Vol.III No.VII Pg.5
August 1966

"All-Church" Idea Has A Choice

Robert F. Turner

In one issue (July 166) of ACTION, (the voice of Jimmie Lovell and his West Coast Christian Corp.) the threat to congregational independence is clearly visible to all who will see.

Jimmie's standard procedure is to praise elders as men, ridicule them as church leaders; urge women of the various churches to promote his pet projects, raise money among members, then present it to the elders to send. (This has a potent subtlety-- the elders neither plan, agree to, nor control the work; but to object or refuse subjects them to the fury of "women scorned.") As one of Jimmie's associates writes: "Check and see if your elders or if the preacher made this call known where you worship. It will give you a fair idea as to their love for Christ and some 57,000,000 lost souls just in one nation." This, from Prentice A. Meador, Jr.

Jimmie writes, "The church to most of us was limited to the local level (as in the N.T. -rft) guided in a large degree by some good married man who had a child or two but little vision if any." But bro. Lovell and his men have visions of the "whole church" functioning as an organized unit. John Allen Chalk writes, "The Church, as a universal order, a militant movement, a commissioned company, a reconciling ministry and Christ-on-earth-today, will not fail to evangelize the world." (emph. mine, rft) In previous issues Jimmie writes at length of the "great all-church call" -- referring to one of his pet projects. Ira (Marching, rft) North writes of a doctor who said that in matters of methods and expediency, we were still living in the past century and refused to come up to date. He does not want to change "one dot of any fundamental principle or truth" but thinks small congregations should consolidate. This is not so bad on the surface, but in context of current "all-church" ideas, it could hasten the death of local independence. Does the doctor know the "fundamental principle" of "organizational structure that begins and ends with the local congregation?" I sincerely hope so.

Jimmie writes, "Being real practical, to whom does the church look today for "concrete" answers on any matter? It is not the Bible, and every one of us knows it. As on unity, we cannot understand it. He then says the church goes to the colleges, and to editors of papers for truth.

First, the true church DOES go to the Bible, and CAN understand it. Any other conclusion acknowledges digression from God's way. For all of Jimmie's talk of free discussion, you do not see the columns of ACTION open to equal-space pro-and-con Bible study.

But "being real practical" Jimmie operates a foundation to which he urges folk to make their will. ("We have already reached possibly $300,000." He says.) His paper mailed more than 250,000 copies of one recent issue --and when you stop to think how many women that may put to work to bring pressure upon the elders, you realize that we are not dealing with a small stir, but a movement with potential to control many who "mean well."