Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 21, 1957

We Have Moved

Voyd N. Ballard, Ventura, California

By we" I mean the Saticoy, California, church of Christ. This congregation that has met, for the past several years, in Saticoy, California, has now moved to 3533 Telegraph Road in East Ventura, California. It might be well to state some of the reasons why we believe that this move is in order, and to give you an insight into at least some of our purposes and aims. No congregation has a right to claim existence as the Lord's people unless that congregation has a definite purpose in mind. So we want to say something about THE PURPOSE OF THIS CONGREGATION.

Our Purpose is now, and ever shall be, to preach the TRUTH OF JESUS CHRIST AS REVEALED IN THE BIBLE. We desire to set forth God's Word to the people, and we shall employ every lawful means within our ability to do so. We believe that every congregation has an obligation, to the extent of its ability, to preach the gospel is the whole world. We are sure that no congregation is limited by geographical lines.

The only pattern for organization, so far as the church is concerned, is the local congregation. Any thing smaller than the church is too small, and anything larger than the church is too large. God has revealed a detailed pattern for the organization and work of the church, and he has given commandment that we "make all things according to the pattern." (Heb. 8:5.) The church is the "pillar and support of the truth" (I Tim. 3:15) and is, therefore, the only institution ordained of God through the "manifold wisdom of God" is to be made known. (Eph. 3:10.) It shall be the purpose of this congregation to keep it that way. The "sponsoring church" idea had its origin in the same kind of thinking( ??) and reasoning ( ? ?) as did the Missionary Society. Both came from the minds of those who lack faith in God's plan. When men decide that God's plan is not sufficient they usually discard it and make one of their own. This of course opens the floodgates of digression and leads to a complete departure from God and His way. It has been so in every instance where men have ceased to be concerned about following the divine pattern. Already many brethren are showing a "looseness" in their thinking and preaching that is down right alarming. Just recently I heard a brother say, "it is impossible to preach the gospel without substituting." Brother Roy Osborne, in debate with Lloyd Moyer in Richmond, California, made this statement, "When they come out (of Boles Orphan Home) they come out as Christians. To me this is the strongest possible argument that could be made. Even if it was wrong to send a boy or girl down there and I would go to hell for sending them, I would send him just the same if I knew he would come out of there a Christian. Paul's attitude was this `if I might be a castaway but my entire nation might be saved, so be it. I would rather go to hell if I might save the entire nation'."

Such statements coming from those who preach the gospel are startling. They not only reveal a lack of faith in God's way, but they likewise manifest the old sectarian determination to do it anyway regardless of what the Bible says. When gospel preachers boldly declare that they will practice a thing they know to be wrong, even if that wrong should send them to hell it ought to be enough to cause even the most liberal among us to tremble. But when that same preacher tries to make an inspired apostle say the same thing he is indeed doing violence to the Word of God. Such twisting of Paul's teaching is altogether without excuse. It is a descending to the level of Paul's enemies who "SLANDEROUSLY reported and affirmed" that Paul and others said, "Let us do evil, that good may come." Paul declares of these that their "damnation is just." (Read Romans 3:8.) Now Paul said that this was a SLANDEROUS charge against him. He never taught it. But that is what Osborne is teaching. He says he would do that which he knows to be evil, if he thought some good would come from it. Brother, if you have been asleep on these issues, and this doesn't wake you up, I confess that I don't know what would.

Another purpose of this congregation is to exalt Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and his Word as the standard of authority in religion. We shall continue to preach the plan of salvation just as it is revealed in the New Testament. This we will do just as kindly as we know how, and just as firmly as did the apostles. We are "set for the defense of the gospel." (Phil. 1:17.) And we are ready at all times to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints." (Jude 3.) Not only do we plead for the Lord's plan of salvation, but we also insist upon conforming to the pattern of worship as it was rendered in the time of the apostles; and we plead for the church as the ONLY divine SPIRITUAL institution recognized by the God of Heaven. We believe that the church can accomplish the work God gave it to do without building and maintaining HUMAN institutions. The church ought to do this, and it ought to encourage every member to shoulder his own responsibilities and NOT expect the church to do what God ordained for individuals to do themselves.

Our purpose is to plead for the SPIRITUAL instead of the MATERIAL. We can see a great tide of MATERIALISM sweeping the church today. Many congregations seem to be more interested in the MATERIAL than in the SPIRITUAL. This is evidenced in the attitude of going all out for such things as church kitchens. fellowship halls, social halls, recreation rooms, church dinners, fun for all meetings, young people's forums, youth rally, young people's meetings, skating parties, pink and blue showers, coffee and donuts, potluck dinners, etc. All of these things are designed to appeal to and satisfy the MATERIAL desires of man. Some of them may be all right on an individual basis, but the church has no business getting mixed up in any of them, and has as much scriptural authority for instrumental music as for any of these.

Our plea is this: Let the church be the church. This is a divine principle, and upon it we are determined to stand.