Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Perkins Road Church Regains Her Senses
George T. Eldridge
The great potential for Christ at Perkins Rd., the attitude of the Tolles, which is seen in their letter that follows, and the crying need for a gospel preacher there influenced my wife and me to move to Baton Rouge by the end of June, 1972. We fully know that no money has been promised or indicated by any Christian or church for my wages, but we are going to Baton Rouge. I will do the work of a faithful proclaimer for our Lord and Savior in that city. The Perkins Rd. Church is not able financially to contribute anything toward my wages yet, but I believe the brethren and churches will respond to my need for wages and money to cover my moving expense.
The money collected presently by the Perkins Rd. Church pays the $255.36 monthly payment on her building, which only has a $6,300.00 remaining debt, the building utilities, and the cost for some teaching material. Two families (5 in att6ndance) are doing their best to handle these absolute costs.
The building is located in a growing section of Baton Rouge. It will seat comfortably 160 to 175 people and would conservatively have a replacement cost of $40,600.00 to $50,000.00. The building has 4 classrooms, the auditorium, an empty space for another classroom, an adequate preachers study, and a nursery.
The Money Future
At least five years must pass before the church will even be close to what is called self-supporting. By Gods help, much work, much prayer, and declaring "unto all the counsel God," we will be self-sustaining and a tower of spiritual strength. Peace and fellowship does exist between this church and the church where Brother Bill Crews preaches.
The Tolles described well the attitude seen in "certain actions" which started the church where Bill Crews works, and slowly diminished a 70 plus attendance down to two families, now numbering five in attendance!! Digesting such unscriptural "certain actions," weak pulpit preaching, unscriptural leadership, and the ideas of Brother W. Carl Ketcherside, where else could the Perkins Rd. Church go but to hobnobbing with the liberals? The congregation also compromised truth, lost a few members to the new sound church and more to churches in error, and then had an attendance of about zero.
The teaching of Brother Ketcherside is many sided, but please read his own written word to an admirer of his at Perkins Road.
"When we arise above the artificial walls and barriers and begin to love all of the brethren, God can give us a whole new dimension of service and he will. We must simply ignore the divisiveness and factionalism of the past and refuse to be trapped inside the narrow enclosures which men have built. . . A great door has been opened to witness to Baptist folk, sincere, eager, and seeking!"
Even with Brother Ketchersides "speech of Ashdod" and having gone to "the plain of Ono," what conclusion is drawn from his writing? You do not love the brethren when you point out their rejection of Bible authority by their practices, for example, of instrumental music, centralized control, sponsoring church co-operation, churches building and maintaining man-made organizations, one container in the Lords Supper, or pre-millennialism.
This admirer of Brother Ketcherside and the two young preachers of Perkins Road, who were Ken R. Durham and Lynn McCauley, attended the A-C. C. lectures together and heard his unity speech, "Authority of the Word." He then wrote Brother Ketcherside March 2, 1971 these words.
"You really impressed Ken and Lynn. They have already been to see Max Goins at Calvary Christian Church and he invited Lynn to speak there on a Sunday evening. They are also swapping pulpits with two of the other ministers of churches of Christ in town. They were very impressed with the black minister and he is going to swap out with one of them this month. When I told our "double-trouble" team they were not letting any grass grow under their feet, Lynn said, - Weve got to put all this trivia aside and get on with it. How about that?"
The "double-trouble team" of Ken and Lynn had the right environment at Perkins Rd. to make certain no grass grew under their feet. The church was soft. She would tolerate error. She wanted unity at any price. Men of the stature of B. Hall Davis and Thomas Smitherman had left. These false teachers (Ken and Lyn) could view "make all things according to the pattern" as "trivia (Heb. 8:5). Imagine so called preachers calling the pattern for (1) music in the church, (2) church work, (3) church worship, (4) church fellowship, or (5) church co-operations as "trivia." The false teachers got on with their work and destroyed the church more, but the Perkins Road Church had asked for it!!!
The church kept going down and down before the Tolles awakened. When they did get scripturally aroused, it was too late. The congregation was in shambles! The church now has seven in attendance, counting my wife and me.
Churchs Present Attitude
She will now "hold fast the form of sound words ... in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 1: 13). We know we are small in number, but we want all faithful Christians coming to Baton Rouge to work with us. The lazy, the unconcerned, and the indifferent person should not want to come our way because we need workers to labor with us in filling our present building with saved sinners. Our location is easy to find: 1-10 & College Drive; 4270 Perkins Road; near Colonel Sanders; less than four minutes off 1-10.
Baton Rouge is called the "Growth Center of the South." Her population is a growing 200,000. She has four main pillars to her economy: She (1) is the state capital of Louisiana, (2) is the center of me of the worlds largest petrochemical areas, (3) is home of two large state universities: Louisiana State University and Southern University, and (4) has a major world port.
Industrial Complex. The petrochemical center of the South, the growing industrial development along the Mississippi River is based on petroleum, but it claims chemicals, rubber, plastics, fight and heavy metals and other products. At least one hundred fifty manufacturers employ 18,500 people.
Port of Baton Rouge. It is the seventh largest port in the nation. It is the farthest inland deep water port on the Mississippi. It serves both deep water and river transportation. Vessels from many countries berth here.
Brethren, pray for me. I need your financial assistance for my wages and to pay my moving expense (2 Cor. 11: 8; 2 Tim. 1: 16-18). Also, tracts are needed. I know you will respond because we serve the same God, are guided by the same Bible, are interested in the lost souls of men, and want to go to Heaven together.* Also, you answered the call when I authored an article about the new church in Monroe, Louisiana, which concerned H. Tom Swilley. I await your answer.
TO: The Elders and Brethren________Greetings in Christ Jesus our Lord!
We want to write you personally and let you know how we stand on the truth of God. About 2 or 3 years ago, certain actions led many brethren to believe my wife and I were no longer Biblically opposed to (1) the centralized control and unscriptural church co-operation seen and taught by the Herald of Truth; (2) churches of Christ building and maintaining human institutions (man-made organizations) such as old folks homes, orphan homes, and colleges; and (3) churches of Christ providing entertainment and recreation for Christians.
Examples of these certain actions were: 11) the meeting with the elders from North Baton Rouge and their preacher on November 10, 1970, (2) Bob Hendren, the preacher from North Blvd. church of Christ preaching in a meeting at Perkins Road church, and (3) brothers Ken R. Durham and Lynn McCauley and others who they got to preach at Perkins Road church of Christ including Lynn Cook of the North Baton Rouge church who believe and practice the actions mentioned above.
We have repented for any participation we had in the aforementioned actions. God has helped us to see the error of the direction in which we were headed ... liberalism ... away from the old paths revealed in the Scriptures for the pattern and practices of the church Christ built.
God has forgiven us for the error of trying to hob-knob with the "Weighty works" brethren. We now stand on the Scriptural pattern for the church of Christ as revealed in the New Testament and exemplified therein. My wife and I will examine the Scriptures more and more, pray more and more, and work more and more for our precious Lord and Savior so that we may grow steadfastly in grace and knowledge of Him who was crucified in our place.
We are ready at all times to give an answer as to why we are now opposed to the above named unscriptural practices, which cause division among brethren and mark the promoters as being "liberal" or going beyond the things which are written. We also are positive that the Perkins Road church of Christ with her preacher, George T. Eldridge, will be of the same mind, speak the same thing, and be of the same judgment; will hold forth sound doctrine by advertising, debating, and publicly proclaiming the unscripturalness of such yokes of bondage being placed on Gods church by the "big promoters" in the church today.
A debate with North Boulevard or North Baton Rouge churches in defense of these practices they are glorying in will do much good to show if they really believe these things are Scriptural and sound. When one is right scripturally, he has the courage and will uphold what he believes is right.
We have remained members of the Perkins Road church of Christ which is one of only two faithful congregations in Baton Rouge standing for the truth of Christ and exposing and condemning error in the church -and out. Let us remind you that it took a long, long time for us to awaken, so we dont expect you to change overnight; but, remember when you let down on one little point of Scripture, it is not long before you are compromising on all others. If we can assist you in the work of the Lord, do not hesitate to call on us ... but, we will not fellowship error.
Your brethren in Christ,
Albert and Evelyn Tolle
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 39, pp. 10-13