Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 8, 1956

The Moyer - Rudd Debate

Forrest Moyer, Napa, California

On September 10-13 brethren Lloyd Moyer of El Cerrito, California, and Don Rudd of Old Hickory, Tennessee, engaged in a four nights debate on current issues within the church. The first two nights were devoted to the Herald of Truth and the last two to the institutional orphan home. The debate was held in the building of the 35th and MacDonald church in Richmond. Approximately 400-500 attended each session.

The Herald Of Truth

On Monday evening Brother Rudd was in the affirmative of the Herald of Truth. He began his speech by saying that we are taught God's will by command, example, necessary inference, and principle eternal. Although Rudd said the scriptures taught by principle eternal, he did not use such in the debate in defense of the Herald of Truth or orphan homes.

Brother Rudd, in defining the proposition, said that the arrangement was on the part of Highland and the cooperation was on the part of the churches. Moyer pointed out that Highland had, therefore, provided an arrangement through which 1,000 churches could work; an arrangement that would allow church universal action. It meant that Highland is overseeing a part of the work of more than one congregation and therefore a violation of 1 Peter 6:2.

Brother Moyer brought four major indictments against the Herald of Truth:

1) It is without scriptural authority.

2) It is a violation of the extent and limitation of the authority of elders.

3) It is a centralization of the financial power, oversight, planning, and control of the work of the churches.

4) It is an arrangement of church universal action.

In all four of Moyer's speeches on the Herald of Truth question, he pressed Rudd for one passage that would authorize one church to send money to another church for the purpose of preaching the gospel — a work to which all churches are equally related. This was not given. In Rudd's last speech, in desperation, he introduced 1 Corinthians 12:26 as authority for one church's sending money to another for the purpose of preaching. Read the passage and draw your own conclusion. This would authorize church universal action inasmuch as the body is the church universal.

Brother Moyer's Approach To The Whole Discussion Was Threefold:

1) Authorization

2) Organization

3) Cooperation

He pointed out that we can practice only what is authorized. God authorized an organization to do His work. That organization (the only one God authorized) is the local congregation. God authorized a type of cooperation: churches with power sending to a church in want. (2 Cor. 8:13-14.) This cooperation must not violate God's organization or authorization. In cooperation, churches did not send to another church to preach the gospel. The support of preachers was done by sending directly to the preacher.

The Orphan Home Question

Brother Rudd's argument in favor of institutional homes was that the orphan home takes the place of the private home that was destroyed. Moyer replied by pointing out that although we have a responsibility to provide what is lacking to children, that doesn't authorize a human institution that is designed to do the work of the church. God gave us an organization to do His work and it (the local church) is sufficient.

Brother Moyer presented an argument on that which "the Lord pitched" vs. that which "man pitched." The local church doing her own work is what the Lord pitched; a human institution designed to do the work of the church is that "which man pitched, not the Lord."

Some Interesting Sidelights

1. The Question of Fellowship. Brother Rudd made it dogmatically clear that neither he nor the congregation where he preaches will have fellowship with those who question the Herald of Truth or the orphan homes. The pulpit is closed to those who differ on these questions. He urged elders everywhere to close their pulpits to those whose convictions force them to question these practices. Yes, the line is being drawn!

2. Contradicting Answers to Questions. On Monday night Moyer asked Rudd the following question:

"In the case of many churches' sending money to one church for the preaching of the gospel, whose work is being done? The receiving church's? or the contributing churches'?"

Rudd's answer: "It is the work of the receiving church."

On Wednesday night this question was asked:

"In the case of many churches' sending money to Ontario Home for the care of orphans, whose work is being done? The receiving institution's? or the sending institutions'?

Rudd's answer: "The work of the sending churches."

The question is, "What makes the difference?" The action of the churches is the same. The power of spending is centralized in both cases. If it is only the work of the receiving agency in one, then it is in the other. And the churches are not caring for orphans — only the orphan home is doing that. But if it is the work of the sending churches in one, then it is in the case of the Herald of Truth. Highland is overseeing the work of more than one congregation — yes, actually a "'brotherhood work."

We appreciate fully the work of Lloyd Moyer in the debate. I was happy to work with him as moderator and as my brother in the flesh and in the Lord.