By Larry Ray Hafley
Under the heading above, Bill Jackson recently wrote:
All believers in the Bible know that error is defeated by truth. That is so, whether it is error from outside the church, or some kind of error embraced by some in the kingdom. Within the kingdom, error is often seen in hobbyism brethren going off on some tangent – and it has been so since the Judaizers began their work in the first century. But hobbyism, by its very nature, is a deviation from the norm of truth, and will hold positions that truth will show to be error.
Probably the greatest hurt done to the church in nearly 2,000 years, and before the current liberalism crisis, was by those who have been called the “anti-cooperation” folks. Many members of the church can remember when this hobby began, and they also will be able to recall that points of doctrine have been added all along, showing that the system was of human origin, for God doesn’t have to update his doctrine!
But to our point on the snares “built in.” The hobbyists began to speak against congregations cooperating together in works, but usually the point of emphasis was on money. Faithful brethren then pointed out that the church in Antioch sent goods to the brethren in Judea, and that the funds went to the elders (Acts 11:27-30). More, brethren then pointed out that Paul took contributions, in his work among many congregations, and that many congregations thus sent aid to the Jewish brethren in their time of need. Thus, truth answered the hobby! But then the cry is raised, “But that was in benevolence! Brethren cannot use benevolence passages to justify works in the realm of evangelism! ” Hobbyism then had developed the human rule regarding “benevolence passages” and “evangelistic passages,” and never the twain shall meet!
Well, hobbyism has snares “built in.” Those who love truth then pointed out that evangelism (including the local preacher’s salary and salaries of all missionaries) is supported by the funds of 1 Corinthains 16:1,2, which is a benevolence passage! Down goes the hobbyistic point! No hobbyism can stand the searchlight of truth, and that’s why the hobbyist will hope that brethren will believe him, “no questions asked! ” (Bill Jackson, The Southwesterner, Vol XV, No. 47, September 14, 1988, pp. 1, 2)
Brother Jackson, along with Garland Elkins, Roy Deaver, Tom Warren, Alan Highers and others, is in a fight to the death with “the current liberalism crisis.” Much of what he has written lately sounds like the “antis” of both the 19th and 20th centuries. Those who sanctioned the “tangent” of dining rooms and cafeterias (a.k.a. “fellowship halls”) and attempted to water down “anti” objections with “Wee Willie the Water Cooler” are now fighting “Family Life Centers.” Suddenly, their entertainment recreational facilities have become full grown, full blown health spas ministering to I ‘the felt needs of the whole man.” They loved the kitten, but they hate the incorrigible, fat cat it has become. They loved their camps, retreats, bridal showers and church socials when they were cute, controllable little puppies, but they despise the big, belligerent dogs they have become. Their tangents, or side roads, have become industrial spurs, replete with institutional appendages that attach themselves to innovations unknown to the New Testament.
Brother Jackson would not have “the current liberalism crisis” that threatens to envelope and engulf him if he had listened to the “antis” who warned him that his tangents would evolve into Frankensteinian monsters. “Crossroads” and “Herald of Truth” are but two examples. The colleges are another. From them, the promoters of “the current liberalism crisis” are being produced like bolts in a factory.
Brother Jackson says, “Many members . . . can remember when this (‘anti-cooperation’) hobby began.” If so, those “many members” must be over 100 years old. See the writings of Ben Franklin in his book of sermons. Read David Lipscomb in the Gospel Advocate on “this hobby.” But suppose those who disagree with brother Jackson were to say, “Many members . . . can remember when this ‘anti’ Family Life Center hobby began,” or, “Many members . . . can remember when this ‘anti’ Crossroads hobby began.” Would that prove that brother Jackson’s opposition to those things was invalid?
Brother Jackson likely would not appreciate the Christian Church if they labeled him and his brethren as “the ‘anti-music’ folks. ” He is not anti-music per se. He is opposed to mechanical instruments of music in worship, but he is not antis-criptural music; namely, singing and making melody in the heart in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Just so, there are no . . . anti-cooperation’ folks.” All believers accept scriptural cooperation of churches (2 Cor. 11:8; Rom. 15:25, 26; 1 Cor. 16:1-4; 2 Cor. 8; 9). However, some oppose (are anti) arrangements whereby one church oversees the funds and function of other churches.
Were Benjamin Franklin and David Lipscomb “the ‘anti-missionary’ folks” of their day? No, and they would have resented such a libelous label. Their “anti-ism” regarding missionary societies did not make them opposed to preaching the gospel to the lost. Likewise, when one objects to pianos and organs in worship, he is not anti-music. When one opposes certain forms of cooperation, he is not anti-cooperation; that is, he is not against scriptural, congregational cooperation.
Works And Money
Brother Jackson says, “The hobbyists began to speak against congregations cooperating together in works, but usually the point of emphasis was on money.
(1) Scriptural, congregational cooperation “in works” must not be spoken against (2, Cor. 11:8; 1 Cor. 16:1).
(2) Unscriptural cooperative arrangements often involve error both “in works” and “money.” Brethren opposed the Missionary Society’s involvement “in works” not assigned by the Lord and as a misuse of “money.”
(3) Brother Jackson opposes “Family Life Centers.” Suppose those who have them (and they are legion in “the current liberalism crisis”) were to say, “Brother Jackson has begun to speak against Family Life Centers and their works, but usually the point of emphasis is on money. ” Would that be a fair representation of brother Jackson’s views on the issues involved? Hardly.
(4) Suppose those among brother Jackson’s brethren who want the colleges in the budget of all the churches were to say, “The hobbyists began to speak-against congregations cooperating together in (college) works, but usually the point of emphasis is on money.” What would Foy E. Wallace, Jr. have said to that? What would a young Guy N. Woods have said to that?
(5) Brethren Jackson, Elkins, Deaver, Warren, Highers, etc., to their credit, are opposed to the loose leanings, liberalism and denominationalism of the Herald of Truth as it presently exists. Suppose the Herald of Truth were to issue a statement aimed against them by saying, “The hobbyists (Getwell Road church, Memphis, Elkins, Jackson, Deaver, Highers, etc.) began to speak against congregations cooperating together in works, but usually the point of emphasis was on money (since the afore-mentioned hobbyists ceased to solicit funds for Herald of Truth).” Would that be a fair assessment of their opposition to Herald of Truth?
Yes, brother Jackson, “faithful brethren” have always “pointed out that the church in Antioch sent goods (‘relief) to the brethren in Judea, and that the funds went to the elders (Acts 11:27-30).” Unfortunately, other brethren, like Bill Jackson, have argued for an intermediary, congregational agent from that text. They argued (see chart at top of right column):
Thus, a pattern for such things as Herald of Truth was sought from the text. Brother Jackson’s comments cited above are not what the “antis” opposed. The “sponsoring church,” as outlined in the chart, was the thing opposed.
No one opposes what the passage describes. Acts 11:27-30 shows:
Foy E. Wallace, Jr. said, “Acts 11:29, 30 is not a case in point for what some brethren was promoting in the way of a general eldership as a board of benevolence and missions for all churches” (Torch, Vol. 1, No. 2).
If brother Jackson will practice what he now says Acts 11:27-30 presents, we will shake hands with him. Then we shall ask for the verses that justify cooperative arrangements like Herald of Truth. His statement in the article under review surrenders Acts 11:27-30 as proof for systems like Herald of Truth.
Romans 15:25, 26; 1 Corinthains 16:14; 2 Corinthains 8 & 9
Paul commanded, ordered, that collections be made by certain churches and that their designated, appointed messengers deliver them to the needy saints in Jerusalem. No one has ever been against the policy and procedures of cooperation as outlined in the above passages to which brother Jackson alluded. I suspect that no one knows that any better than Bill Jackson, lest it be Guy N. Woods.
The texts show:
Do not be deceived. Those horrible “hobbyistic antis” have never objected to the plan, practice and pattern of cooperation in relieving needy saints as seen in the texts and outline above. However, here is what brother Jackson needs to find:
The chart above is what the “antis” have opposed. It is your practice, not that of Romans 15:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 16:14; and 2 Corinthians 8 & 9, that is rejected.
That Cry That “Is Raised”
Brother Jackson cries against a cry, crying, “But then the cry is raised, ‘But that was in benevolence! Brethren cannot use benevolence passages to justify works in the realm of evangelism! Hobbyism then had developed the human rule regarding ‘benevolence passages’ and ‘evangelistic passages,’ and never the twain shall meet!”
First, one is in the Bible. The other is not. A pattern for congregational cooperation in benevolence is taught. The other is not. A pattern for the sponsoring church, for which brother Jackson contends, is found in neither evangelism nor benevolence.
Second, even brother Jackson believes in two patterns. In benevolence, he believes churches may build and maintain benevolent societies for the care of the needy. In evangelism, he does not believe churches may build and maintain missionary societies for the work of evangelism, “and never the twain (benevolent and missionary societies) shall meet!” Whose “human rule” is it that allows a separate benevolent organization but not a separate evangelistic one?
Third, some of brother Jackson’s brethren believe in two patterns for edification and benevolence. They believe churches can support benevolent societies to care for the needy, but they do not believe churches can support edification societies (colleges) to educate the saints. “And never the twain (orphan homes and colleges) shall meet!” Whose “human rule” is it that allows a separate benevolent society but not a separate edification society?
Fourth, some believe churches can send money to a college’s Bible department but not to a college’s general fund. Thus, they have developed the “human rule” regarding Bible department passages and college passages, “and never the twain shall meet!
Fifth, some of brother Jackson’s brethren believe churches may build “fellowship halls” (dining rooms, cafeterias), but they may not (like the late Ira North and the Madison, TN church) build “Family Life Centers.” Hence, the “human rule” regarding “fellowship hall” passages versus “Family Life Center” passages, and “never the twain shall meet!”
Sixth, the late Roy Lanier,- Sr. and Reuel Lemmons used to argue that churches could maintain benevolent societies for the care of the needy if they were overseen by elders, but Guy N. Woods argued that elders, as elders, could not be over another organization. So, there was the “human rule” of “eldership” benevolent societies and “non-eldership” benevolent societies, “and never the twain shall meet!”
Seventh, some of brother Jackson’s brethren believe money can be sent to a benevolent society operated by brethren but not to one owned and operated by Catholics and Baptists. Some believe churches can send to both I Has liberalism developed the “human rule” of “our benevolent society” passages as opposed to “their benevolent society” passages? “And (Are you ready for the chorus one more time?) never the twain shall meet!”
In view of the items above, just who is it that has “points of doctrine (that) have been added all along, showing that the system was of human origin, for God doesn’t have to update his doctrines”?
1 Corinthains 16:1, 2
Contextually, 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2, “is a benevolence passage! The particular funds raised in accordance with Paul’s ” order” could not have been used to pay “the local preacher’s salary.” Those specific funds were “for the poor saints” in Jerusalem (Rom. 15:25, 26; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:1,12,13). They were not collected to pay preachers. So, those certain “gatherings” could not have been used to pay “the local preacher’s salary” (cf. 2 Cor. 8:19-21).
Though 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2, does not teach the fact, it is scriptural to pay “the local preacher’s salary” (2 Cor. 11:8; 12:13; Phil. 4:15-17).
Though 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2, does not authorize it, churches may provide facilities for the preaching and proclamation of the gospel (1 Thess. 1:8).
A number of provisions have to be made for the church to carry on its various and sundry works of evangelism, benevolence and worship. These items require money. (A) How shall the church raise its money to perform its work?
(1) By pie suppers, pancake breakfasts or rummage sales? No, for the Bible is silent about such sales and promotions.
They are not authorized by the Scriptures (1 Cor. 4:6).
(2) By cheerful, purposed giving of members as they are prospered? This is the only way set forth in the New Testament (Acts 5:2,4; 2 Cor. 9:7; 1 Cor. 16:2).
(3) Though 1 Corinthians 16:1,2, deals with benevolence, the principle of how one gives is applicable in all cases, i.e.,’as God hath prospered him,” for the accomplishing of all the work the Lord authorized the church to do.
(B) When shall the local church take up a collection for any of its divinely designed and assigned works?
(1) Every time it assembles, on any day of the week? Is this when?
(2) The only passage that tells us the time when the church took up a collection is 1 Corinthians 16:1,2. The passage itself does not authorize the church to buy class books, song books, nor to pay the preacher. But it is the sole, single Scripture which tells us when a collection was made. The text is not used as authority for paying preachers or buying chalk boards, but it is the only passage which designates a time for any collection of any kind. Therefore, those who speak as the oracles of God, give of their means “upon the first day of the week.”
Now, brother Jackson has the same problem or dilemma he endeavored to ensnare us in. 1 Corinthians 16:1,2, was for the needy saints. (1) It was not for a benevolent society. (2) It was not for Herald of Truth, World Bible School or for World Radio Gospel Hour in West Monroe, Louisiana. But brother Jackson believes that contributions may be sent to similar organizations. All of that from “a benevolence Passage!” “Down goes the ‘liberalistic’ point I” Especially does it go down when you recall that he has two patterns. He will take the money from the passage and donate it to a benevolent society but not to a missionary society.
We read of the Lord’s supper in 1 Corinthians 10 & 11. We know that “as often as” we partake of it, we declare the Lord’s death until he comes again. We are not told how often to partake of it. The only passage that cites a time is Acts 20:7. Unlike the Corinthian references, we are not told the facts surrounding the purpose of the Lord’s supper in Acts 20:7. However, by putting the two together, we come together on the first day of the week (that is when) to have the fellowship described by Paul (the how and what of the communion).
Likewise, various works of local churches are prescribed in the New Testament. These activities require funds. The only passage that cites a time of giving for any project of any kind is 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2. By placing the passages together that deal with the works and the collection of funds, we learn when to lay by in store, how to give, and for what purpose.
Conclusion And Appeal
Those who truly know the so called “antis” know that the “no questions asked” charge is false, but we will not belabor the point here.
Brother Jackson, you and those with whom you stand, doubtless recognize and realize that you have lost the institutions you fathered, fostered and fought for. Herald of Truth is gone. You cannot endorse it. It will not indorse you. The college in Abilene is gone. You cannot endorse it. It will not endorse you. World Bible School is gone. You cannot endorse it. It will not endorse you. The Madison church near Nashville and the “On The March” liberalism planted by Ira North is gone. You cannot endorse it. It will not endorse you.. Guy N. Woods is gone. He is too tied,allied and identified with institutionalism to be of any measurable assistance. He may whisper in your ear to encourage you, but he himself is a toothless, declawed old bear, unable to fight what feeds him. He is gone. He cannot openly help you nor publicly endorse your efforts against liberalism. He dares not, cannot and will not help expose the liberalism in Abilene’s college nor in Nashville’s gymnasiums. The organizations he championed have him tethered, muzzled and defanged. Expect no ringing expose’s from him on the pages of the Gospel Advocate. They will not appear there. It is sad, but true, however much you may like to deny it.
So, you must fight virtually alone against the institutional powers that be, and, as you will see, it is a losing battle.
In view of these facts, and in view of a never ending eternity, please consider with an open mind and an open Bible the issues that alienate you from the “antis.” Is there hope, brother, for objective study, fair representation of differences and a brotherly spirit that desires unity in truth? You have no closer kin, and a host of family and friends in the faith and in the flesh stands ready-to reason, reflect and rejoice in Christ Jesus, our righteous, ransoming Redeemer.
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 23, pp. 709-711, 722-723
December 1, 1988