Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 30, 1958

"What Is Wrong With Organizations" (II.)

Dudley Ross Spears

The second article under this title appeared in the Firm Foundation of Nov. 5, 1957. The first one set forth the idea that nothing in the world is wrong with any kind of organization for any purpose as long as it is doing a good work. The author, brother L. W. Hayhurst, desires that the world know he's for organizations. They are not wrong, according to him. Any size, shape, design, purpose, or fashion — he's for 'em! He likes them to the extent that at every quarter, he sees organizations. From debates on up and down the line all are organizations. I would like to re-state something I said in a previous article. It is still passing strange that with all his palaver and drivel about organizations connected with the work of the church of Christ, the one, only and all-sufficient organization God has authorized for the church of Christ doesn't even get an honorable mention from our pro-organizational brother.

I made some comments through the pages of the Guardian regarding his first article. The reason was that some poor fearful soul in this city sent me an unmarked envelope containing a copy of his article which appeared in the Childhaven News. Since the only way that I have of reaching this incognito "faint heart" is through hopes of their access to the Guardian, I would like to pay respects to the sequel.

The second article of brother Hayhurst's needs absolutely nothing said in response to any scriptural argument made by him. It contains no scripture — merely some bitter and malicious rantings at some man or group of men dubbed: "antis," "that faction," and "a certain publisher" along with numerous other belittling titles. He spreads his irritation and vexation with verbal pain on two pages of the Firm Foundation — smack dab in the middle too. Most of his article is bragging and prating about his invincible questions that various preachers could not or would not answer. He seems quite inflated over the fact that he has framed some unanswerable question to "antis." The whole substance of his line of questioning is: Any organization that has the right to exist has the same right to be supported and financed out of the church treasuries of local churches from one to ad infinitum. Read his question in the Firm Foundation and see.

The rest of his article is his assertion that someone is inconsistent with someone else. I ask, what good does that do me, brother Hayhurst? He makes a statement along this line that should be considered. He says: "Such is the case with all antis; they just cannot make their theories work, and when a man cannot make his theory work, there is something wrong with him or it, or both. And tell me not that it is safe, for it is never safe to kill good works with negativism that does not and cannot replace them." This evidently is the best and strongest appeal offered by anyone during the whole controversy. "Look at the good we're doing — do you want to destroy this?" "If this is wrong — show us the right way!" "Don't believe any objections to what we're doing until the objector shows you a better plan!" It is reminiscent of the old pre-millennial attitude: "If Rev. 20:1-6 doesn't mean a thousand year reign on earth — what does it mean?" One might not give a "better interpretation" to Rev. 20:1-6, but he can give one more consistent with the rest of the Bible. The idea that a thing is authorized simply because something better cannot be given is a false reasoning. Authority isn't based on the good being done — it is by a "thus saith the Lord." Brother Hayhurst's attitude seems to be that the more good that is being done, the more authority therefore.

Brother Hayhurst wrote his articles to justify the practice of local churches financing such organizations as Boles Home, Tipton, and Tennessee Orphan Home, as well as others. He would declare any man who opposes this as an "anti." That opposition to what "we're" now doing is anti is his idea. However, "anti-ism" doesn't stop here. I wonder if our brother realizes this. Since you no longer oppose Bible classes, brother Hayhurst, do you oppose a Sunday School with a governing board separate from local churches? If so, are you an "anti?" Would you consider me an "anti" and a part of "that faction" if I called upon our local Baptist preacher to produce the authority for their Sunday School arrangement? You know, they think of me as an "anti" when I do? They consider that they are doing a lot of "good works" and that they should not quit it as long as "negativism" has nothing to "replace" it. Their arrangement has a governing board; chooses the lessons to be studied in various districts; holds conventions for the purpose of bettering their religious educational programs in local churches; and yes, they claim that no autonomy is violated. Do you oppose this, brother Hayhurst? If so, have you got a better plan? Can you "replace" their arrangement with a better one? You know, I'm sure, that I don't refer to the content of their teaching arrangement, don't you? I fear that you would deem such an arrangement as a scriptural one if they taught the truth — but please don't!

The organizations which brother Hayhurst is attempting to justify by his degrading remarks and personal attacks are of like organizational structure to the Sunday School just named. Both have governing groups of men that are not a part of the local churches. It would be interesting to read the differences our brother would make in the two arrangements. Of course we all know that they operate in two different works, but for some of us it is rather difficult to show the organic differences. If this is an "organization" that "is wrong" possibly brother Hayhurst will favor us with another essay on "organizations" and show how it would be wrong to have a governing board over our Bible class work and not be wrong to have a similar governing board over our benevolent work. It will be educational if he will. If he does, let us all hope that he can leave off the vicious remarks and personal jangles that so characterized his other efforts.