In Defense of No Answer

By Paul K. Williams

Occasionally I read an article in which elders are taken to task because they do not answer when preachers write to them asking for support. The authors of these articles seem to assume that elders are under an obligation to answer, even when it is not possible for that church to give support to the preacher.

During my 23 years in South Africa I have made a number of appeals for support. I have received a wonderful response and my needs have always been met. I thank God and the brethren for the love they have shown for the preaching of the gospel to the whole world.

In making these appeals, I expected the ones who decided to help me to communicate with me, and this is what happened. I received some replies from those who wished they could help but could not, and those were always encouraging. But I did not expect every church to take the time and spend the money to write me their regrets. I can see no reason why they should, and they have better things to do with their time. It takes a lot of time to answer letters, and it is my understanding that churches receive quite a few appeals for help. It is a proper use of time to reply to those whom the church can help.

Because we preachers do not know which churches can be expected to help and which cannot, we usually send out a large number of letters. This is why churches are burdened with such a large number of appeals. I cannot think of a better system of reaching the churches which may be interested, but it is asking a lot to expect all those churches to reply who are not going to help.

Let’s be charitable, brethren, and put ourselves in the position of those elders who are burdened with countless spiritual problems. It seems ungrateful to complain when they do not reply to every appeal they receive.

Guardian of Truth XXXV: 17, p. 524
September 5, 1991