Jump to content

Plain Talk


Recommended Posts


Plain Talk


Plain Talk was developed and overseen by Robert F. Turner, while he worked at the Oaks-West congregation in Burnet, Texas. Over the years, other men such as Dan S. Shipley, Joe Fitch, and Jim R. Everett served as contributing writers. During its 20 years of operation, Plain Talk served as a profound influence on the thinking and actions of many Christians, exercising a straightforward country wit that was uniquely Robert Turner. The personable writing style, characterized by unusual conciseness, were the lesser of its virtues. The great contributions of this paper were the keen insight and clear expression that so ably kept many a wondering mind on the straight and narrow, while granting clarity to difficult truths. Make no mistake, it is the lucid and succinct explanation of great Bible truths in simple speech that makes this paper so remarkable. The breadth and color were just icing on the cake!

Plain Talk was originally digitized and made available on the Cedar Park Church of Christ web-site. However, it was there released under limited copyright. Both Turner and Shipley would like to make Plain Talk as freely available as possible. Therefore, to serve as a mirror, thereby ensuring its ongoing web-presence, and to extend the flexibility of its licensing, Plain Talk is here re-released, but to the Public Domain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.I Pg.1
January 1964

A Plea For "Plain Talk"

Robert F. Turner

Once Jesus told his disciples, "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world and go to the Father." And his disciples said, "Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb." (Jn. 16:28-29)

Again (in 2 Cor. 3:12) Paul, having contrasted the Old and New Testament, and having shown the greater glory of the later, wrote: "Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech."

The days of "hidden wisdom" and the "mystery of the gospel" are past. (1 Cor. 2:7, 10, Eph. 3:3-7) The "Mystic Knights of the Sea" may keep their pagan rites and child-like secrets but God's children love the light, and rejoice unashamedly in the truth. It is with such a spirit as this that Plain Talk is introduced.


These subjects are "taboo" in social circles, we are told. Why is it so? Is it better to repeat the latest gossip, or feed the ego with stories of yesterday's deeds? Or do we simply admit we know so little about these vital life subjects we can not carry on an intelligent discussion without becoming obnoxious?

"A Weaving Way"

Some preachers, and politicians, can not discuss their subjects calmly and factually. They must build up steam so that the stale cliches, flag waving, and stomping can take the place of substantiated truth. Maybe some reluctance to discuss religion results from such displays. You say, "If this is religion, deliver me."

And so-- Plain Talk

Let's not throw out the baby with the wash water. Our subject needs discussion, and we feel Plain Talk is one answer. Not abusive -- we write with malice toward none; nor with careless abandon -- our subject demands the best in us. Rather, we hope to "get to the point" with the plainness and directness warranted by the urgency of our message. "Plain Talk" seeks conscientious readers. And you?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.I Pg.2
January 1964

E D I T O R I A L . . . . . .

Robert F. Turner

This little paper makes no claim to greatness. It humbly takes its place among the many publications of our day, with a simple pledge to the reader, i.e., Plain Talk.

Plain Talk is published by the Burnet church of Christ, Rhomberg and Washington Streets, as a part of our teaching program. It is sent free of charge or obligation to all who are willing to receive it. This issue is intended as a fair example of "things to come" and by it you may judge whether or not you care to receive further issues. A phone call or postal card will remove your name from our mailing list.

To "Saint and Sinner"

As in the case of radio or newspaper teaching, this publication is intended for wide application. Its message will be varied, with something of interest (we hope) for members of the church, and non-members. Obviously, its theme is "religious", and this will, to some extent, regulate interest. However we have found many non-Christians interested in such Plain Talk, -- and we have found some church members that were not the "saints" they were supposed to be. We will let your attitude and response speak for itself.

An "Open" Policy

We have nothing to hide, and operate upon the principle that truth is best served by unhampered, open investigation. We do not believe ourselves infallible, and realize we may make many mistakes---both in content and in manner of presentation. But we do pledge honesty of intent and purpose. Further, we feel an obligation to open our pages to those who may differ with us.

Discussion Proposal

We freely offer one-half of any one issue for an 'equal-space' discussion of any religious point on which any reader may differ with us. Further space may be offered if the case seems to justify such treatment. Surely our readers can see that this is a fair proposal. "Come now and let us reason together." (Isa. 1:18, Acts 17:2, 18:4,19)


Elsewhere in this issue we present some Bible questions frequently asked. We seek to answer these, citing the word of God so that you may study the subjects with us. This will be a regular feature of this paper.

Your own questions will be welcomed. Address PLAIN TALK, 1608 Sherrard Street, Burnet, Texas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.I Pg.3
January 1964

The Object Of Saving Faith
Robert F. Turner

Paul said, "I know WHOM I have believed, and am persuaded that HE is able to keep that which I have committed unto HIM against that day." 2 Tim. 1:12 (Caps mine, rft)

Paul's faith was not in a system, but in the author of that system. The system was right, and obedience to the laws and commands of that system right, because it was God given through Christ. This is not said to suggest that the system is unimportant, but to distinguish between the author and the product. Further, no "man or plan" choice is under consideration here. One can not truly accept Christ without accepting His teachings, nor can one consistently accept the teachings of Christ without accepting His divinity.

Philosophic Faith

Modernism is proud of its current "Christian Philosophy." Preachers and teachers "compare" the various systems of religion, (buddhism, Taoism, and the like) and then urge the acceptance of "Christianity" because of its "superiority." (Naturally, this includes only that part of Christianity approved by the superior intellect of the teacher.) Intentionally, or otherwise, God is made subject to man, and in the final analysis such faith is in one's self, rather than in Him.

Accepted on such a basis as this, "Christianity" becomes a human system with human limitations. Having been judged by man, its authority and power is limited to man's level--and can lift man no higher than this. Sectarian Faith

But what of those who equate their own brand of orthodoxy with "Christianity"? "My church teaches this, so I'll hold to "this" to my dying day." Is such creedalism any better than the philosophy of the modernist? One puts his faith in current theology, another in the earlier creed makers, but neither really trust in Christ.

Names and Claims

And what of those who claim faith in Christ, but refuse to conform to the teachings of Christ? Calling one a Christian does not make a Christian and calling one's church "of Christ" does not make the church of Christ. Jesus said, "If a man love me, he will keep my words." (Jn. 14:23) Note, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God." (2 Jn. 9)

Faith and Relationship

True obedient faith establishes fellowship between God and man, thru Jesus Christ. This relationship can exist as long, but only as long, as we walk in His truth. (1 Jn. 1:3-10) As servants of God, our allegiance is to God; not to church, not to creed, not to elders, not to preacher, not to friends, BUT TO GOD THROUGH CHRIST.

This is the true saving faith, and without it there is no salvation. With such faith, the Lord's teachings are not "a" way, but "the way." The consequences, I fully believe, are what He would have them be, and of them I can not be ashamed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.I Pg.4
January 1964

What Did God "Establish"?

Robert F. Turner

World scholars seem to agree that the church was established in Jerusalem, the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ. Acts 2: gives the record, and only a few with some creed to defend offer objection. But WHAT was established when the church was established? Foolish question?? Well, read Acts 2: carefully.

Any "dedication" services? "Chairman" appointed? Any of the "institutional" procedure one would expect if today's common conception of "church" were correct? It just isn't there.

Today the emphasis is upon the party-- the church is something like a lodge, or "Royal Order of Saints"-- a society, somehow related to certain buildings. This conception is missing in God's record of establishment.

Prophecies concerning the establishment of the church invariably refer to the relationship, or the basis for the relationship, between God and individuals. Isaiah says, "the mountain of Jehovah's house shall be established on the top of the mountains---" referring to the establishment of God's law for all nations. (Isa. 2:1-f.) The promised kingdom was a promise of peace according to divine government. (Isa.9:1-f) The ransomed of Jehovah would walk in "The Way of Holiness." (Isa. 35:8-f)

Little Red Wagon

It seems many think of the church as something like a little red wagon. "Established on Pentecost" -- it stood ready to roll, and people could jump in and ride to heaven. But somewhere along the line a side-rail broke, an axle was bent, the tongue came loose, and finally a wheel fell away. Luther tried to put the wheel back on, but further bent the axle in his effort. Others replaced the tongue with a new but different instrument -- unsuited to the purpose and function of the original tongue. Alas, the church was broken down and out of service.

Then A. Campbell and Barton Stone determined to restore the church. They straightened the axle, replaced the tongue with an original model, repaired the side-rail and put the wheel back in place. Now people could again ride home to heaven.

Have I stretched the picture? Perhaps -- but only to emphasize what I believe to be an entirely erroneous conception of the church established on Pentecost. This is a denominational concept. It glorifies the "party" and does not properly distinguish between faithful and unfaithful people.

WHO are The Church??

The word "church" is a collective noun, and it "collects" people. But not just any people. Christ's church consists of "Saints and faithful brethren," "a people for God's own possession." (Col. 1:2 1 Pet. 2:9) Of all the multitude gathered in Jerusalem, only those who "gladly received his word" and "were baptized" became members of the church. (Acts 2:41)

Members of the church do sin, but they are expected to repent and pray God for forgiveness. Failing to do this, they are denied the fellowship of Christians. (1 Cor. 5:) A congregation of Christians who, collectively, no longer act in keeping with God's will is unworthy of a name and place among the churches of Christ. (Rev. 2) The Lord's church consists of people identified with the truth -- not just a people identified with a party.

God's Establishment Unchanged

What God established -- truth -- the New Covenant -- never changes. (1 Pet. 1:23-f) But the party -- the people could fall away. (1 Tim. 4:1-f) First their attitude toward divine authority is altered, then their practices, then, usually many years later, their terminology. Because the rule is one thing, and the people who supposedly follow the rule is another, Paul said we must not measure ourselves by our selves. (2 Cor. 10:12-f)

One may "stay with the building" "stay with the preacher" "stay with the elders" "stay with 90% of the people" -- and yet leave the church which God established. In fact, this is precisely the history of denominationalism with its creed-bound people.

Christians today need to restudy their conception of Christ's church. We must rededicate ourselves, not to some "party" but to the Christ, and to His cause. I must know the truth, and obey it, regardless of the action of others---"in the church" or out of it. I must remember that it is the purified and cleansed church-- not the "party"-- that Christ promises to save eternally. (Eph. 5:26-27) What God really established is firm and sure, and cannot be shaken. Heb. 10:28

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.I Pg.5
January 1964

Use Your Bible ......

Robert F. Turner

The Plan of Salvation ---

  1. WHY DID JESUS DIE ON THE CROSS? Isa. 53:1-12 Rom. 3:23-26 Heb. 2:14-18
  2. FOR WHOM DID JESUS DIE? Heb. 2:9-10 John 12:32-33
  3. HOW ARE WE DRAWN TO JESUS? Jn. 6:44-45 Acts 2:37-41 2 Thes. 2:14 Acts 26:17-18
  4. WHO WILL JESUS SAVE? Jn. 3:16 Matt. 7:21-29 Heb. 5:9
  5. WHAT DID JESUS COMMAND US TO DO? Jn. 8:23-24 Lu. 13:3 Mat. 10:32 Mk. 16:16
  6. WHEN DOES JESUS FORGIVE OUR SINS? Mk. 16:16 Acts 2:38 Acts 22:16 Rom. 6:4
  7. HOW DOES JESUS REGARD THOSE WHO OBEY HIS CALL? Jn. 15:10 Acts 2:47 1 Pet. 2:9-10 Col. 1:12-13 Gal. 3:26-27 Eph. 1:22-23 Eph. 2:19-22 1 Tim. 3:15
  8. HOW MAY WE BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD AFTER BAPTISM? 2 Pet. 1:5-11 Phil. 4:8-9 Heb. 10:23-27 Jn. 4:24 1 Cor. 11:23-29 1 Cor. 16:2 Rom. 12:1-21 Rev. 2:10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.I Pg.6
January 1964

On Being Neutral

Robert F. Turner

"You are on the right road, and whatever you do, don't let anyone persuade you that you can successfully combat error by fellowshipping it and going along with it.

I have tried. I believed at the start that was the only way to do it. I've never held membership in a congregation that uses instrumental music. I have, however, accepted invitations to preach without distinction between churches that used it and churches that didn't.

I've gone along with their papers and magazines and things of that sort. During all these years I have taught the truth as the New Testament teaches it to every young preacher who has passed through the college of the Bible. Yet I do not know of more than six of them who are preaching the truth today.

It won't work."

Brother J. W. McGarvey gave this advice to bro. J. P. Sewell in 1902, when brother Sewell was preaching for the Pearl and Bryan Streets church in Dallas. It is taken from brother Sewell's lecture, "Biographical Sketches of Restoration Preachers" given at Harding College in 1950. Referring to this advice, brother Sewell closed his lecture with the following words: "This experience has been an inspiration to me, when I was ever tempted to turn aside and go along with error, to remember the warning of this great old man."

From an article by

James E. Cooper,

The Proclaimer, San Antonio, Dec. '63

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.I Pg.7
January 1964

Queries: Re. Authority, Devils, Etc.

Robert F. Turner

Mr. Turner:

In your sermon Friday night you made such a fuss about authority, yet you were meeting in a building and using song books and many other things without bible authority. Do you think your judgement is authority?

(Received during out-of-state meeting, unsigned. rft)


I was unaware that I "made such a fuss" about anything, and will say now that if I did, it was unwarranted and does not constitute authority for anything. Neither my judgment nor that of the whole brotherhood could "authorize" anything in the church.

Regarding the building and the song books, the Lord authorizes brethren to assemble (Heb. 10:25) and to sing while assembled. (1 Cor. 14:15) Authority to assemble presupposes a place of assembly, and authority to sing warrants the necessary implements of singing. It is true that the specifics (as types of building, etc) are matters of judgment, and thatP ALlikely use very poor judgment sometimes in such matters; but it is not true that such expedients are "without" authority.

Note, however, that nothing can be "expedient" that is not first "authorized". (I.E., no place of assembly could be considered expedient, if we had no authority to assemble.) Also, legitimate expedients must always be within the category of the thing that is authorized. (Ex. "sing" can not authorize instruments for "playing"; and authority to assemble for worship can not justify the building of kitchens and banquet halls. - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear bro. Turner:

What is meant by "prevent" in 1 Thes. 4:15, "we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep."? UI


You quote the King James version, which uses "prevent" in its now archaic sense. The prefix "pre" means "before" and "vent" is from "venire" meaning "to come"; hence, the revised version translates "shall in no wise precede." The meaning is that those "in Christ" -- living at the time of His coming; and/or having been dead, but then resurrected; shall go "together" to meet the Lord in the air. (vs. 17) One group shall not go before the other.

- - - - - - - - - - -


What were the "devils" that Jesus cast out of people? Mark 1:34-f.


I wish I knew the answer to that. It is clear that whatever these were, they were of Satan, to cast them out demonstrated Jesus' power over Satan, and foretold the overthrow of Satan's kingdom. (Read carefully Mk. 3:22-27)

There are various theories (and just plain 'guesses') in Bible Dictionaries and Encyclopaedia; but use of a concordance, and reading of the text where they are mentioned, will give you as much real information and is a lot safer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.I Pg.8
January 1964

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

I see by the papers that one of our local "pastors" has been made a "priest". Interesting, if true. It is my pleasure to recall the making of many priests -- kings and priests, in fact. (Rev. 1:6)

There was the case of the trucker-- ex-fighter and rodeo rider. He laid aside his sinful life and put on a robe-- of righteousness, that is. The great King and High Priest, Jesus Christ, made this possible by forgiving his sins, and accepting him as a follower. Made a fine priest too, as I recall. Presented his body a living sacrifice, and offered up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 2:5)

I don't recall his wearing his collar backwards -- fact is, I doubt that he owned a collar. He was just one of the "brethren" and perfectly satisfied with this. (Matt. 23:5-12)

Of course he wasn't one of the denominational "clergy" -- nor a priest after their order. One inspired writer said the Lord Himself would not be such a priest on earth (Heb. 8:4); and the whole idea of an earthly hierarchy is contrary to our King's wishes. (Matt. 20:25-f. Rom. 12:1-5)

Seems to me this local "pastor" has a lot of adjustments to make before he can be a faithful priest according to the Word of God. Let's hope he makes them.


Several years ago a friend and I had a business appointment with a prominent R. Catholic. We went to his office, but the secretary refused to announce us because we asked to see "Mr. _____". "You must ask for Father _____," she insisted.

Well, we were just independent enough not to do it, so we had a stalemate until a kindly gentleman appeared at the door and invited us in. With the door closed, he removed his robe, and we had an enjoyable visit. Sat on the floor, as I remember, and listened to a wire-recorded Harvard debate.

Which proves something or other about the bull of the woods, and the yearlings that are just acting big. A tall man doesn't have to wear elevator shoes.

- - - - - - - - - - -

STUFF ABOUT THINGS will be a regular feature in Plain Talk, by the editor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Cockle-Pasted Patsy-Jabbers"

Robert F. Turner

Sometimes our politicians and/or brethren carry on great "battles" that remind me of my childhood. Two boys, each in his own back-yard, with a high board fence between, would begin a "word" bombardment.

One would call, "You're nothin' but a cockle-pasted patsy-jobber," or some other equally appropriate name. The second boy would respond, "Yeah--Well, you're anothern!!"

Whereupon, the first would shout, "You are ten cockle-pasted patsy-jabbers!" And the second would reply, "Ats nuthin! You're hunnert, so there!!" "You're a thousand!" "You're a million!!!" In just a little while a fellow could be a jillion -- drillion cockle-pasted patsy-jabbers, without even climbing off the fence. All of which, of course, only proved "boys."

When we became men we should know that name-calling -- and charges -- of themselves, only prove we have never grown up. We highly favor plain talk, which includes calling a false teacher a false teacher. But an honorable critic is obligated to point out the error, not simply call names. We only compound the wrong by whispering. The Power Behind Name-Calling

Childish shouts of "Patsy-Jabber" did little damage, but adult name-calling can break men and divide churches. The difference lies in the power behind name-calling -- the sectarian "party" spirit, branding, with "liberal" or "anti" labels, would be insignificant were it not for the party spirit that backs groundless charges. But when brethren move blindly, approving or rejecting as their sectarian leader indicates, a name-calling sermon is all it takes to separate life-long friends.

It is sobering to reflect that under such circumstances, the leader could bark at the truth and the party would bite at it.

Battle Demands

To destroy this evil each person must do two things: (1) accept individual responsibility to know and to follow truth. We have no obligation to believe and act "like the church"; and such sectarian allegiance binds us to human fallacies. (2 Cor. 10:12) Our allegiance is to Christ, and this demands that we study His will, and answer religious questions for ourselves. (Rom. 14:10-12 Jn. 14:23)

(2) We must not fear name-calling. The faint-hearted are going to Hell. (Rev. 21:8) On their way, they "join the party" and "follow the majority." (Matt. 7:13-14) It takes courage to have personal convictions and stand firmly by them while the masses revile; but this is the price of freedom, here and hereafter; and this is necessary to break the power of name-calling.

"Cockle-Pasted Patsy-Jabber"

What is that? Define your terms please! What are its characteristics? Why do you call me this? Will you help me improve, so I will no longer be a "cockle-pasted patsy-jabber"?

You see -- name-calling loses its punch under Christian investigation. That is why name-callers refuse to have open study of issues. And you???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.II Pg.3
February 1964

Three Answers To One Question

Robert F. Turner

Could one question be given three differing answers, and all answers be correct? Seems unlikely doesn't it? Yet this is the case in the N.T. book of Acts when the question, "What must I do?" (to be saved) is asked.

The expressed answer given to the Philippian jailer was "Believe!" (See Acts 16:25-34 for full account.) Some insist that this expressed reply is complete, and hence salvation is by faith only. However, a consideration of the expressed replies given this question on other occasions will show the fallacy of such reasoning.

When some of the Pentecost multitude asked, "What shall we do?" they were told, "Repent, and be baptized." (See Acts 2:6-38-f. for details.) And when Saul asked what to do he was directed to Ananias, who told him to "Arise, and be, baptized." (See Acts 9:1-18 22:6-16 for the record.)

If only the expressed reply is to be considered we would have to conclude that the jailer was saved by faith alone, and that those on Pentecost were saved by repentance and baptism (i.e., without any faith) and that Saul was saved by baptism alone, without either faith or repentance. Of course none of these conclusions are valid.

A fair study of the context shows that the same elements, and all three of these elements, were present in each of the cases examined. One must have faith in Christ to be saved, but faith that is not strong enough to cause one to obey the Lord's commands is a "dead" faith. (Jas. 2:24-26) 

Why Did The Answers Differ?

Because the questions were asked by people in different circumstances. A man in Burnet may ask how far is it to San Antonio?" and be told, "100 miles." In Marble Falls this question would get a different answer. And in Blanco, the same question would get a third, and different answer. Yet all would be part of one great truth.

There is no indication that the Philippian jailer had either knowledge or faith in the Christian system; so he was told to believe, and then "they spake unto him the word of the Lord." He repented, as indicated by washing their stripes, and he was baptized, as stated in Acts 16:38. Thus he truly believed. (vs. 34)

But those on Pentecost heard the preaching of Christ before they asked their question. The preaching "pricked" their hearts; i.e., they believed. Then they were told "repent and be baptized."

And Saul (later called Paul) had already believed, and had spent three days penitently praying, when he was told, "Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins."

Where Are You??

Your status or condition before God must be considered in answering your question, "What must I do?" The Lord will save "all who will obey;" (Heb. 5:9) and has given one gospel to all. (Gal. 1:8 Rom. 2:11) Have you proven your faith by full and complete obedience to His will?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.II Pg.4
February 1964

False Standards Of Truth

Robert F. Turner

Some folk prate about "having the truth" when it is evident they can't give chapter and verse for their contention. I wonder how they know they have the truth? When Jesus said, "Thy (God's) word is truth;" (Jn.17:17) He stated the dependability of God, and the accuracy and integrity of His teaching. In a sense, people are "set apart" by false doctrines and practice, (witness sectarianism) but Jesus prayed that the Apostles might be set apart by their acceptance and adherence to TRUTH.

All who have access to the word of God "have the truth" -- to learn, believe, obey. But many seem satisfied to hold aloft this "Holy Bible" -- the outward aspect of truth, yet give little attention to the contents of the book. By reading a verse now and then, and making use of some Bible terminology, they suppose their doctrines are "based on the Bible."

A thing is neither wrong nor right because we have always done it. Can we safely assume that our forefathers were infallible? We use the term "always" rather loosely when we refer to a practice of thirty, fifty, or even one hundred years. The gap between the early church and the practice of the church today is spanned, not by succession, but by the seed which is the word of God. (1 Pet. 1:25)

A thing is neither wrong nor right because "denominations" do it. We may wisely hesitate to adopt a procedure common among those in error. But some brethren have developed a negative philosophy -- a thing is not good, or a thing is wonderful, on the basis of the conduct of the opposition. There is a short, much safer cut to the solution. Let God's word determine the right or wrong; period.

A thing is neither wrong nor right because of the supposed "end". May we assume to infallibly predict the end? God alone sees the whole picture, and His plan is certain to bring about an "end" He desires. When we leave His plan for our "more efficient" scheme, we presumptiously cast reflection upon divine wisdom.

A thing is neither wrong nor right because it evokes either opposition or acclaim, from the people. Paul said, "Do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." (Gal.1:10) A preacher once told me he knew a certain action was right, but that if he took a stand on the subject it might "cause trouble." I agree that unneccessary trouble should be avoided, but if his analysis of the situation was correct, "trouble" already existed. The time had come to "reprove, rebuke, exhort--". The majority has usually been wrong in matters religious, and neither one nor many people have ever constituted divine authority.

A thing is neither wrong nor right because "good" or "bad" men do it. What makes a man "good"? Jesus said, "None is good, save God" -- i.e., we must acknowledge God as the source of good, and the things of God alone as being truly good. A man "does good" with reference to a given problem when he acts in keeping with God's will. This is applicable to preacher and elders, as well as to any others. A good action does not make or precede "truth"; on the contrary, "truth" precedes the good action, and the act is good because it is in keeping with truth. Remember, God's word is truth.

No Man Loves Truth Who Shows Disrespect For Gods Word

Write that on your samplers, teach it to your children, shout it from the housetops, and apply it to your own religious practices now and then. What egotism, what unmitigated gall is this that allows one man to use the pulpit, radio, or journals to challenge another for his authority to -- let us say, use mechanical music in the worship,--- and then hold me in contempt if I ask him for his authority to support human institutions from the church treasury? Is God's word the standard for TRUTH only when it suits our purpose?

A Plea For Truth Seekers

God give us men of courage; honest men, hungry for TRUTH. Banish selfish concern, creed-bound fumblings after truth; and help us to search thy word prayerfully, convinced that therein are the answers to our problems. Open our eyes that we may see, our ears that we may hear, and our hearts that we may understand.

"For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."

---1 Pet. 1:24


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.II Pg.5
February 1964

Use Your Bible ......

Robert F. Turner

If You Believe The Holy Spirit Operates On People Today Separate And Apart From The Word, You Need To Give Particular Attention To This Comparison Study Chart.

Eph. 5:19 

Col. 3:16 Be filled with the Spirit--- speaking in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs Let the word -- dwell in you-- teaching in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs 

Does The Holy Spirit?

WELL, SO DOES THE WORD...!!! 1. Give faith ? ? ? Rom.10:17...faith comes by hearing word 2. Beget ? ? ? 1 Cor. 4:15 ........begotten through gospel 3. Quicken ? ? ? Psm.119:93 .....with precepts--quickened 4. New Birth ? ? ? 1 Pet.1:23 ................by the word of God 5. Save ? ? ? 1 Cor.15:1-2 ..........saved-- by the gospel 6. Cleanse ? ? ? Jn.15:3 ...............clean through the word 7. Purify ? ? ? 1 Pet.1:22 ................in obeying the truth 8. Sanctify ? ? ? Jn.17:17 ...................."through thy truth" 9. Give light ? ? ? Psm.119:105 ........."Thy word is a lamp" 10. Bear witness ? ? ? Jn.5:39 ........Scriptures testify (1 Jn.5:6) 11. Give growth ? ? ? 1 Pet.2:2 ....desire word-- worketh in you 12. Work in us ? ? ? 1 Thes.2:13 ..........word-- worketh in you 13. Guide our walk ? ? ? Phil.3:16 ..................walk by God's rule 14. Strengthen ? ? ? Col.2:7 .............."stablished in the faith" 15. Build up ? ? ? Acts 20:32 .......word- is able to build up 16. Comfort ? ? ? 1 Thes.4:18 ...........comfort-- with words 17. Convert ? ? ? Psm.19:7 .......law of the Lord-- converts 18. Wash ? ? ? Eph.5:26 ..the washing of water by word 19. Justify ? ? ? Rom.5:1 ..."by faith"----(See Rom.10:17) 20. Give life ? ? ? Jn.6:63 ............"the words that I speak" 21. Understanding ? ? ? Psm.119:104 ....."through thy precepts" 22. Convict ? ? ? Heb.11:1 ........faith-- a conviction (R.V.) 23. Reconcile ? ? ? 2 Cor.5:19 ......the word of reconciliation 24. Open eyes ? ? ? Acts 26:18 ..preach word, to open eyes 25. Call ? ? ? 2 Thes.2:14 ..........called by the gospel The scriptures teach that GOD must be IN us. But HOW is God in us? Well, read 1 Jn.4:12,15-16 and like passages, to see that no mystical "better felt than told" dwelling is meant. In like manner, CHRIST must be IN us. (Col.1:27 Rom.8:10) If you can understand how God and Christ can be in us, you should also understand how the Holy Spirit can "dwell in you richly" -- how we can "be filled with the Spirit". (Col. 3:16 Eph. 5:19)

The Spirit speaks through the word (Rev. 2:11-12) pricking and cutting the hearts of men. (Eph. 6:17) He is resisted when we resist the word of God. See ye do it not!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.II Pg.6
February 1964


Robert F. Turner

Some one said, "Consistency, thou art a jewel," and many have repeated the statement as if it always expressed gospel truth. A man's teaching and practice should be consistent; that is, he should practice what he preaches, in so far as what he preaches can be practiced. It is foolish for any man to try to make his teaching and practice consistent with what he taught and practiced in the past.

A Christian should start with the high and holy purpose of learning all the truth he can, eliminating all errors as he finds them, and of practicing every practicable thing he learns. If he conscientiously follows that course, he is still consistent, even though he finds it necessary to make changes in both teaching and practice.

A man who follows that course never looks back to see if he is consistent with his past teaching and practice. To strive to be consistent with the past is not a jewel; it is folly.

By R. L. Whiteside

Author of Commentary on Romans.


2 Tim. 1:12

Security -- even in its most relative sense, is very difficult to maintain. For the most part it is an "at ease" feeling, and feelings are so unreliable. We trust in the bank, and it fails; in a friend, and he deserts; in the strength of youth, and we grow old; in our wisdom, and discover we were foolish. Before it is too late, consider Paul's source of security.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.II Pg.7
February 1964

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Is there some. simple way to show that the kingdom of God, Christ, and Heaven refer to the same thing? IHA


These expressions sometimes refer to the same thing; viz., the followers of truth, and their consequent relation to God, Christ, and Heaven. Kingdom, with its citizens is a figurative description of this relation.

The various designations are used interchangeably in parallel passages in Matt. 4:17 (k. of heaven) and Mark 1:15 (k. of God); Mark 9:1 (k. of God) and Matt. 16:28 (Son of man, coming in his K.); etc. This seems plain enough for those who desire the truth. For others, nothing is clear. (Matt.l3:15)

Rev. Turner:

Is your church a member of the Association of Churches of Christ in Burnet County?


I am not "Reverend"; I don't have a church, and I didn't know there was such an Association; so guess I am poorly qualified to answer this question. However, I have been preaching for many years, I am fully supported by the Rhomberg & Washington Streets church of Christ in Burnet, and I may be able to clarify the "association" conception which you seem to have.

There is a fast-growing trend on the part of some churches of Christ to improvise inter-congregational arrangements for doing some things. As a rule there is no intention of forming a permanent organization, but a group of churches agree to allow one church (or a board of directors) to control a certain project, and they furnish the operating capital. It is seldom recognized that such collective projects have become a simple form of "Church Association," for most churches of Christ still contend that the organizational structure of the church begins and ends with the local congregation.

The R. & W. church of Christ practices scriptural co-operation (sends alms to needy churches, wages to evangelists, etc.; 2 Cor. 8: 11:8) but it neither practices nor encourages any inter-congregational "Associations." We operate as a wholly independent church, under our own elders, and according to our own ability.

Dear Sir:

Explain Heb. 7:3, "without father, without mother, etc." Who was this Melchisedec and how did he originate?


The context shows that lineage for the priesthood is under consideration (see vs. 4-6, 13-15) and the point is that Melchisedec was a High Priest even though he was not qualified by lineage to this position.

In like vein I could say I can not be King of England; because I have no father or mother; i.e., I am not of the House of Windsor.

Christ is our High Priest "after the order of Melchisedec," i.e., not as the result of lineage (vs. 13-15) but by divine appointment. I assume Melchisedec had a natural birth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.II Pg.8
February 1964

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner


Preachers are invited into many homes where good food is common (we thank the Lord) but where thanking the Lord is evidently a rare experience. It would be amusing, were it not so serious, to see what an awkward situation this makes.

We are seated, and Johnny reaches for the closest dish. Dad picks up a fork, and says, "Well preach--" but he gets a kick on the shin that stops the chatter. Sis slaps Johnny's hand back; Mom clears her throat, and eyes Dad. There is an embarrassing silence and then Dad stammers, "Uh, preacher, will you, uhh, say, uhh, grace?"

Sometimes I have half a notion to say, "Grace" -- and be done with it; but I haven't had the nerve, or the heart, to do it yet.

Or maybe the hostess says, "Bro. Turner, will you bless the food?" Now the flesh is willing, but the means and power escape me. Blessings come from God, and from the looks of the table, God has done His job well. It is certainly beyond my power to do better. And if the food is "hallowed, sanctified, made holy" there might be some question about our being worthy to partake of it. What's wrong with a good old-fashioned, all-American "Thank You"? God has "blessed" us, His "grace" is manifested, and it seems most natural for us to "Thank God" for our food.

If we did it more often- and could tear ourselves away from clergy -- laity distinctions that grant a priestly right to "bless" anything -- perhaps more people would get on speaking -- terms with God. Instead of mumbling a formalized ritual, we might express our genuine appreciation to our Heavenly Father for His goodness.

And Johnny might hear something at the beginning of each meal besides, "Go easy on the butter kid, it's 80 cents a pound."

- - - - - - - - - - -

I'm reminded of a prayer I heard in eastern Kentucky once-- "Lord, do shuck and silk us of our sins--". Now that may not mean much in a ranching country, but it was plain talk in my home state. Jerk off those obvious sins, and then pick and brush away each hidden sin. I understood it, and I'm persuaded God understood it too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.III Pg.1
March 1964

Give Me That Old-Time Religion

Robert F. Turner

"Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." Matt. 5:23-f

You may have observed this is no longer "old-time" -- it is positively antique. How long has it been since you have seen this kind of respect for God, and the honest forth-rightness this practice demands?

Jesus was teaching that we must have clean heart and hands to properly approach the throne of God. You are obligated to go to the brother who feels you have wronged him, and make an honest attempt to rectify matters. You must correct your error in order to worship God acceptably.

"But my brother is in error," you say. "I must have no company with him." What self-righteousness, this.

Did you make an effort to redeem your brother? (Matt. 18:15-17) When you severed relationship with him, was it in a sincere effort to teach him truth? (1 Cor.5:5 2 Cor. 2:6-11) Or, (be honest with yourself) did you accept some third party's appraisal of the matter, get in a "huff", and decide to "stamp out the opposition"?

Are you proud of yourself for your prejudicial stubbornness? For shame!

Paul wrote, "If any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother." (2 Thes. 3:14-15)

We are not to "company" with evil, i.e., to condone, or be a partaker in error; but any honest man can see the vast difference in this and a "nose-in-the-air" attitude so often confused with Christian discipline.

Old Time Religion, indeed! When did Jesus; the Apostles, or any other approved Christian of the N.T. ever refuse to answer honest questions or engage in careful study of divine matters? They would have us do unto others as we would be done by.

Think this over before you next worship God. Must we wait to meet our brother before Christ, the Judge?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.III Pg.2
March 1964

If We Had Been There --

Robert F. Turner

If we had been with Moses, we would have been faithful. If we had been with Christ, we would not have forsaken Him. If we had been with the Apostles, we would have suffered persecutions gladly in order to proclaim the gospel message. This old, old refrain is heard in every generation, and is repeated by people who believe every word they say. There is seldom a word of truth in it.

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites' because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.'" (Matt. 23:29-32)

Yesterday's battles can not be fought today; and if they could, the blood and thunder would be as frightening to the fearful hypocrites of today, as it was to those of yesteryear. Past wars are glamorous; today's war is just what Sherman said it was.

Would you have opposed that elder of the second century who first "presided"? It seemed such a little thing at the time but it

was the beginning of the Papal system. The unknown soldiers of the cross who gave battle then did not fight in vain. Their names are written in the Lamb's book.

But their names were likely removed from the "church" books, if such were kept; for the majority of the brethren "went along" with the Metropolitan system, remember. If you had been there, would you have stood with the minority, fighting for truth?

In the past century, would you have fought bravely for congregational independence? Would you have opposed the Missionary Society, and later the use of mechanical instruments in the worship? Some few did, but they had to leave church buildings and popular esteem, and start anew. Too bad you were not there to help them. YOU COULD HAVE BEEN A HERO ---- YESTERDAY!!!

But alas, we live today! And today's battles are not pretty. The persecutions of history, which stir our hearts with admiration, are the jeers - or silent treatments - of today, which affect our social and business affairs. Like the Baptist Manual says, "Now, it is different."

"Fill ye up then the measure your fathers." Do what you must!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.III Pg.3
March 1964

How The Church Came To Antioch

Robert F. Turner

Men of Cyprus and Cyrene, (members of the church scattered by persecution) came to Antioch and "spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus." A great number believed, and turned unto the Lord."

The church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch, "Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord." Through his work, "much people was added unto the Lord."

Later, Paul came to work with Barnabas, and "they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."

In these passages (Acts 11:19-26) we learn (1) the word of the Lord was preached, (2) people believed, (3) and turned unto the Lord; (4) they cleaved unto the Lord, and (5) others were added unto the Lord. And these people were called "the church" "disciples" and "Christians" The discerning person sees in these verses how the church came to Antioch, and how it comes to any other place on earth.

The Seed Is The Word of God

The kingdom (church) is the fruit of seed sown in honest hearts. (Lu. 8:11) Truth, and only truth, can produce the church of Christ. Conversely, the complete unadulterated Truth can produce only the church of Christ. Surely it is obvious that I refer to the true church of the Lord, and not to a party of people who may wear the name, Church of Christ. The true church consists of people who cleave unto the Lord, not of people who cleave unto a church building, or to other people. (Reread Acts 11:19-26)

How May the Church STAY in Antioch?

We have seen that its existence depends upon the TRUTH, and PEOPLE DEDICATED TO THE TRUTH. Now the truth will remain true, without any help from us. 1 Pet. 1:25 says it will endure forever. But people are far less constant --- they "depart from the faith."(1 Tim.4:1) Note-- depart from the faith, not from other people.

The only way we can keep Christ's church in Antioch or any other place, is to keep people dedicated to truth. (And that takes a fair job of keeping, in the light of competition. As a rule, the majority is dedicated to preachers, friends, buildings, and to "the way we've been doing it.")

No Man Can Save The Church

The church already has a savior, Jesus Christ. He is willing and able to save all who come to Him. But we can exhort one another; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (2 Tim. 4:2-f) We can do as did Barnabas -- "exhorted them all that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord." (Acts 11:23) In this way we may "keep" the church in Antioch, Burnet, or any other place. And mark it well, this is the only way it can be kept.

Let Jesus Christ save YOU, and YOU will be a member of His true church.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.III Pg.4
March 1964
Harness To Fit The Team
Robert F. Turner

Bro. Foy E. Wallace, Jr. once made the observation that it takes more than a single harness to work a team of horses. One need not be an old-time farmer to see the sense in that. There must be some means of common direction and guidance if a plurality of horses, people, or churches are to work as one, hence "harness to fit the team."

In the days of the "harness shed" one might determine how a man worked his horses by looking at the gear. If a man with four horses had four single harnesses, we would conclude that he worked his horses independently. But if we found double harnesses, or gear for larger teams, we would draw conclusions accordingly.

A Look Into God's Harness Shed

There is ample evidence in the NT that God intended for saints to work together in local churches (1 Cor. 1:2) and God has a harness for this type of team. The elders (or bishops) are overseers in the Lord's church (Acts 20:28) and the means by which saints are treated as a unit. (Acts 11:30) We may study the realm of elders, the scope of their oversight, and learn the extent to which God intended to "team" the saints.

Acts 14:23 reads, "And when they had ordained them elders in every church---." We have long recognized this passage as teaching that each congregation is independent and self-ruled; i.e., has its own direction and guidance system. This is a single harness (one group of elders) to rule only one church. Every other passage on the subject confirms this conclusion. Titus was to "ordain elders in every city--." (Titus 1:5) Peter wrote, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof,---" (1 Pet. 5:1-3) When Paul wrote to the church at Philippi he addressed "all the saints --- with the bishops and deacons." (Phil. 1:1) God's harness shed contains no gear whereby two or more churches may be teamed to work as one on any project.

Making Harness Where God Made None

But men have never been satisfied with God's plan. It seems to them the churches should be hitched together--they speak of "sister" churches, in a "brotherhood of churches". Since God gave no harness for such, they must make their own. Some use a permanent hook-up, with churches organically related through a synod, national headquarters, etc.; while others use various agencies whereby churches may "team up" for benevolent or "mission" projects. A "board" or "sponsoring church" agrees to oversee and coordinate the work, and hence becomes the harness whereby many churches work as one. However the matters are handled, a harness has been devised which God did not authorize.

This error is not corrected by accusing those who object of being "anti" benevolent or mission work; nor by saying the Bible says "go" but it doesn't say "how". God DOES SAY HOW TO ORGANIZE, and the independent local church is the whole of it. God's harness fits the only team God authorized. It is enough for the faithful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.III Pg.5
March 1964

Use Your Bible ......

Robert F. Turner


  1. PHYSICAL PHASE -- "I will make of thee a great nation" 


    1. Many descendents (a great people) Gen. 15:1-5 



    2. Certain lands, as a home territory. Gen. 15:18-21 



  2. SPIRITUAL PHASE -- "In thee (thy seed -- Gen. 22:18) all nations of the earth blessed." (See Gen. 26:4 28:14) 



    1. Inspiration assures us that this refers to blessings in Christ. (Read Gal. 3:8, 13-16. Acts 3:25) 



  1. JOSHUA, and fulfillment. Josh. 21:43-45 "There failed not aught" 
  2. SOLOMON, and fulfillment. 1 Kings 4:21-24 2 Chron. 9:26 Neh. 9:7-8 


Conditional Nature Of The Physical Promise:

  1. JOSHUA, and conditions. Josh. 23:14-16 "and ye shall perish from the good land" 
  2. SOLOMON, and conditions. 1 Chron. 28:6-8 "if he be constant" "that ye may possess" 

Israel's Sins, And The Results:

  1. Compromise with the enemy. Judges 1:21 (Cf. Josh. 23:11-13) 
  2. Israel "broke the covenant" with God. Judges 2:1-4 
  3. Lesson of Broken Potter's Vessel: Jer. 19:1-11, 15 "Because they have forsaken me--- I will break this people" 


  1. By whom Jewish remnant redeemed. Isa. 1:9 4:2-4 10:20-23 11:10 
  2. By whom Gentiles also redeemed. Isa. 49:5-6 56:6-8 62:2 66:18f. 


Jesus Christ, Fulfillment Of Prophecy And The Only Hope For All Nations

Read carefully Rom. 11:1-f. with above outline in mind. The Jews, as a nation, were broken. A remnant was preserved so that Christ could come of the seed of Abraham, as promised: but the "redemption" in righteousness, as promised in Isaiah, etc., refers to salvation for Jew AND Gentile, through individual acceptance of Jesus as the Christ, and obedience to Him. Heb. 5:9.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.III Pg.6
March 1964

Religious Article 100 Years Old

Robert F. Turner

(Excerpts from an article by Moses Lard, published in March, 1864.)

That we as a people have agreed to accept the N.T. as our standard is a fact too notorious to admit of question. To this we have consented to bring the smallest point of doctrine, and the most trivial feature in practice. And furthermore, we have solemnly covenanted that whatever cannot be clearly shown to have the sanction of this standard shall be held as not doctrine, and shall not be practiced.

We say shown to have the sanction; for it is not enough to warrant a practice that this standard does not sanction it. No practice can be defended on this ground. To warrant the holding of a doctrine or practice it must be shown that it has the affirmative or positive sanction of this standard, and not merely that it is not condemned by it.


Now in light of the foregoing principles what defense can be urged for the introduction into some of our congregations of instrumental music? The answer which thunders into my ear from every page of the New Testament is, none. Did Christ ever appoint it? Did the apostles ever sanction it? Or did any one of the primitive churches ever use it? Never. In what light then must we view him who attempts to introduce it into the churches of Christ of the present day? I answer, as an insulter of the authority of Christ, and as a defiant and impious innovator on the simplicity and purity of the ancient worship.


Soberly and candidly we are pained at these symptoms of degeneracy in a few of our churches. The day on which a church sets up an organ in its house, is the day on which it reaches the first station on the road to apostasy. From this it will soon proceed to other innovations; and the work of innovating once fairly commenced, no stop can be put to it till ruin ensues.


The want of strictness in churches, and the shuffling indifference of overseers, may give (the Christian) little pain; but the day of reckoning hastens on. The churches of Christ in the whole land owe it to themselves, and to the high and just ground they have taken, to guard with sleepless vigilance against even the semblance of an innovation on the practice and usages of the apostolic churches. Apostasies begin with things that "have no harm in them," and end in ruin. At first they creep, but in the end stride continents at a single step. Finally we say watch, beware!

Editor's note:

The above, taken from Lard's Quarterly, Vol. I, shows us:

1. The type of argument made by sound brethren re. authority;

2. Efforts of liberal brethren to justify their practices;

3. The small beginning of something that later dominated. (80% of the churches went into digression.) THEY CALLED MOSES E. LARD AN "ANTI"!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.III Pg.7
March 1964

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Do you believe people have "feelings" or "religious experiences"? My neighbor is peeved with me because I tell her she doesn't have such. NIA

Reply :

I can almost hear her say, "How do you know what I feel?" Maybe she has some right to be "peeved."

Actually, the "feeling" is not the issue, but the interpretation people place upon their "feelings". One man feels "all warm inside" and thinks this means his sins are forgiven. God has never promised him such evidence of forgiveness. For all he knows, the feeling could prove he had more sins.

The only way we can be assured our sins are forgiven -- that we are saved -- is to believe and do what the Lord commands. (See Acts 2:38) Christ is the savior of all them that obey Him. Heb. 5:9)


Dear Sir:

If Adam and Eve were the first people, and Cain was their son, who was Cain's wife? (Gen. 4:17)


The woman he married.

Seriously, this age-old question comes from an unwarranted assumption, viz., that the children named up to this point in Bible history, were the only children born to Adam and Eve.

Adam lived 930 years, "and begat sons and daughters". Gen. 5:3-5 The Genesis record makes no claim to be a complete account of history.

Darwin calculated that in 750 yrs. one pair of elephants (slowest of all breeders) could be responsible for nearly 19,000,000 elephants --- alive at the same time.

I do not have to have such calculations in order to believe the Bible is God's word; but the doubter should not under-estimate his task.


Dear Sir:

When visiting services of' the Church of Christ I sometimes hear saved people pray, "finally, save us". If already saved, why pray to be saved in the future?


Apparently the querist is victim of the "once saved, always saved" fallacy. But the N.T. uses "saved" in two senses: (1) from past sins, and (2) in heaven.

Mk. 16:16 refers to salvation from past sins (Acts 22:16); but one thus saved, as was Timothy, must be faithful in service in order to be finally saved in heaven. (1 Tim. 4:12-16) Read carefully, Heb. 10:36-39 2 Pet. 2:20-f.


Your questions are solicited, and appreciated. We must sometimes reword them in order to conserve space, but we will seek to fairly present the problem. Our reader's interest in truth is the great motivator for such a department as this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.III Pg.8
March 1964

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

"BAD PUBLIC OFFICIALS ARE ELECTED BY GOOD PEOPLE WHO FAIL TO VOTE." Saw this sign in a business establishment recently, and it put me to thinking -- which is something of a feat.

Most folk mean well, and are basically honest- I keep telling myself. Then who are the BAD folk these non-voters put in office? We rule out the vile, highly unreliable, obviously evil men, for those who do vote are not likely to elect such men. But inexperienced, incompetent men classify here, along with selfish and sometime dishonest men. These characteristics do not show through the hand-shaking and coffee-drinking that precedes the election -- and in a light vote these men have easy sailing.

And who are the GOOD people who fail to vote? I suppose this refers to the "mean well, basically honest" folk mentioned earlier; and some will say their only fault is unconcern. Unconcern an "only" fault?? Watch the tongue, friend; for here is the attitude that makes a mockery of justice and our democratic system.

Is the watchman's unconcern for the enemy a little thing? Not when my safety is involved. And when I am in desperate need of help, is my neighbor's unconcern a little thing? Maybe we consider political unconcern a little thing --- because of our own failure to appreciate our stake and responsibilities in good government.

We blindly call the man "GOOD" who delivers us to the slaughter.

And in the church it is much the same story. For the paltry price of false peace (Jer. 6:14) we call a man "good" who by silence, sanctions and supports digression from God's truth.

Moral cowardice is a number one problem in our generation. We have replaced individual convictions with a sort of mass inertia -- "don't rock the boat" philosophy that had rather accept an error quietly than raise a voice in defense of truth.

A few self-willed and determined men can control a government, or a church, because "GOOD" men allow it. GOOD?? As long as we consider such dereliction of duty "good" these injustices will continue.

Those who "stand on the other side" while evil men prevail, are "as one of them." Obadiah 10.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.I No.IV Pg.1
April 1964

Preparing For Tomorrow's Crisis

Robert F. Turner

Since the church began, there have been many crises. Some one has said that, at least in this country, serious trouble seems to come about each third generation. Must this be?

One generation, fighting its way out of the last problem, studies the Bible independently and reaches conclusions for which most of the members have sound Bible reasons. The second generation accepts the conclusions, with their accumulated terminology, and holds to them firmly—but doesn't understand the Bible reason for them. They simply inherit the conclusions, and often have little appreciation of their importance.

The third generation will likely hold to the terminology --- by now it represents orthodoxy -- but they grasp neither the reasons for, nor the applications of these conclusions. They condone all sorts of changes as long as they are couched in familiar words.

They will accept organizational bondage if they are assured that this is "congregational independence," and would play a horn if someone could think of a way to call it "singing." Usually a few members know better than this, or are driven to rebellion by the sheer audacity of the innovators. They begin to make serious, independent Bible studies, seeking God's answers for the mess; and eventually reach sound scriptural conclusions. But in the process the creed-bound majority (third generation) is antagonized, tempers flare, and we start all over again.

Apposite to sectarian "party-ism", some folk are horrified if a material "split" takes place; (favorite expression is "torn asunder the precious body of our Lord") nor would I take such drastic action lightly. But the real "tearing asunder" takes place long before brethren quit meeting together; and is by far the more serious separation.

It is too bad folk won't be more concerned about the love for TRUTH and Spirituality that binds the body of Christ: together in the first place.

Must this vicious circle of crises (and sometimes apostasy) continue? Are we so destitute of character, so resigned to carnality, we can not end this devilish maelstrom?

Restrictive clauses in our property deeds will not do it. These creeds only catalog the problems we have had in the past. They are not needed in the first generation, and the second and third generation won't apply them.

So, we must go deeper than that. Obvious needs are more thorough Bible knowledge and understanding of basic principles underlying our conclusions. We must not be satisfied with stock answers to Bible questions but must demand a rewording -- making the answer our very own, and avoiding the development of "party" terminology.

We must ask, "Why?" over and over again; and never be satisfied with a "Church of Christ" ("we've always done it that way") answer.

But more important than all these, we must work on the heart. Within a few years after the massive Wall of China was built; it was breached by the enemy. Note: the Wall did not fail, but the gatekeepers were bribed. Our preparations for the next crisis will fail unless we learn to control ourselves. Except we learn whole-hearted dedication to the Lord, we must taste, again and again, the bitter fruits of the flesh.

Ours is an awesome responsibility, But preparation for future crises can not wait. Our children are growing; the years fly away; already we feel the gentle pressure of conformity; and -- say a prayer -- it is soon the second generation. L e t t e r s

From Ft. Towson, Oklahoma

"I was much impressed with -- PLAIN TALK. It has great possibilities if it gets to enough of the right people."

From Borger, Texas

"Received -- PLAIN TALK and read it twice. I think it will enjoy a good circulation. You brethren there are to be commended in the program of work you are undertaking."

From Llano, Texas

"Received PLAIN TALK and appreciated it very much. I am looking up all the references as best I can."

From Swink, Oklahoma

"I was given one -- PLAIN TALK, and enjoyed it very much. Please place my' name on your mailing list."

From Kingsland, Texas

"Please take my name off of your mailing list." (Hmmm! Howd THAT get in here? We have had five "rejects" so far -- out of well over 1,000 names on mailing list. Thanks dear people!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...