Darrell's Third Affirmative 8/18/99
Darrell: Carey, your view of the church is so fragmented and scattered that it reminds me of the search for Waldo. It also reminds me of a hazy maze which offers no clear course. "Is it church action -- individual action?" who knows! Why who knows where the maze ends.
If you were just confused and held this doctrine quietly as an opinion, then you would be within your right as a Christian. Spreading this doctrine and trying to get others into the maze with you is something else all together. This error hurts individual Christians, local congregations, the universal church and the Lord himself.
Paul told the Corinthian Christians that they were baptized into "one body" (I Cor. 12:13). To the saints in Rome he wrote, "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another" (Rom. 12:5). The apostle expected the brethren to cooperate together: "That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another" (1 Cor. 12:25).
Paul really needed a Non-Institutional to guide him, didn't he! You see, he forgot to say that on one level we are all members of one body, but on another level we are all members of another group called the local church. And the "eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee" on the universal level, but on another level five fingers on one hand may not scratch an itch on the right foot with its toes, unless that scratching is benevolently applied only. If the itch is "spiritual" in nature then the scratching must take place by the individual finger alone (or would it be by the finger nail alone). With these words I am not seeking to be funny or to engage in sophistry. The NI conception of the church is just that hazy and foggy.
To the church at Ephesus Paul wrote: "Now therefore ye [2nd person plural, the local church at Ephesus] are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; [The organization of the universal church also includes the apostles and prophets. Each congregation must follow apostolic doctrine] In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye [the local church at Ephesus] also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Eph. 2:19-22). It is true that each saint makes up the whole body of Christ, the universal church. It is equally true that local congregations of the churches of Christ make up the universal body of Christ.
Carey: Darrell wrote: The church is universal (Romans 16:16).
Carey here: "The churches of Christ salute you". Paul writing to the Romans tells the Romans that the churches with which Paul is associated have expressed concern and gratitude for the Roman church. These are a bunch of individual local churches sending greetings to a local church in Rome.
Darrell: True, but of equal truth is the FACT that all loyal local congregations are parts of the whole, not separate entities from the whole.
Carey: Darrell wrote: When the disciples were scattered abroad (Acts 8:4), the universal church went everywhere preaching the word. Carey here: No. The individual members of the universal church were doing the preaching. . . .The fact that all of these were members of the universal church does not mean that the church did the preaching.
Darrell: They were the church in that day. Carey, have you majored in minors to the degree that you can not see the big picture? A mosaic is a composite consisting of many smaller pieces. Antism's inability to comprehend each component's contribution to the whole fragments and splinters the whole, creating a phantom institution -- the very kind of institution despised by the NI position. NI doctrine opposes itself (II Tim. 2:25).
Who was persecuted by Saul of Tarsus? He was "breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord" (Acts 9:1). Saul was "entering every house, and hauling men and women" (Acts 8:3). Was Saul's persecution a persecution of individual Christians only? Consistency based upon your argumentation would demand this conclusion. Carey consider the following statement of yours, my editing is indicated by [brackets].
"The individual members of the universal church were doing the preaching [being persecuted]. . . .The fact that all of these were members of the universal church does not mean that the church did the preaching [was being persecuted].
Now what does the Bible say about the persecution of Saul? It was "against the church which was at Jerusalem" (Acts 8:1). The Bible says that this action, because of its design, was against the local church in Jerusalem. But it was not specifically against the assembled group of Christians, Saul took his trade to their homes. The Bible also says that Saul "persecuted the church of God, and wasted it" (Gal. 1:13). Make no mistake about it, in this context Paul referred to the universal church! By persecuting individuals Saul persecuted local churches (Acts 9:31), the universal church (Gal. 1:13), Christ himself (Acts 22:7-8), and he was persecuting the way or the faith (Acts 22:4; Gal. 1:23).
Now notice Galatians 1:23: "But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us [individual Christians, local churches, the universal church and Christ himself] in times past now preacheth the faith which he once destroyed." If it is the case (and it is) that by destroying the faith Saul was destroying individual Christians, local churches and the universal church, then by preaching the faith Paul was building up individual Christians, local churches and the universal church. Yes he was building up the body of Christ and therefore he was bringing glory to God "in the church" (Eph. 3:21). This is why I wrote and stand by the following: "Were these disciples working as individuals only? No! and a thousand times No!" Carey, maybe when you catch a glimpse of the mosaic of Christ's church you will abandon your doctrine. I pray that you will. In my opinion, until Non-Institutional disciples understand this networking aspect of the church they will continue to splinter Christ (see I Cor. 1:10-13) over doctrines which all have one thread of consistency -- they are based on a fragmented understanding of the church of Christ. If NI's would apply this mentality to Galatians 6:6 many of their local churches would be preacherless overnight. Consistency, thou art a jewel!
In anticipation that you will charge me with the inability to distinguish between church action and individual action, let me say that I do understand the difference. But the scriptures allow greater latitude in these areas than do the NI's. I also do not see the need to elaborate further on this now because we will probably discuss this further in the next leg of our debate.
Darrell wrote: Carey, in your next negative I would like you to give book, chapter and verse to prove that the local church is commanded to evangelize the lost world of sinners.
Carey here: Darrell, you know as much as I do, that there is no verse that gives a local church the responsibility to teach every lost sinner in the world. The local church's area of evangelism lies within the area of each individual Christian in that church.
Darrell: I am so thankful that the apostles understood the Lords commission. They did everything within their ability to get the gospel to a lost world of sinners. It is true that the local church is responsible to evangelize its local area (Phil. 2:15). It is also true that men in areas where there are no local churches need to hear the gospel (II Thess. 1:8). With whom does the responsibility of world evangelism lie? If the doctrine which says that the local church is responsible for its own local area only were true, then it would necessarily follow that no man is under commission to take the gospel to the lost world. The individual Christian would only be obligated to teach those in his immediate area. Right here is one area in which your error suffers one of its many death blows. You see Carey, if the NI doctrine which you are espousing were true, then the Bible would demand that EACH AND EVERY CHRISTIAN TAKE THE GOSPEL TO ALL OF THE LOST WORLD. This would be true because Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:16).
The obligation of world evangelism lies with individual Christians as well as with local churches. Cooperating together allows many brethren to work at world evangelism at the same time they are evangelizing their local areas. Opportunity plus ability always equals obligation. While men of the NI persuasion major in minors, men are dying in their sins. The NI anti-cooperation error might bring temporary amnesia to the soul. But my friend in judgment the Lord will look at what we could have done but failed to do.
Paul wrote: "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Gal. 6:10). Contrary to NI opinion, "all men" means all men. Contrary to NI opinion "we" and "us" refer to the local congregation as much as they refer to individual brethren. No better work can be rendered to all men than the work of Christ in seeking and saving the lost (Luke 19:10). Oh that Christs body, the church, would stand and do that work today. But the NIs say no cooperation between the hands and the feet. No, we better stick to local scratching only or we might suffer eternal damnation. That is unless we want to dislocate the shoulder so it can cooperate and working the rest of the body. What a tangled web indeed!
Carey here: However, I have already discussed at length, the scope of the church's responsibility in carrying out its mission. The church supports and encourages evangelism, but it is the individual members who carry it out. Some do so in joint participation and others do so individually.
Darrell: No Carey, you have not discussed Bible authority in regards to evangelism. Before you discuss this at length you must establish Bible authority for evangelism. I am looking forward to see how you establish this authority when you take the affirmative.
Carey: Darrell wrote: It can not be affirmed that each of the churches supporting Paul sent his wages directly to him. It may be the case that the church in Philippi was serving as Paul's sponsoring congregation.
Carey here: Phil 2:25. Epaphroditus had brought Paul a gift (the implication is that this was a form of support). Paul sent him back with his expression of gratitude. Phil 4:10. Once again they in Philippi had sent a gift to Paul (in our terminology-a check of support). Phil 4:15 says that on at least two occasions, the Philippian church helped support Paul in his ministry. 2 Cor 11:8 Paul had received support from other churches as well as the church at Philippi. These specifics listed eliminate the possibility that "it may be the case that..."
Darrell: Well, let us look into this a little deeper. You say that each of the verses given in your negative above eliminates the possibility that these other churches sent their funds for Paul through the church in Philippi. In your first negative you wrote:
Darrell quoted Phil 4:15: "Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel,when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only". Darrell, what does the last phrase mean? Does "but ye only" means that all the other churches participated in this work? The scripture says right here that the church in Philippi was the only one to support Paul.
So which is it Carey? Was the church in Philippi the only one to support Paul or were other churches supporting him? Which way do you want to argue this thing? In your first negative the meat of your case rested on the word "only" (Phil. 4:15). But as is evident, this word "only" destroys your entire case because, as you clearly point out above, other churches were also supporting Paul AT THE SAME TIME. Therefore, "only" can only be understood in terms of the sponsor arrangement as noted in the debate proposition.
Carey: Darrell wrote: It can not be affirmed that each of the churches supporting Paul sent his wages directly to him. It may be the case that the church in Philippi was serving as Paul's sponsoring congregation.
Carey here: Darrell do you really, really want to use this argument? Let me use this phrase and see where it gets you.
1. It can not be affirmed that each of the churches met on the first day of the week. It may be the case that only the Troas church did so and thus the first day of the week is not binding upon us today.
Darrell: By using the reasoning behind your doctrine each local church must go to Troas to worship each Lords day.
Carey 2. It can not be affirmed that musical instruments were not used. It may be the case that they were used in addition to the singing, but the writers just left out mention of such, therefore we may use them.
Darrell: We are not debating addition to the scriptures as would be the case with mechanical instruments of music in worship. No we are discussing the "debit and credit" system used at Philippi. Lets not compare apples with oranges.
3. It can not be affirmed that Noah made the ark completely out of gopher wood. It may be the case that parts of it were of some other material because the scripture does not tell us specifically.
Darrell: Another apples and oranges illustration. Now how did Noah get the ark built? Did he do it alone or did he cooperate with his sons and maybe even use some heathens to build the ark? Now these questions would be more in line with our discussion.
Carey: Darrell wrote: Carey, you admit that these terms are terms of debit and credit.
Carey here: Yes. But just because the terms used are business terms, does not mean that they were used literally. Many evangelism terms are agricultural in nature, but we do not literally plant and harvest.
Darrell: The word is figuratively referred to as seed (Luke 8:11). Which is planted into figurative soil, the hearts of men (Luke 8; Matt 13). Was Pauls support literal or figurative? It was literal. But how could it be literal if either part of the giving and receiving were figurative? The argument answers itself.
Carey: Darrell wrote: Now to the word "receiving." First of all you said that I have rearranged the order of the words "giving" and "receiving." It does not matter how these words are arranged in this prepositional phrase:
Carey here: Your arguments suggested that to me. I will admit that this is a debate tactic, which should not have been used. Your reasoning and understanding are well stated. The evidence you have presented cannot support the conclusions you have drawn.
Darrell: Carey, if you are in this debate for the sole purpose of winning, then why bother? I sincerely want to learn the truth if I am in error and I want to show you the truth if I know it. You admit that your "debate tactic" fell apart under the microscope of truth, but you still say my conclusions are wrong. You remind me of the destructive critic. Every time the Bible vindicates itself the critic just changes his method of form criticism. I will never understand why he will just abandon his error and get on board with the truth.
Carey: here: All of these Greek scholars whom I respect agreed that the giving and receiving were between Paul and the church in Philippi.
Darrell: Two observations here. First of all, all of the scholars I have read on this matter have never encountered an "anti." Frankly, your doctrine is remote. But if you keep reading those scholars (that is if, like myself, you are referring to scholars outside of the Lords church and especially outside of antism) you will see that they agree that Philippians 4:15-16 refer to Pauls support in Corinth! If these fellows ever encounter an "anti" they will probably get a little more technical in their treatment of verse 15. Secondly, what did Paul say? He said Philippi was the "only" church working with him at that time, in the "giving and receiving" department, but he was "robbing other churches" by taking wages from them. I will stand here on Pauls inspired scholarship!
Carey: Darrell wrote: Therefore, it is senseless to think that the Philippians only received benefit from communication with Paul in this work. These other churches also benefited from giving to this work. But only the Philippian church "gave and received" or "received and gave" to this work and therefore, they were commended this great honor by Paul.
Carey here: I am sure that if Paul wrote an epistle to the other churches involved, that he would have thanked them in the same manner and we would have a written record. We only have the letter to the Philippians recorded in scripture. I am sure that Paul wrote a lot more letters than what we have recorded by the Holy Spirit. You cannot scripturally draw a conclusion that Philippi was a sponsoring church because of this one letter.
Darrell: Carey, I can not believe this. You have charged me time and time again of building upon assumptions. You wrote:
You have done nothing more than offer our readers a "May be the case" scenario. . . .the best I can do is say that Darrell has not met his obligation of proof. . . . These specifics listed eliminate the possibility that "it may be the case that..." you have not verified this statement. Your "possibility" is only a hopeful "may" which gives you the satisfaction to continue in such practices, but you have no scriptural support. et al.
And then you assume the possibility of Paul writing other churches and telling them that they too were the only ones to fellowship with Paul into giving and receiving. Carey you are basing this argument on an assumption. An illogical assumption at that. I have based my argument on Pauls inspired word. Once again I want to turn your attention to the meat of your case as presented thus far. You wrote:
Darrell quoted Phil 4:15: "Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel,when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only" Darrell, what does the last phrase mean? Does "but ye only" means that all the other churches participated in this work? The scripture says right here that the church in Philippi was the only one to support Paul.
You can not have it both ways Carey.
Carey: Darrell wrote: Delivery was accomplished by depositing the funds either with the church at Corinth or to Paul directly, no one this side of time can know for sure. Carey here: Since I have given specific examples of church support for a preacher, and none of these examples indicated a church receiving from another church, your statement cannot be correct about sending the money to the Corinthian church. We know it went directly to Paul (Phil 2:15; Phil 4:10; Phil 4:15: 2 Cor 11:8).
Darrell: Carey, you know it went directly to Paul. Would you argue that 2 Corinthians 8:1-14 teaches that the collection went to the church in Jerusalem before it was distributed to the saints? Many NIs would make that argument, but it is based on inference. The same inference you must use to find a specific pattern in II Cor. 11:8. Phil. 2:15 is not dealing with the support aspect of evangelism. Phil. 2:10 does not specifically state that Paul received these funds directly without going through the church in Corinth. Again I could infer the same from II Cor. 8:1-14. The matter upon which we are focused in debate is the action of one congregation fellowshipping into "giving and receiving" with a preacher in the field. Philippians 4:15 directly teaches that this method is authorized by Christ.
Darrell: Luke's record in Acts 15:22-32 also proves that the arrangement noted in the debate proposition is authorized.
Carey here: Darrell, this passage has no relevance to your proposition. We have a very special case, which confronted the early church. A special mention of it is very important for us to see the development that the early church went through. We would have just as much authority to reinstitute immediate capital punishment for lying to the Holy Spirit. Are you ready to do such?
Darrell: Carey, are you ready to do the same with I Cor. 16:1-2? The dearth has long past, so we dont need to contribute right? The point here is that a "spiritual need" was being met through congregational cooperation. I guess if it does not fit current NI theories it must no be valid. The Mormons do the same thing to the Bible every time it contradicts their Book of Mormon.
Carey: Darrell wrote: Therefore, the Bible authorizes one church to assist or cooperate with another church in spiritual matters. Carey here: I would hope that you have a copy of Thomas B Warren's book "When Is An Example Binding?" This scenario does not answer the call for congregational cooperation.
Darrell: Funny you should mention brother Warren. Let me quote from his pen: "What does this passage say? [He is writing about Acts 15:22-23, DB.] First, it tells us that the Jerusalem church chose men to be sent to Antioch, verse22. Second, it tells us that the Jerusalem church prepared an epistle to be sent to the brethren of Anitoch, Syria, and Cilicia, verse 23. Third, it tell us that Judas and Silas, brethren sent by Jerusalem, were to tell by word of mouth the brethren of Antioch the same things as those contained in the epistle, verse 27. Fourth, it tells us that the brethren, Paul and Barnabas, Judas and Silas, went to Antioch. There, they gathered the multitude, the church, together and delivered to them the epistle, verse 30. Fifth, Judas and Silas exhorted the brethren of Antioch, verse 32. Sixth, 'they wrote thus by them' -- diacheiros, verse 23. This is the same as Acts 11:30, 'by the hand of' Barnabas and Paul. Now, after having seen what the passage says, let us see what this shows. First, the passage shows that one church can scripturally send some of its own men to render assistance to another church. A church has the right to support those whom it sends out. In fact, a church should do this, unless in a particular case there is some good reason for not doing it. Second, this passage shows that the assistance which one church may give to another church may involve spiritual matters. Third, this passage shows that the assistance which one church may give to another church may involve spiritual matters. Third, this passage shows that one church may send a writing to another church. This writing may involve spiritual matters. This shows that a church may send a tract to another church. If a church may send one tract to another church, it may send a number of tracts to another church, so long as it is expedient to the cause of Christ to do so. Fourth, this passage shows, then, in the light of the fact that a church may send a number of tracts to another church, that a church may send funds to another church so that the receiving church may use those funds in the purchase of writings which may involve spiritual matters. This simply means that one church may send funds to another church so that the receiving church may purchase tracts. Fifth, this passage shows that, in light of point number four, if a church may send funds so that tracts may be purchased, the same principle which allows this would also allow radio time to be purchased. Sixth, this passage shows that Bible teachings on this matter in general - the church sending men as well as writing. There is no single 'pattern' - no 'exclusive pattern' in the matter of one church helping another church. The assistance may be either men or other matters. It may involve physical needs or spiritual needs. Seventh, this passage shows that a church may act 'through the hand of' a number of men. This passage declares this in verse 23, in which we find the expression 'dia cheiros.' This same expression is found, as I have already pointed out to you, in Acts 11:30. There it is translated 'by them.' At any rate, we know that in chapter fifteen, the church wrote to the church in Antioch 'by the hand of' these messengers." (Thomas Warren, Church Cooperation And Orphan Homes, pp.76-78.).
Carey: Your attempt to associate this passage with church cooperation is fishing, wishing, and meager at best.
Darrell: I wonder how they accomplished this work without cooperation?
Carey here: Although scripture would not prohibit a congregation sending spiritual material to another congregation; the scriptures do limit the use of funds that are placed in the charge of local congregations. There are no scriptures to support the thought on your conclusion. Besides, the example in Acts 15 is between two congregations only. Your proposition indicates cooperation by more than two congregations being involved.
Darrell: Spiritual materials are purchased with money. There is no difference as to the location of the purchase. If one congregation may receive tracts, or the money for those tracts, from another congregation, then it could receive them from two different congregations based on the same authority. Carey, you have given up your doctrine if you really believe what you wrote above. Look up the word plural in a dictionary. It means more than one. Two elders are a plurality of elders.
Carey: Darrell wrote: More could be offered but this post would be too long and I want to hold you mainly to answering the argument offered from Philippians 4:15.
Carey here: Darrell should have offered more. He has now lost that ability to present new evidence. I do believe that we did consider Phil 4:15 quite thoroughly. Perhaps we will discuss it further in our third articles in this debate. Apparently our focus in this debate has really attached itself to where it belongs in the first place. The proper understanding of the church in it's various roles and where authority lies with each. I am happy that this truth has come out. I hope and pray that all of us can learn from God's word of how to properly view and administer matters concerning the church on it's various levels. In Him, Carey Scott
Darrell: The argument from Acts 15 is valid. The same arguments can be made from other places. There is no need for these arguments because Philippians 4:15-16 is too clear. Philippi was Pauls sponsoring congregation. They were the "only" congregation to fellowship with Paul into "giving and receiving." Remember friends, Carey made the word "only" the meat of his argument, then he abandoned it when it turned against him. Why prove a thing from fifty different arguments. I have proved that congregations may work together and send a missionarys funds to one congregation, which will then send those funds to the missionary. This was the arrangement used by Paul when he departed from Philippi and while he was laboring in the city of Corinth. Carey, when you see the mosaic which is Christs church, then your will be able to see beyond the haze of phantom patterns. Men may not bind where God has not bound (Rev. 22:18-19; Matt. 15:9).
For His Name,
Go to the third negative argument of Carey.
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