Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 3, 1954

"Men Of Little Faith"

Jack L. Holt, Indianapolis, Indiana

In every age God has required faith as a condition am means of salvation. In Hebrews 11, the writer calls the( roll of some Old Testament worthies whose faith corn mended them to God. "By faith Noah . . . . prepared an ark to the saving of his house" (Heb. 11:7). "By faith Moses, forsook Egypt not fearing the wrath of the king' (Heb. 11:27). In studying the lives of these men we find that their faith commended them to God because they did what God commanded them to do in the way he commanded it.

God told Noah to build the ark. He gave Noah instructions to follow in the building thereof. How Noah obeyed God's commands is revealed in Genesis 6:22, "All that God commanded Noah, so did he."

When God called Moses up into the Mount, He gave him instructions concerning the building of the tabernacle God charged Moses to follow the pattern (Exodus 25:9) Moses, "Who was faithful in his house," and the people erected the tabernacle as God directed (Exodus 39:42).

From these examples we may learn that acceptable faith is simply doing what God says in the ways He commands it. In both examples the what and the how are set forth. Had Noah or Moses rejected God's plan for building the ark or the tabernacle and substituted their own, they would have proved themselves to be men of "little faith," rather than men of great faith. Applying the lessons, we may learn that in order to please God we must do what God says, and do it in the way He marks out. During the recent controversy over the way to do mission work, the term, "Men of little faith" has been applied to those who oppose diocesan elders and centralized control and oversight. When one dares lift up his voice against such, "when for Zion's sake he cannot hold his peace, (Isa. 62:1) he is immediately branded "a factionists' "a Sommerite' and that Johnny-come-lately term, "Man of little faith" is stuck on him. This latter term if rightly used is a good one. I think, however, that it has been given to the wrong people. Just who are the men of little faith?

It is admitted by all Bible followers that no one can be a man of faith unless he preaches and practices only as the Bible directs. Concerning baptism the Bible teaches that it is a burial (Rom. 6:4). Men faithful to God proclaim it "as it is written." To set forth sprinkling as baptism would be wrong, and the man who preaches and practices such, not following the Bible, would be a man of little faith. The difference between the "men of faith" and the "men of little faith" is that one follows God — follows the Bible always, while the other does not.

The New Testament, being a perfect guide, not only reveals that baptism is a burial, but also reveals how the church is to do its work. Men of faith will likewise preach this "as it is written." As Noah and Moses followed the pattern for the ark and the tabernacle even so must we follow the pattern for the work and worship of the New Testament church. In New Testament times local congregations, working independently preached the gospel and cared for their own. There was no tie up of churches. One church never set itself up as a medium through which the other churches were to work. In supporting preachers the monies were sent directly to them (Phil. 4:15-19).

No New Testament church ever attempted to oversee the work of another. When the gospel was preached and a new church formed it was independent of all other churches. It was the church at that place and not just a 'mission point of some other church. It was complete within itself and equal to any other. It was to conduct its own affairs, and was free before God to do so.

In New Testament times the word of God grew mightily and prevailed, yet the local congregation was the largest organization through which God worked.

Now as the faithful men, concerning baptism, are those who follow the Bible, even so, faithful men concerning the work of the church are those who contend for the New Testament pattern for church work. Does the New Testament reveal that one church may become a medium through which all others may work? Is there a New Testament example that teaches that two or more churches may unite their funds for cooperative efforts in preaching the gospel? If so, where? If the example cannot be found then it should be evident to all that the ones who contend for such are in reality, the "men of little faith:" No one can follow God, nor follow the Bible at any time and substitute sprinkling for baptism, or contend that one church may oversee the work of hundreds of churches. There is as much authority for one as for the other.

In a recent issue of the Gospel Advocate, a "man of little faith," stated "churches should cooperate." The statement was made as if there were those who believe that churches shouldn't cooperate. I do not know any person who does not believe in church cooperation. I believe churches should cooperate and I preach that they should. The Bible clearly reveals that churches should cooperate and the New Testament contains examples that prove that they did. Hence, to deny church cooperation is to deny God and "I cannot deny God."

The question is, "what kind of cooperation between churches does the Bible reveal?" There are only two kinds of church cooperation. Scriptural cooperation and unscriptural cooperation. To find what is scriptural cooperation we need only to turn to the New Testament scriptures. The New Testament reveals that each church as it preached the gospel was cooperating with every other church which was like minded. On no occasion, however, did any churches consolidate their funds for the purpose of preaching the gospel. Each church worked independently of others, yet there was cooperation. This is scriptural cooperation. Any other kind, thee, is unscriptural and to engage in and plead for any other is to deny God.

Brother G. C. Brewer says, "The New Testament does not authorize you to do anything that you cannot read in the New Testament." (A Medley on the Music Question, page 22) I cannot read of any other method of church cooperation. Hence, using Brother Brewer's statement as a premise, my conclusion is that any other method is unauthorized.

My faith, even though it may be as small as a mustard seed, leads me to believe, since the scriptures furnish us completely unto every good work, that this is the only way God ever intended for the churches to cooperate. If this makes me a man of little faith I have been made such by following God and not man. If, however, there be another way revealed I wish some cooperative brother would show me the example. If he would do this then he would answer My prayer, "Lord increase my faith."