Vol.II No.I Pg.6
February 1965

"Sponsoring Church In Texas, 1885"

Robert F. Turner

"Before the Civil War, Carroll Kendrick inaugurated "State Meetings, patterned generally after those conducted by his brethren in the East. For all practical intents these were missionary societies on a state-wide basis, but Kendrick had a more conservative flavoring to them.

State Meetings were held annually at which every phase of the work in Texas was discussed. Whatever missionary work was agreed upon was then put under the eldership of a local church, usually the church at Sherman. The more conservative element among the brethren eased their conscience by imagining that since the work was under the elders at Sherman, it was not a missionary society of the human variety.

By 1886, the more "progressive element in Texas succeeded in ditching the old State Meeting idea, and established the Texas Christian Missionary Society. For two years in advance of this every informed brother in Texas knew the attempt would be made to establish the Society. Many were certain that if the effort succeeded, it would mean an open division in Texas. So, during these anxious months preceding 1886, the question of church cooperation with particular emphasis upon the affairs in Texas, gained wide publicity in every periodical in the brotherhood.*****

David Lipscomb, following the opposite track in logic to that once pursued by Alexander Campbell, maintained that the church universal had no organic existence. All thinking about the work of the church must begin and end with the local congregation.

The local congregation was the largest unit of God's people known to the Bible. Violations of this principle arose within two areas. The missionary society was a violation of this principle because it was a human device proposing to improve upon a divine plan. But what about the work in Texas under the elders of the church at Sherman? Was this not the church (more than one church, rft) in action? Lipscomb's logic was couched in strong language:*************

'We develop from Scripture that each church kept the direction of its own contribution under its own control through its messengers. So keeping the church and Christians close to their work. They could fully realize that it is their own work.

Is this the case with the Sherman arrangement? We may think these are small and indifferent matters, but if a great amount of money is placed under the control of one church, it gives it undue power. It takes the work from the control of, and removes it from contact with those who raise the means to sustain it ... '


It has been well said, that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. These excerpts, reprinted from history , can only help those who will apply them.