Vol.I No.IX Pg.6
September 1964

Second Negative - Robert F. Turner

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Hines shows an amazing disregard for the words of the English language; apparently determined to justify current practices under the terminology of more scriptural circumstances .

He contends all churches must be independent (meaning NOT dependent for oversight. supplies, etc.); then declares all churches are dependent (and erroneously uses the Burnet church as an example).

He presumes to see no difference in a church becoming dependent (in "want," destitute) due to circumstances beyond her control-- having to receive alms to maintain herself; and a wealthy church (Highland, Abilene) adopting a system of operation whereby she is continually dependent by choice.

He "insists" that :N. T. churches "cooperate" without losing their independence. Well, I do not deny it. "Cooperation" is a broad term including "working together WITH another person or thing, TO a common end, or IN a work." (See Webster) Both "collective action" (in which the units give up independency for the sake of team-work) and "concurrent independent action" are covered by the word "co-operate." Our question is, which of these is scriptural cooperation?

The "cooperation" of the Abilene, Herald of Truth program involves a pooling of funds from many churches in a treasury distinct and separate from that of the Highland church (who is not in "want" in the first place) and the acceptance of highland's oversight for the execution of a "brotherhood project. THERE IS NO SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY FOR THIS TYPE OF COOPERATION, so obviously bro. Hines cannot produce non-existent scriptures. Scriptures given in his second affirmative are Jas. 1:27 (which has nothing to do with church organization) Acts 6: (one church, caring for her home obligations) and 1 Cor.l6:l- 4 (sending alms to a church in need-- a point already discussed.

Bro. Hines' own definition of independency answers his affirmative. Over 1,000 churches have delegated their rights (respecting a "brotherhood" program) when they allow Highland, Abilene, to oversee and execute this project. Highland has become dependent by choice (which makes matters worse, instead of better) and makes no effort to operate according to her ability. If there be meaning in words (and if not, all discussion is vain) congregational independence is violated in this and like projects.

Highland is NOT operating "within the framework of divine economy" bro. Hines--nor are any other churches involved in collective projects. Orphan care presents a greater emotional appeal, nor do I question scriptural obligations in the care of widows and orphans, but here too congregational independency must be respected.

Lord's Day collections, the "name" of the church, etc., are by-passed as having no place in this discussion. We appreciate the spirit of our brother's articles and have nothing but the kindest personal regards for him.