Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 25, 1957

What To Do About Those Who Oppose Cooperation


Paul Brock, Dyersburg, Tennessee

The above caption was the title of an article by Rue Porter and printed in the Gospel Advocate of March 21, 1957, with "special" editorial sanction.

Brother Porter's article shows that he has a tremendously warped conception of affairs in the brotherhood as well as such a conception concerning issues that face the church of our Lord. He begins his article by telling of his 1937 debate with Brother Ketcherside and informs us that he has not changed, — "never receded an inch, nor do I have any thought of doing so." That Brother Porter has no thought of changing in anything no one could deny after reading his article. He is on one extreme and Ketcherside is on the other and no one expects either of them to change.

In paragraph two he says: "Now, after twenty full years, there is a very small segment of brethren who have taken up the battle against the operation of such homes as are being supported by our brethren for orphans and widows." Brother Porter is right in saying there is opposition to such homes as he has in mind, but is wrong in misrepresenting his brethren by saying they oppose cooperation. There is no opposition to his "widowage" for none exists. But how mistaken he must be in thinking that the opposition to what he proposes is a "very small segment" of brethren. WHERE HAS BROTHER PORTER BEEN THE PAST TWENTY YEARS? More than a small segment opposed these benevolent societies from their very beginning (about 35 years ago). Childhaven could not have been opposed more than ten years for that is its age. About ten years ago it was conceived in the mind of a few brethren in Alabama.

In number three he says: "The number of such opposers is so small, and the simple fact that their influence is felt by few, and their efforts are so weak, makes it seem to us that to allow them to come into our congregations (emphasis mine, P. B.) and disturb (if possible) the minds of others, is and would be an act of indiscretion." Again, Brother Porter seems to know just the "few" who are opposed to the benevolent societies he advocates. It would be interesting indeed to see his estimate of the number. And if there perchance be as few as Brother Porter thinks, remember the Lord's statement of Matthew 7:13-14. We have the second editorial endorsement from the Advocate for a general quarantine of all who disagree with her policies. It seems to be the desire of the institutional minded to force a division in the body of Christ. There seems to be the concentrated effort to bring such about as soon as possible with "Old Reliable" and a few lesser lights (Christian Worker, etc.) working feverishly at the job.

In paragraph four Brother Porter says we'll keep on doing what we have been doing for a hundred years. Our brother is beside himself. No wonder he doesn't know what the issue is, he doesn't know how few years these benevolent societies have been in existence. Now that statement of "100 years" would be very appropriate coming from the advocates of instrumental music and the missionary society. Some, loyal to the Book, will go on opposing such innovations as they have for 100 years. The opposition to every kind of organization separate and apart from the church and through which the church worked has been opposed by consecrated Christians since the first one arose.

In his next paragraph our brother does a bit of "reversing the field." While denying fellowship in paragraph three, he wouldn't consent to have any brother "spoken against" in this paragraph. How, Brother Porter, shall you keep them out of "our congregations" without speaking against them? Who will furnish the list of those "few" so "our congregations" will know them. Brother Porter thinks it neither wise nor Christian to engage in debate with any of these few, though he avers he is not afraid. It is certain that every place must determine the discretion of a debate. Local elders must decide if they want or need a debate. Such is their obligation. However, Brother Porter thinks that to debate the issues is "un-Christian." This means that Brother Rue thinks that Guy N. Woods, W. L. Totty, Sterl Watson and all others who hold with him are un-Christian because they debated. It must necessarily follow that those who advertise these un-Christian debates are also un-Christian. The Advocate has advertised one. Now, on fellowship, our brother says he will "fellowship" them until they declare "non-fellowship" as did Ketcherside. But in paragraph three he won't allow them in "our congregations" — SOME FELLOWSHIP! Even at this Brother Porter is more charitable than some who think all elders are unfaithful and should be thrown out who do not agree with them.

Brother Porter makes the same mistake that all others who stand with him make. He cites James 1:27, then wants someone to set forth "how." He has not learned that the issue is not over "methods" and "how" but over the organization, the "who." Let Brother Porter show the authority for the building of organizations, (that provide the method) or let him quit quibbling over the method and learn where the issue rests.

There is no special method taught in the New Testament for the care of widows and orphans. This has been declared over and over, and yet men keep yelling, "Show us the method." Those whose responsibility it is have the liberty to provide what ever methods are best, but men must learn to whom the responsibility belongs, and quit shifting that responsibility off to organizations founded by men. Whatever responsibility the church has it can provide its own methods. It is not a matter of method but a matter of WHO.