J. D. Tant Located Preachers Firm Foundation 1934

The American Restoration Movement had a wide appeal specificially because it did not load the churches down with well-paid preachers to take the Biblically-designated role of the elders.

The Bible and church history repudiates a PROFESSIONAL preacher or minister except for evangelists who are DUE but cannot preach a FREE gospel and burden the students. Their task is to TEACH THE WORD AS IT HAS BEEN TAUG HT. Therefore, Paul worked while the students worked and taugt them when they could REST.

The so-called Second Great Awakening brushed up against the Restoration Movement many years after those who began preaching after being "ordained" in Barton W. Stone churches, learned of the ancient teachings being preached by men influenced by Thomas Campbell, Alexander Campbell and many, many others. Most of them repudiated the charismatic influence and followed the simple teachings of Jesus -- often poorly understood and preached.

These men restored the Great Commission and went out preaching rather than locate where the gospel had been preached. It did not take too long for the restored churches to drift back into a located clergy system where "evangelism" was trading pulpits with another located preacher.

J. D. Tant notes that:

"Fifty-two years ago, just after coming out of Methodism, I held my first meeting in the Christian church house at Lockhart, Texas, assisted by W. H. D. Carrington.

Brother J. D. Tant began as a Methodist and held his first meeting at Lockhart, Texas. He notes that there was no division between churches of Christ and the Christian church. However,

"in 1886 the Christian church departed from the old land mark in Austin, and introduced human societies and instrumental music to capture the world.

This sounds like modern seeker movements. The belief is that you have to use secular means to attract the secular masses.

Brother Tant praises O. L. Hicks a recent graduate of Abilene Christian College:

"Brother Hicks is a young man of fine ability, and has a great future if he is not sidtracked in hunting for a located job to become a modern pastor. He will spend one or two months at Lockhart soon systematizing the work. We have some grand, godly members there, but a little short on leadership.

While evangelism is the only authorized preaching role for the church, it didn't take long for men to understand that being a "located evangelist" was cozier than being a "go into all the world herald of the gospel." He says:

"I notice that my old time friend and brother, J. W. Chism, is making some complaint that the located minister does not go out and build up as he and I did, but are exchanging meetings all the time with other located ministers, and knocking the evangelist out.

"A leading evangelist of Missouri who stands up in the class with Busby and Hardeman tells me he is not being supported to cover expenses, as only the poor churches call him.

Not only did the evangelist have their second incarnation as "preachers," they decided to freeze out the true, biblical evangelists. It made more sense to "trade pulpits" in so-called "gospel" meetings. With that you did two things: you fulfilled the demand to be an "located" evangelist (like "located travelling salesman") but within an established church, and you began to plant roots for your next, mandatory move:

"All the churches who are able have their located ministers and they exchange with other located ministers. In this arrangement I see much wisdom in the located ministers, for we now have about four preachers for each located job and most all located ministers wear out at one place and by exchanging with another located minister as each church gets tired of their located minister he can exchange with some other located minister and keep the work going.

I am sure all these preachers are doing a fine work, and judging from their reports we should enlarge five hundred house in Texas this year for I notice each Sunday their crowds are larger than ever before.

I am confident from a worldly standpoint the work of the evangelist is a thing of the past. The Bible says, "Go," but the modern demand says "stay," and I fear another warning like Chism has given will put him in the bad like J. D. Tant. Even the Firm Foundation has been instructed that they will do better if they will not let J. D. write in it, "For," the brother says, "He opposes us in all we do."

He notes that however learned, a man is not educated until he has a purchased degree:

"It was J. D. Tant who held the first meeting at Houston, Waco, Hillsboro, West, Georgetown, Bartlett, Killeen, Ft. Worth, Chillicothe, Quanah and many other towns in Texas. Then Tant was an able preacher and in demand, but all these places now have strong churches and good houses, yet Tant would not be permitted to hold them a meeting free of charge. But Tant preaches the same gospel now he did then. I wonder what has brought about the change.

Congresman Henry Hyde noted that: "Scholars are people educated beyond their mental ability." Some, like J. D. Tant would probably have never moved away from the trough if he had received his degree:

"Some claim it is because Tant does not have a college education. Does not hold a degree and is not refined. I beg to state the college I went to did not give degrees. I went to school at Jerusalem under Christ. Studied zeal and determination under Paul, and studied culture and refinement under Sampson who tied fire brands to foxes tails, and slew a thousand men with the jaw bone of an ass. So I am not lacking in Bible zeal, Bible knowledge, and Bible refinement. But I don't hold a degree and therefore am a back number.

Tant's warning is still timely:

"Don't forget we are drifting."

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