Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 2, 1956
NUMBER 38, PAGE 8-9a

"Tant Destroys All Cooperation -- Is It So?

R. Ervin Driskill, Birmingham, Alabama

Those who attended the Tant-Harper debate, in Abilene, Texas, know well that Brother Tant did his work well. This article is a review of one of Brother Harper's sheets of paper, handed out at the debate. Brother Harper says, "Brother Tant says, no church can receive help as long as it is able to make any kind of contribution to others." This has reference to financial help, for financial help is the help churches are giving Highland that is objectionable. What Brother Harper needs to do is show where Jerusalem, or any other church receiving help, did make a financial contribution to others while being helped. Brother Harper says, "This means Jerusalem for at least two years, maybe four, could not do one thing toward preaching the gospel outside of Jerusalem. This destroys all sacrificial offering: all churches will have to stop all their activities if helped. If Highland will stop all her other activities she can receive help." Brother Harper, where is the passage that says Jerusalem (during this two years, maybe four) sent financial aid to others? There is no passage that would make Brother Tant's statement false. But, on the contrary, the lack of evidence shows you silly. Brother Harper begs the question when he says Jerusalem could not do one thing toward preaching outside Jerusalem. If a storm wrecks the homes of all the members here and churches sent to us, the preacher would get his portion and could go outside Birmingham and preach just as he does now. Brother Harper needs to learn the meaning of the word sacrifice. Abraham was rich in cattle and when he made a "sacrificial offering" he did not really disfurnish himself... One doesn't have to disfurnish himself to make a sacrifice and, one can sacrifice and not give a dime. Money is not the only kind of sacrifice taught in the Bible. It would not therefore stop all "sacrificial offerings." Moreover, the idea is not to get churches to stop any of their activities but to show how ridiculous it is for a church to give to everything under the sun (as Highland does) and then beg other churches to GIVE to it. No, Highland doesn't need to stop any of her activities but she ought to be ashamed to BEG, when her weekly contributions are better than $1,200.00, and she ought to stop disbursing and overseeing the activities of 1,080 other churches.

Brother Harper says, "I want to give Brother Tant a dollar. It is mine now. I give it to him; it is HIS now. He pays his debts with the money that was mine but has become his own by a gift." "Galatia, Macedonia and Achaia GAVE their money to Jerusalem — just like I gave this to Tant-2 Cor. 8:4. Paul called theirs a GIFT. The GIVING was THEIR WORK. The receiving was Jerusalem's work. Brother Harper should be able to see the difference in the dollar given Brother Tant and the money given Jerusalem. Did Macedonia and Achaia just give to Jerusalem (just as a friendly gesture as did Brother Harper to Brother Tant)? Obviously they gave because Jerusalem was in need. There's nothing to indicate that Brother Harper gave to Brother Tant for that reason. Brother Tant could have bought a sack of marbles for his little boy (with the dollar Harper gave him) but Jerusalem's was to meet their need. I deny that Galatia, Macedonia and Achaia gave to Jerusalem just as Harper gave to Tant. Next Brother Harper says, "Jerusalem received this gift. It is now hers. Jerusalem may take her money and pay her bills for the poor, otherwise you have Jerusalem doing the work of the contributing churches. Or you have the contributing churches doing Jerusalem's work." Here is where Brother Harper misses the point altogether. He has three parties in the picture (when these churches gave to Jerusalem); the contributing churches, Jerusalem and the poor. Brother Harper, there were not three but two: the contributing churches and the Jerusalem church. The poor did not compose a third party but the poor were the Jerusalem church. In the Herald of Truth arrangement there are not two parties but three: the contributing churches, Highland and the nation. If anybody ever completely missed the point, Brother Harper did here. If no one but the contributing churches and Highland were involved (and Highland was in need, as was Jerusalem) there would be no objection to these churches helping Highland. But, says Brother Harper, "Churches give to Highland. That is their work. Highland takes the money that is now hers and pays her bill — it is her work, just as feeding the poor was Jerusalem's work and the church building was College church's work." The point is this: the third party (nation) involves all the contributing churches in the same way it involves Highland hence, Harper is wrong when he talks about preaching to the nation (Herald of Truth) being Highland's work. Brother Harper has assumed the point that needs to be proved, all the way through, namely that this matter of preaching to the nation is Highland's work. Next we have this gem, "The College church erected a building. We gave $500.00 to them. This became their money. They payed (and that's the way it is spelled on the sheet) it on their debts for the house. Whose bill was it? Whose house is it now? THEIRS or OURS?" In the first place Highland ought to be ashamed to ask other churches for money when she is able to give out $500.00, at a whack, to others. In the second place (if I am not mistaken) the College church was giving sums of money to other places when she accepted the 500.00 from Highland. I cannot see any difference in the College church taking money from other churches, when she is giving out money to others, and Highland taking money from other churches, when she is giving out money to others. Of course, there is this difference (which is definitely a difference): The College church was engaged in a work that was theirs and Highland is engaged in a work that is not theirs. The difference between Jerusalem, Highland and the College church is that the help given the College church and Jerusalem was to help them; THEY were the direct recipients of the help whereas Highland is an agency through which the nation (recipient) receives the help. Brother Harper says further "Tant's argument here will destroy all initiative to work." According to Brother Harper's faulty reasoning, this might be true but if one's eyes are open to what has been taught it doesn't. Brother Harper needs to deal with the thing in mind and not with something entirely different. But, again, "Brother Tant has destroyed all cooperation between congregations. He says: A church has no work beyond its ability." Brother Harper would help matters greatly if he would give a passage that shows this is not so. "When it has reached the end of its ability its work therefore has ceased," says Brother Tant. Brother Harper thinks this is not true too, but he leaves us wondering why he did not cite some scripture to show it wasn't true. Brother Harper reasons now, "A work becomes a sin when you have to accept money to perform it. He said our radio program was 'our work' so long as we could pay the bill. When we had to have help it ceased to be our work; it became a sin! Hence all cooperation must cease for the giving of money constitutes sin." If I understand Brother Tant, his statements had reference to churches giving money to another church WHO PLANNED A WORK TO WHICH THE CONTRIBUTING AND RECEIVING CHURCH SUSTAINED EQUAL RELATIONSHIP, as in the case of Highland and the Herald of Truth. He did not have Jerusalem and Galatia, Macedonia and Achaia in mind. They are not parallel, as has been pointed out repeatedly. Brother Harper would make quite a contribution toward a settlement of this matter, if he would find a New Testament case that fits Highland and the contributing churches. It was the Jerusalem church that was in need; she was not able to feed herself. Macedonia, Galatia and Achaia had the ability to help them. The four of them solved the problem and provided the needs. They all had SOME ability; they did their duty according to their ability, but Jerusalem was related to the problem in a way the others were not. If Jerusalem could have solved the problem alone, the others would have borne no relationship to it at all. If I become ill and lack sufficient ability to feed my family, and others have the ability to help me, it has become the responsibility of them and me (because we all together have the ability) but every one knows that I am related to the problem in a way the others are not, for had I never become ill, they would not be related at all. Now, Highland has a problem of preaching to the nation. But every other church is faced with the same problem. Highland can't solve this problem alone; neither can any one of the other churches. However, all the churches together have the ability and can do so by uniting their abilities. But, the question arises: How are we going to do this? Highland says, "Let me do it and you send your money to me." Brethren, if that isn't 1,080 churches uniting their abilities to solve a problem common to all, what is it? Highland is wrong when she contends Herald of Truth (preaching to the nation) is her work. It is a "brotherhood" work and if not, there is no way to have one. Macedonia, Galatia and Achaia sent to Jerusalem to relieve the needs of Jerusalem and thus solve a problem that was peculiar to Jerusalem, but when churches send to Highland to do a work that is not peculiar to Highland, they have rejected God's way for their own. The church UNIVERSAL can operate through a board made up of brethren, from different places, as well as through a single eldership; there is no authority for either.

Brother Harper, the Belview Heights church, here in Birmingham, pays the salary of Brother Hollis Creel (in South Alabama); part of the salary of Brother Hiriam Hutto of Trussville, Alabama and my salary and sends it directly to us. Your cry that the thing Brother Tant and some of the rest of us plead for "is destroying the work of the church over the country" is a smoke-screen. If you will affirm the Guardian exists to do the work of the church, and that Herald of Truth is taught in the scriptures either by COMMAND, NECESSARY INFERENCE, EXAMPLE OR PRINCIPLE ETERNAL, Birmingham will furnish a place for the discussion.