By Ron Halbrook
God designed the church of our Lord to function as the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). The church at Thessalonica is still an example which we need to emulate today because it was constantly sounding out the Word of the Lord (1 Thess. 1:7-8). Churches which are truly sound in the faith can never be satisfied with merely “keeping house” locally, but are concerned to spread the gospel both locally and in other places. God ordained that laborers would go out into the fields in order to harvest precious souls, supported by faithful congregations of the people of God (1 Cor. 9:14; Phil. 4:15; 2 Cor. 11:8-9). Faithful men need to be stirred up to go into the field to labor and faithful churches need to be stirred up to support them.
In addition to supporting several good men in America, the church here at West Columbia is helping to support men in South Africa, Italy, Mexico, and the Philippine Islands. The elders (Charley Alexander, J.D. Harris, and James Moore) and the whole church here are deeply concerned about the work of spreading the gospel in every place where it is possible. We constantly receive appeals and requests for support, mostly from worthy men, and the elders constantly agonize over how to be most effective in responding to these calls. We try to be as prompt as possible in answering the requests that come here, so that even those we cannot help can make their definite plans. We feel it is unfair to leave a man wondering and waiting indefinitely. The elders suggested that an article should be written informing brethren of some opportunities to help men whom we have found to be reliable and sound in the faith.
David Beckley in South Africa
For a number of years David L. Beckley has been faithfully preaching the gospel of Christ in South Africa (current address 12 Transo Avenue, Helderkruin, 1724 Roodepoort, Republic of South Africa). The church at West Columbia has helped with David’s support from the beginning and receives regular reports about the work he is doing. We have been sending $420 per month but will be able to continue this support only through April of 1989. This appeal for someone to consider David’s need is being made because the elders do not want any impression left that after all these years they are “dropping” David as doctrinally unsound or a troublemaker. With all the prayers, money, and love invested in David’s work, they continue to wish him well and to bid him godspeed.
This change does not represent West Columbia’s cutting back on its program of supporting gospel preachers. In fact, we have made an even larger commitment to help a faithful brother who has labored in the gospel for many years. This man has been faced with many medical bills, is now working with a small congregation, and has never before asked for outside support in his long life of work for Christ. We are stepping in to help him only as a last resort after he contacted a number of other places. Because of our continuing to support both this older brother and brother Beckley through April, the church will be spending more money than we are taking in. We can continue this for a limited time. As one of the elders said, “We will simply have to go forward by faith.”
It is the hope of the elders that by making this public explanation and appeal on David’s behalf, in addition to the fact that his work is well established and well known, David will soon hear from brethren who are willing to make up his loss.
Wayne Goforth In New Mexico
In recent years the church here has been helping several younger men who have come from a liberal-institutional background and who have taken a stand for the truth. We feel these young men have not had an opportunity to make many contacts and to be well known among brethren generally, but we have found them in each case to be faithful and reliable in their work. These men have been going forward in their work in spite of various obstacles and difficulties they have faced. We wish to give them public encouragement and endorsement, and to suggest that brethren consider their continuing needs.
Wayne Goforth and his family are located with the small church which meets at 25th and Hawaii in Alamogordo, New Mexico (current address 2309 Princeton, Alamogordo, New Mexico 88310; phone 505-434-6225). We receive regular reports from Wayne about the progress of his work in Alamogordo. Not only does Wayne uphold the truth on various liberal and institutional issues, but also he continues to teach the truth on marriage, divorce, and remarriage. He believes that God’s marriage law applies to all men and that God gives the right to remarry only to the innocent party who puts away a fornicator.
As a result of his stand, his support is being cut off from the North Las Vegas church of Christ in Las Vegas, Neveda. Jack Freeman is the preacher there, and he and the elders there were united in that decision.
Below are the questions asked by the North Las Vegas church through Jack Freeman:
1. “When one is guilty of adultery, and divorced by his spouse for that cause, can he scripturally remarry?” Wayne pointed out that Jesus said such a person commits adultery by remarriage (Matt. 19:9).
2. “Must he remain unmarried the rest of his life to be saved eternally?” Wayne said yes, only the person who put away a fornicator is given the right to remarry (Matt. 19:9).
3. “If he does remarry, must he put the second wife away in order to be saved?” Wayne said yes because true repentance involves restitution – we cannot continue to live in sin. John told Herod that Herodius did not belong to him though he had married her (Mk. 6:17-18).
4. “Question from 1 Cor. 7. When the believer is deserted and divorced by his unbelieving or nonChristian wife, must he remain unmarried the ‘rest of his life?” Wayne said that the man can be reunited with his mate or must remain single, but that no marriage can be considered in the absence of immorality. Jesus gave only one reason for divorce and remarriage, and Paul did not contradict Jesus.
Thank God there are still young preachers who will not bow their knee to the Baal of false teaching on this or any other matter simply to retain financial support. Surely someone who loves the truth can respond to brother Goforth’s need in this situation.
Lee Stewart in New Mexico
Lee Stewart came out of the liberal-institutional persuasion some years ago and has developed into a fine young preacher (current address 264 Vista del Rio, Belen, New Mexico 87002; phone 505-864-2567). Lee and his family are working with a group which is small in number but strong in faith, and presently rents a facility that is used for other activities during the week. Tim Stevens, son of R.J. Stevens, helped to get the church started in Belen and continues to help in every way possible.
This small church passed through the fires of trial and purification during 1988 as the result of having members who were unsound on the matter of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. In the course of the brethren’s studying this issue, an arrangement was made for a public meeting open to all the members at Belen to hear Homer Hailey speak on this issue, followed by another such study conducted by the author of this article. In spite of the loss of several members who could not endure sound doctrine, this good church is continuing to go forward in the work of the Lord. Lee is short on his support and it is hoped that brethren will soon respond to his need and encourage the work at Belen.
Mike Baggett in Mississippi
Mike Baggett is another young preacher from a liberal-institutional background who has taken a. clear stand for the truth and has been faithfully preaching it for some time now, working with the Laws Hill church of Christ near Water Valley, Mississippi (current address Route 3, Box 148AA, Water Valley, Mississippi 38965). Brother Baggett and his young family are working with a small rural church and making good progress. Mike has studied with Paul Keller and Donny Rader, both of whom recommend him for his stand. Bobby Holmes (Lancaster, Texas) and Mark Roberts (Irving, Texas) recently reported on a gospel meeting in which they labored with Mike and the Laws Hill church, and gave a very encouraging report of the good being done.
The church here receives reports from Mike and is thankful for his labors. Much of Mississippi is in dire need of sound preaching and may be considered what is sometimes called “a mission field.” Mike does not have anything like adequate support and has helped, to support himself by maintaining a secular job. While he is to be highly commended for this evidence of his faith, diligence, and responsibility, it would be well for brethren to support him so that he can devote his full time to the needs of this area in Mississippi.
Carl Lungstrum in Colorado
There is much need for preaching the gospel in the state of Colorado and Carl Lungstrum is working with a small church at Pagosa Springs (current address P.O. Box 1861, Pagosa Springs, Colorado 81147). Like the other men mentioned above, Carl is doing all he can to make contacts in the community both through public efforts and private teaching in the homes. All of these men including Carl have provided informative reports about the details of their work and have kept the church here well informed. Carl is still lacking over $506 per month in his support but has been able to continue by making sacrifices and by the help of an individual. Surely brethren somewhere will take an interest in his effort in Colorado and contact brother Lungstrum.
In the time the church at West Columbia has been helping to support the above men, we believe they have proven themselves worthy of consideration and support in the gospel. We urge brethren who may be in a position to help or who may have a special interest in the areas where these men are working to get in contact with them as quickly as possible. Make you own investigation and reach your own conclusions. We have found all of these men perfectly willing to talk with us when we had questions about their stand in the truth or about some phase of the work they are doing. You will find them all open and responsive. May God richly bless their efforts in the truth, is our prayer.
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 4, pp. 108-109
February 16, 1989