By Bill Jackson
The December 1, 1988 issue of Guardian of Truth, brother Larry Hafley ran an article that had appeared in our bulletin, The Southwesterner, entitled Hobbyism Has Its Snares “Built-In. ” He made extensive comments about our article, proving the old adage, “The hit dog yelps!” We will now make reply to his nn] e . – L series of numbered points.
(1) Who caused the present liberalism? Brother Hafley mentions myself and other faithful men, now fighting liberalism, as originating the basis of liberalism: Loving the little kittens and puppies, but hating the now grown-up cats and dogs. But note his logic (?): brethren taking a bite of food in a church building results in a Family Life Center, and ladies meeting in a classroom to give a gift to a bride-elect has led to the craze for a gymnasium! Convoluted logic (?), indeed! Hafley conveniently overlooks the fact that liberalism is rampant among his own fellowship, and more, on the very last page carrying his remarks is found an article identifying some false prophets among their ranks, one of them being among their champions and chief debaters in the 50s and 60s! And he wishes to pretend that those opposing his “anti-cooperation” views are causing the liberalism of our time!
(2) A straight line between two circles proves anything! This was the first tactic I saw in these brethren, back in the mid-50’s in California. Two circles connected with a straight line proved the orphan home parallel to the missionary society! And, brother Hafley’s article proves they have not changed, and still cannot see that the church is commissioned by the Lord as its own missionary instrumentality, but that when it comes to child-care, and if the church had an orphan, when the church thus received such a child it would still have to provide for it a home! The church is not a home! To try and escape the charge of originating doctrine for God, brother Hafley labors to have me say that no one in history ever thought of uttering any warnings in this area until recent times. I merely pointed out that in the remembrance of many yet living, they recall these issues developing in our times, and they know that “saints-only” benevolence was not even a part of the doctrine at the time! These brethren received this “revelation” in these latter-times!
It is noticed that these men howl over the “anti-cooperation” label, yet virtually all of their arguments rest in that area, except as they adapt to their own advantage within their fellowship. It comes with poor grace to take offense at the label, when they have charged the rest of us as being “liberal” and “apostate” when we refused to abide by their manmade rules!
(3) The manufactured patterns. In his charts (remember the connected circles?), he has the Antioch brethren (Acts 11:27-30) sending to Jerusalem elders, Bethany elders, Joppa elders, etc., and also shows by chart that Jerusalem elders could not have received and then turned to pass a portion on to the Joppa elders. Yet the fact is that his pattern is not set forth in the word, and he cannot prove it! But it is only significant to him because he and his brethren have already fashioned a pattern regarding traveling money. The “anti” rule is: A dollar cannot be received by an eldership and in turn be passed to another eldership! Hafley invents the Bethany, Joppa and Lydda situation, as he and his brethren also invent the “traveling dollar” doctrine! But that has been at the heart of our difference. Rather than have each congregation to set its own policies in these areas, brother Hafley and his brethren set them for all the saints. No, brother Hafley, I cannot join you in this. As I would not be a liberal, neither would I be an “anti”! I’d lose my soul in either course!
(4) 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 double talk. Smarting over 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 being, very clearly, a benevolence passage, and having invented the “anti” rule that what is said in regard to benevolence monies cannot be true when it comes to evangelistic monies, these men came up with the brilliant (?) deduction that 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 is not the basis for evangelistic support! His view on 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 is such that, apparently, if any benevolence is in view for any of those funds, there must be a second contribution then for evangelism and other needs! But, let them talk! They labor to show that the 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 contribution is the only one allowed by the Word (and that is true), and that churches may engage in evangelism and other appropriate works. Back they come to 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 for their basis, which they believe could not have had other purposes in mind, and it all amounts to double-talk. It still has every legitimate church expenditure based on 1 Corinthians 16:1,2’s authorization, which was cited for benevolence! Again, these men have been busy manufacturing patterns for the rest of us!
(5) Some of “brother Jackson’s brethren. ” Brother Hafley ran through a list of what “brother Jackson’s brethren” have believed. May I assure him that what some brethren believe or practice is not the standard of right! Strange that he would thus attempt to use this, when (as I cited) his co-writer lists three of “his brethren” by name and identifies them as false prophets spreading blasphemy! If you won’t buy all “your brethren” are selling, brother Hafley, why try to bind upon me what some of “my brethren” are saying and doing? Again, the Scriptures, are the standard, not the brethren!
(5) The final appeal. Brother Halfley points to some liberal works that now none of us will support, stating that we “fathered, fostered and fought for” them. To this good day these brethren have been unable to see that in the debates in the past, we fought for, not a particular work, but for the cooperation involved! I am perfectly willing to see the death of any work that will not stand for the truth of God, and will rejoice in its demise! But can these men not see that faithful brethren now cannot support the Herald of Truth, for example, not because of the type cooperation it involved, but because of the content of the message!
We will indeed grant the good intention in his final appeal, delivered as though we had left home base! Brother Hafley, I am where I have always been, from the 1940s on. You brethren left the body of the faithful, simply because one segment of the saints were becoming liberal, split thousands of churches, with the divisions apparent in hundreds of communities across the land. Let the liberals proceed in their liberalism, but let’s you and I know that manufactured patterns, rules on food and buildings, rules on weddings and funerals, and a dozen side issues that have come from your “anti-ism” are the things keeping us apart. When you brethren will again let congregations handle their finances and let elders conduct the business in the congregations, without your patterns being forced upon them, we can get somewhere in forming a unity whereupon we can stand and mount a powerful attack against the liberalism that is real!
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 4, pp. 112, 120
February 16, 1989