Vol.VI No.VIII Pg.5
October 1969

Phoenix Tv Bust

Robert F. Turner

On Sunday. Sept. 28, I heard a Question and Answer T. V. program, broadcasted from Phoenix. Arizona. in which several Church of Christ preachers answered questions sent in by the public. Someone asked. What is the difference in the Church of Christ and the Christian Church? and the first part of the reply must have shaken the book-worms out of every reliable history written about the Restoration Movement in this country.

The Church of Christ preacher said that the Christian Church missionary society was an alliance of the Christian Church with other denominations in the work of preaching the gospel, and that this was wrong because the church ought to have its own means of preaching to other nations. etc.

There may be isolated cases of the Christian Church making an alliance with other denominations in mission work (as some Churches of Christ have and are now doing) but this is certainly NOT the basis of the American Christian Missionary Society formed in 1849, and being the first point of division among brethren in this country. It is NOT the society principle that divides the Christian Church and faithful brethren today.

Long before we heard the T.V. program, we had prepared pp. 6 of this issue. Note paragraph 3, where Earl West (historian) says. As far back as 1831, for example, Campbell began to plead with the brethren to establish an organization through which all of the churches might concentrate their efforts in getting evangelistic work done. CampbelI wanted, and the Missionary Society was established to give the church its own means of preaching to other nations. The very thing our Phoenix preacher thinks we ought to have — that is actually the issue of the last and this century.

Error no. one, is the concept of obligation on the part of the church us a whole, as though the church was some functional unit. The church to these people, is made up of all the local churches — a churchhood in the place of a brotherhood — and a means must be found by which all these churches could function as one. Campbell found that means in the ACMS and current. liberal preachers find it in such projects as the Herald of Truth, Campaigns. Inc. , etc. Our liberal brethren, of the past century as well as of this, refuse to seriously consider the meaning of congregational independence (even though they speak of it now and then) and the fact that the single local church, operating under its own oversight and within its own ability, is the only divinely appointed means for the collective action of saints in the work God has assigned to be so done.

I do not know the Phoenix preacher and did not bother to get his name. This is not: a personal attack, but I am deeply interested in countering the serious harm that is done by such inaccurate teaching. Hundreds, yes thousands, of brethren are supporting sponsoring church projects, thinking it is a good work, but giving no thought to organizational principles being violated. We perish for lack of knowledge.