By Steve Wolfgang
Footnote” J.B. Vawter, “A Brief History of the Iowa Christian Convention,” in J.H. Painter, ed., The Iowa Pulpit of the Church of Christ (St. Louis: John Burns Publishing Company, 1884), pp. 456-457,463.
In 1869, being weary of endless debates about plans, and saddened by the chaos and confusion that was weakening our cause in many places, the church in Iowa, in common with our brethren in other States, were waiting for the plan of cooperation that would be adopted by the General Convention. It met in October, in Louisville, Kentucky, and the plan adopted was known as the “Louisville Plan.” It was well devised system for the organization of our entire brotherhood into one grand army, with its divisions of States and sub-division of districts. Our people were not ripe for so thorough an organization at that time, and while it gave a greater impetus toward organization, it was trimmed and modified and finally abandoned.
Though by some it was violently opposed, and by others considered impractical, I predict that if we ever become a thoroughly cooperative people, we will be found working in harmony with the leading features of the “Louisville Plan,” for the organization and unification of our forces.
At the annual meeting held in Fairfield, September 25th, 1874, work on the “Louisville Plan” reached high water mark in Iowa, with one hundred and twelve churches in active co-operation.
With a few changes in names and dates, the main feature of the foregoing history could be used for our brethren in other States. As a rule, our failure to work together in sounding out the gospel was charged to some fault in the plan, and hence this constant changing of plans.
The real trouble, carefully concealed by our denominational pride, was that we were not really a missionary people. Opposition to plans, and demanding a “Thus saith the Lord,” was often a cloak of jealousy, selfishness, or to cover up our delinquency, so cunningly devised and persistently worn, as to deceive the very elect. There was always a goodly number of individuals and congregations who were ready to work by any plan, and were continually trying to do something and calling on others to help them. These would never let the subject rest long at a time, and hence this agitation and frequent organization.
The unmissionary preachers were of two classes (including) the opposers, who stay away from conventions and preacher’s institutes, and oppose all societies and organizations for co-operative work. . .
Does this sound familiar?
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 6, p. 167
March 15, 1990