Vol.VIII No.VI Pg.3
August 1971

Is It Worth The Cost?

Dan S. Shipley

From its earliest days, support of the Herald of Truth has been urged on the basis of the nominal costs per participant. Through expensive brochures and skilled promoters, impressive statistics have been advertised in support of what many consider to be a real bargain in evangelism. But the bargain is only imagined. It is time to consider the real and unpublicized costs; costs far greater than mere money. It is time for all brethren to realize that the Herald of Truth has been one of the costliest projects ever to be instigated among Gods people.

The Herald of Truth has cost precious unity among Christians. It has played a prominent role in dividing churches throughout the country. Because of it, life-long friends in the Lord have been alienated; even members of the same family have been estranged. It has promoted bitterness, prejudice, and ill-will among those whom Christ prayed may all be one. It has sown discord among those whom God instructs to follow after the things which make for peace and the things wherewith we may edify another (Rom. 14:19). Anyone who can see why the church was not divided over the Herald of Truth thirty years ago can see how it has been responsible for division! — think about it. Honest brethren can recognize this culprit; they can see the futility of blaming division on sincere and conscientious brethren insisting on Bible authority (just as all Christians once did!). When an alleged expedient such as the Herald of Truth is pushed and promoted to the point of division, its not hard to see who has sown the discord.

Brethren, we are divided. The Herald of Truth has helped to divide us. Its every supporter (not just preachers and elders) should realize that he is contributing to that which has divided Gods people! Is it worth it?

But, there are other costs, such as those weak members who have quit the church (the Lord) over these issues and the resultant conflict. Some may never be reclaimed. It is another sign of perilous times when promoters can label as a good work that which has cost such souls as well as unity. Even non-Christians have been influenced by these Herald of Truth oriented problems. In many places our kin and neighbors have witnessed this cleavage; some, with satisfaction; none with understanding. Their question is a good one: Why are there TWO churches of Christ in town? God is concerned about the Christians reputation with non-Christians (Matt. 5:16; 1 Pet. 2:12).

Finally, though, it must be remembered that these and other consequences, injurious as they have been, are not what makes the Herald of Truth wrong. In many places it has been accepted without proving (1 Thss. 5:21); practiced without opposition. But it is no less wrong where unopposed for agreement among men is not the basis for determining right. It is wrong because it is without Divine authority; no such arrangement can be found in the Bible! It is outside the doctrine of Christ and is therefore supported at the supreme cost of fellowship with God Himself! (2 Jn. 2:9) such are the unheralded costs. Honestly, is it worth it?