unknown to New Testament writers. But there are some other matters to which I now respectfully invite your attention. Here is what a brother, whose name is not given, wrote, and was published on the editorial page of the Gospel Advocate.

"I trust you will not consider me presumptuous if I suggest that perhaps the writers for the Gospel Advocate might wisely spearhead a movement to quarantine those preachers who today are sowing the seeds of discord among the brotherhood and to thus prevent further division." (Gospel Advocate, 1954, page 562.)

Now, what is that but asking writers of the Gospel Advocate to "quarantine" brethren? I can think of no better way to "sow the seeds of discord" among brethren, than to begin "quarantining" them., No wonder the good brother was ashamed to put his name to his article. I regret seeing such an advertisement in the Advocate. But here is more.

In commenting on Philippians 4:15, 16, Brother Guy N. Woods said: "Here, too, we see the simple manner in which the church in Philippi joined with Paul in the work of preaching the gospel. There was no 'missionary society' in evidence, and none was needed; the brethren simply raised the money and sent it directly to Paul. This is the way it should be done today. No organization is needed to accomplish the work the Lord has authorized the church to do. When men become dissatisfied with God's arrangement and set up one of their own, they have already crossed the threshold to apostasy. Let us be satisfied with the Lord's manner of doing things." (Annual Lesson Commentary, Lesson XI, December, 1946, page 341.)

Here, Brother Woods knocks out not only the missionary society, but also the sponsoring church method, for the reason neither of these send directly to the preacher as he says Philippi sent to Paul. 'I agree with him that "we ought to be satisfied with the Lord's manner of doing things." Don't you? If not, why not?

For some years we have seen nothing in the Gospel Advocate on church cooperation, that did not set forth the sponsoring church method, both in preaching the gospel and sending support to the poor saints in Judea.

Here are the names of some of the writers: Cecil N. Wright, G. C. Brewer, John H. Banister, J. W. Roberts, and last, but not least, yourself. All contending for the indirect method, thus contradicting the teaching of Brother Woods relative to the direct method.

We have seen how Brother Woods says Philippi worked with Paul in preaching the gospel. Here is what he says about churches sending relief to the poor saints in Judea.

"It should be noted that there was no elaborate organization for the discharge of these charitable functions. The contributions were sent directly to the elders by the churches. This is the New Testament of functioning. We should be highly suspicious of any scheme that requires the setting up of an organization independent of the church in order to accomplish its work." (Annual Lesson Commentary, December, 1946, page 338.)

The sponsoring church method is a new "scheme" set up in the church, invented in recent years by the wisdom of man, and it sets aside God's wisdom and method of sending support directly to parties in need. Brother G. C. Brewer said: "It came into existence some forty or fifty years ago on account of a sad condition in the church." According to Brewer, the new "scheme" came in nearly two thousand years too late to be ordained of God and sealed with the blood of Christ.

The leading point I make here, is, Brother Woods in his quarterly, teaches the direct method, and other brethren of the Gospel Advocate, the indirect. This being true, how can we expect anything but division among brethren where the Advocate is read, and the Quarterly studied? No wonder brethren are divided over the question. It would be next to a miracle, if they did not divide, with two contradictory methods of operation flowing from the same fountain. I think this answers your question: "Why are preachers divided" and also, why other brethren are divided.

The whole thing reminds me of a set of school directors, who believed the earth is flat, not round, and wanted the children in their neighborhood taught the flat system, instead' of the round. They invited a school teacher to meet with them, hoping to employ him to teach their school. All parties met at the appointed time and place. A trade was made and when the contract was signed, the teacher began walking away. It then dawned upon the directors that they had omitted the flat system from the contract. They called and asked he teacher if he taught the flat or round system? He replied that he was qualified to teach both, if they wanted the flat system taught, he would each it, but if they wanted the round system taught he would teach that one.

Managers of the Gospel Advocate, like the school teacher, are qualified to teach both systems, and have mediums well organized through which to teach both. If brethren want the flat system, they can get it from the Quarterly, if they want the round system, they can get it /from the Gospel Advocate. This shows who are "sowing the seeds of discord among the brotherhood," relative to the sponsoring church method. The New Testament doesn't teach it both ways, and no man's opinion or judgment can make a thing right which the New Testament does not authorize.

Brother Woods has a large class every week. Here is what he said: "It is possible that a quarter of a million people study these lessons each week." (Gospel Guardian, August 25, 1955, page 8.)

From this large number of students, he must have converted several thousand to the direct method. What are you brethren going to do with his spiritual children? "Quarantine" them? Then, too, from the large number of Gospel Advocate readers, several thousand must be converted to the indirect method. What will Brother Woods do with the Advocate's children? "Quarantine" them too? It looks like when you brethren get through "quarantining" each others children, as well as yourselves, we are going to have several thousand brethren walking the streets with yellow tags pinned to their coat tails.

I suggest that we do away with this "quarantining" business and follow Paul's advice: "Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another." Let us keep our hands joined in the full assurance of faith and press on to the goal set before us. God expects all his children to do their very best to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." We can't do these things as long as we stay in the "quarantining" business.

May I see this and your reply in the Gospel Advocate?

Your brother in Christ, C.E.W. Dorris