Vol.IV No.IX Pg.6
October 1967

Fighting Error In 1890

Robert F. Turner

In the Gospel Advocate of Oct. 22, 1890, bro. David Lipscomb reports on a convention of churches meeting in Chattanooga, Tenn. (today, we would call it an "area-wide" meeting) to discuss missionary efforts.

He first reviewed an address made by a bro. Rhoulhac on "The Lord's Plan" for such work, pointing out its errors. He then publishes a copy of a statement he had presented a committee appointed to determine how far he would go toward organized cooperative work. We reprint portions of that paper, as space will allow.


"The churches of Christ are the institutions ordained by divine wisdom for perfecting the saints and converting the world. No other organization is needed or permissible. No arrangement or association of churches or individuals is allowable that overrides the churches, or interferes with the work committed to the churches, or that transfers to any one church or society what was committed to each and all. No association of churches or individuals is permissible that presents an organization separate and distinct from the churches of Christ. To do so is to impugn the wisdom of God and to supercede his appointments with inventions of man.

Churches may co-operate in spreading the gospel, 1st., by two or more churches, each communicating with an

evangelist when he is in a distant and destitute field, and supplying his wants and necessities. Eph. 6:20-21 Phil. 4:15. 2nd., Two or more churches may co-operate in sustaining an evangelist, by conferring with each other through a messenger and each doing a part in the work. (This is an inference but a legitimate one, from the apostles sending messengers to other churches in stirring up to bounty and in carrying that bounty to the poor saints). A messenger differs from a delegate in that a delegate has power delegated him to confer, organize, advise and determine for the church. This is practical legislation as to what and how the churches shall do. A messenger delivers what the church has decided and directs him, receives in turn a message and returns it. Messengers cannot confer, devise or command. When a church sees a work to be done and is not able to do it, it may send a messenger to another church or churches and ask aid in that work, the other churches can respond as to what each can do, and this is the end of co-operation in that line. There can be no self-perpetuating body save the churches of Christ to collect and disburse funds or direct preachers. That is the work committed by God to the churches themselves and they cannot delegate the work to others. it is legitimate and proper for an individual or a church that sees churches ' neglecting their duty or that sees destitute fields that need help to go or send to the churches and stir them up to activity and point them to the fields needing the help. When he stirs them up to their duty and points to the field, it is right for them to send help to aid the preacher at work. To delegate others to disburse the means and direct the labor for the churches is wrong."