Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 29, 1955
NUMBER 21, PAGE 2-3b

"The Editor's Editorial"

R. Ervin Driskill, Birmingham, Alabama

Two issues of the Firm Foundation have been handed me (July 19 and 26 issues) by a friend who receives it. I have read Brother Reuel Lemmons' editorials and it is difficult for me to understand how Reuel can miss the point so far in discussing the issues that are current. Maybe it is because he is averse to considering what "others think" and has been doing too much individual thinking. Brother Lemmons says he is THINKING FOR HIMSELF but his arguments (?) sound too much like the digressives to fool some of us.

Brother Lemmons, where would you go for Bible proof that churches cooperated in an emergency? Where would you go for Bible proof that churches cooperated when there was no emergency? Or, do you think it necessary to prove ones' practice by the Bible? Did the church at Corinth have the same situation that obtained at Jerusalem? If so, why did Paul tell Corinth to send to Jerusalem but did not tell Jerusalem to send to Corinth? Was it not because Jerusalem could not (at that time) care for HER OWN? Wasn't Jerusalem in a state of dire NEED? Are Highland, of Abilene, and Tipton, Oklahoma, in dire NEED? Is Highland unable to do HER work or, isn't it a fact she is as able as almost any church among us to do HER work? Why has Tipton church needed help all these years ? Is it because she has, all these years, been a poor church; possessing (for some reason) more orphans than other congregations? Or, isn't it a fact that Tipton is as able, as almost any church among us, to do HER work of benevolence? Does the Bible EXAMPLE of churches sending to a church (IN NEED) mean anything? Does the ABSENCE of a Bible EXAMPLE of churches sending to a church (NOT IN NEED) mean anything?

When Corinth, Jerusalem and Antioch preached the gospel, there was cooperation. Every New Testament church cooperates with the other, when they do THEIR work of saving the lost, but such cooperation was and is unlike the cooperation when Corinth SENT TO Jerusalem for her NEED. Is this not cooperation among churches (Corinth and Jerusalem), when one is in NEED, and isn't it also cooperation among churches when all are on equal footing so for as NEED and RESPONSIBILITY are concerned? Under which of the two types of cooperation do Highland and Tipton fall? Or, if there is another type, suitable to their set-up, please let us have it.

If some one asked you why you take the Lord's supper on the first day of the week, would you not cite Acts 20:7 as the EXAMPLE? We think you will agree it would be wrong to take it on Tuesday because of the ABSENCE of an example (and of course there is no command or necessary inference for it either). Do you know why I believe it right for churches to send to another church that is in NEED and thus cooperate? It is for the same reason I believe it is right to take the Lord's supper on the first day of the week — it is because I have the EXAMPLE. Do you know why I object and think it is wrong for churches to send money to a church no more IN NEED than those sending? (as in the case of Tipton and Highland) ? It is for the same reason I believe it is wrong to take the Lord's supper on Tuesday — there is no EXAMPLE (and of course there is no command or necessary inference for it either).

Brother Lemmons argues, "Since when does God have two sets of laws; one for normal conditions and another for emergencies?" Thus, he advocates cooperation based on the silence of the scriptures. That is why I said, in my first paragraph, that his individual (?) thinking sounded too much like the Digressives to fool some of us. I ask you, Brother Lemmons, if God doesn't have "two sets of laws — one for normal conditions and another for emergencies" — why did he tell Corinth, and others, to send to Jerusalem and fail to tell Jerusalem to send back to them (save only when the situation of NEED might be reversed)? Why do we have the EXAMPLE of churches sending to a church IN NEED and NO EXAMPLE of churches sending to a church NOT IN NEED if he doesn't have "two laws"?

Brother Lemmons gives an illustration: "A man is dying on the desert. He wants to be baptized, but there is not enough water there. God's law says he must be baptized. But THIS IS AN EMERGENCY. Shall we sprinkle him? If an emergency will make right that which in ordinary circumstances is wrong in the realm of cooperation why will not the same rule apply in the realm of baptism? Let one of these brethren tell him "This is an emergency," we can set aside God's real law on baptism and sprinkle you!" Now, isn't that profound! and this from an editor. If God had not spoken on the matter of cooperation and on baptism, the man could be sprinkled and churches could help a church not in NEED, but he has spoken. Reuel, if you can change the pattern of cooperation (and that's what you're doing unless you can produce the passage for cooperation like unto Tipton and Highland), you can change the pattern on baptism. I doubt not (from your reasoning on cooperation and instrumental music) but that in time you will be changing the pattern on baptism. Your illustration presents no emergency; the man was no more IN NEED of baptism than he was while he was perfectly well and before he went into the desert. There has been no change whatsoever, in so far as his spiritual NEED is concerned and so, your "sophisticated thinking" is very "unsophisticated" for an editor.

Your reasoning of setting aside God's law for an emergency is not a "setting aside" at all unless you can find an example, command, or necessary inference of a church sending to a church, at a time when the receiving church was NOT IN NEED — such as in the case of Highland and Tipton. All that is necessary is to give just ONE passage and the "fuss" will end. It should be as easy for brethren to give the verse or verses as it is to give their "individual thinking". If the verse is there — trot one out. Yes, "upon what meat does Caesar feed that he has grown so strong?"

When Brother Lemmons says a church can help a church NOT IN NEED (and where no emergency exists) because we have examples of churches helping a church IN NEED (where an emergency existed) he is the one setting aside God's law. One would think an "individual thinker" could see that the "wolf no longer has on grandmother's bonnet"; she now has his scalp.

Brother Lemmons, it is no more dangerous getting off the band wagon than it is to drive one that is falling to pieces; be careful! I suggest you let Paul do some of your thinking, for you, and do less of your own. Truly, that is the only real insurance against apostasy.