"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.X No.IX Pg.8-9
September 1948

A Spectacular Tour And An Unscriptural Trend

Brother J. D. Tant repeatedly emphasized in his writing, "Brethren, we are drifting. The tense of the verb in his statement can now well be changed. Almost every day something gives emphasis to the fact that "we have drifted. An example of this fact can well be seen in some modern tendencies in what many brethren describe as "missionary" work and methods.

In the first place there is no such thing in the New Testament as a "missionary." Gospel preachers in the New Testament were evangelists whether in Asia, Africa, Judea or Europe, and that is all we need today. "Missionary work" so-called has given rise to some practices and expressions that are definitely the "language of Ashdod" instead of "sound words" of New Testament origin.

We have tolerated among us in "missionary" activity and "Sunday School" promotion a work that borders on if not altogether coinciding in principle with women preaching. Addressing a mixed group of church members on a "missionary program" or about Sunday School comes mighty near to preaching to such an assembly about something else and the New Testament prohibits women doing that. It is a mighty convenient door through which to introduce the other. There is such a close margin between addressing such a mixed assembly on the importance of teaching the Word of God to either the heathen or a Sunday School class and actually teaching the word of God to such an assembly, that for one I cannot see the distinction.

Recently one of "our" colleges brought one of "our missionaries" all the way from Germany by plane to make a speech on their "Summer Lecture Program." That lecture program, summer or winter, amounts to holding a meeting, or as sectarians commonly say, and some of the brethren sometimes, "a preaching mission. Of course the schools are not trying to preach the gospel or "sponsor missionaries", but both of these are being done by nearly all of "our schools. Yes I have had a part a time or two in the past, in such a "lectureship", but the temptation to do so again in the future has been entirely removed by my opposition to the schools becoming "church institutions" through being given a place in the "budget of the church. Whenever you raise the voice of criticism against any of "our schools" you are immediately removed from the roll of eligibles for use by the schools in any capacity.

I came near being tempted again last year, according to reliable information. One of "our school" presidents saved me though when the senior class voted to a tie between Brother A. R. Holton and me to preach the "Baccalaureate Sermon. The school president quickly untied the vote, I am told, by electing Brother Holton. I am sure the young people intended to compliment me, however it might be counted, and I am equally sure the school president did compliment me, unintentionally by his deciding ballot.

This school that brought the "missionary" all the way from Germany according to announcement—has been engaged for many months in a very high pressure campaign to raise money, hundreds of thousands of dollars. They have raised this money in the past in any way they could get it from individuals both in and out of the church and from churches as such both in the budget and out of it without any convictions about it or regard for principle in doing it. Their policy has been "get the money. Get it in the right way if you can, but get the money." They must not be in such dire need as they have perhaps made some think if able to spend so lavishly on one speaker for their "Summer Lectures.

The return of the "missionary" for the summer lectures resulted in a spectacular tour of some large churches and cities for the purpose of "reporting to the brethren!" Thousands of dollars were raised in the meetings for the "missionary program. One contribution was well over four thousand dollars, and another over six thousand. The whole plan was executed in a very spectacular and glamorous fashion. I presume all the money raised was turned into the already bulging treasury of the "Sponsoring Congregation.

It seems that this "Missionary Program" has turned into quite a Trojan, involving quite a number of workers and certainly involving a large number of churches. It includes a gigantic program of benevolence enough loaves and fishes to convert even a considerable number of east Texas heathen, if doled out in this section. Maybe it would work better anywhere than just a plain program of gospel preaching. It also includes a Boys' Home and a school, as you have perhaps already guessed. It is quite a program and it has behind it quite a set-up. "Sponsoring" the program is one of the larger churches, accepting and soliciting thousands of dollars from the whole brotherhood, and spending it as it suits them.

Why should such a gigantic program be done by the whole brotherhood through one church and its elders? Is such a program scriptural? Does it not give too much power and recognition to one church? Could history repeat itself in the church by a few of the large and influential congregations becoming too powerful? Does it not encourage the assumption of power by the elders or an elder of such a congregation? Is the day coming when a few of the larger churches among us will direct the work of the whole brotherhood? Are we not on our way? One church "sponsors." the work in Europe and another in Asia, and smaller churches either operate through them or have no part in such a highly promoted spectacular program. Such glamorous publicity would inspire almost any church to participate and would turn those who are engaged in other fields, perhaps just as worthy, from the good they are doing in order to have a part in a thing as big as that.

Do- you say I am "seeing things"? Well, I am, but Brother, they are real and don't forget it. An announcement comes from a congregation in a nearby city that they have been "designated" by the "sponsoring" church as the place in south Texas where the brethren are called upon to gather in and hear the "Missionary's" report. I sort of read between the lines the request, "and don't forget your pocket-books."

What right does one church have to "designate" - that is their term - another church for anything? They ran an ad in the city paper announcing the "Missionary's" speech, and from that ad I learned that he was even bigger than I had realized. They advertised him as the "supervisor of the church of Christ missionary program in Germany. Of course many of us learned a good while ago not to be surprised at any kind of announcement coming from that particular church. The only thing that surprised me about it was that they had condescended to be "designated" instead of being the "designators.

A peculiar thing in this connection is that the "sponsoring" church reached across the state and "designated" a church that is out of fellowship with and not recognized by the other congregations of the city. Maybe these other congregations in this area - some of them almost as large and many of them older than the one designated - maybe they just would not be "designated." 'What is it coming to? 'The Lord only knows. Do you say, "Pshaw! you are having hallucinations"? Well I imagine that when the congregations of Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Rome, and Constantinople were spreading their control out over the adjacent churches and voices were raised in protest against their assumption of power, there were those who mockingly said, "Pshaw! you are having hallucinations. You are just jealous. You are just trying to be destructive and make trouble. You are just trying to gain a reputation as a defender and a guardian of the faith by criticizing the work of others. But trouble didn't need to be made. They already had it and so do we. There is scarcely a thing about the whole picture that manifests any indication of loyalty and respect for the simple truth.

R. E, C.

PS. I have just discovered that I have written a whole article without calling the names of those about whom I have written. I should deserve some commendation from some severe critics for that unless they are just critics of criticism in general. If you don't know the parties described you shouldn't have any trouble finding out who they are.

R. E. C.