Flavil L. Colley
Firm Foundation, January 20, 1948, p. 3

"Now, a denomination— what is it? I think the following will prove true: A denomination is a religious organization larger than any local church on earth and yet smaller than all the Christian people on earth. Think of the statement thus made. What is a denomination? It is a religious organization larger than a local church, smaller than the redeemed in the aggregate. Therefore it comes in between, separate and distinct from, the church of the Bible at both ends of the line. How is the church used? It is either a local congregation or it embraces all Christians. Now, a denomination stands between these, and, therefore, it is a thing unheard of and unknown in the Bible: and I say that cautiously, respectfully, and yet firmly." [N. B. Hardeman, Volume 1, page 226-227].

This statement was true before Brother Hardeman made it in Nashville, in 1922. Let us reason
some about these things.

  1. Is a board to do church work a "religious organization"?
  2. Is it larger than a local church?
  3. Is it smaller than the redeemed in the aggregate?
  4. Does it come between, separate and distinct from the church of the Bible at both ends of the line?
  5. If a board controlled organization is not a religious organization, why are churches called upon to give to and through an organization that is not religious?
  6. If a board controlled institution is too large to be controlled by a local congregation, with its elders and deacons, is it a religious organization?

If not what is it?

False and True

False:

"You do not believe the Holy Spirit converts because you do not believe it does it directly."

True:

The Holy Spirit converts the alien sinner through the word of God.

False:

"You do not believe in mission work because you will not give through a missionary board or society."

True:

Bible teaches that the church is that through which mission work should be done, and not the church
through another organization.

False:

"You do not believe in "Christian Colleges" because you will not place the college in the church budget, and give through aboard."

True:

A group of Christians can form a board, larger than a local congregation in government, and prepare young men and women for "secular calling" using the Bible as a textbook to teach spiritual things, along with other textbooks that teach the regular college courses, science, English, etc. Individual Christians, support such an institution as they would any other investment that would train and prepare young men and women for their place in society, and yet be free from many of the evils of state institutions of learning.

False:

"You do not believe in caring for orphans, or supporting orphan homes, because you do not believe in taking money from the church treasury and giving it through aboard."

True:

A group of Christians can form a board, or society, with members from many congregations and care for orphan children. These may be supported by individuals who are interested in such work The church of the Lord does not need a board or society of any kind through which to do mission work, college work, caring for orphans, or any kind of work. Any work that is so large it cannot be under the supervision of a local congregation, or if the nature of the work is such it cannot be under the supervision of a local congregation is too big.

Where are the men of God that fought digression in the past? Mission boards, instrumental music, etc. Truly institutions have strung the churches on a wire, and gradually taken over. Every board that has members of several congregations serving on them is larger in government than the local congregation. It thus forms an organization, and if allowed will direct the polity of the church of the Lord. These organizations, "come in between, separate and distinct from, the church of the Bible at both ends of the line."

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