Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 24, 1956

A Tale Of Two Churches


Jordan, Ontario, is a small town of three or four stores, a school, post office, filling station or two, and one of the finest and most faithful congregations of Christians in all Canada. The church here is well over a hundred years old. In 1951 they moved into a splendid new auditorium which would compare favorably with any in the land as to its practicability and usefulness. The congregation numbers considerably less than one hundred members — perhaps 65 or 70 would be a fairly accurate count.

Two years ago Brother Roy E. Cogdill spend some nine or ten months in Canada, and was instrumental in helping get a new congregation started at Owen Sound, a very beautiful city of 20,000 people some 150 miles north of Jordan. The congregation numbered only ten or twelve people at the start, but they were determined to press forward. A hall was secured to serve as a meeting-place, and the few faithful ones were earnest and sincere in their efforts to reach others in Owen Sound with the truth. Like Antioch in days of old they were in sore need of someone to teach and help them.

And that is where the church at Jordan showed her true colors. She had contributed heavily financially to getting the Owen Sound congregation begun; she did not intend to terminate her interests in that field now that a beginning had been made. But in much the same manner that Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch (Acts 11), the little congregation at Jordan sent their own preacher, Brother Keith Thompson, to encourage and help the new congregation at Owen Sound. There was probably this difference, however: it is not likely that Jerusalem supported Barnabas during his work at Antioch, but Jordan has supported Brother Thompson from the very first day he went to Owen Sound. Only as the Owen Sound church has grown, and a few other churches have been willing to assist, has Jordan's contribution to that work been diminished. Indeed, for two full years now the Jordan congregation has had no preacher in order that they might support Brother Thompson in Owen Sound!

Where is the church in the States that would surrender its own preacher for two full years to a mission field, doing without a preacher at home in order to get the work in a new city firmly established? Jordan was not able to support Brother Thompson in Owen Sound and at the same time give adequate support to a preacher to work with them. So they gave their preacher to the new field, and made out at home by using their own forces and by having visiting preachers in whenever such were available.

And we know congregations who won't even support their own preacher in one mission meeting away from home!

Norhill Church, Houston, Texas, has long been recognized as a congregation firm and resolute in its stand for the truth. Where some other congregations in the great city of Houston have at times taken up with every passing fad or fancy that sweeps through sectarianism, Norhill has stood like the Rock of Gibraltar for an undeviating adherence to New Testament teaching.

In view of the present controversies now sweeping the church over questions of centralized cooperation, institutional orphan homes, church support of colleges, etc., the Norhill elders felt keen interest in having able and representative men lead in a discussion and study of these issues, that all might work toward a clear understanding and acceptance of Bible teaching. So they issued a joint invitation to Brother Roy E. Cogdill and Brother Guy N. Woods to come to Houston, at such time as they might all agree to, to participate in such a study. Norhill elders respect both men as brethren in Christ, draw the line of fellowship against neither, and offered to provide an auditorium for the discussion and to support both men equally for their work.

The elders expressed the feeling that a discussion under arrangements like this would prevent any possibility of arraying church against church in the city, and would simply provide an opportunity for all brethren to study the questions. Since both Cogdill and Woods are well known to the brotherhood, neither of them would need the endorsement of any particular Houston congregation. Norhill brethren believed, as always has been the belief of Christians, that truth can be set forth in such a discussion, and that between fair-minded men discussions like this are always productive of good. Truth has nothing to fear from such open, frank, friendly encounters — as denominational preachers have long since come to appreciate.

At the time of this writing (late in April) we do not know whether brethren Cogdill and Woods have accepted the invitation; but many of us sincerely hope they have, and that the debate will materialize. It will be one of the greatest of all.

Thus two fine churches have set a worthy example for all congregations. Jordan church in a truly sacrificial spirit has shown the proper attitude in the work of evangelization; Norhill in a brotherly and Christian gesture has set the example in the proper way to study a serious and potentially dangerous problem among us without straining the fellowship that should exist between congregations in a city.

— F. Y. T.