Vol.I No.IX Pg.4
September 1964

First Negative - Robert F. Turner

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Hines may affirm as he wishes but the issue is "collective action" of churches, as we shall see. I DO NOT DENY that one church may receive help ("alms" Acts 24:17) from others in order that her "want" (2 Cor.9:12) may be supplied. This is scriptural cooperation, which we believe and practice. I DO DENY that Highland, or any other church, may become the medium for a brotherhood project.

A congregation's "scriptural program" consists of that which is hers to do by divine assignment, AND GOD HAS NEVER ASSIGNED ANY CHURCH THE JOB OF OPERATING SOME PROJECT FOR OTHER CHURCHES. Highland, Abilene, did not originate 'Herald of Truth" as bro. Hines seems to think. It originated in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as a local program; enlarged in Iowa & Wisconsin, brought to College church, Abilene, as a national program; but soon adopted by Highland church.

INDEPENDENT means "NOT DEPENDENT: not subordinate, not relying on others, not dependent for support or supplies." One need not submit to another's "complete operational program" to lose independency. Submission in any degree destroys true independency. As churches differ in size and resources each must operate according to her several ability-- with her own funds. and under her own oversight. An IN-- (NOT) DEPENDENT church could carry on her program of work if she were the only congregation in existence.

Under circumstances beyond their control the Judean brethren (including the Jerusalem church) became DEPENDENT. (Acts 11:28) Some years later this condition was repeated (Rom. 15:26 2 Cor.8:) and alms were sent by other churches to supply their "want" (noun -- a condition of destitution,) until they could again meet their own obligations. (Study 2 Cor. 8:14) Now bro. Hines uses this to justify (?) a church becoming dependent by choice (for supplies) while many others become dependent by choice (for oversight, respecting the radio and T.V. project) --- and he calls this "independency." Instead, it is a misapplication of terms and/or scriptures. His Bible "example" does not fit his Abilene "case history."

Bro. Hines thinks the supporting churches "establish their independence" by sending to Highland. Here he confuses "free agency" (to conform to or reject God's plan) with organizational structure and polity of the church. Congregational independence necessitates each church operating according to its own ability. Choosing to do otherwise is willful rejection of God's plan, and makes matters worse, not better.

Fellowship with God depends on our walking "in the light." (1 Jn.l:6) We promote this kind of fellowship by open Bible study and a willingness to "reason together" in love. I can as- sure bro. Hines that the R.-W. church in Burnet is the victim, not the instigator of "line drawing." Our willingness to furnish him this medium of rebuttal is one proof of this fact.

Bro. Hines' proposition, scripturally defined, does not justify the application he makes of it, and there- fore fails his purposes.