Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 15, 1955

Use Of New Testament Examples

Thomas F. Shropshire, Ranger, Texas

Brother David E. Parker penned an article in the Firm Foundation of July 12, 1955, under the title of "To What Degree Are We Bound By New Testament Example?" He asked that some scholar among us write on the subject. I do not claim to be a scholar but I am wondering if some brethren would accept the truth on the subject even if it were written by a scholar. I wonder if a scholar would even write an article under such a title as the one named. What is wrong with the title? Just this. We might as well write upon the question, "To what degree are we to observe the teaching of the New Testament?" as to write on the one under consideration since it is admitted that approved example is one of the ways to understand the teaching of the New Testament.

The article was written in an apparent effort to justify the practice, so prevalent today, of congregational cooperation in preaching the gospel. The things which he cited as examples by which we art not bound, were merely used for a "dodge" in not meeting the issue. He had quite a lot to say about the method or means of transportation not being bound on us. But the truth of the matter is, that we are taught by those very examples that we are not bound to use only one particular means of transportation. You see, we have New Testament examples for using any or all such means of transportation as are in common use. It is not that we are not bound by the example, but that the example does not bind us to a particular means of "going." When we get to the point where we think we are justified in ignoring any New Testament example, we are treading upon dangerous ground.

It seems that some have never learned the difference between the command to preach the gospel and the organization through which the preaching is to be done. They say, "the church is the organization through which it is to be done." If we are going to leave it at that, the "Missionary Society" would be scriptural. The "Missionary Society" never was an organization entirely separate from the "church universal." It was merely an unscriptural organization within the church. The New Testament example of organization of the church is limited to the congregation. We have no example of "congregations" doing their work "through" "another congregation." The only example we have of intercongregational work is where the work was done by "congregations" "to" "another congregation" — "to" not "through." The New Testament gives no authority for the organization by which the "church universal" may function as such, by command, example or necessary inference.