On June 26th - 29th of this year the Guardian of Truth Foundation will host its Third Annual Lectureship in Bowling Green, KY. The Guardian of Truth Foundation open lectureship is something new, their work as an organized collective body that has always intended to preach the Gospel, is not something new. Ron Halbrook wrote about the heritage of the foundation in 1995 stating: “If the Guardian of Truth continues in its heritage of boldly proclaiming the gospel of Christ without compromise, may God bless its efforts and extend its usefulness” (Guardian of Truth Magazine, July 20, 1995, pp. 433-436). He acknowledged, in his words, that the Foundation is at work (not just individuals who are concurrently seeking to preach the truth).
The Foundation will quickly defend itself by noting its paper is just a medium for preaching. However, the Guardian of Truth Foundation’s paper (Truth Magazine) is not the only thing they have working for them and their causes. The Guardian of Truth foundation has carefully positioned itself within the brotherhood. They have produced many workbooks that are used in congregations throughout the brotherhood. The Guardian of Truth Foundation has become the dominant printing company wherein they fill many tract racks with their own material. They have become a “household name” for so-called “Non-Institutional” congregations. There are even congregations that seem to have an unwritten policy of having the “Truth Boys” hold all of their Gospel Meetings. Surely, the inspired writings of Peter and Jude have to come to mind when you see such false brethren creeping into local congregations like the Truth Foundation has (II Peter 2:1-3 and Jude 4).
The pattern of control in the brotherhood even goes beyond what was mentioned above. Consider that, when one of the “Truth Boys” is under attack for teaching error, the paper will act as a collective body in defending her own. Such is the proven case by the written material printed in Truth Magazine defending those who believe in the false notion that there can be a second putting away after a marriage has ended1 (Ron Halbrook2, Bill Cavender3, Weldon Warnock4, etc.). The foundation’s first open lectureship even hosted a discussion wherein the second putting away doctrine was defended (July 14th, 2004). When brethren start looking to the Truth Foundation and start overlooking such clear teaching as I Corinthians 7:10-11, the days of Hosea surely come to mind (Hosea 4:1-6.). This however, is where we are right now. Brethren have forsaken the Scriptures and have put their confidence in men who’ve formed organizations to carry out the preaching of their message (Psalms 118:8). These men act within their own playing field by using the power they’ve obtained by forming their own collective body known as the Guardian of Truth Foundation. One has to wonder, what is the effect of the practices of the Guardian of Truth Foundation on the body of Christ?
The Foundation’s Effect on the Body of Christ
Within the pages of the inspired word of God, our Lord informs us that the church is to be the pillar and ground of the truth (I Timothy 3:15). To be clear, the local church and her work is God’s FOUNDATION for teaching and guarding the truth. Not once within the pages of the New Testament do we find a group of men who organized themselves outside of a local congregation. It is elders, Gospel preachers, and members of local congregations who are to teach and defend the truth (Acts 20:28-31, Titus 1:10-14, and Jude 3). Not once did the Lord instruct elders or Gospel preachers to form a governed body, aside from the local church, to take on these tasks.
The task of seeing that the Gospel is spread to all nations is fit for a local congregation without restriction to a local geographical location. The church in Thessalonica sure did not stick to one area with her work. Notice what Paul was able to say about them: “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing” (I Thessalonians 1:8). The church in Jerusalem extended her work beyond their city limits (Acts 15:22ff.). The Holy Spirit instructed the church at Antioch to send Paul and Barnabas beyond their local area (Acts 13:2-3). When they finished preaching and teaching in other areas, they reported not to a board of directors of a human organization like the Guardian of Truth Foundation, but to the local church in Antioch (Acts 14:26-28).
The Guardian of Truth Foundations seeks to diminish the role of the local church in spreading the Gospel to all nations. This is the effect that we are seeing from this human institution that is overspreading its wings. The Guardian of Truth Foundation inserts itself into this work and does so without any authority from the Lord. A commonly used text about Nadab and Abihu shows us the end of things that are practiced without authority from the Lord (Leviticus 10:1-2). If these brethren thought the church to be sufficient in carrying out the works of teaching and defending the truth they would cease and desist from what they are doing. Yet, they seem to be incapable, as a group, to understand the works of the local church and how they are in direct conflict as the Guardian of Truth Foundation with said works. They see themselves as being part of something, not a something else separate and apart from God’s people entirely.
Part of the Lord’s Church or Part of Something Else?
When the lost are converted into Christ, they are then added to the Lord’s church in a “universal” sense (Acts 2:41; 47 and I Corinthians 12:13). One will then join themselves to a local congregation wherein they will work and worship (Acts 11:26 and I Corinthians 1:2). As local congregations we are to be governed by the Scriptures (Colossians 3:17). Elders oversee the local congregation wherein they work (I Peter 5:1-3). All congregations should be teaching the same things (I Corinthians 4:17; 7:17, Colossians 4:16, and Titus 2:1). There may be an area that has several local churches meeting within that area (Galatians 1:2). While some like to think that preachers in those local congregations are strapped to one neighborhood, Gospel preachers are not at all limited to one local area or even one local congregation when preaching God’s word (Philippians 2:19, I Thessalonians 3:2, and II Timothy 4:12). The work of the Lord can and must be accomplished under the direction of the local congregation as we see this is the only pattern within the New Testament (II Timothy 1:13).
The Lord’s church is made up of many individuals (Romans 12:4-5, I Corinthians 12:27, and Ephesians 4:16). The body of Christ is made up of individual members of one body, likened unto our own physical bodies which have eyes, ears, feet, etc. Those who make up the Guardian of Truth Foundation are selected members decided by that particular board of directors. The church is made up of those who have been added to her by the Lord (Acts 2:47). The Guardian of Truth Foundation is overseen by their board of directors. The church is overseen by her head, which is Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23 and Colossians 1:18). The Guardian of Truth Foundation was founded by men. The church of Christ was founded by our Lord Himself (Matthew 16:18). The Guardian of Truth Foundation, while it may try to insert itself, is not therefore part of the body of Christ. It is another body of those who have decided to do some of the same works that have been directed solely for the local church to perform (i.e. evangelism and edification). The Guardian of Truth Foundation is something else and it is about time it starts getting treated as such.
We Should Treat the Guardian of Truth Foundation as a Harlot
The relationship between Christ and His church is likened unto a marriage (Ephesians 5:22-32). The Guardian of Truth Foundation, as a separate entity from the church, is trying to stand between Christ and His bride. They are seeking to be the spiritual guides of the church which removes Christ as the chief Shepard (I Peter 5:4). The Foundation wants to be the husband to the Lord’s bride. They are trying to be the one’s to protect the truth as her Guardians, which adds a second body doing the Lord’s work instead of allowing the bride of Christ to carry out her own marital obligations. Folks, in a marital relationship, we typically call a third party standing between a man and his bride a harlot or something similar in nature. Why does the human institution known as the Guardian of Truth Foundation get away with being a third party in a two party relationship?
The Guardian of Truth Foundation has slipped between the sheets (so to speak). They are causing God’s people to commit spiritual adultery. When this happens the Lord does the putting away of His people who go whoring after the other parties (Jeremiah 3:8). To the Guardian of Truth Foundation brethren need to say: “But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was” (Ezekiel 16:15). For those brethren who get wrapped up in this warped organization, come out from among them and be ye separate (II Corinthians 6:17)!
It would seem that anyone who writes an article such as this would be accused of being a disciple of Daniel Sommer. I for one have written against human organizations carrying out the teaching of the Gospel even in my days of being among the liberals (of which I repented of years ago). I had to leave a liberal congregation in Cherry Tree, PA over an article I wrote about Ohio Valley Christian College in 1999 and their lectures, preacher training programs, etc. (a time when I was still in the Institutional movement). I have never read anything that Daniel Sommer has written. Then, if you hold the views expressed in this article, you must be in Gene Frost’s camp. Again, I have taught what I am teaching in this article long before I had ever heard of Gene Frost. Then of course, someone may take this article and publish it within a publication. I would then be charged as doing what I am condemning.
I am not part of Gospel Truths, Preceptor, or any other paper that is published. I do grant permission for anyone to publish my written material in its entirety. In fact, if Playboy magazine wanted to print an article I wrote opposing pornography, I would not care one bit. Once the Guardian of Truth smokescreen disappears, you still have a human organization that is doing work it has no authority to do. This is what I oppose and hope others will as well!
Sadly, the issue addressed in this article seems to have fallen to the back burner for some brethren. To some brethren, this matter is merely a “preacher fight” and they just don’t want involved. Wrong! This is a fight over the same errors that caused brethren to fall into Institutionalism years ago. If the church has been assigned work to do, it is the church’s work to carry it out. Those works that have been given to us as individual Christians, need to be carried out on an individual or concurrent basis in which those works were assigned (i.e. Matthew 28:19, I Timothy 5:16, II Timothy 2:2, etc.). Within the pages of the New Testament there is only one collective body that is authorized to carry out the work of the Lord. That collective body is the local church!
When men organize on a larger scale than the local church, they have done nothing different than the Christian Church did in forming missionary societies. Most conservative brethren see the absurdity of the missionary society and simply deny that those organizations have authority to exist (I Corinthians 4:6). Such is true of the Guardian of Truth Foundation in its current capacity. We need to have nothing to do with this organization (Ephesians 5:11).
To conclude, some have thought that the organization of G.O.T. may be wrong and teach a few errors, but does a greater good than harm. Thus, many have decided to overlook these matters as differences and continue to support that unauthorized organization. Sin, whether one or twenty, cuts off fellowship between God and man (Isaiah 59:1-2, James 2:10, and II John 9). Our fellowship has to be determined by those who are in fellowship with God (I John 1:2-7). Isn’t it about time that God’s children stand with Him instead of the harlot (Joshua 24:14-15 and Jeremiah 5:7-14)? The Guardian of Truth Foundation just simply does not fit within the true body of Christ. Thus, as Jesus said about the scribes and Pharisees: “…Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matthew 15:13-14).
1. “Heresy and Factionalism”;
Mark Mayberry; Truth Magazine; September 15, 2005
2. “First Annual Lecture Series: ‘The Renewing of Your Mind’”; Mike Willis; Truth Magazine; September 2, 2004
3. “Observations and Experiences Regarding Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage”; Bill Cavender; Truth Magazine; May 6, 2004
4. “Some Thoughts on Divorce and Remarriage”; Connie Adams; Truth Magazine; May 5, 2005
FOR MORE ARTICLES ON THESE ISSUES GO HERE: http://www.wordsoftruth.net/studyofinstitutionalism.htm