Vol.I No.IX Pg.3
September 1964

First Affirmative - J. L. Hines

Robert F. Turner

(Which bro. Hines labels, "Congregational Independence")

None deny this. I believe I should not affirm the proposition bro. Turner submitted for me to affirm, namely: "The Scriptures Teach A Plurality of Local Churches May Act Collectively." I do however affirm:THE SCRIPTURES TEACH THAT A CONGREGATION MAY RECEIVE HELP FROM ANY NUMBER OF CONGREGATIONS TO CARRY OUT ITS SCRIPTURAL PROGRAM.

Each congregation, under Christ, can and should be independent; but congregations, any number of them, may cooperate in carrying out the work of God, under Christ. Bro. Turner and I are two separate and independent individuals, however we may cooperate in carrying out a work and not lose our independency. However, if I allow bro. Turner to do my thinking for me, and I submit to his complete operational program, I lose my independency and become a puppet·

I submit to you that one congregation may outline a program of work, under Christ, such as carrying for orphans, preaching the gospel via radio or T.V., etc., and ask assistance from other congregations and individuals; and if such congregations and individuals, knowing the facts, assist; then therefore such congregations and individuals do not forfeit their independence.

EXAMPLE: 1 Cor. 16:1-4. "Churches of Galatia" were to "lay by in store" put into the treasury, and such bounty was to be carried to Jerusalem, and this for the "poor saints." Read Acts 11:30 and 12:25. This contribution was sent to "the elders." Surely the congregations of Galatia did not lose their independency by taking the money from the treasury and sending it to "the elders" at Jerusalem to be used for relieving the "Door saints" of Judea. ABILENE HIGHLAND CHURCH: The elders of this church instituted a program, set it up, advertised it, took the responsibility thereof, then asked that other congregations and individuals assist in this work. I must insist that these other congregations in assisting the Abilene congregation did not lose their independence; but established their independence by acting as individual congregations in cooperating with others in carrying out the work of PREACHING THE GOSPEL under the Christ.

No congregation, except the Highland church, had anything to do with formulating this RADIO and T.V. program. Has not the Highland CHURCH the right to preach the gospel via radio and T.V.? Has not every congregation the right to assist the Highland church in preaching the gospel? Bro. Turner and those who think as he, are endeavoring to deny congregational independency, but fail to so see.

CONCLUSION: The church is composed of every baptized believer in Christ. Churches of Christ as used in the BIBLE is not a name, but as used by many of my brethren is a name and a denomination. It is true that the church is, today, divided into 26 little sects and all of them are contending against the others. The church at Corinth had 8 divisions in it, yet Paul did not draw the line of fellowship, but addressed the church as "the church of God," "saints." Fellowship lines were not drawn, nor should they be today. "We be brethren" so let us talk as brethren, discuss as brethren and quit drawing lines of fellowship. Come and let us PRAY together and ask God to forgive us as we endeavor to find our way.