Vol.XIII No.V Pg.2
July 1976

Units Of The Church

Robert F. Turner

The Aug. 2, 60 Firm Foundation published the first of three articles of mine: Units of the Church Universal. The editor made light of them saying: So far as we know all brethren have always understood that the individual Christian is the unit of the church universal. . . .We were unaware that any thought or taught that congregations were units of the body of Christ, in the sense that individuals are. (Of course I had not said, in the sense that individuals are.) My article had quoted Alexander Campbell as taking the position I opposed, but apparently the editor didnt read it.

Now, in the June 76 issue of Contending for the Faith (Ira Rice, Ed.) a bro. Harry Akers, Jr. writes a very fine article, indicating sincere and fruitful thought on such matters, and draws the conclusion that Campbell and others like him were wrong---even as I had pointed out in 1960. He also quotes Franklin Camps book on the Holy Spirit (p. 215) as taking this erroneous position. I was surprised at the fallacious proof Camp gave for his conclusion. He can beat that.

But to top it off, when Ira commented on the Akers article he wrote: It seems to me that you are straining a point to question whether the local churches of Christ combine together to make up the universal church.... The church manifests itself, in the scriptures, both as individuals as well as congregations making it up. Ira seems blissfully unaware that the subject and context is organizational structure and the bearing of units of the church on this matter. He needs to read carefully Campbells reasoning on this subject and how his church made up of churches led to seeking methods for the universal church to go into all the world and function.

In order for a local church (made up of individuals) to function, it must have oversight, pool resources, then act collectively. I take it Ira knows this is scriptural, for we have commands and examples fur such. If he believes the universal church can so function, and that local churches are the units of the universal church, let him show where a plurality of local churches ever pooled resources, accepted oversight, and functioned collectively. (If concurrent independent action in sending alms to a dependent church (11 Cor. 8: etc.) will answer, lets see him prove congregational independence and autonomy.)

If Lemmons, Rice, and others are unaware of the bearing of this subject on church government they should reread the Akers material, and THINK!