When the Guardian of Truth Foundation began hosting the Truth Magazine Lectures in 2004, some brethren raised questions about whether or not there was Bible authority for an institution like this to engage in such a work. Questions like this are important since we must have authority for all that we do (Colossians 3:17).
While discussions were going on about this question, I launched TruthMagazineLectures.com as a place to gather articles and links to material from brethren on both sides of the debate. I believed then – and still believe now – that this question is important: Are we authorized to form human institutions to do the work God gave the local church to do?
After moving the location of the lectureship from Bowling Green, Kentucky to Athens, Alabama (Athens is also the location of CEI Books, which is now the Foundation’s lone bookstore), they changed the name of the lectureship to CEI Lectures. So I took the material from the old site and launched this new site – CEILectures.com – hoping that more brethren will consider this important issue.
Below is the introduction I wrote for the original TruthMagazineLectures.com site.
The Study of Human Organizations Engaging in Spiritual Works
The gospel is “the power of God for salvation” (Rom. 1:16). It has been revealed to produce faith among men (Rom. 10:17). It is able to call the sinner to Christ (2 Th. 2:14) and strengthen the Christian (Acts 20:32). The teaching and preaching of the gospel is continually emphasized in Scripture for these reasons.
When we look to the New Testament, we see essentially two entities given the responsibility of spreading the gospel – the church and the individual. Both the church and the individual are bound by God to “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17). That is, both must work according to what has been authorized in the word of God.
Recently, the question has arisen as to whether or not there is divine authority for individuals to establish organizations apart from the local church and preach and teach the gospel through those organizations (such as the Guardian of Truth Foundation hosting a Bible lectureship). The purpose of this site is to help people find material that might be helpful as we study the issue. I believe many have not considered the issue seriously, if at all. It’s time we consider it. It is dangerous to just assume that something is authorized.
To help facilitate an open, honest investigation into these things, I will have material representing both sides – those who defend the practice and those who question the practice. I will try and use my best judgment in listing material I believe is profitable for our study.
May we all be diligent and honest as we are “trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Eph. 5:10).