Reply to “Hobbyism’s Snares and Hafley’s Review”

By Larry Ray Hafley

Brother Jackson says my initial review proves “the old adage, ‘The hit dog yelps.”‘ If so, what do his “extensive comments” prove? If my review proved “the old adage,” does his reply also prove that “the hit dog yelps”?

Bill replies “through a series of numbered points.” We shall do likewise and blunt the tip of his points. If you have not done so, before reading further, see my first article in this exchange in the December 1, 1988 issue of Guardian of Truth.

“(1) Who caused the present liberalism?” Bill says that my logic is represented like this: “brethren taking a bite of food in a church building results in a Family Life Center, and ladies meeting in a class room to give a gift to a bride-elect has led to the craze for a gymnasium.”

No, brother Bill, that is not my logic or contention. Here it is; here is the basis for the liberalism that has “led to the craze for a gymnasium.” Brother Jackson and others have contended that the church may build dining rooms (“fellowship halls”) and similar rooms for the purpose of eating, drinking, hosting parties, wedding showers and boy scout troops. That has led to the gym “craze.” Certainly, at best, it has not deterred it. Bill, do not deceive yourself. The gyms were not caused by a brother taking a bite of food or by a bride receiving a gift in a classroom. They were spawned by the attitude that said churches can build special rooms and facilities for social and recreational purposes, even though the Scriptures do not authorize the church to engage in such works.

There may be, as Bill charges, some “liberalism” among my “own fellowship,” but it is despite what I teach, not because of it. Brother Jackson made the charge. He offered no proof. Bill, what do I teach that begets liberalism?

Thanks, Bill, for the reference to the “craze for a gymnasium.” Surely, Furman Kearley, Guy N. Woods and the rest of the Gospel Advocate crowd will be pleased that you view their gyms as a “craze.”

“(2) A straight line between two circles proves anything!” Bill ridiculed the charts with his comment about a “straight line between two circles,” but he did not deal with the arguments that were made. Would a “straight line between two circles” using, church support of David Lipscomb College and the missionary society prove anything? Suppose, Bill, that you showed the following charts:

Next, suppose a liberal preacher from the gym “craze” (perhaps the editor of the Gospel Advocate), ridiculed your charts by saying, “This was the first tactic I saw in these brethren,” i.e., “a straight line between two circles proves anything!” Would that constitute a reasoned response? Would that answer the arguments you made and that you attempted to demonstrate by means of lines and circles?

Yes, the church is “its own missionary” society. But it is not the means or methods of preaching and teaching. It, the church, must provide the various modes to teaching. Also, the church must provide facilities for benevolent care (1 Tim. 5:16). The church is not the means or methods it employs, but it is the organization that secures the care.

No, “The church is not a home!” Has anyone ever said that it was? We agree, then, the church is not a home. But neither is the church a meetinghouse. Still, it is able to build and maintain a meetinghouse. Though the church is not a meetinghouse, a material building, it is able to provide one. Likewise, the church is not a home; it is not a place to dwell, but the church is able to provide one.

Should churches establish building and construction companies and let those corporations choose the site, dimensions and facilities for the meetinghouses of brethren all over the country? No, each church selects its own location, hires a builder and determines the size and shape of its own facilities.

Even though the church is not a meetinghouse, it does not have to fund a separate organization in order to have a building in which to meet. Even though the church is not a home, it does not have to fund a separate organization in order to have a building in which the needy receive care.

Roy Lanier, Jr., one of Bill’s fellow laborers, recently answered Bill’s argument very concisely:

Some say the church is not a home and thus can contribute to something else to do the work of a home. That sounds right plausible, particularly when it is trumpeted, “elders cannot be elders over a home, only over a church.” Well, neither are elders considered principals over a school, but they do have schools and classes (most often on Sundays and Wednesdays) which teach the Bible! Would it be possible therefore to not oversee such classes, but contribute to some outside institution to see that such teaching is done (call it perhaps “Bible Classes Inc.”)?

Then some would reply, “The church is a school.” To which it is replied the church is just as much to be the home for the needy as it is to be the school for the members. The church can function as much as a home as it can a school. Just as elders do not do all the teaching, so they would not do all the child caring. Just as they would see that teaching is done, they would see that caring is done. If this be not true, then God gave the church a responsibility it is not equipped to do!” (Roy Lanier, Jr., “Relationship of Churches and Institutions,” manuscript of a speech delivered in Nashville, Tennessee, December 2, 1988).

Brother Jackson, I trust that you will respond to brother Lanier’s argument.

Note this somewhat awkward sentence from brother Jackson. “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!” Conclusion: Churches may send funds to a benevolent society that it may provide care for the needy.

Now, note this somewhat awkward sentence, parallel to that of brother Jackson above. “And, brother Jackson’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 childeducation, and if the church had an uneducated child, when the church thus received such a child it would still have to provide for it a school! The church is not a school!” Conclusion: Churches may send funds to educational societies (schools, colleges) that they may provide education for the unlearned. What do you say to that, brother Jackson?

“Saints Only”

Brother Jackson is concerned about the “saints-only” doctrine that was, he says, developed “in our times.” Let us see some “saints-only” doctrine that truly has been “developing in our times.”

Bill believes churches cannot do their benevolent work. They must set up benevolent boards or societies which will do the work. The churches support these benevolent organizations. Now, Bill says a church can fund a society built and maintained by brethren, but he does not believe a church can send money to a Baptist or to a Catholic Orphan Home organization. Does that not smack of “saintsonly” societies? Bill’s position says:

Just when did this “saints-only” (benevolent board operated by brethren) versus non-saints (benevolent board operated by Baptists) begin? Did these “issues” begin “developing in our times”? Have Bill and his brethren “received this ‘revelation’ in these latter-times” that churches of Christ can send to organizations operated by brethren but not to those managed by Catholics?

“(3) The manufactured patterns.” See Acts 11:27-30. That is the pattern of cooperation to which I subscribe. My esteemed brother himself said that “the church in Antioch sent goods to the brethren in Judea, and that the funds went to the elders (Acts 11:27-30)” (Bill Jackson, The Southwesterner, Vol. XV, No. 47, September 14, 1988, pp. 1,2). So I believe and teach.

That the disciples in Antioch sent relief to the brethren in Judea, sending it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul is my contention, my Bible pattern (Heb. 8:5; 2 Jn, 9). That “the church in Antioch” sent funds to the Jerusalem elders who in turn dispersed the funds to other churches in Judea is Bill Jackson’s pattern. Which pattern is in the Bible? Which one of us has a “manufactured” pattern?

Foy E. Wallace said:

But every article of late with even an attempt to deal with this issue has referred to the case of Antioch in Acts 11:29-30 as a solid example for centralization practice. It is not an example of what is being done. . . .

The passage reads: “Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea: which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.” The first thing to observe is that the disciples in Antioch sent the relief to the elders where the brethren dwelt in Judea. . . . There were churches in Judea: “the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 2:14). The passage in Acts states that the disciples in Antioch sent relief to the brethren that dwelt in Judea, and sent it to the elders, obviously where the brethren that needed the relief dwelt. There is not so much as an intimation in this passage that money was sent to the elders of the church at Jerusalem for all Judea. The passage does not even mention Jerusalem nor elders at Jerusalem. It merely states that relief was sent to the brethren that dwelt in “Judea,” and that it was sent to the “elders” by Barnabas and Saul. What elders? The elders in “Judea.” Wherein Judea? The elders where the brethren dwelt. So the passage certainly does specify what elders and where. Acts 11:29-30 is not a case in point for what some brethren are promoting in the way of a general eldership as a board of benevolence and missions for all the churches (Torch, Vol. 1, No. 2; pp. 25-27).

Bill mentions “the ‘anti’ rule” and “the ‘traveling dollar’ doctrine!” Wonder if he has an “anti rule” that permits fellowship halls but denies “the craze for a gymnasium”? Wonder if there is an “anti rule” that would permit a sponsoring church to collect funds from many churches to build fellowship halls:

But would Bill oppose “the ‘traveling dollar’ doctrine” if the sponsoring church were to build gyms and Family Life Centers (which are mutants from Bill’s “craze”)?

Now, Bill, would you “have each congregation to set its own policies in these areas” (building gyms), or would you manufacture patterns and “set them for all the saints”? I suspect brother Jackson has an “anti rule” or two that would put the brakes on some of his “‘traveling dollar’ doctrine!”

“(4) 1 Corinthians 16.1,2 double-talk. ” Brother Jacks ignored the argument I made on this passage in my initial review. Study it carefully in the December 1, 1988 issue of Guardian of Truth.

Brother Jackson is the man who says “that what is said in regard to benevolence monies cannot be true when it comes to evangelistic monies,” for he says “benevolence monies” and “evangelistic monies” can be sent to a benevolent society but not to a missionary society. He says “benevolence monies” can be sent to a benevolent society operated by brethren, but not to one run by Lutherans. He says “benevolence” and “evangelistic monies” can build a fellowship hall but not a gymnasium or a Family Life Center. Talk about “double-talk,” indeed! Perhaps brother Guy N. Woods or brother Furman Kearley, editor of the Gospel Advocate, would like to help brother Jackson clarify those matters.

The pattern of 1 Corinthians 16:1,2, involves, among other things, the time for brethren to lay by in store. The text does not authorize every use to be made of the money. Other texts do that. It is the sole text for the time that a church may take a collection for any of its activities. Again, see the argument made in my first review.

Yes, Bill, “the 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 contribution is the only one allowed by the Word.” Yes, Bill, churches may engage in evangelism and other appropriate (scriptural LRH) works.” No, Bill, I do not “come to 1 Corinthians 16:1,2” as the “basis” for “every legitimate church expenditure based on 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 authorization.”

The pattern as to when the church takes a collection is in 1 Corinthians 16.-1,2. The complete pattern for the use of the church’s funds is not found in 1 Corinthians 16:1,2. Parallel wise, the pattern as to when the disciples come together to break bread is in Acts 20:7. The complete pattern of the purpose of the Lord’s supper is not found in Acts 20:7. The passage that cites the purpose of the communion does not give a time (1 Cor. 10, 11). However, when we put those passages with Acts 20:7, we have the time, the frequency, and the purpose. Likewise, with the funds of 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 and the other authorized works of the church. Again, this argument is in my first review of brother Jackson.

“(5) Some of ‘brother Jackson’s brethren.”‘ Brother Jackson wishes to divorce himself from some of his brethren. He does not want to be lumped with them. (Bill, would the editor of the Gospel Advocate, Furman Kearley, be in that list, or in that lump, since he now advocates the gym “craze”?)

The brethren named and identified in this paper to whom Bill referred, are not promoting principles that I espouse. However, the brethren Bill wishes to deny are promoting liberalism based on the very principles that he accepts. As proof thereof, the editor of the Gospel Advocate recently endorsed “church camps,” gyms and Family Life Centers.

To do so, he drug out brother Woods’ old argument, in loco parentis, to justify church support of such things. Bill Jackson will not deny brother Woods’ argument, but he will deny Kearley’s use of it. Let Bill show us, then, how it applies to his case on the one hand with regard to benevolent societies but not to gyms and camps.

But when brother Charles Holt, for example, teaches his views, he goes against every principle for which I contend. He does not use my arguments to support his conclusions. But when brethren who Bill now wishes to repudiate contend for gyms, camp grounds and Family Life Centers, built and maintained by churches, they do so upon the very principles that he uses to justify his “fellowship halls” and church sponsored bridal showers and girl scout troops. This is the difference, Bill.

When some of Bill’s brethren say that church support of colleges is as scriptural as church support of benevolent societies, they are using his principles to establish their point. N.B. Hardeman and Batsell Barrett Baxter both contended that church support of colleges (like Abilene and Lipscomb) and church support of benevolent organizations (like Schultz-Lewis) “stand or fall together.” What Bill uses to justify church support of Childhaven, they use to justify support of Abilene Christian University. When brethren I do not agree with begin advocating their views, they do not use the principles of truth for which I contend to justify their stance. See the difference, brother Jackson?

Yes, Bill, you are correct, “what some brethren believe or practice is not the standard of right! ” I have never argued to the contrary. “Again, the Scriptures are the Standard, not the brethren! ” Recognizing that, may we not continue to study and debate our differences in light of that “Standard”?

“(6) The final appeal. ” Bill, I do know why you cannot endorse Herald of Truth. I have known that since the meeting with the Abilene elders at the Getwell Rd. church in the Spring of 1974. 1 have always known that the issue was over the type of “cooperation involved!” Let us continue to discuss, not whether churches may cooperate (they may -2 Cor. 8,9; Rom. 15:25,26; 1 Cor. 16:1-4), but whether one church may act as the agent for other churches, to oversee and direct a work for other churches (1 Pet. 5:2; Acts 14:23; 20:28).

Bill, Calvin Warpula and Furman Kearley, two men who support church sponsored gyms and Family Life Centers, could take your last two sentences and use them against you thusly: (1) “Let the liberals proceed in their liberalism, but let’s you and I know that manufactured patterns, rules on exercise equipment and gymnasiums, rules on church camp grounds and day care centers, rules on church support of colleges, and a dozen side issues that have come from your own ‘anti-ism’ are the things keeping us apart.”

Bill, if they did so, would you see that as an answer or as a means to heal your division with those brethren? Likewise, neither do I. You would insist that those issues be dealt with in light of the Scriptures. Similarly, so do I.

Again, suppose Warpula and Kearley appealed to you, saying, (2) “When you brethren will again let congregations handle their finances and let elders conduct the business in the congregations (translation, meaning – Bill, when you keep quiet about gyms, when you let churches support Abilene, ignoring evolution in the science department of the university, when you will not oppose an eldership deciding to send money to a joint relief effort with the Christian Church, when you cease opposition to Herald of Truth, even with its present format, when you let each church decide without your ‘manufactured patterns’), 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 liberalism that is real! “

Bill, such an appeal would be “begging the question” so far as you are concerned. It would assume that you and your “anti-ism” are the problem, not their liberal policies and practices. So, here.

What, then? I propose that we continue to study and reason together. Following such a course will result in unity and fellowship among all those who love the way of truth.

Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 4, pp. 113-117
February 16, 1989