Vol.IX No.V Pg.6
July 1972

Mission Work- Boles,

Robert F. Turner

We here conclude an article by the beloved H. Leo Holes. This early effort to stem institutional digression was first printed, of all places, in the Gospel Advocate; Nov. 10, 1932. What a pity it was not better heeded.

The churches on the first day of the week, when they met, took up their collection and appointed their own messengers to hear their gift to Jerusalem. Paul did not appoint an agent to go among the churches to get them to promise to do anything; they had already promised as independent and individual churches to help in this matter, and the men sent by Paul were to encourage each church to be ready with its gift when he arrived. Neither did any church appoint an agent to go among other churches to get them to promise to help in this matter; neither did delegates or representatives from all of these churches appoint a man or men to go among the churches and solicit them to give to the helping of the poor. Each congregation acting in its own independent way made the promise without solicitation or persuasion or any outside influence;...

The example of raising a bounty for the poor ... is the nearest approach to the cooperation of churches that we find in the New Testament, and these examples show conclusively that each church exercised its own autonomy and independent activity in this work. This was for the relief of the poor saints in Jerusalem and Judea. Even if these churches cooperated in relieving the poor, as many want to do today, yet we would still be lacking in example of such cooperation in having the gospel preached in foreign lands or at home.... this fact proves that God did not intend for his churches to cooperate in preaching the gospel, as some brethren are trying to get them to do now

A summary of the teachings of the New Testament gives us the following facts with respect to missionary work. (1) In New Testament times the churches recommended and sent out preachers of the gospel into the mission field. (Acts 13:1-3; 14:26; 15:40) The church that had preachers to spare in the foreign field recommended them, and they went under the recommendation and encouragement of their own congregation. The apostle do not necessarily belong to this class, as they were sent out by the Lord. (2) The preachers who were sent out returned to the church that sent them and reported the work which they had done. (Acts 14:27) The missionaries were responsible to the church that sent them out, and hence reported back to it. (3) The church which the missionaries belonged and from which they went looked after their conduct and called them to account for violations or supposed violations of duty. (Acts 11:1-18; 15:1-29) (4) The churches communicated directly with the preachers which they supported. (Phil. 4:15-18; 1 Thess. 1:7-8) We should have these matters and Scriptural examples clearly in mind as they are instructive to us in carrying on the same kind of work today. We should ever bear in mind the churches are to act independently and are not in any way to he tied by an human method cooperation.