Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 16, 1951
NUMBER 15, PAGE 2-3a

"Watchman, What Of The Night?"

Bob Craig, Lufkin, Texas

An Explanation

Clarence C. Gobbel, Tempe, Arizona In view of the fact that many preaching brethren have taken offense at a statement made in the article I wrote for publication in the F.F. entitled: "Watchman What of the Night?" I made this explanation. The statement is: "the very same preachers who are today criticizing the manner in which churches are busy in supporting mission work have never held a mission meeting at their own expense, and have been known to belittle the idea of their ever being expected to do so." This statement was too all inclusive, for I never intended to include dozens, and hundreds of preachers. So the statement should have been "some" or "probably a few" of them, rather than including more than that. So, I apologize for having made the statement, and just regret that those who have taken exception didn't see fit to answer the points intended in the article. I do not apologize for the points made, nor for the truths I intended to teach herein.

I intended to show that it was right and proper for preachers to be supported well in their preaching work, on the field. And since congregations are now more alert to that end, and cooperation is being practiced between them as never before, that it seems a shame that some of the same men would now condemn what they have been preaching in the past. Why discourage the support of gospel preaching, though it is done, in some instances, through congregational cooperation? Why wasn't this point noticed, rather than merely the words leading up to the lesson intended? Submitted in Christian love.

I am glad to see brother Gobbel sending an explanation and apology for a statement made which was in error. Many preachers today are making assertions without any proof whatsoever and then, rather than retracting them, just letting them go ahead and do the harm that they were originally meant to do. Brethren, let's wait until we know of what we speak or write; let's wait until we have the proof of the things we are accusing brethren of.

I want to take this opportunity of answering a letter written to me some weeks ago by brother Gobbel and also to take up some of the things he says were left unanswered in his article.

Brother Gobbel, in his explanation, says that his statement was "too all inclusive." Should have been "some or probably a few." In his letter to me he narrows it down even more than this. I am again calling on brother Gobbel to produce evidence, not hearsay, that any preacher connected with the Guardian, "have never held a mission meeting at their own expense - - -", or "have never, and I am convinced will never preach for a small, weak congregation unable to pay them large sums for their work."

Brother Gobbel suggests also that in my former article I just picked a few places and commented on them. Certainly there are much smarter men than I who have already pretty thoroughly discussed all the principles involved so I felt that it was only necessary for me to deal with things that have not been dealt with before and that were mostly personal and some things I am closely related to. However, brother Gobbel didn't get farther than making, or taking, a few personal digs, which, if were all proven true, would still not alter the principles of the discussion before the brotherhood. Why not forget personalities and local conditions for awhile and stick to the issue and maybe we could get somewhere in "the cooperation controversy."

He has nine paragraphs in his article and I am going to try to touch each one hurriedly. I suggest, rather than for me to quote in its entirety, his article, that you go back to your Firm Foundation, March 13th issue, or Gospel Broadcast, May 3rd issue and reread his article.

In paragraph one he tells of himself and other preachers who have labored in hard places for practically nothing, that the gospel might be preached. That's good. Commendable. There ought to be more like that done now.

In paragraph two he tells of voices of protest being raised over this condition even by some "who are today causing a brotherhood disturbance over trivialities in regard to efforts put forth to the same end." I think I know who he is talking about, but here's the question that comes to my mind: "Is whether or not a thing is being done scripturally or unscripturally, trivial?"

Paragraph three is the one he apologizes for and the one on which I have asked more information.

Paragraph four is hard to understand. He says they (i.e. preachers that hold to the same position as the Guardian) taught people their duty in doing mission work and are now minimizing mission work. He says congregational cooperation is condemned by them. This is JUST NOT SO. We still teach and believe Mark 16:15 and Matt. 28:19. Congregational cooperation in carrying out the commission? Certainly, as long as each congregation bears the same relationship to the work as the other.

Paragraph five is the one about the work in Arizona. The questions I asked in my former article are as yet unanswered. Look them over again, brother Gobbel. Who was THE "sponsoring church" for Arizona? In this paragraph he extends a challenge "to show that the manner in which the work is done today, is conducive of such an order being developed." "Such an order" has reference to a centralized controlling agency, a missionary society. I recommend that brother Gobbel and many others review the digressive movement of the 19th century and see if such an order did not come into existence by the practice of unscriptural principles of certain men whose reasoning was exactly like that of many among us today. I would suggest that a good book for study along this line is brother Homer Hailey's book, "Attitudes and Consequences."

Paragraph six has to do with the book, "New Testament Church", by Roy Cogdill. "Funds for poor saints in Judea were placed in hands of elders of Jerusalem church to be administered by them." This was later changed to read, "in hands of elders of Judean churches."

Paragraph seven. Brother Gobbel says Amen to the administration of funds by the Jerusalem church to the poor saints in Judea, and criticizes me for saying that "elders of Judean churches" was the only logical conclusion. I was in error. I should have said, only logical scriptural conclusion. In other words, the scriptures teach that elders have the oversight of only their own congregation. If there was more than one congregation in Judea (and that is very likely) then the only logical scriptural conclusion to draw is that the funds were administered in each congregation by those that had the oversight of that congregation, the "elders of the Judean churches." If there was only one congregation in Judea, that at Jerusalem, then the statement should be "elders in the Jerusalem church," but this would completely destroy the parallel that brethren Gobbel and Wright are using; i.e. that the Jerusalem church was administrator for the Judean churches.

Then in conclusion, paragraph nine. Brother Gobbel complete revision of "The New Testament Church." No complete revision. About six lines changed throughout the book. In this paragraph he says that brother Cogdill wrote a book that taught people to practice doing missionary work the way it is being done today and now has changed and criticizes the method he once taught. An inaccurate statement was in the book, brother Gobbel, and it was changed. Brother Cogdill can defend himself, but let it be said here that every preacher that I know any thing about uses that lesson like it should be used, for the purpose of stressing congregational autonomy and not congregational sponsorship of a work done by many other congregations.

Then in conclusion, paragraph nine. Brother Gobbel here draws a dark picture of missionary work in general, all brought about by the Guardian. Small congregations doing nothing rather than sending their money through another sponsoring congregation. The Guardian killing all attempts at mission work. Brother Gobbel knows that we have not tried to halt missionary activity. We have tried to stop a trend in the wrong direction. He says no one has given any better plan. I suggest you read and re-read many of the editorials written by brother Tant in the past two years. Read in a recent issue of the Firm Foundation of a scriptural plan by which we can carry on missionary work, written by brother C. E. W. Dorris. Read your Bible and see if you can find the divinely inspired example that even starts to look like Lubbock or Memphis. He says this method (sponsoring churches and contributing churches) has worked and fruits are in evidence. No one denies that it has worked. So do the missionary efforts of denominationalism work. Is that the measuring stick by which we judge? Certainly not. Then he says there is "no evidence of 'centralized control,' or missionary societies among us as yet. So, Watchman, What of the Night?" About the only thing left to say to that is: "There are none so blind as they who will not see."


Glenn A. Parks, 105 Prospect Street, Camden, Arkansas, July 26: "It was my good pleasure to do the preaching in a meeting recently held by the Central church at Little Rock, Arkansas. The crowds were good, but otherwise the interest was only average. I am to return this fall for another meeting with this good church. Brother D. D. Woody is serving as evangelist for the congregation and is loved for his good life and service. I enjoyed my stay very much with these people and old friends. I am to begin at Bluff City, Arkansas, on Sunday night, August 5. Our work continues good here at Camden. There have been two baptized, one restored, and four to place membership since last report."