Roy E. Cogdill
"The only example of benevolence in the New Testament by the church was the one in which the Apostle Paul took up a collection from a number of churches to help the poor saints in Jerusalem. But according to the 'antis', it is wrong to do it this way. The benevolent work must be done by one church or by one individual-according to them-or it is not right."
I Now, brother Gunselman, if you do not know any better than that, you are too ignorant to talk about the "antis" or anybody else. Or again, without any personal enmity, I say, if it is not ignorance then you will not tell the truth. You are guilty of ignorance or misrepresentation and both are unchristian and will condemn you. Before you begin to try to represent what people believe you had better inform yourself.
I have preached all of my preaching life that churches cooperated in relieving the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. This is recorded in 2 Cor. 81 and 9; 1 Cor. 16:1-4; Rom. 15:25-27. But Gunselman exposes his ignorance again when he says it is the "only example of benevolence in the New Testament by the church." He must have been taking a "siesta again while reading his Bible." Has be never read about the church in Jerusalem taking care of its own needy in Acts 2, 4, and 6? And what about the contribution from Antioch to the brethren in Judea in time of famine (Acts 11:27-30)? Has he never read these passages?
What do we learn about cooperation in benevolence from all of these passages? Whatever they teach becomes the pattern of God's will undoubtedly for us today. Do we learn that the brethren set up a corporate body with a Board of Directors, President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, called it a home and turned the benevolence of the church over to it? That is what Gunselman and his Sponsoring Church at Concord Street here in Orlando practice and preach but will not defend by the word of God. Where is the chapter and verse for this?
Oh! Some brethren say, "This is just the home that was lost being restored." Well, where does the Bible say anything about 6'restoring the home" of either the orphan or widow? Chapter and verse, PLEASE! And if they are to be restored, at least they should be built back like they were to begin with-that is what restoration means! But such a benevolent society is neither the church nor is it a home in any sense of the word. A church is made up of saints, Bishops, and Deacons (Phil. 1: 1). A home or family relationship is made up of parent and child, and husband and wife relationship. The benevolent society that brethren call a "home" is in no sense a home. This benevolent society furnishes a home or residence or shelter for those in need of such but the church can do that for those to whom it is responsible and the human organization the brethren build simply supplants the church when it does the work God told the church to do.
The New Testament, in the sum total of its testimony on the benevolent work of the church, and that constitutes the "pattern" and the "exclusive pattern" for the church of the Lord, teaches that each church or congregation took care of its own needy as long as it was possibly able, even through extreme sacrifice (Acts 2, 4, 6). When a church (such as Jerusalem) had been impoverished either through sacrifice, by persecution, famine, or other circumstances over which it had no control, had more destitute members than it could provide for, other churches made up contributions and sent to the relief of the needy church so that its responsibility to its destitute could be met. These churches that contributed to the church in need each raised its own contribution by its own members giving as they were able (I Cor. 16:1-4; Acts 11:2730), chose its own messengers (and they were always individuals rather than churches) by which to forward its funds (I Cor. 16:1-4; 2 Cor. 8:19-23) and sent that contribution to the elders of the church in need (Acts 11: 2 730). Now that is plain enough for even Gunselman to understand and that is all he or anybody else can find that God's pattern for the benevolent work of the church includes. Dare they go beyond? Brother Gunselman adds another kind word about us:
"Our Philippine brethren have not been well taught so far with these denominational practices of the 'anti' brethren, but Brother Cogdill and another American brother are in the Philippines at the present time, and when they leave, our Philippine brethren are sure to know how to practice these denominational things; and you will see that they will draw the lines very closely around themselves. So it is not a matter of whether we consider the 'antis' brethren or not."
In another paragraph he refers to us as "otherwise good men" whom the "devil has seen fit to use to cause division in the Lord's church." Again he refers to us as "false brethren" and says that it is a saddening thing that this "thing has come to the Philippines, but it is here, and it will operate like a new denomination."
Brother Gunselman thinks to strictly follow the New Testament pattern of doing the benevolent work of the church is: "denominational." He talks out of both sides of his mouth and condemns himself in what he accuses us of, all the way through. He charges us with refusing to fellowship them and then refuses to fellowship us even to the extent of a joint study of the word of God concerning these things. He says that we will brand them "another denomination" and then turns right around and so stigmatizes us in almost the same breath. He has carried his unscriptural plans and operations into the Philippines and then, in spite of the strongest opposition having already been given his unscriptural plans by the Philippine brethren over a period of several years, he would leave his readers to think that brother Willis and I came over there and introduced the division among the Filippino churches. Brother Gunselman, "Thou art the man!"
He did not even honor Brother Willis by calling his name. He referred by slurs and epithets and through the medium of "name calling" to both of us all the way through, except one time he let my name slip out.
Brother Gunselman should know that it is not opposition to human innovations that are introduced into the church that creates division. It was not opposition to the Missionary Society by Lipscomb and others that divided the churches of Christ over that issue. It was the introduction of this human society without scriptural authority, cramming it down the throats of brethren in violation of their convictions and consciences that created the division. It was not opposition to instrumental music in the worship of the churches of Christ that caused the division over that issue. It was the introduction of this human innovation into the worship of God without divine authority and forcing brethren to either participate in it contrary to their convictions and conscience or get out that brought the division. In both instances and all others, division comes by the introduction into the church of those things that have no divine authority. When brethren whose convictions and conscience will not allow them to have fellowship in "profane" practices that do not come under the covenant "sanctified by the blood of Christ," and therefore are not holy, are forced to either violate their conscience or separate themselves, they have no choice but to "come out from among them and touch no unclean thing" (2 Cor. 6:14-7: 1).
The strife in the churches today over cooperation in evangelism and benevolence has resulted directly by, liberal brethren like Gunselman and the Concord Street Church in Orlando injecting into the churches without divine authority and forcing upon brethren against their honest convictions and their consciences the "sponsoring church organizational set-up" and human benevolent societies. Neither of them is authorized in New Testament scriptures any more than Coca Cola and soda crackers on the Lord's Table! Gunselman, if the church of which you are a member adopted Coca Cola and soda crackers on the Lord's Table, would you participate in such worship and violate your convictions and your conscience or be an "anti", try to teach them better and if you could not, go somewhere else to worship even if you had to start one? If you did, would you be guilty of dividing the church of the Lord over Coca-Cola and soda crackers?
TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV; 47, pp. 5-7
October 8, 1970