Carey's Second Affirmative 9-14-99

Resolved: The Bible teaches that the sponsoring church arrangement is a violation of local autonomy and without Biblical authority.


I want to thank Darrell again for this opportunity to present what I believe the Bible teaches on this subject.

I request again, that all who read this debate will put away their bias and party spirit, and concentrate upon God's word as our only guide and authority. Please pray on this matter as well. Thank you.

As discussed in the first affirmative, The Bible teaches by Command, Example, and Necessary Inference. It also teaches by silence. If we claim to speak as "the oracles of God" (1 Pet 4:11), we must stay within the divine pattern that the New Testament gives us (Phil 3:17). Since the scriptures are silent concerning the sponsoring churches, there is no Biblical authority for their existence. Those who participate in such are acting without Biblical authority.

The work and mission of the local church are clearly pointed out in the scriptures (1 Tim 3:15; 1 Thess 1:8). The sponsoring church arrangement is not anywhere mentioned (or indicated) in the scriptures.

Darrell wrote: But Carey you have a fragmented view of the church...the Non Institutional Church of Christ does not understand the import and connection between the local church and the universal church.

Carey here: There are many ways in which one can describe the local church and it's organization. Jesus described the kingdom (the church) in many different ways. Would you claim Jesus had a fragmented view of the church?

For the time being, I suggest we stick to the proposition. If you want to discuss the nature of the local church, draft some propositions and we will see if you want to pursue it in another medium.

Carey wrote: When Christians in a particular locale agree to join together for the purpose of helping each other worship God, and fulfill their individual responsibilities that God placed upon them, they organize a local church. The local church is created by human agreement. As a result of local churches being established in various cities, the Holy Spirit gave instructions concerning the government and authority of the local church.

Darrell wrote: If I believed that "the local church is created by human agreement" then I would not bother with the local church.

Carey here: Darrell has twisted what I said. Perhaps it is my fault by my choice of the word "create." I probably should have chosen "organized," "incorporated," or "brought into existence." Let me explain further.

When my brothers and sisters in Christ join me and agree to start a congregation in another part of town or a new neighborhood, we make decisions concerning the work that will be done. We decide the means and measures of how we will do what God has commanded us to do. We agree on the times of worship. We agree on the location of that particular local church. We do this because we recognize a need to be associated with Christians. Acts 9:26 and the context of Heb 10:19-26 and numerous other passages explain the benefits of our fellowship.

Once we organize ourselves, we are acting in accordance with God's divine teaching and we SHOULD be doing those things which God has commanded us through His word. We do not decide why we will do such, because God has told us to. Our human agreement is in HOW (emp-cs) we will do what God has told us to do.

Our mutual fellowship with God is the tie and incentive for us to work together and to help each other fulfill our individual responsibilities. 1 John teaches a great deal on fellowship, and the tie that binds the saints together.

Darrell wrote: Membership and loyalty to a local congregation is no option based on human agreement, friend (Acts 2:42).

Carey here: Agreed. Even though you have charged me with not teaching it, there is a place for the local church in God's plan. If we are to fulfill God's plan, we can only do it His way. When we choose to do it another way, we are adding to, subtracting from, or changing Divine Law. Our debate is here because you have added another element to what God has ordained. We can read of the universal church and the local church, but we cannot read of the sponsoring church in scripture. This is an addition and thus, without Biblical authority.

Darrell wrote: Carey, you have just affirmed that the Great Commission is an individual only commission. You say that congregations can not/may not/must not/ cooperate together in evangelism under the sponsoring church arrangement, lest they burn in hell.

Carey here: You have not correctly stated what I believe here. The scriptures teach that every child of God has a responsibility to do the work that is given to them by Divine Law. Matt 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:32; Acts 10:39-42, and the list goes on (see the first affirmative).

The scriptures allow the cooperation of these individuals through several avenues.

1) Participation in the local church. Heb 10:24, 1 Tim 3:15

2) The combined efforts of several local churches (this would be cooperation, but not a federation, society, amalgamation or a structured grouping into a unit of sorts, each congregation would be acting independently of each other) in the support of an evangelist (2 Cor 11:8-9)

3) The financial support of one who preaches the gospel by individuals or a congregation or several congregations. Phil 2:25, Phil 4:15, 2 Cor 11:8 The sponsoring church arrangement is not one of the avenues supported by scripture.

By the way, I am only affirming that the sponsoring church position is without Bible authority. I have never stated anything about hell in any of my arguments. Darrell is attributing words to me that I have not spoken or even suggested. The statement was uncalled for.

Being a member of a local church does not relieve us of our responsibility to serve the Lord, but it should enhance it. If we abdicate our responsibility and let the church do our work for us, we have left the divine pattern that Paul taught by his epistles (2 Tim 3:10-14). The local church can support the preaching, and encourage the preaching, and develop the preaching, and participate in the preaching, and even pay for the preaching, but the local church does not DO (emp-cs) the preaching.

Darrell wrote: In the first place, you just preached several of the apostles into hell.

Carey here: Darrell, you know full well that no one can preach anyone, anywhere into anything. If a person is obedient to God's will, God approves of them and they are allowed entrance into heaven. Those folks who are not obedient to God are the ones who will enter hell (Matt 25:31-46; 2 Thess 1:8,9).

Carey: God has not authorized any elders to oversee a work other than the work that is being done by the congregation which they serve (Acts 20:28, 1 Pet 5:1-4, Col 3:17). An eldership cannot give up its charge, responsibility, or treasury to the oversight of another eldership. Neither, does an eldership have authority to accept the charge, responsibility of another eldership.

Darrell responded: If it is the case that "The Lord's missionary plan calls for individual Christians to go about preaching the word" and this is the exclusive pattern as you have affirmed. Then no eldership has the right to oversee ANY evangelistic work at all! If you fellows take $50 a week out of your treasury to pay for a radio program to teach other Non Institutional doctrine, then you have cooperated beyond your pattern.

Carey here: You see, that Darrell did not answer this argument, so he tries to shift the focus to another argument. This statement is one of my major points in this debate and Darrell just twists statements from other discussions and makes a colorful display of words to sidetrack and keep the reader off of the resolution of our debate.

Carey: I asked Darrell this question, and here is his response.

1. Who is responsible for the oversight of the sponsoring church?

Darrell answered: A congregation may be scripturally organized or it may be scripturally unorganized. By scripturally organized I mean having a qualified eldership. By scripturally unorganized I mean that there are no qualified men to serve as elders, so the business of the church is taken care of by the men of the congregation. All congregations, by the authority of Christ, are to be arranged as noted above.

Carey here: Notice that Darrell gave a correct statement that can be supported by the Bible. However you will notice that Darrell did not answer the question. Before I can respond and make a point, I need Darrell to answer the question.

Darrell responded: Carey, in your own words, keep reworking the question and you will get the answer you seek. I gave you the only scriptural answer to your question.

Carey here: I guess since Darrell did not have an answer concerning the sponsoring church, that by his own admission, there is no authority of Christ for such. Darrell's answer was scriptural concerning the local church, but Darrell admits (though he does not intend to) that there is no pattern found in scripture to justify a sponsoring church.

Carey: I also asked Darrell this question.

3. Can a local church be right in the sight of God, without participating in a sponsor church arrangement?

Darrell: Yes.

Carey here: Darrell has recognized God's pattern for leadership in the local church. Each congregation is autonomous and totally independent from any other local church. The fact that they have the same goals, and follow the same guide does not mean that they are cooperating in an organized work.

Darrell: No, I just acknowledge that congregations have the right to determine how they will use their evangelistic funds.

Carey here: I agree that congregations have the right to determine how they will use their funds, but they are limited by Biblical authority on how they can use them. The congregation that participates in a sponsoring church arrangement (giving or receiving) is acting without Biblical authority. No local church can choose to do error and still be pleasing in the sight of God.

In Him

Carey Scott

Go to the second negative argument by Darrell

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