Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 2, 1955

Appeal For A Worthy Cause

Robert F. Turner, Tyler, Texas

Brethren, I come to you for help. I know you receive many appeals each week, but surely you have never received such a request as this, and frankly — I want to reach you with this while it is yet new and fresh — before it is copied and scattered throughout the brotherhood.

The elders of the Crescent Heights church, Tyler, have set before this congregation a program of work for 1955 which will demand a greatly increased income. Our building program, expansion of teaching facilities, and enlarged work in general has been explained to us so vividly that I am fired with great enthusiasm. I see the great need, and have "purposed in my heart" to increase my contribution. More than that, believing that each Christian should endeavor to do great things for the Lord's cause, I have determined to set as a goal for my personal contribution, $5,000 each Lord's day. Yes, I plan to give $5,000 each Lord's day, as my own personal contribution. Is not this a worthy project?

Now, my personal income is rather limited; a most unfortunate circumstance. I find that should I give every penny of my income each Lord's day, I would still be more than $4,900 short of my glorious goal. (I reached these figures by subtracting my income from the figure, $5,000.) This shortage is, of course, most embarrassing to me. I could, perhaps, endure the embarrassment and overcome the great disappointment at seeing such a noble project fail; but there is still another consideration. My unselfish "purpose" has been publicized — "Faithful Christian Determines To Give $5,000 Each Lord's Day!" — and has been a source of great encouragement to Christians everywhere. "That's the kind of members the church of Christ has!" some have been heard to say. The very "standing" of all the members of the church is at stake. And so, I come to you for help.

I ask your help on the following scriptural basis. (1) Christians are commanded to "lay by in store"-1 Cor. 16:2. If brotherhood "practice" is to be considered of any weight, we may add that acceptance of this passage, and practice of its teaching has been unanimously approved throughout the history of the church. (2) Christians are commanded to help one-another — "Bear ye one another's burdens — ." Gal. 6:2. " — Do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." Gal. 6:10. Historically, these passages have always been accepted as demanding that we help one another. Currently, the necessity for "cooperation" has been greatly emphasized. I ask you to assist me in doing this very fine work.

Objections Considered

You may have objections to my plea, as outlined above; but before you reject this entirely, please consider my reply to various objections.

Objection No. 1: "We agree that contributing of one's means is scriptural, but the $5,000 contribution would not be your contribution, but that of many brethren; hence you would become an agency for contributing other's money."

Answer — No, this would be my contribution. I handle the money — place it on the contribution plate with my own hands. I see to it that the money gets to the right place, at the right time. You simply help me to do my work.

Objection No. 2: "But you would thus control the funds of many brethren."

Answer — No, you would control your own funds, for the assistance you give me is done on a completely voluntary basis. Lord's day contribution is scriptural — to this you agree. So you give me money for this purpose — (Does it make any difference whether your hands, or mine place it on the plate?) — and you know that at any time you decide to cease sending me money you may do so. You control this matter, don't you see?

Objection No. 3: "Why should I send the money to you? Why could I not give it myself, into the treasury of my own home congregation?"

Answer — Of course I want you to continue to make contributions at home. I only ask your help, not all of your money. The goal I have set is very great — one which very few individual members could achieve alone. Think of the great good this could accomplish — and are you not interested in seeing "greater things" done for the Lord? Also, let me remind you that sacrificing to help me will encourage you to do — not less — but greater things yourself.

Objection No. 4: "But, you have set up too great a goal for one individual."

Answer — Dear Christian, how can you say such a thing? Is any goal too great for the true Christian? Am I to be criticized simply because my zeal and foresight exceeds that of most others? Rather, this superiority is one of the reasons why you should send me your help.

Exceeding One's Ability

Objection No. 5: "The scriptures teach us to give "as God hath prospered," "a performance also out of that which ye have." 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8:11. Is it not God's plan that you give of that which is your own, instead of asking for other's funds to be given by your hand?"

Answer — My dear brother, I once reasoned in that fashion — before I saw the light shed on the subject by our present "sponsoring church" brethren. I used to think the congregation was God's plan for organized functions, and that God expected the congregation to do all she could do — but only that which she could do with her own resources. I thought that this, being God's plan, was sufficient to accomplish all that God wished accomplished. But in reading the Christian Church arguments made by Briney in support of the Missionary Society of some 50 years ago, and in listening to some of my brethren defend the "sponsoring church" conception of today, I am made to wonder. After all, the scriptures do not tell me NOT to ask other brethren to send me help for my $5,000 contribution idea.

I am beginning to get ashamed of the comparatively (i.e., compared to this new goal I have set) small contributions I have been making. I have seen that congregations can set great "mission" and "benevolent" goals — far beyond their own abilities and resources — and then call upon other congregations to help them reach these goals; so I decided to set an individual goal far beyond my individual ability and resource, and ask other individuals to "help" me.

Alexander Campbell — arguing for the Missionary Society; and many of my brethren today — arguing for the "sponsoring church"; have reasoned that if many individuals may form a congregation — pool resources — to do a work greater than the single individual could do; then many congregations may pool their resources to do a work greater than a single congregation could do. These brethren have ignored God's plan for functional organization, and the fact that "pooling" individual resources in the congregation is not a human — but a divine — THE divine plan — so I figure I can ignore any limitations one might think imposed upon the individual in such matters as the contribution. Campbell, and many of my brethren, reasoned from the individual to the universal brotherhood; I am reasoning from the universal brotherhood to the individual — me.

And so, brethren — please send me your help. I strongly desire to raise my own personal contribution to $5,000 per Lord's day. This is a scriptural, noble, work; and I call upon you to help me in this.