Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 16, 1955

Missionary Society And Issues Of Today (No. 1)

Bob Melear, Culver City, California

The members of the body of Christ are taught by the head of the body to be one. Unity isn't anymore the result of chance in the body of Christ than it is in the operation of God's creation, such as the solar system, the seasons, the days, the human body, etc. Unity, if unity is realized in the church of our Lord, must of necessity come as the result of the members putting forth untiring effort in the study, acceptance, and application of God's holy Book. Oneness is possible if each member will do his part. This is a PLEA FOR UNITY.

We are present troubled over such issues as institutionalism and congregational cooperation. One group contends that the scriptures are silent on this theme, leaving us to insert our own opinions and ideas, while others maintain that God did not leave us to grope in darkness and use human reasoning and the absence of God's word to sustain such practices as are prevalent in the brotherhood today.

I ask only that you do your part, as a child of God, in making the unity for which Jesus prayed possible. The effort that I am asking you to put forth is to study the issues carefully and candidly in the light of God's word and reach only a scriptural conclusion.

We want to take nothing for granted, thus we desire to proceed to conclusively prove that the missionary society is wrong and why it is wrong.

Missionary Society Wrong And Why The Missionary Society Is Wrong In:

(1) Name

(2) Organization

(3) Design.

The missionary society is wrong because it wears an unscriptural name. This is obvious and little time will be taken to refute it. "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." (1 Pet. 4:11) Man is not speaking as the oracles of God when he applies a human appellation to a religious organization in or out of the church or to the church itself.


Second, the missionary society is antagonistic to God's law because of its organization. Under the above caption we shall deal also, with that which makes a human government imperative, i.e. its being a human institution separate from the church.

The church of God is the only "heaven born" establishment of religion in the world. It is subject completely and only to her Saviour. The Savior set forth rules of organization and these rules MUST be followed if acceptance is to be found at the hand of God.

A congregation which is organized according to Christ contains saints, bishops, and deacons. (Phil. 1:1) This is God's organization, not a part of it, but it in its entirety and fulness.

If the only religious entity known, authorized, or pleasing to God is the church for which his Son died, then to contend that the missionary society is even needed is to attack the knowledge of God and the all-sufficiency of Christ's church. Gospel preachers have for centuries fought the corrupt doctrine of the insufficiency of the Bible in conversion. We must, likewise, fight the insidious doctrine of the insufficiency of the church of God. If the church, without any and all of the separate organizations and institutions, is inadequate to discharge her responsibility to God and man, then Christ is also insufficient to save the members of the body, for Eph. 1:23 speaks of the church and says, ". . . which is his body, the FULNESS OF HIM that filleth all in all." If the church is the fulness of Christ and it is insufficient, then Christ is necessarily just as insufficient. The church is just as adequate as is her Author when she is functioning according to his law. She is completely sufficient and adequate to discharge her mission of preaching the gospel, edifying the saints, and doing benevolence. Any trend to the contrary, any plan that challenges this principle, is of the evil one.

The missionary society, being a separate institution from the church, must then have some form of government. The government to which it turns and accepts is either a board of directors or a board of trustees. The conclusion is irresistible; if God organized only the local church, and that with elders and deacons as its only officers, then for man to come along two thousand years later and formulate the Ladies' Aid Society (an organization smaller than the local church) or the Missionary Society (an organization larger than the local congregation) makes him guilty of sin and condemned by 2 John 9 which says, "Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ hath not God."

The missionary society is wrong in its very existence, because it is a separate institution from the church and this condition necessitates an unscriptural government.


Third, the missionary society is wrong because of its very nature or principle or design. A missionary society could be taken out from under the board of directors and placed under a set of elders and it would still be unscriptural. Why? Simply because of its design. But someone says, "Why, the missionary society is designed to preach the gospel and you say its design is wrong." Primarily, the missionary society is not designed to preach the gospel, but rather it is designed to organize congregations that they may work, not in a congregational way, but in a state, national, international, or worldwide way. The missionary society is an organization that organizes. What does it organize? It organizes congregations of the Lord's body. Has God given this authority to anyone or any group of men, whether elders or not? He certainly has not and not one iota of scripture has ever been presented to substantiate such a work. Then those who are practicing such fall under the condemnation of 2 Jno. 9 and 1 Cor. 4:6 which says, "Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that in us ye might learn not to go beyond the things which are written."

The missionary society is nothing more or less than an agency that receives and distributes. It acts in the same capacity for the congregations that an appointed attorney acts for one who is mentally incompetent to handle his own finances. He is simply the agent through which the money is to pass between the buyer and the seller. The missionary society is simply the agency that stands between the congregation and the sinner. God commanded the congregation to preach the gospel, but the missionary society says, "Because of your incompetence as a single congregation in facilities, knowledge of world conditions, and financial strength we will bring these factors together in one central place and bring about the desired result, namely the gospel preached." The missionary society is an institution or agency which acts for the congregations of the Lord's body or through which the congregations may perform, and this without any authorization from the Lord at all. Hence, the missionary society is wrong because of its design.

(To be continued.)