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

Speaking "For" The Church Of Christ

C. R. Mansfield, Pittsburg, Texas

What is the Church of Christ? ... see the November issue of CORONET . . . Now at your local newstand or write for information . . . Gospel Press-2102 Jackson, Dallas, Texas.

The above advertisement appeared on page 11, part 1, Dallas News for Friday, Oct. 28, 1955. I had heard that such a program was being started and had bought a copy of said magazine. On pages 102 and 103 of said issue of CORONET I found the advertisement. Aside from that which prompts this writing, the things said in the advertisement reflect truth. The now famous words of institutionally-minded brethren "but it doesn't end there" need application right here.

I notice at the end of the advertisement that same is "supported by individual members of the CHURCH OF CHRIST". Therefore, the Gospel Press, 2102 Jackson, Dallas, Texas, is a means being used by certain individual members of the churches (however, the singular was used, e.g., the CHURCH OF CHRIST) to proclaim to all wherever the CORONET (other magazines, I am told, are to carry the program) is sold or sent on subscription just exactly what the church of Christ in their vicinity IS and what it teaches (the ad exhorts them to visit the church of Christ nearest them).

Now, any one of the "individual members", or several of them in any given congregation, may publish, under the supervision of the elders of that congregation, what the church of Christ is and what it teaches in so far as that particular congregation is concerned. I emphatically deny that there is even a remote hint in the Scriptures authorizing a brother, or a group of brethren, in one congregation or banded together from many congregations to publish in my community what the church of Christ is and what it teaches — thus assuring these people that they will find their statements honored in the local congregation. The preparation of a tract "What Is The Church of Christ" by assorted brethren from widely separated congregations, or of the same congregation, to be sent to residents of my community that is intended to tell them what the church of Christ is, certainly attempts to bind me to whatever is said in said tract. I will be bound by nothing save the New Testament. Others may do as they wish, but I shall certainly repudiate the program in my community in the local paper, and by every other honorable means available to me.

Christ, through the New Testament, is the ONLY power to enforce "uniformity" of teaching and practice by christians everywhere. This latest "program", in effect, repudiates this and supplants it with an wholly unauthorized attempt of its own. What denominationalist, reading such, will not immediately get the impression that some source approved by the churches of Christ everywhere was speaking for the CHURCH UNIVERSAL?? They are not dumb. They KNOW that such, if it is honest, requires the consent of the CHURCH UNIVERSAL. They know that this cannot be had without the church universal, by some means, authorizing the action. THEY KNOW that such would mean, in effect, that the CHURCH UNIVERSAL would have to be ORGANIZED, at least enough for this work. Many of them know that we have claimed (the church where I am still claims AND PRACTICES) that the Scriptures authorize no organization except the local congregation with its New Testament order. Now, thanks to this and other related "programs", they are sure that we cannot any longer condemn the denominational world for having their conferences, etc., wherein their peculiar doctrines are defined and approved, and by which the same are bound upon all local congregations in their fellowship. In many ways the Herald of Truth program of the Highland Church in Abilene and this latest CHURCH UNIVERSAL action are alike. They are alike in violating the same fundamental principles established by the New Testament.

Can there be any further doubts as to the intent and purpose of all such action? Is there anymore any doubt as to where and what such must inevitably lead? I realize that I would become guilty of trying to do the same as these who are carrying on this program if I should try to head a movement to repudiate it on a scale larger than that involved in the work of the local church in my vicinity. I have the right to speak and teach and exhort my brethren. But it is their responsibility to handle such a matter in their own community. As for me, I shall repudiate it with every ounce of my being wherever I may be.