Read the Article by Spears

Wm. E. Wallace
Indianapolis, Indiana

In this issue we carry a provocative article by Dudley Ross Spears dealing primarily with t h e "limited benevolence" issue. In the February 1964 issue of TRUTH MAGAZINE I wrote on "This Thing Called Limited Benevolence." In this article I concluded, "The battle over institutionalism is one thing; whether or not the church can help the non-Christian is another. The two issues do not belong together. "

The letters I received in response to the above mentioned article, the comments made to me personally, and the sentiment expressed to me in various ways from all sections of the country indicate a strong and growing disapproval of making "limited benevolence" the main issue. This is not to say that brethren are accepting church-treasury benevolence for outsiders to be scriptural; it is to say that they are regarding the limited benevolence as a by-product or side issue. We believe it to be on par with local problems like one-child elders, hatless women worshippers, lethargy regarding church discipline, and a host of other matters that frequently come up in adult Bible classes.

In my review of the Indianapolis Grider-Totty debate I pointed out that "Now is the time to swing the discussion back into the channel where flows the real issues -- institutionalism in which churches contribute to and work through society boards, and centralization in which churches surrender funds to a regional or national sponsoring church." (January 1965)

There are a few conservative brethren who have tried to defend the practice of church treasury benevolence for the outsiders. But their exegesis of scripture is not convincing. I do not advocate or defend using the Lord's money to assist aliens. But I do insist that the focusing of this issue, as the main issue is ill advised. If it were possible that the limited benevolence issue could be once and for all settled and agreement reached by both conservative and liberal brethren, we would still have to combat institutionalism and sponsoring church efforts.

Truth Magazine IX: 9, p. 10
June 1965