Gunselman's Misrepresentations

Roy E. Cogdill
Orlando, Florida

In another issue of his bulletin on which he places no date, brother Gunselman indicates that he is genuinely disturbed by the force of opposition against his "liberalism and institutionalism" by the native Filipino preachers. Remember that all of the so-called "American Missionaries" in the Philippine Islands are "Liberals." Their opposition comes from the native Filipino preacher who has learned the truth from the study of God's Word and is contending for it earnestly and doing a good job of it. These American Missionaries have persecuted, intimidated, slandered, and otherwise abused these native Filipino brethren who will not worship their "idols" until it is a shame. That is why brother Agdurna sent an open challenge to Robert Buchanan and the rest to come down to the lectureship and discuss with American brethren the differences between us and let the Filipino brethren learn the truth. They would not do it, so from here on they should keep their mouths shut about a discussion. They know, just as brethren have learned here in America, that they cannot defend their practices and so they make every ridiculous excuse possible to get out of trying to do so. But listen to Gunselman again:

"Are Antis Brethren?"

"More and more I am being asked the question: 'What attitude should we take toward the 'anti' people? Are they brethren? Should they be fellowshipped? Or should we consider them the same as denominationalists?

Actually it makes little difference what our attitude will be toward them. They will quit fellowshipping us! Whether we like it or not, even though they are very much in the minority that will consider us not to be the True church. They will quit attending lectureships, Gospel meetings, singings, and other such things where our brethren usually go!

In the past I have published directories, in which I have included the 'anti' brethren; but they have published their own, in which they have left us out! The question basically is of little significance. The 'antis' will quit associating with us!"

I think that it quite apparent from the facts "who has quit associating with whom." But this is the kind of double-talk Gunselman engages in. He condemns himself in almost every word he writes. In the other bulletin to which we have referred, he wrote, before the lectureship at M'lang, warning the brethren not to come to the lectureship but to stay at home and "take a siesta and read their Bibles." He notified everyone that he would no be there in spite of a very cordial invitation to do so. Yet he talks of us. "disfellowshipping the liberals." The fact of the matter is as Gunselman himself demonstrated that when you oppose their "idols" of human institutionalism and liberalism, they will not fellowship you but will do everything they can to discredit and destroy you. I have had many years of this at their hands and he is like all the rest. There are churches all across the land that I have started almost single-handedly and many others that I have helped to build up at a personal sacrifice, in nearly a half century of Gospel preaching, that would not welcome me to their services, allow me to speak, or even lead a prayer. I would get as much fellowship at Baylor Baptist University and that is none at all, as I would at one of the liberal schools. These fellows display a lot of piety and pretended righteousness but they are like the Pharisees of the Lord's generation; oppose them and expose their hypocrisy and they will want to crucify you. Some of the American brethren have treated the Filipino brethren shamefully because of their forthright opposition. I read one of the most shamefully abusive and slanderous letters from Robert Buchanan about brother Agduma that I ever saw. Some more of Gunselman's misrepresentations:

"Can one congregation 'cooperate' with another congregation in doing the Lord's work?--should be a question for the elders of each congregation to decide. But these 'anti' preachers will not leave it to the elders. They make the decision themselves and impose it on the church!"

Gunselman could not have told a more untrue thing than this about any of us. Dominating the church has nothing to do with the scriptural pattern of cooperation, to start with. In the next place, the Lord who is the head over all things, to the church decides what the churches of Christ can and cannot do in all matters pertaining to faith. Elders have no more business deciding matters of faith than preachers do, or to decide by a majority vote of the members. Matters of faith have already been determined in heaven (Psalms 119: 89). Whether or not we have the right to destroy the autonomy of congregations and destroy their equality by some sort of federation of human origin, or whether or not we have the right to supplant the organization God gave the church, the local church, with a human society to function in its stead has already been decided by the God of heaven and is made plain in the Word of God. God has legislated in these matters and they cannot be rescinded or changed by the elders of the church, preachers, or a- majority of its members. When liberal brethren think they can alter God's plan for the organization and work of the church, they deny the sovereignty of Christ, impeach the wisdom of Almighty God and set themselves up "in the vanity of their minds" to walk after their own wisdom and will. These matters are not matters of human judgment any more than "Coca Cola and soda crackers on the Lord's table," Brother Gunselman, and one can be established by the same kind of sophistry that establishes another. I will make the same arguments for one that you make for the other. Try me and see! There is no scriptural authority for either and I believe that either will condemn the souls of those who thus disrespect the authority of Christ.

In spite of Gunselman's misrepresentations to the contrary, I have never had any trouble in all of my years of preaching with any eldership anywhere I have ever lived. I. have had to expose and condemn the ungodliness of an elder or two in various places but never have had any difficulties with any eldership and have left every place where I have ever lived of my own accord. I will compare my record of working with elders with Gunselman's any time he wants to do so. The charge of imposing things on the elders exists either in his own imagination or experience. Another of Gunselman's rank misrepresentations:

"An orphan can only be cared for in the home of a church member-according to them."

Now I do not know where he got that one and I do not know the "them" to whom he refers and I am sure he does not either. I do not so contend and have never done so, and so such is a complete misrepresentation of my convictions. More than that, I do not know of anyone that does so contend-so Gunselman's statement is either born of ignorance of what we teach or a willful misrepresentation. He can choose the one he likes. Again he misrepresents the truth when he says:

"According to the 'antis, two congregations can not go together and have a radio or TV program. It must be done by one of these congregations."

I am not sure that I understand exactly what he means by this one but taking it at face value-"two congregations cannot go together"-we believe no such thing. We believe that two or more congregations can "together" carry on any work of the church that is right if they do it independently and yet concurrently. "Churches" supported Paul. (2 Cor. 11: 8-9) They did not do it by pooling their resources and centralizing the control over it under the oversight of one eldership and Gunselman cannot do any better at finding such in the scriptures than his brethren who have made such a complete failure to do so. There is no authority for the 66 sponsoring church pattern of cooperation" in the word of God. We call on him for the chapter and verse that teaches it.

No church ever sent money to another church in the New Testament to enable it to carry on a program of teaching and preaching. Each church was obligated only for what it was able to do in evangelism. No church ever made a contribution to another church for any purpose unless it was unable to take care of its own destitute members and therefore was a church in need. The Bible does not teach that one should, or can, or ever did. It is not taught or authorized generically, specifically or in any other way. It cannot be found in express statement, approved example or necessary inference in all the word of God. We challenge Gunselman to produce the passages that teaches what he practices. Unless he can, and we will tell you now that he cannot, then he with all the other liberals are exercising the liberty of "going beyond the doctrine of Christ"-- walking after their own wisdom and therefore standing condemned. This is the issue that these brethren will not meet -- give us chapter and verse! Please! for the sponsoring church type of pooling resources -- many churches sending contributions to one church -- the work of many churches being centralized and control over it put under one eldership when God gave them authority only to oversee a local church. This they cannot defend by the word of God and we say again that we will come all the way back to the Philippine Islands to let the American brethren over there try their hand at it if they will agree to do so! This is the reason Gunselman stayed away from the lectureship -- the principal one. This is the reason that the "antis" about which he talks so much are worrying him so. He could shut every one of them up with just one passage of scripture, if only he could produce it. This is the reason his sponsoring church here in Orlando (Concord Street) will not discuss the question with us. You can invite and challenge and they remain as silent as a graveyard at midnight. Does anyone think they would so act if they had the scripture to establish what they practice?

But joint action -- going together by pooling the resources of churches and centralizing the control of the work of churches under one eldership -- and congregations acting concurrently and yet independently in cooperation in doing a work are two different things. One of them is in the Bible but the other is not. We, whom Gunselman sneering, calls "antis," believe the one that we can find in the Bible and we are "anti" the one he practices that lie cannot find in the Bible. We believe in cooperation the scriptural type of cooperation -- and again Gunselman is either ignorant of what we teach or will not tell the truth. That is a dilemma!


October 1, 1970