Organizations like World Bible School
There are many man-made organizations today that try to help in the work of local churches. World Bible School is a good example. WBS tries to help local churches with edification (many Christians take their courses), evangelism, and benevolence (they give money to churches and preachers in Africa and do other work involving benevolence).
Here are some quotes from WBS’s website:
I am personally pleased to be a part of this great outreach. I would rather live in Africa and work personally among the folks there, but God has blessed Mary Jane and me with being a part of one of the greatest works in our time for reaching out to a lost world with the saving gospel. (Tex Williams1)
Notice that Tex says that WBS is a work, not that it is an organization that does a work or even a method for churches or individuals to do a work.
‘WBS really works for the church.’ How and where did we meet these 12 souls? Believe it or not, we did not search for them. They searched for us to teach them the truth upon their receipt of the WBS flyers that we distributed along the streets, in government offices, in business establishments, and on jeepneys and taxis! We never knew them personally, nor were they referred to us by anyone. They simply responded to the WBS flyers on which we put our cellular phone numbers. After they either called or texted us, we got their names and addresses and immediately visited them. We then set up a once-a-week Bible study, and then God brought their faith to obedience.
All this proves that WBS really works for the church. (Alex Coloma2 - Baguio City, Philippines)
Does it? What this proves is that putting out flyers works. There is nothing wrong with putting out flyers. It was getting out and doing something that worked! WBS had nothing to do with it except providing flyers for free. Even so, God did not tell the church to get another organization to do its work. The church is to do its own work!
A really scary article in their Action! magazine from July 2006 is I Praise God for WBS! by Carl Mitchell. Let me point out a few things in the article in case you missed them.
I was impressed by the urgency Jimmy felt for finding ways to evangelize that could include all our members in the task. Carl seems to be saying that before WBS, there was no way for all believers to do the work that God gave them to do.
numerical growth will occur in an environment of love (Ephesians 4:11-16). I just want to point out a complete missuse of a Bible passage. Ephesians 4:11-16 does not talk at all about numerical growth. It is talking strictly about edification. Unfortunately, WBS places such an emphasis on numbers (number of students, number of people baptized, etc.) that it seems to have even effected how they read the Bible.
Sadly, history documents that what was intended to be a ministry of the whole church to the whole world, increasingly became a ministry of a few called the “clergy.” He has valid criticism. Unfortunately, instead of getting back to the way things were done in the New Testament, he thinks we should do something completely different by having local churches all join together to run an organization that does the work for the churches.
This is where it begins to get really scary.
Recently, I heard that there are more members of churches of Christ in Africa than there are in the United States (keeping in mind that only the Lord knows the true number!). Whether or not this be true, it is obvious that WBS is excitingly effective, on a world-wide basis, in bringing new members into the body of Christ. Do you see how WBS takes credit for all the Christians in Africa? Evidently WBS is God’s power to save in Africa. African preachers who have been busting their backs for years don’t really appreciate WBS saying that it has done all the work of preaching in Africa.
WBS has blessed the church by creating Kingdom work for thousands of members all over the United States. Maybe there is more than one way to look at the phrase, but I don’t think WBS has the right to create Kingdom work for anyone. Only the King has the right to create Kingdom work. The work of running WBS is a new work that the King did not create, but to say that it is Kingdom work is not true.
WBS has given us a wonderful model for the way the church should look. Again, who gave WBS the right to change the model? They recognize that the model of the church under WBS is different from that in the New Testament. But evidently theirs is better.
Do you see where these organizations end up? It’s disturbing. They do not care at all about the authority of Christ.
- “Why World Bible School?” - https://web.archive.org/web/20070511120002/http://www.worldbibleschool.net/c_stories/staff/staff1.php (now I can only find it through the Internet Archive) [return]
- WBS Is a Growth Tool (Part I of II) - https://web.archive.org/web/20070511120002/http://www.worldbibleschool.net/c_stories/churches/church1.php (now I can only find it through the Internet Archive) [return]