Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 6, 1956
NUMBER 18, PAGE 6-7b

"Hale-Ing" Highland's Elders

Forrest D. Moyer, Napa, California

Since I am vitally interested in "God's work in God's way," and in "how New Testament churches can cooperate," I ordered the new book by Brother Lewis Hale on How Churches Can Cooperate, Firm Foundation Publishing House, 1956. Brother Hale attempts to show in the book that the cooperative efforts among us such as "sponsoring churches" and "institutional orphan homes" are scriptural. It is my conviction that scriptural proof was not to be found within the book for the above-mentioned practices. However, it is not the purpose of this article to discuss the arguments offered in defense of these efforts.

I have been studying for some time on the question of how to determine whose work a particular work is. I have read writings of several on this. I am told that the Herald of Truth is Highland's own work: "The Herald of Truth radio program is a work of the church of Christ at Fifth and Highland, Abilene, Texas." (That the Brethren May Know, p. 2.) Various other articles from Brother Harper and the Highland elders have emphasized that the Herald of Truth is exclusively Highland's own program. But may I call the attention of Brother Harper and of the Highland elders to a few statements that Brother Hale makes in his book relative to whose work a particular work might be?

The principle of representative work has the endorsement of scripture . . . Matt. 10:40-41. Notice in particular the matter of receiving a prophet. To receive a prophet is to entertain him as a guest and thus aid him in his mission. What does it mean to receive a prophet's reward? Does it not mean to receive the same reward which the prophet receives? The evident meaning of the passage is: To aid a prophet in his work is to be regarded by the Lord as doing the work which the prophet does, hence to receive the same reward the prophet receives .... This is nothing short of doing work representatively. (p. 56.)

From this paragraph I would conclude that if a congregation aids Highland, she is doing the work which Highland is doing. And the congregation that aids Highland will receive the same reward that Highland will receive, for this is representative work. So, you see, it is not Highland's exclusive work after all. Other churches are preaching the gospel on the Herald of Truth just as much as is Highland.

But notice further:

Does the church which purchased the tract have nothing to do with any teaching which results from the distribution of it? Who can be said to have done a given work? Everyone who has a part in the work, including those who finance the work. (Emphasis mine, FDM.) p. 56.

This answers some pertinent questions as to whose work the Herald of Truth is. Brother Hale emphatically informs us that it is the work of those who finance it as much as it is the part of anyone else who has a part in the work.

Shall we continue?

The principle of representative work is involved when a church sends a gift to another church to assist in a work which it is doing. If the gift is to help pay the expenses of an evangelistic effort, the contributing church is preaching the gospel just as surely as if it had used those finances to have the preacher come to its own locality to do the preaching. In either case, the church is preaching by means of a representative, the preacher. (Emphasis mine, FDM.) pp. 56-57.

The Herald of Truth, according to Brother Hale, is not Highland's exclusive work, but the work of all who pay the bill! That's what we have been saying all the time. The Herald of Truth is not the work of one congregation; it is the work of those who pay for the program. It is a brotherhood work!

Ear-Marking the Money Brother Hale has some interesting comments in regard to "ear-marking" the money that is sent to another congregation. Hear him:

A church which contributes to any given work has not lost oversight of its funds when it makes its own decisions to support a particular work. If one church sends aid to another to build a building, could the receiving church honorably and without sin use such funds for any other purpose? Does such a receiving church, even though she has a peculiar relationship to her building, lose her autonomy in receiving relationship marked" funds? She really has no choice as to the use of such funds. She should either use them for what the contributing church gave them, or else return the funds to the contributing church. (Emphasis mine, FDM.) p. 79.

None of us would favor a church's surrendering its funds to another church to be used in whatever way the receiving church sees fit. Such would be a loss of self-government and evident shirking of responsibility to use one's resources. (My emphasis, FDM.) p. 79.

From what Brother Hale has written, it is quite evident that he believes that the receiving church must act in harmony with the desires of the contributing church. The receiving church is only the agent (representative) of the contributing church. But it is impossible to have agency without subordination. Since one church cannot be subordinate to another church, it cannot be the agent or representative of another church. Brother Hale has evidently overlooked the fact that if the receiving church acted only as the contributing church directed, the receiving church would be subordinate to the contributing church in the matter involved. Someone would lose some autonomy or self-government in the matter. The New Testament teaches that when one church sent money to another church, the receiving church had a need or want that was peculiarly its own. The sending church sent to help relieve that need. Not one time do we read of churches' sending to another church for a program of evangelism or to do a "brotherhood" work. Such is without scriptural authority.

I wish to thank Brother Hale for making it so plain as to whose work a particular work is. I have learned that:

1) "Everyone who has a part in the work, including those who finance the work," is the one who has done the work.

2) "The contributing church is preaching the gospel just as surely as if it had used those finances to have the preacher come to its own locality...."

3) That a receiving church can use money sent to it by other churches only for what the contributing churches designate.

4) That a church cannot surrender its funds to another church to be used in whatever way the receiving church sees fit.

I hope that many brethren will learn these things. If so, they will very quickly see the grave and serious dangers of the "sponsoring church" type of cooperation. They will see that a church can easily lose its autonomy in either sending to or receiving funds from other churches for a general brotherhood work.