Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 14, 1954

Why Not Prove Them Scriptural And End The Argument?

R. L. Roberts, Sr., Decatur, Texas

It has always been the position of the church of Christ that the scriptures constitute our only rule of faith and practice; that whatever is not taught therein must not be included in our teaching or practice. This is based on a number of passages of scripture with which we are all familiar. It was this teaching that gave rise to the expression "Where the Bible speaks, we speak; where the Bible is silent, we are silent."

When Missionary Societies were organized, and instrumental music was introduced into the worship of the church, those who did not believe in them insisted that the passage be produced authorizing them or that they be removed from the work and worship of the church. The writings of men in the church, during the last half of the 19th century, are filled with contentions along this line. Some contended that the scriptures furnished such proof, tried, but failed to produce it. Others claimed that no such proof was necessary. They said that the Society was just a METHOD by which the church was preaching the gospel, and the instrument was simply an aid to the singing. Still others, believing that the scriptures "Completely furnished unto every good work," insisted that unless a direct command for them, an approved example of them, or a passage from which a NECESSARY inference could be drawn, they were sinful and should be given up. They insisted that even the silence of the Bible must be respected.

The results are well-known to us. Each went their separate way. Those who favored these things continued to use them, proof or no proof. The church was divided. Souls were and are being lost as a result. Will history repeat? Brethren, let's stop and consider.

Our papers, today, are filled with contentions over the same principle. The contention is not over Societies and instrumental music, but over Orphan Homes and Centralized Programs such as many brethren believe the "Lubbock Plan" and the "Herald of Truth" to be. Much of the writings of today are characterized by personalities that should have no place in discussing issues. They do the church no good, and certainly have not benefited those who engage in them. SO, WHY NOT PROVE THEM SCRIPTURAL AND END THE ARGUMENT?

I know of but three ways that a thing can be said to be taught in the scriptures. FIRST. It may be taught by a direct command. Example: "God — now commands all men everywhere to repent." (Acts 17:30.) SECOND. A thing is scriptural if an approved example of it can be found in the New Testament. Example: "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread." (Acts 20:7.) THIRD. If a passage can be found from which a NECESSARY inference can or must be drawn, it is accepted as proof. Example: The Bible no where says that Jesus "went down into the water" to be baptized, but since it says "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water," we must infer that he went down into it. (Matt. 3:16.) I know of no other way to prove a thing scriptural.

All that is necessary, to end the argument, is for some one to prove, by either of the above methods, that a church may contribute, out of its treasury, to an Orphan Home, that is separate from and no part of the church. In no article that I have read has this been done, and I have read about all that has been written for a number of years on the subject.

All that is necessary to stop the criticism of the missionary programs, mentioned above, is for some one to find a command for a number of congregations to send their money to another congregation to spend for them in mission work, or, find an example where the churches of Galatia sent their money to the church at Antioch, to be used by them to evangelize Macedonia, or a like example, or, find a passage from which it must be inferred that such was done.

I do not believe such proof has yet been submitted. If it cannot be done, these programs need to be dropped, or made to conform to scriptural teaching. LET'S NOT HAVE ANOTHER DIVISION.