Church United?

Chas. Degenhart
Marysville, California

In the Firm Foundation of May 18, on page 20, there is an article entitled: "Church United." It stated: "About two years ago the church in Rock Springs, Wyo., split because of the erroneous teaching of a man. This man taught that the church could not cooperate to support orphan homes. After he left some personal problems and memories of the trouble in the past kept them from reuniting. On April 12, Bob Johnson of Laramie came and preached three nights. He pointed out the fact that personal feelings should not keep brethren divided. As a result of the preaching of the truth, 25 have responded asking forgiveness of their part in the division, thus reuniting the church here. It is our endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. --Mike White, Box 854, Rock Springs, Wyoming."

If I had been writing the news concerning the above, I would have headed the article a little differently. It would have read: "Another Church Lost to the Liberals!" Notice they accuse the former preacher of teaching error-- "This man taught that the church could not cooperate to support orphan homes." (Italics mine--C. D.) I believe I met that former preacher at Dayton, Ohio back about December 1941. At that time he was working at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in order to support his family and help support one of the churches at Dayton. He was just beginning to do some over-Sunday preaching. The brethren there spoke well of him.

That brother moved out to Rock Springs to labor with them with insufficient support, hoping adequate support could be raised. Several times I saw his appeals in the Gospel Guardian for support in order to stay there. I was "fighting to keep the wolf away from my door" then (and still am). No doubt the elders of many churches saw his appeals and could have come to his aid but didn't. So another church lost to the liberals! Will the brethren blame the preacher? Will the churches that could have come to his support but didn't shrug it off saying it was not their responsibility? At the judgment when we all face the King, where will he place the responsibility? A "beachhead" for the Lord was established at Rock Springs, but the victory finally went to Satan. It is doubtful that the cause will ever be regained for the Lord there in this generation.

I think it is high time Christians all over the land realize we must win some battles for the Lord now. All of us know the truth will triumph at the last day, but it will be too late then! We need to win today! Now is the time to fight, the battle will be over then and the sword will be laid aside, and every good soldier will "rest from his labors." Ten or twenty dollars a month from a dozen or two churches or individuals for a couple of years would have held that beachhead at Rock Springs, and in good time a good, strong church would have been established there, with brethren rooted and grounded in the faith. Churches in "hard places" simply do not build up to be "self-supporting" in a few months or a year or two. It takes time. I am protesting the loss of that "beachhead" with all my soul! It was a victory for Satan, and he has won too many already. He is "on the march" all over the land. He finally "took over" at Rock Springs because the one there defending the faith had to move out in order to keep from denying the faith himself --he had to provide for his own! How many victories will Satan chalk up in other places for the same reason?

I once heard a preacher say there were three classes of preachers in the brotherhood. He thought the first class should be in the "mission" field, the second class in the "home" field, and the third class in the cornfield! The first class preachers won't go to the "hard places" unless they have sufficient support, for they can get it from the big places. They are in "demand." Usually the second-class (???) go to the "hard places" and some times they have to leave because of insufficient support. Some have to quit and enter secular work in order to provide for their families. It is true that a few are not honest and will not report their entire earnings to their supporting churches. They desire to live like "kings." Thank God they are in the minority! We have worked in "hard places" most of our life. Some one has to do it.

A few months ago a brother "approached me" on the subject of trying to get the "fellowship dinners" going in the meetinghouse. He impressed me as one who would not be content to stop there. I tried to reason with him regarding the dangers involved in such things, several times in private conversation. These brethren are opposed to it (including this preacher). I finally pointed out if he insisted on "pushing it" over the objections of all the brethren, it did not manifest the proper spirit on his part. Like many a preacher under similar circumstances I only succeeded in gaining his animosity. Woe unto the brethren or preacher who "gets in the way" of those who are determined to make the meeting house the center of social activities instead of the center of spiritual activities for which it was built in the first place! They can expect to be blasphemed, abused, and falsely accused! Even when good brethren try collectively to assist them in recovering themselves from the snare of the devil, they will be railed on and accused of being "brainwashed! " When good brethren have exhausted their efforts and patience in trying to bring such to repentance and fail in their efforts, they should exercise the command given by Paul in 2 Thess. 3:6-15 and Rom. 16: 1 7-19.

We moved here last September at the invitation of these brethren to live and labor among and with them. The good church at 1354 Mt. View Ave. in San Bernardino are helping in our support by sending us $200 per month. The little church here is giving us a like amount but they cannot do it for long as we are losing two fine families. One brother was promoted and must move to the state capital, and another is retiring and will move to be near his son. Both have been standing firm for the truth and backing it. We can ill afford to lose them. Their financial and active support has meant much to "hold the line" here: My rent has been raised twice here. Living conditions are the highest of anywhere I have been in this state. The Air Force is moving 1200 additional personnel into this area and prices are going up on everything. Twice the past two months I have had to "borrow" to make "ends meet." I have appealed for support to continue here, but so far we have had no additional help to "hold our hands up" in the battle. Will there be another victory for Satan like there was at Rock Springs and for the same reason? I want to "fight" here. Who will "give us a hand?" Churches have been sending preachers for meetings and supporting them, but the real need here as elsewhere is to support the man on the job and keep him here.

The liberals get the most of the personnel sent to the bases. Then too, it seems now days, many who are faithful "back home" are like the fellow who was moving out here from back east and he said, "Goodbye God, I'm going to California!" You would be surprised if you knew the number all over the brotherhood who has done about the same thing. If you know of sound brethren who are being transferred here, send us their names, rank, and serial number and we will look them up on the base. In the meantime, why not put in the budget a little for the next year or two and help us win this one for Christ. I will send a complete report each month, giving the names and addresses and amount sent by each individual or church and you can compare notes. We can give you references at your request. May I hear from you?

Truth Magazine IX: 11, pp. 7-8
August 1965