Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 12, 1956
NUMBER 48, PAGE 12-13

The Quarantine Continues

Roy L. Foutz, Nacogdoches, Texas

(The following is an exchange of letters between the church in Neosho, Missouri and this writer, and shows very fully the kind of quarantine that is spreading throughout the brotherhood. I conducted a meeting in Neosho in April of 1952 and had been invited to be with them again this spring.)

Neosho, Missouri October 28, 1955

Dear Brother Foutz:

Greetings from the Jefferson Street church in Neosho.

In view that we have a meeting booked with you for April of 1956, we deem it proper to ask a question or so concerning some things that are currently being discussed. What is your position relative to churches cooperating; especially with regards to such works as Herald of Truth?

We will appreciate hearing from you as soon as possible concerning this matter.

Sincerely, Floyd Davenport L. A. Kelly

H. D. Kritz James T. Young Homer W. Walden

Elders, Jefferson Street church Nacogdoches, Texas

November 17, 1955 Elders, Church of Christ Jefferson at McKinney

Neosho, Missouri Dear Brethren:

I received your letter of October 28th and was glad to hear from you. I have been away in two consecutive meetings, and have been unable to answer until today.

Now, to the questions you asked in your letter. I do very definitely believe that churches can cooperate. I think one of the most untrue and unjust charges that has been made recently has been that I and some others believe that churches cannot cooperate. If one congregation is unable, for various reasons, to carry on the work which is distinctively its own, then it is right and scriptural for another congregation, or other congregations, to assist them financially, or to cooperate with them in carrying on their work. As an example of this, the church here lost its building by fire in December of 1952. Several congregations cooperated with us by sending us approximately $9,000.00. This money was used by us in replacing our building. This is certainly in line with every example of New Testament cooperation.

I do not believe that it is scriptural for several churches to send money to one church to do a work which is the responsibility of all of them and to which all of them are equally related as contributing churches. Although the Highland church is the receiving church, it is also one of the contributing churches to the Herald of Truth. In each month's financial statement of the Highland bulletin, there is an item of the regular monthly payment of $666.67 to the Herald of Truth. Actually, the Herald of Truth was not begun by Highland, and was not even "sponsored" by them for a few months; and it is not a work that is peculiarly their own. It is a work that is being done for the brotherhood and therefore is not cooperation that is scriptural but is a federation of churches doing radio work through one agency, which, in this case, is the Highland congregation. This arrangement is comparable to congregations everywhere sending money to Nacogdoches, not for the purpose of building a building here, but for erecting church buildings all over the country, the state, the nation, or the world.

Whether it be the Herald of Truth, the care of orphans or the aged in "brotherhood" homes, building meeting houses and carrying on mission work in Germany, etc., the "church universal" concept is the same in principle. Any agency or federation, whether it be a board composed of members of several congregations, or the elders of one congregation, that is doing the work that the Lord intended for the local church to do, is in violation of New Testament authority.

I am enclosing some illustrations from a recent bulletin from the Greggton, Texas church, of which Brother W. R. Jones is the preacher. It suggests very fully and logically the issues involved in the cooperation question. I hope you will read it carefully along with this letter.

I trust that you will give these matters your very serious consideration. Don't let your thinking be swayed by what we have been doing for many years, by seeming accomplishments of such projects, by sentiment, or any other such thing. The only thing that makes something right is that it is authorized by the New Testament; and, by the same token, the thing that makes something wrong is that it is in violation of New Testament authority. Whether you have me to come for the meeting or not will not make a great deal of difference either to you or to me, but the correct solution to the problems which are presented in these issues is of great and eternal importance.

May the Lord bless you in your very serious work as elders of the church there, and in your proper consideration of what I have written. May I assure you that this has been written in deep sincerity and with the desire that good may be the result. I hope to hear from you further at your convenience.

Sincerely and fraternally Roy L. Foutz

Neosho, Missouri November 29, 1955

Dear Brother Foutz:

In view of your position on church cooperation, especially with regards to such things as Herald of Truth, we deem it wise to cancel our meeting which we have booked with you for next year. Rest assured that we have no animosity or hatred in our hearts for you as a brother in Christ. We are following this course after thought and in the best interest of the church.

May the Lord bless you with good health and with his manifold blessings.

Sincerely in Him, James T. Young

Harley D. Kritz Floyd K. Davenport

L. A. Kelly Nacogdoches, Texas

December 10, 1955 Dear Brethren:

I regret to learn of your decision in regard to my being with you in the meeting next spring. As I mentioned in my letter to you, it is not very important whether I hold the meeting or not, but the correct solution to the current issues is of great importance. I regret your decision because it reflects a growing tendency on the part of some brethren throughout the country. There are several of our brethren who believe that a division is imminent in the church because of the growth of institutionalism. Whether this is true or not, I do not know. However, I do sincerely believe that an attitude of hushing the opposition on either side or an unwillingness to study and discuss the problems will be the cause of the cleavage if it does come. When congregations refuse the fellowship of preachers and of other congregations and are not willing to study together, then serious consequences will be the inevitable result.

Because of the very serious nature of this matter, may I make a suggestion for your consideration. I will come for the meeting and will not mention or discuss any of these issues publicly, provided I can meet with you five men together and study with you privately. If this can be done, nothing but good can result. You mentioned in your letter that your decision was "after thought and in the best interest of the church" and I do not doubt your honesty and sincerity in making the statement. However, I am afraid that you do not realize that the best interests of the church are never served when the problems that face it are not studied carefully and prayerfully. It has always been our plea that truth has nothing to suffer in discussion, whether public or private; but it seems that many brethren are gradually, but surely, getting away from this plea. In Titus 1:9, Paul's teaching concerning the work of elders is "both to exhort and convict the gainsayers": but it is to be done by "sound doctrine" and not by quarantine.

Another thought concerning the far-reaching results of this attitude is this: In Brother (Wendell) Winkler's letter of June 14, 1955 to me, he stated, "We have the following men booked for meetings or at the present we are working out definite dates with them: Cleon Lyles, Roy Foutz, Guy N. Woods, Roy Lanier, Pat Hardeman, C. E. McGaughey, James O. Baird, Athens Clay Pullias, and Homer Hailey." Unless I have been incorrectly informed, two of these preachers, and possibly three, hold the same position as I relative to church cooperation and the Herald of Truth. Consistency, if nothing else, will force you to interrogate each of them and to make your decisions accordingly.

May I assure you again that I am writing this in deep sincerity and with the desire that good may be the result. If your decision is as I have suggested in this letter, you may be assured that my conduct in the matter will be that of a Christian and a gentleman. Please give this some additional thought, and let me hear from you again.

Sincerely and fraternally, Roy L. Foutz

(Note: On January 18, 1956, no further word had been received from Neosho, so I wrote them a card asking for an answer of some kind. The following letter was received several days later. RLF)

Neosho, Missouri January 29, 1956

Dear Brother Foutz:

We are in receipt of your card of January 18.

In response to your inquiry we wish to state kindly that we desire to abide by our previous decision.

Trusting that you will be blessed with health and prosperity and in your investigation and study of the word of God, we are, Sincerely in Him,

Floyd Davenport L. A. Kelly

H. D. Kritz James T. Young