Jump to content
The Smoakhouse Forums

Plain Talk


Recommended Posts

Vol.IX No.XI Pg.5
January 1973

Ecology Bandwagon

Robert F. Turner

Ecology is the in thing now, and business is capitalizing on the swing. I saw a bumper sticker on the back of a sand and gravel truck which read, Save Our Trees, Buy Concrete Blocks! That has a nice American sound to it. There is even a deodorant that advertises it leaves that natural scent. Now what could be more natural than the odor we are trying to prevent?

I am all for seeking to understand and preserve a balance between man and his environment, and have fought pollution and waste of our natural resources since my Boy Scout days, but nature —the world, the universe —is the product of God, and made for mans use it is not a law unto itself. What is natural (Gen. 1:) must be dressed and kept, pruned and controlled (Gen. 2:15); and what comes naturally in man is not necessarily good. it is subject to his will —and appetites —and these too must be kept in subjection to Gods will.

We are intelligent beings, not by chance of natural selection or even because some abstract Nature made us so, but because the personal, no-less-actual-because-He-is-Spirit God made us so. The opposites, good and evil, emphasize the intelligent faculty of man —he has something to choose —and rejection of wrong is an essential part of accepting right. In the exercise of restraints —those dictated by Gods revelation and also those discovered in His handiwork, the universe —we grow and develop. It is the restrained, unnatural part of us (in the modern concept) that shows we are civilized beings--more than mere animal life, but persons, made in the image of God. Nothing could be LESS ecological than a rejection of the God who made this universe, and of the laws he gave for its use and development.

I fear some of our young people are hanging in with this nature kick —rightly and commendably concerned about clean air, water, and such, but failing to see that they are being sold an additional pitch for pantheism--nature-god concepts. God-less and amoral philosophers are using our current concern for ecology, as do some business advertisers —to further their own teaching. They do not believe a Creator exists, nor do they believe there are either purpose or absolutes in our existence. With them ecology is not something right or good. It simply serves their immediate survival needs.

And NATURE BOY, with his bare-feet and unkempt hair —doing his rather than Gods thing —is the child of this philosophy. He may not realize it. Many teen-agers, in process of growing up, find hippy styles an outlet for self-assertion, for throwing off childhood. But the styles originated in a far more serious rejection of authority and one who persists in this course will soon reject Jehovah God and His instructions. He becomes a throw-back —to be pitied as one would a retarded child who can not mature. More so —for this one will not mature, and must answer in judgement for his obstinacy.

When Gods Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God —now thats ecology.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 864
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • RETIREDFAN1

    865

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Vol.VII No.VII Pg.5 September 1970 Know Your Target Robert F. Turner As a boy, I hunted quail, rabbits, and squirrels — and BIG game was an occasional ground-hog. Consequently,

Vol.VII No.VII Pg.8 September 1970 Stuff About Things Robert F. Turner Did you ever stay in a DO—DAD HOUSE? It is an exasperating experience for a fellow with reasonably functio

Vol.VII No.VIII Pg.2 October 1970 Tell It Like It Is Robert F. Turner Remember an article in our June 70 issue headed, Go, and Sin No More? (Surely you cherish every word we hav

Vol.IX No.XI Pg.6
January 1973

We Have The Text

Robert F. Turner

Only the uninformed or willfully ignorant make rash statements about the text of the New Testament, and question its integrity. One may refuse to believe its message, but none should excuse their lack of faith by making foolish charges against the evidence. Our text IS truly first century material, faithfully collated and transcribed. We quote from the Notes of the widely recognized Wescott and Hort Greek New Testament, re-published in 1956, by The Macmillan Company, New York.

This brief account of the text of the New Testament would be incomplete without a word of caution against a natural misunderstanding. Since textual criticism has various readings for its subject, and the discrimination of genuine readings from corruptions for its aim, discussions of textual criticism almost inevitably obscure the simple fact that variations are but secondary incidents of a fundamentally single and identical text.

In the New Testament in particular it is difficult to escape an exaggerated impression as to the proportion which the words subject to variation bear to the whole text, and also, in most cases, as to their intrinsic importance. It is not superfluous therefore to state explicitly that the great bulk of the words of the New Testament stand out above all discriminative processes of criticism, because they are free from variation, and need only to be transcribed.

Much too, of the variation which is necessary to record has only an antiquarian interest, except in so far as it supplies evidence as to the history of textual transmission, or as to the characteristics of some document or group of documents. The whole area of variation between readings that have ever been admitted, or are likely to be ever admitted, into any printed texts is comparatively small; and a large part of it is due merely to differences between the early uncritical editions and the texts formed within the last half-century with the help of the priceless documentary evidence brought to light in recent times.

A small fraction of the gross residue of disputed words alone remain after the application of the improve methods of criticism won from the experience of nearly two centuries of investigation and discussion. If comparative trivialities, such as change of order, the insertion or omission of the article with proper names, and the like, are set aside, the words in our opinion still subject to doubt can hardly amount to more than a thousandth part of the whole New Testament. (p. 564-565)

The apparent ease and simplicity with which many ancient texts are edited might be thought, on a hasty view, to imply that the New Testament cannot be restored with equal security. But this ease and simplicity in fact the mark of evidence too scanty to be tested; whereas in the variety and fullness of the evidence on which it rests the text of the New Testament stands absolutely and unapproachably alone among ancient prose Writings. (p. 565)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.IX No.XI Pg.7
January 1973

You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner

When members are lax in attendance of services, what are the best means of resorting them to faithfulness? AS

Reply:

I could reply briefly by saying, Convert them to Christ! using genuine personal interest in their souls, living godly examples before them, and teach them Gods word.

But back of much forsaking the assembling of ourselves is misunderstanding of the nature of such. Some seem to think the services are a sort of roll call —satisfied by ones bodily presence. We may further the misconception by urging them to be faithful to the church, when faithfulness to Christ is needed. Here are five things (not necessarily in order of importance) that bring brethren together. Teaching them these things is a part of the converting process —the all things whatsoever I have commanded you that must be taught following baptism. It will not be hard to do this IF they were originally taught to put Christ absolutely first in their lives.

(1) True Saints Are Of One Accord.

They have so much in common, such singleness of purpose, they are drawn together by mutual consent. In Acts 2:42 They continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Vs. 44, All that believed were together, and had all things common; and in Vs. 46, They continuing daily with one accord in the temple. Then, in 4:32, The multitude...were of one heart and one soul.

(2) BEING ESPOUSED TO CHRIST, WE ARE FAITHFUL TO HIM, PUT HIM FIRST. Paul said, I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (2 Cot. 11:2) We love Him more than father, mother, or life (Matt. 10:37-39), and serve Him accordingly. It was in order to hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering that the Hebrew writer said, Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, (Heb. 10:23-25), and concluded, For if we sin willfully... there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. (Vs. 26)

(3) CHRISTIANS LOVE THE TRUTH Like David of old, they delight in the law of the Lord; and in his law (they) meditate day and night. (Psa. 1:2) Christians desire the sincere milk of the word, that (they) may grow thereby. (1 Pet. 2:2)

(4) They Venerate The Christ, And Show His Death Until He Comes Again.

Our Lord has given us a memorial to observe in remembrance of Him. As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lords death till he come. (1 Cor. 11:23-f) Saints follow apostolic example and do this upon the first day of the week (Acts 20:7), because they love the Lord.

(5) Christians Work Together, As A Team, According To Apostolic Example.

Using the inspired word as their only guide, they pool their funds to maintain their own unit (Acts 4:34-f), to assist needy saints in other congregations (1 Cor. 16:l-3), and to preach the word (Phil, 4:l5-16). They edified one-another (1 Cor. 14:12-f); and true saints faithfully do the same today.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.IX No.XI Pg.8
January 1973

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

A genuine Kentucky Whooeee stick is truly a thing to behold. It consists of a light cedar wand, about 1/2 x 1/2 x 10, with nine quarter-inch notches cut along one side, and a 3 propeller mounted at one end. A rubbing stick completes the equipment— a slightly curved piece of dogwood, about 3 1/2 long, cut in the full of the moon. Those of the proper faith and courage, with perhaps a wee bit of Kentucky blood in their veins, can hold the longer wand in their left hand, rub the notches with the rubbing stick, and the propeller will whirl about.

Then the operator utters a long, drawn-out Whooeee —(somewhere between a hog-calling Whooeee and a Whooeee, aint them good molasses) —and the propeller will reverse itself and spin in the opposite direction. I dont blame you for doubting. If I hadnt seen it myself I wouldnt believe it either.

My own private Whooeee stick was made by Buel Spears, of Scottsville, and it is showing signs of wear. Many skeptics who try it are too embarrassed to shout Whooeee and have just about rubbed away the notches. One fellow had the audacity to say that he didnt believe saying Whooeee had anything to do with it; but people like that wont even believe the trombonist swallows the slide he pushes back and forth. There is little hope for such folk.

No! I will not tell you how it works. You might tell my grandchildren and they, robbed of wonder and mystery, might tell others. It is fearful to contemplate this world without Whooeee sticks. The blithe spirit, so much needed to lift us out of lifes humdrum, would perish. Little children would quit believing in elves and Santa Claus, and play-like would take on an ominous meaning, like deception or lie. Slowly but surely laughter would cease, and in the dead calm people would move uneasily, looking with suspicion upon all about them. And without play Whooeee sticks how would we know to question the Whooeee sticks of politics, business and religion? Where would we get a good example of the fallacy of non- sequitur?

And finally, without Whooeee sticks, serious things would become so commonplace there would be nothing truly outstanding, and no one would ever again take anything seriously.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.IX No.XII Pg.2
February 1973

Blinded By Crumbs

Robert F. Turner

If you were to take the sum total of all authoritative articles ever written by the most qualified of psychologists and psychiatrists on the subject of mental hygiene— if you were to combine them and refine them and cleave out the excess verbiage— if you were to take the whole of the meat and none of the parsley, and if you were to have these unadulterated bits of pure scientific knowledge concisely expressed by the most capable of living poets, you would have an awkward and incomplete summation of the Sermon on the Mount. And it would suffer immeasurably through comparison.

For nearly two thousand years, the Christian world has been holding in its hands the complete answer to its restless and fruitless yearnings. Here rests the blueprint for successful human life with optimum mental health and contentment. (From A Few Buttons Missing, by James C. Fisher; Lippincott and Co., New York, 1951.)

Now brethren, what do you think of that? Before you become ecstatic because of the great honor given to the Masters sermon: (1) are your restless yearnings no deeper than successful human life with optimum mental health and contentment; and (2) is this the goal of Jesus sermon?

Often Christians are so hungry for a crumb of praise from the table of the world that they fail to see that many such crumbs humanize and defuse the spiritual and eternal purpose of the gospel of Christ. Many so-called good works develop worldly admiration for our civic-mindedness or social awareness, and have nothing to do with causing people to truly glorify God. (Matt. 5:16) God is glorified in the church by Christ Jesus (Eph. 3:21), and our light and saltiness must have to do with bringing people to Christ. (Matt. 5:11)

I appreciate Dr. Fishers estimate of the Sermon on the Mount as a major contribution to a good life here and now, but would like to point out that this is but a by-product of its true purpose. Genuine Christianity is historically accurate, psychologically sound, economically wise— but primarily, it lights the way to heaven.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.IX No.XII Pg.3
February 1973

Faith Versus Faith

Dan S. Shipley

For if the trumpet give an uncertain voice, who shall prepare himself for war? So also ye, unless ye utter by the tongue speech easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? (1 Cor. 14:8, 9)

It has been observed that some preaching is worse than no preaching at all. So is some writing and other forms of expression— especially the kind that is deliberately slanted toward vagueness and uncertainty; the kind that is designed to be indistinct or intended to be received with different interpretations. Such forms of expressiveness are well-typified in the language of a popular placard which reads: I KNOW THAT YOU BELIEVE YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU THINK I SAID, BUT I AM NOT SURE YOU REALIZE THAT WHAT YOU HEARD IS NOT WHAT I MEANT.

Regrettably, this sort of idle and confusing talk is not limited to the public proclamations of placards and politicians.

Take, for instance, the men-pleasing Christian who is reluctantly drawn into a religious discussion with non-Christian friends. His comments, instead of reflecting t h e plainness of Bible teaching, are apt to be flavored with the kind of vagueness and generalities that are easily misconstrued; the kind that offend no one— and that profit no one. Carefully avoiding specifics, he may even boldly affirm something like, We need to hear more gospel preaching, meaning it one way and knowing it will be taken in another. The world will not profit by such uncertain voices. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt.. But even worse is the Christian with the louder trumpet—the influential preacher or writer who expresses himself in an uncertain voice with reference to vital issues confronting Gods people. This, coupled with the natural inclination of most to interpret ambiguous language to suit themselves, only compounds the problem by giving comfort to sinners and allowing the uninformed to be misinformed by drawing wrong conclusions. Any language that obscures Divine truth is worse than useless— it is dangerous.

Consequently, at a time when Gods people so desperately need to hear the simple truths that will take them back to the old paths and unity, many are hearing uncertain voices urging support of man-made schemes and innovations that have divided brethren. Instead of hearing about the oneness of the church and about the distinctiveness and sanctified nature of its members, some are being subjected to uncertain voices that subtly question such. Even now, as worldliness and permissiveness threaten to engulf the church, many saints, instead of being admonished to keep themselves pure and unspotted from the world, are being lulled into complacency by uncertain voices dealing in vague generalities, poetry, and current events. Our urgent need is plain, pointed and sound gospel teaching! The conflict is here. The Captains commands must be relayed with clarity and conviction. As a small band of Christians once prayed, Lord grant unto thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness---and, we might add, the desire to hear it so spoken!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.IX No.XII Pg.4
February 1973

What Can We Do?

Robert F. Turner

There are hundreds of small churches scattered through this country that do little more than keep house for the Lord, and some are poor house-keepers. We render them no real service by continually fussing at them. Often they contain godly men and women who really want to serve the Lord, but who are psyched out (as this generation might put it) by their size and circumstances.

They lay the blame on this hard community, or poor location, or no young people, or no older experienced leadership, or no moneyed members. Well, these things may be handicaps, or they may become opportunities. Sometimes the lack of leadership forces men who otherwise would wither away unused, to train themselves. Wealth often divides a congregation, and its lack encourages true democratic sharing of responsibility. I had much rather work with a church of twenty members who gave $5. each, than with nineteen who gave nothing and one who gave the $100. (Nor is this a lack of appreciation for the able, liberal giver.) And remember, the Devil does a great job from his poor location.

I fear many are unduly influenced by worldly conceptions of great and good things, and on the march churches. Surrounded by the ballyhoo of such, we may begin to think a church that isnt building a fancy edifice, sponsoring a world-wide project for the brotherhood, or at the very least, making headlines with its ball team, just isnt doing anything. We dare to say that even responses or baptisms are not necessarily proofs that all is well; but we quake when we realize how few souls are being saved, and how little effort is made in that direction.

And some true signs of growth and spiritual life may never be attained by every church. Instead of measuring ourselves by others in differing circumstances, why not take stock of our own assets, and the potentials of our community, and determine the work we are best fitted to do. You may have little opportunity to work with many young people, but be peculiarly situated for service to a community of retired folk. You may not attract great crowds to your building, but reach thousands through a well-prepared publication or radio program. I have known a few small country churches that served the Lord well as training grounds for gospel preachers. They listened patiently— maybe endured is the word— and gave many young men the encouragement and confidence needed to go forth into all the world. And you may scripturally assist in the support of evangelists, at home and abroad. (2 Cor. 11:8)

But do not substitute a check for genuine interest in spreading the word. Owning a typewriter doesnt make an author, nor a mimeograph machine a qualified publisher. There is no short-cut to serving the Lord, and whatever your undertaking, you must be fully dedicated and well prepared. Without this, the large wealthy congregation spins its wheels; and with it, the small, poor group of saints will accomplish truly great things in the eyes of the Lord— for they will be workers together with Him.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.IX No.XII Pg.5
February 1973

The Sioux And The Jew

Robert F. Turner

Isaiah wrote, It is too light a thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. (Isa. 49:6) The universality of Gods grace is dictated by the very nature of matters. God is so great, His love so all encompassing, that it is too light a thing that Jesus should die for the Jew only. He died also for the Sioux, and you.

And so the commission was Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature And ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Mk. 16:15 Acts 2:8) The Apostles, so commissioned, were challenged to take the gospel to all nations so that whosoever will may have eternal life. I fear we have assigned the success of this effort too much to miraculous powers manifested by the Apostles, and not enough to their love for mankind, their sense of dedication and responsibility, and their willingness to die, if needs be, that others might live. (Read Rom. 1:14-f; 1 Cor. 9:l6-23) Paul, Barnabas, Peter, Timothy, etc., could not be partakers of the divine nature and co-workers with a world-loving God, and then settle down in Jerusalem and let the world go to hell.

In the Colossian letter Paul wrote of the gospel which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; the gospel which was preached to every creature which is under heaven. (1:6,23) I do not understand this to say that every single individual had heard the gospel (the Greek is in all creation A.S.), but rather that they had done what Christ commanded— gone indiscriminately to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. Anything less than this was too light—too incompatible with the divine charge.

I do not believe that God commands every Christian to make a preaching trip to every nation under heaven. I do not believe that a local church fails its purpose if it is not financing a foreign missionary. But a so-called love for souls that does not reach beyond social lines, color lines, and national boundaries, is too light a thing. While there are yet millions of our brothers in Adam who have never even heard of Christ, there is no room for complacency.

The usual excuse for lack of interest in world-wide evangelism is charity begins at home-- there are so many unsaved in this community. Take note —the people who offer such excuses are doing the least to reach those lost souls at home; and the ones who work hard to save next-door neighbors are also vitally interested in taking the gospel to all the world.

The usual substitute for genuine Christian concern is token support of institutional machinery —the Gospel Blimp —send $5. and then congratulate yourself on the million-dollar job we are doing.

The usual end of such an attitude is a dying church —dying souls with whom Gods will was too light a thing.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.IX No.XII Pg.6
February 1973

"Uncertain Voices"

Robert F. Turner

From HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT, Francis A Schaeffer; Tyndale House Pub., Wheaton, Ill. (pp 99-100)

One must analyze the word faith and see that it can mean two completely opposite things.

Suppose we are climbing in the Alps and are very high on the bare rock and suddenly the fog shuts down. The guide turns to us and says that the ice is forming and that there is no hope; before morning we will all freeze to death here on the shoulder of the mountain. Simply to keep warm, the guide keeps us moving in the dense fog further out on the shoulder until none of us have any idea where we are. After an hour or so, someone says to the guide: Suppose I dropped and hit a ledge ten feet down in the fog. What would happen then? The guide would say that you might make it till the morning and thus live. So, with absolutely no knowledge or any reason to support his action, one of the group hangs and drops into the fog. This would be one kind of faith, a leap of faith.

Suppose, however, after we have worked out on the shoulder in the midst of the fog and the growing ice on the rock, we had stopped and we heard a voice which said: You cannot see me, but I know exactly where you are from your voices. I am on another ridge. I have lived in these mountains, man and boy, for over sixty years and I know every foot of them. I assure you that ten feet below you there is a ledge. If you hang and drop, you can make it through the night and I will get you in the morning.

I would not hang and drop at once, but would ask questions to try to ascertain if the man knew what he was talking about and if he was not my enemy. In the Alps, for example, I would ask his name. If the name he gave me was the name of a family from that part of the mountains, it would count a great deal to me. In the Swiss Alps there are certain family names that indicate mountain families of that area. For example, in the area of the Alps where I live, Avanthey would be such a name. In my desperate situation, even though time would be running out, I would ask what to me would be the sufficient questions, and when I became convinced by his answers, then I would hang and drop.

This is faith, but obviously it has no relationship to the first instance. As a matter of fact, if one of these is called faith, the other should not be designated by the same word symbol. The historic Christian faith is not a leap of faith in the post-Kierkegaardian sense because he is not silent, and I am invited to ask the sufficient questions in regard to details but also in regard to the existence of the universe and its complexity and in regard to the existence of man. I am invited to ask sufficient questions and then believe him and bow before him metaphysically in knowing that I exist because he made man, and bow before him morally as needing his provision for me in the substitutionary, propitiatory death of Christ.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.IX No.XII Pg.7
February 1973

You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Some friends from school got to gather to rap about the Bible, and one asked how we knew these writings were really old, and intended as something other than private letters. CG

Reply:

Keep those rap sessions going, but dont expect to solve ancient history questions without proper research. No reputable scholar denies the general historicity of the N. T. Its purpose is declared internally and externally.

The very form of the N.T. may surprise the beginner who, because he is told this is a rule book, may expect to find doctrines and commands neatly indexed and detailed. He may be confused by the many letters and may wonder if these writings were ever intended to be used as a guide for faith and conduct today. But there is a vast difference in a private letter and the epistolary literary form used to convey a message to the public. (Consider our To whom It May Concern or Open Letter.) The Holy Spirit chose a variety of literary forms in which to embalm the truth.

Note Col. 4:16, And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. (The last expression is genitive— the epistle of Laodicea, i.e., one that had been written to them.) In Acts 15:23-29 (see 16:4) there is a record of a letter meant to be distributed to various brethren, to testify of certain necessary things. The letter to Corinth, though having specific application to the church in Corinth, was addressed also to all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Cor. 1:2)

Peter willed, before his death, to put his instructions in a permanent form so that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. (2 Pet. 1:13-f.) To that end, he wrote First and Second Peter. (2 Pet. 3:1-2) In this same chapter he wrote of Pauls epistles, and classified them with the other Scriptures. (vs. 16)

The physician Luke wrote that thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed. That is to say, he wrote deliberately, a record of events. One can scarcely read Lu. 1:1-4 and Acts 1:1-f, without realizing this long-range intent. And John declares the sufficiency of his writings for their intended purpose, saying, These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name. (Jn. 20:31)

The writings of the Ante-Nicean Fathers (up to 325 A.D.) are filled with quotations from the books of the N. T.; used to prove and establish various doctrines. A quote is of weight only if the public (readers) accept the source as authoritative. The very wide use of N. T. Scripture in these early years, and the care taken to reproduce and preserve the writings, further prove their validity as permanent statements of the faith...delivered unto the saints. He that hath an ear, let him hear.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.IX No.XII Pg.8
February 1973

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

Some folk never enlarge their borders, though they may travel two and one-half Red Top axlegreasings from home. In the new country, they view with a jaundiced eye everything that differs from their limited experience. We are proud and unrealistic who suppose there is no truth beyond what we already know, and nothing good but what we have already done. Such attitudes make status quo and self the ultimate authority for all things.

In order to grow we must change. Something new must be added to our experience, understanding, or knowledge. This does not mean casting out the old, tried and true. But it does mean recognizing a source of truth and good that is greater than ourselves, and reaching out for it.

But there are problems involved in trying new things. Once, in a far away land, I decided to eat like the natives. I found a cafeteria that was doing a thriving business, joined the line, and ordered exactly what the man ahead of me ordered. The food smelled and tasted good, and I was able to enjoy meal until I noticed the oriental people about me were picking some pieces from their food and leaving them on the back of their plates. Curiosity finally got the better of me and I asked my nearest neighbor what they were laying aside. He gave me a cool stare and replied in precise English, A man your ageshould know what to receive and reject. And he resumed his chopstick rhythm.

I should—perhaps, but I didnt. Maybe I wasnt as old as he thought—but he had given me no other standard by which to settle the matter.

In a sense the problem is duplicated in the religious world—with far more serious consequences. For those who have no standard other than their experience each new challenge becomes a Rubicon. They may hold back, creed-bound and party oriented, with little hope for freshness and growth; or, they may launch out blindly— to fail or at best to postpone ultimate failure. Gods answer is better than this.

Gods word is truth. (Jn. l7:17) It answers present legitimate spiritual questions, and unborn generations may grow in grace and truth without exhausting its treasures. Best of all, objective obedient faith never fails.

The food? Oh, I ate it all. I was trying to enlarge my borders.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.X No.I Pg.1
March 1973

Two Men Serve The Lord.

Robert F. Turner

Two men serve the Lord. The first is motivated by his love for the local church as an institution. He enthusiastically supports its program of activities. He works diligently to get others to be baptized, for he is interested in this organization of which he is a part, and he wants to see it grow. He attends all the meetings, gives liberally of his money, and really does his part in support of the local church.

The other is motivated by his love for the Lord. He too works to convert others, but he does so because he is concerned for their souls. He too attends all the meetings, for in doing so he is drawn closer to the Lord whom he loves, and has opportunity to glorify His name. He also gives liberally of his money, for he loves the Lord and is interested in doing his part in financing His work. He loves the church and rejoices when it grows I but his love reaches far more deeply than does that of the first man; in fact, he would serve the Lord if there were not another Christian on earth nor prospects that there ever would be another.

The first mans enthusiasm is dependent to a great degree on others. While the congregation is growing and active, his enthusiasm continues strong; but when problems arise, or his favorite preacher moves on, or some of his brethren dont pull their weight, or someone criticizes him, or the congregation just generally faces a difficult period, his enthusiasm begins to wane, and he becomes unfaithful.

The second man is stable and unwavering. Brethren come and go; the congregation of which he is part has its periods of growth and periods of depression; problems arise from time to time; but this mans enthusiasm remains constant through it all, for it is centered on Him who never changes, the One who has promised, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Let us take heed, then, how we build (1 Cor. 3:10). Perhaps the title of this article should have read, One Man Serves The Lord, for it is very doubtful that the first man serves the Lord at all.

(By Bill Hall, Melbourne, Australia.)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.X No.I Pg.2
March 1973

A Hodge-Podge

Robert F. Turner

Vivian and I thought it was quite a harrowing experience— driving through a rain-storm in Iowa, and hearing on the car radio that Burnet had suffered a severe tornado. Later, as we read reports from Burnet we realized that our neighbors had had the experience— awakening to find ones house gone, and debris all over the bed. Reports say 300 buildings destroyed or damaged— yet not one death or serious injury. There was no damage to the Shipley or Turner homes, nor to the Oaks-West church building. The Stephenson (an elder), Lynn (deacon), and Annie Graves (faithful widow) homes were damaged; but all thank God for their blessings.

Our elders wish to thank the many concerned folk who have offered help, but report that we can care for our own. We are proud of our Burnet neighbors, who responded wonderfully to the need. I am told Red Cross prepared 300 emergency beds, and only one was used. Burnet homes had opened their doors. I learned (not from Dan) that bro. Shipley was collecting deep freezes, putting them on his current, so our neighbors food would not spoil. Federal aid has been promised, and Burnet will regroup and rebuild. Yes, Burnet is a great little town.

Bro. Kent Ellis was in a meeting with the Oaks-West church the week following the cyclone. I havent heard how the storm affected the meeting, but Kent must agree that Burnet puts on a tremendous introduction. Of course some town wit had to observe, The Lord sure got a lot of calls Saturday morning —and many of them were voices He seldom hears.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.X No.I Pg.3
March 1973

What About "John"

Dan S. Shipley

Peter therefore seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. (Jn. 21:21, 22)

Without impugning Peters motives in asking this question and without exploring all the implications of the Lords answer, there is yet an important, if simple, lesson to be gleaned from these passages. Essentially, Peter is asking, What about John? The mild rebuke of Jesus reminds him that this matter is really none of his business. Your business is to follow me, as one version puts it. The Lords advice to Peter is good advice to all who would allow the affairs of others to deter them from the serious business of following Christ.

Further, it is timeless advice, because in different ways and for different reasons many have continued to ask Peters question. The non-Christian, for instance, when informed that the gospel plan of salvation involves faith, repentance, confession, and baptism, may ask, But what about the thief on the cross? or, What about my parents who died without doing that? or, What about the jungle natives who never hear the gospel?—in other words, What about John? Perhaps not all who ask such questions would appreciate a kindly paraphrased reply like, What is that to you? You follow Christi —but it would be appropriate since every man who seeks salvation must follow Him, regardless of all other persons, circumstances or consequences.

To some, the what-about-John issue with respect to baptism may be a sincere inquiry in the search of truth— but to the less-noble it may be nothing more than a diversion to avoid the demands of truth. Regrettably, some who like to be known as Christians manufacture excuses and self-justification out of the same machinery. More often than not, when erring brethren are confronted with their sins or unfaithfulness, they respond with some form of What about John? With them, John and his real or imagined short-comings are not so much objects of concern as crutches for their own sins. The implication is that since John is allowed to get by with it, their guilt is somehow diminished —or at least ought to be overlooked. Such reasoning, fallacious as it may be, is much more prevalent and influential than generally recognized —simply because it is not often expressed until the sinner is faced with his sins (an unpopular and infrequent type of confrontation practiced by early Christians such as Paul, Gal. 2:11). Then you hear about John! Then Johns sins suddenly become important —but only for the purpose of being exploited, not corrected.

What about John? He may be wrong as accused. If so, he needs to be dealt with the same as his accuser —and his accuser should remember that he himself may well be the John used as an excuse by yet other sinners. He, and all, would better ask, WHAT ABOUT ME? Settling this question fits all for following Christ —and helping John to do likewise.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.X No.I Pg.4
March 1973

Assuming The Better

Robert F. Turner

Those who have made a study of such matters tell us that we tend to measure up to what certain peers expect of us. If those to whom we look as leaders or models indicate their high hopes for us, we strive to meet those goals. If they indicate a lack of trust in us, a feeling that we will fail, we may lose confidence in ourselves— and fail. I do not believe man is completely programmed by his environment, but it takes a lot of inner strength —built-in character available to those who look to God for the standard of integrity and righteousness (Prov. 11:3-6) —to buck the predictions of failure, and succeed in spite of the gloomy odds against us. Sinful man must be encouraged to believe that he is made in Gods image, and is capable of living to the glory of God.

The Hebrew writer recognized this principle, for throughout an epistle directed to backsliders, that necessitated many warnings of failure and of its dire results, he repeatedly encouraged. They were brethren with Christ, and in Him could be glorified (2:10-13). They were partakers of the heavenly calling (3:1). Gods oath and promise offered them strong consolation (6:17-20). And after a direful warning he reminded them of past successes (10:31-f) and says, But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

The back-slappers have stretched this principle to include insincere compliments—using us (and our pride) to accomplish their ends. They would palaver us into doing their bidding or buying their products. By the same reasoning some would rule out all negative teaching and correction —including that of the Apostle Pauls, I suppose. Such maneuvering we abhor.

But elders, preachers, and parents (to name a few) may do a gross injustice to those who look to them for guidance, by failing to properly encourage. Must we always assume the very worst? Love thinketh no evil (1 Cor. 13:5-6), but tends to place the best possible interpretation on matters. It most assuredly rejoice not in iniquity. (Think that one over!) Lawlessness calls forth sadness, compassion, a desire to help, on the part of those who love.

Some much needed teaching re: the church, creedalism, fellowship, and many other subjects, has been ineffective and is rejected, because the teachers assumed a superior attitude and spoke or wrote as though they did not expect the message to be heeded. We do not advocate a Pollyanna, head-in-the-clouds attitude. Rather, suggest it is very realistic to expect that brethren in Christ really want to do what is right. True, many are cumbered with traditional concepts, and may have a somewhat sectarian view of the church. But this is rarely by choice. They have inherited such error, over a period of years, and the surgery must be done with TLC and consideration. It is a fair assumption that genuine saints desire to be rid of all human error.

So, think positively! Warn in hope! Let your speech be seasoned with salt! Fight sin because you love the sinner!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.X No.I Pg.5
March 1973

Sacred Canopy?

Robert F. Turner

For years we have, with reason, warned of organic evolution and the threat such physical science poses to Bible faith; but neglected what I believe to be far more dangerous, the social-science threat. One naturalizes the origin of the body— the other naturalizes God and the soul. Our children soon learn to recognize some obvious signs of evolution in physical science; but many preachers swallow facets of sociological atheism without recognizing its source or its logical end. Especially is this true of our DOCTORS (of whom some are so proud) who have received training at Theological Seminaries. Liberal (institutional) brethren sometimes complain that their preachers are not preaching Bible sermons as they once did. It is not a matter of method or sermon tactics. Many do not believe the Bible as they once did.

With a condescending air, Peter L. Berger (The Sacred Canopy) writes: Sociology thus raises questions for the theologian to the extent that the latters positions hinge on certain socio-historical presuppositions. For better or for worse, such presuppositions are particularly characteristic of theological thought in the Judaeo-Christian orbit, for reasons that are well known and have to do with the radically historical orientation of the Biblical tradition. The Christian theologian is, therefore, ill advised if he simply views sociology as an ancillary discipline that will help him (or, more likely, help the practical churchman) to understand certain external problems of the social environment in which his church is located.

But he will still be wise if he is careful about letting sociological analysis go too far. He may be getting more than he bargained for. Specifically, he may be getting a wider sociological perspective that may lead him on to see his over-all activity in a different light.

Put simply, methodologically, in terms of theology as a disembodied universe of discourse, sociology may be looked on as quite harmless—existentially, in terms of the theologian as a living person with a social location and a social biography, sociology can be a very dangerous business indeed. (From pages 181-182.)

Bluntly (in language our readers are more likely to understand) Mr. Berger thinks a man can not study sociology, be honest with himself, and keep his faith.

In the Preface he says he never intentionally leaves the frame of reference of the empirical discipline of sociology. Consequently, it must rigidly bracket throughout any question of the ultimate truth or illusion of religious propositions about the world. Translated— since he deals with nothing but that which depends on experience or observation alone; all things are relative —ultimate truth is ruled out. Further, Every inquiry into religious matters that limits itself to the empirically available must necessarily be based on a methodological atheism. (P.100)

I hope college students understand this page well enough to be warned.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.X No.I Pg.6
March 1973

Quote From Australia

Robert F. Turner

Do household baptisms include infants? The reply is well put by our Australian brother, Roland McDowell; in CONTINUE IN THE FAITH, Jan. 1973. (P.O. Box 136, Bundaberg, Qld. 4670)

CORNELIUS AND HIS HOUSE, Acts 10:1-f.

...a devout man and one that feared God WITH all his house, (v. 2). God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him and WORKETH righteousness, is accepted with him, (vs. 34-35)...to him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever BELIEVETH in him shall receive remission of sins, (v. 43). ...then hath God also to the Gentiles granted REPENTANCE unto life. (Acts 11:18).

We observe that Cornelius house was able to fear, work righteousness, and repent. Infants are definitely excluded in this context.

LYDIA AND HER HOUSEHOLD, Acts 16:13-f.

And a certain woman named Lydia.. .of the city of Thyatira... was baptized and her household.

Lydia and her household were from Thyatira, approximately 450 km. away from Philippi. There are some assumptions which must be made to get infants even with her at this time, let alone having them baptized: (a) That she was married, (b) That she had children, (c) That if she was married and had children, her children were infants, (d) That she would take her infant children with her on this long and dangerous journey. Too many assumptions indeed.

THE JAILOR AND HIS HOUSE, Acts 16:27f. Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house. And they SPAKE unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house And he was baptized, he and all his straightway and REJOICED, BELIEVING in God WITH all his house.

The same requirement of faith was expected of both the Jailor and his house; consequently the word of the Lord was preached to all in his house. Did Paul preach to infants? Ridiculous! Note also that his house rejoiced with him.

CRISPUS AND HIS HOUSE, Acts 18:8.

And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, BELIEVED on the Lord WITH all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

In this context Crispus house is said to have believed WITH him. The Corinthians who were baptized first heard, then believed. No infants here.

THE HOUSEHOLD OF STEPHANUS, 1 Cor. 1:16; 16:15 (Cf. Acts 18:8, above..)

These were the first converts in Achaia, of which Corinth was a principle city. Crispus was among those converted, and both Crispus and Stephanus and their households were among the many Corinthians who heard, believed, and were baptized. The household of Stephanus is here reported as having ADDICTED THEMSELVES to minister an action which could never be attributed to infants.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.X No.I Pg.7
March 1973

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

I do not object to the church serving the Lord's Supper at both morning and evening services, but would like your comments on this matter.

Reply:

Let us go back of usual arguments: i.e., the pros and cons of "convenience". Does the church "serve" the Lord's Supper? Saints act collectively in this matter, so its expenses are legitimately met from a pooled fund; but, must "the church" sanction each observance in order to make that observance valid? Space, and the lack of reference material here "on the road" make specific quotes impossible, but if one would dig into church history on this subject, the importance of my question would appear. I do not believe that the validity of this memorial is dependent upon any decree, ordinance, or prescription of "the church" -- so, I do not believe the Lord's Supper is a church ordinance.

The memorial was instituted by the Lord, for his disciples; and Christ said He would "drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom". (MAT.26:29) Units of the kingdom are citizens, or individuals. Paul, in Ephesus, and the brethren in Corinth, shared in common a fellowship with Christ when they partook of this memorial. (1CO.10:16-17) It did not matter that they were miles apart, in different congregations, and (it is reasonable to assume) partook at different times. (Note: "The cup…..which we bless…..")

The above would seem to indicate that the memorial is for personal or individual communion with Christ, and an individual could "observe" the memorial in the absence of other saints. But there is more --- . "The disciples came together to break bread" (ACT.20:7) from sunago, used also in ACT.11:26 "assembled" and in HEB.10:25 "assembling" -- where no certain or single "assembly" is being considered. The gathering of ACT.20:7 was, however, "to break bread" -- and the practice of saints doing this together is enforced by 1CO.11:18, 20, 33, 34, where Paul contrasts the right and wrong motives of the individuals who have "come together" for the avowed purpose of remembering Christ. (The Greek in these passages is sunerchomai, and is not identical with sunago.) Careful students should see a lexicon.

So, while the communion with the Lord is an individual thing (as is all worship) saints are taught to do this "together". They must not abandon the act of assembling -- with all that goes with such. There is no excuse for the fishing boat communion.

When elders set a time for assembling this (like a time set by a congregation without elders) is not a divine mandate. If some saints can be present at one time, some at another, (on the Lord's Day) I see no objection to their setting two times. The church's function here is not to validate the Supper, but to make orderly arrangements for saints to come together to worship God. For the sake of the weak saints, compromise with mere "convenience" should be avoided. "Make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof" (ROM.13:14).

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.X No.I Pg.8
March 1973

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

Several years back I noticed what I thought was an abnormal number of crickets singing at night. I called it to my wifes attention, but she said she heard nothing. The doctor said it was a chirping within my head (due to sinus stoppage, inner-ear trouble, or something like that) and he sent me to see a specialist.

That specialist irrigated, probed, medicated, steamed, etc., until finally he removed the towels and said, Lets all be quiet, and see if Mr. Turner hears crickets.

I listened —and, sure enough, no more crickets. Now it sounded like tree frogs. The specialist was sympathetic, but insisted on his fee. After all, he had stopped the crickets. He didnt claim to be a tree-frog specialist. I paid through the nose.

Ours is a day of specialists. Expansion of knowledge is so great that one man can not hope to know it all, even in one field. But it does seem we could retain a few all-around men, specializing in common sense and the know-how for every day affairs of life. Todays emphasis upon ecology should teach us the interrelation of all parts to the whole. And nowhere is this relationship of parts more important than in the study of the Bible. It is natural and probably inevitable that some of us will take a special interest in Bible history, some in the church, some in prophecy, etc. We may go, unashamedly, to the works of this or that specialist to draw on his knowledge of some particular field. But unless these special studies are kept in careful tune with the whole, they may lead us far astray. Witness the prophecy specialist (?) who misses the most obvious fulfillments in Christ and His spiritual kingdom.

Some preachers are better suited to one kind of work than another. One may be a debater, in the right sense. Another may be poorly suited for public discussion, but do well in private teaching. But all should stand firmly for the truth; and neither degrees nor country-style debating can excuse ungodly conduct or compromise.

Of course some specialists do fill an over-all need but are misunderstood because their work is not sufficiently explained. One fellow complained about paying $25. to have a tooth filled, saying, . . .And then it warnt moren half full.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.X No.II Pg.1
April 1973

Sauls Weakness

Robert F. Turner

When God made Saul, son of Kish, to be king over His people there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he. (1 Sam. 9:2) He was concerned for his father (v.5) wanted to pay the preacher (v.7) (now theres a man for you), was a humble man (v. 21) shy (10:22) and God had given him another heart (vv. 6,9). He was not a vindictive man (11:12-13), and he gave God the glory for victory.

But Saul had a weakness. He seemed to covet a priestly status and pursued this goal in high-handed defiance of Gods will. (Both of the errors associated with his rejection as king have to do with unlawful offerings. (1 Sam. 13:8-14; 15:1-23) put another way, Saul was willing to worship God— provided he could be top banana and do it the way he wished. Of course, genuine worship is impossible when such an attitude prevails.

And Saul had another weakness— of character— perhaps more destructive in the final analysis than his yen to play priest. Unlike David, who would acknowledge his sins and ask forgiveness, Saul made excuses, and blamed others for his failings. He assigned himself noble reasons (?) for doing that which was contrary to Gods will. The people were scattered— Samuel was late— the enemy was upon us— it was needful that we pray to God— so, I forced myself, and offered the burnt-offering. All so reasonable, right-seeming— and wrong. Samuel said, Thou hast done foolishly; thou hast not kept the commandment of Jehovah thy God. (1 Sam. 13:11-13)

When Saul was sent to destroy the Amalekites he saved King Agag and the best of the stock. He claimed I have performed the commandment of Jehovah but about that time an old cow bawled (as F.E.W, jr. once said,) and gave him away. The people spared the flocks, to sacrifice unto Jehovah. A noble motive, and the blame is put on that indefinite mass that is supposed to relieve the individual of the need for conviction and action. (15:13-f.) To obey is better than sacrifice.

Sauls weakness cost him a kingdom. How many of us will miss heaven because we seek to do Gods work in our way, and blame others for our sins?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.X No.II Pg.2
April 1973

Foolish Questions

Robert F. Turner

What is a foolish question? It is one which I can not answer; or, one which I have already answered to my own satisfaction, and therefore consider unworthy of further study. But our complacency may blind us to further objective study, or may keep us from reaching out for honest, sincere people who need our help. (Strange, how we may spend several years coming to a certain conclusion, and then expect others to reach that same conclusion the first time they meet the problem). Then, there are questions not difficult in themselves but which involve us in difficulties. The obvious answer may call for conclusions or actions we do not wish to take.

In the institution of the Lords Supper one need not know grammar to see that the fruit of the vine, not the container, is that which signifies the blood of our Lord. Divide this among you (Lu. 22:17) is taken by some to signify that the element must be undivided when thanks is given. Instead, it is but another way of saying that all should partake of the element, (see Mk. 14:23 Matt. 26:27). The element is one single element whether in one or many containers; and the basic fallacy here is attaching significance to incidentals. It is the partaking of bread and fruit of the vine that show the Lords death till he come. (1 Cor. 11:26) It is no problem for me to see this. But now and then I meet someone whose conscience is disturbed over such. Sometimes the problem is akin to that of the early Jewish Christian who could not bring himself to eat meat that had once been forbidden. We may find it difficult to realize that in a past generation the multi-container had been so associated with digression modernism and going off after the world that the children of that generation cringe at the multi-container, even when they know the truth concerning the matter.

I do not wish to be unkind; I know too well how this spirit can lay hold on any of us but when name calling and party affiliation (our brethren as opposed to those new-fangled kind) overweighs a fair, objective consideration of the Scriptures, we are trapped in sectarianism.

The fundamental issues of institutionalism are not difficult for many to understand (if we will but take an honest look at them), hut the hard part is bucking ridicule as we conform our practice to our convictions. Some ride out on foolish questions.

These foolish questions may well test both the querist and the hearer.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.X No.II Pg.3
April 1973

The Almighty God

Dan S. Shipley

The omnipotence that belongs to God is difficult for the finite mind to grasp. It is unlike any power of mortals. Whatever man wills is not realized except by means. With God, means are unnecessary. He wills it and it is done. He says, "Let there be light" and there is light. Such is the incredible power that makes time stand still; that calms the stormy wind and waves with but a word and that causes even the dead to render ready response to its command. Truly, "great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend". (JOB.37:5) No wonder then the reference to Himself as "the almighty God" (GEN.17:1); the One with whom "all things are possible", as Jesus puts it (MAT.19:26).

Infinite power is complimented and directed by infinite wisdom, love and righteousness. Accordingly, such power is never used recklessly nor wrongfully. Every manifestation of Divine power is exactly as purposed by Divine wisdom; nothing is incidental or accidental. What God produced with His creative power was precisely what he willed ("And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." GEN.1:31). Spiritually, man was made in a pure and perfect state; physically, "God set the members each one of them in the body, even as it pleased him". (lCO.12:18) Note: By Divine creative power, God set (from Gr. TITHEMI, "to put, to place") the various members in the human body -- they didn't get there a process of evolution! God is the first and efficient cause. Creation demands a creator; life a life-giver; law a law-giver; design a designer. Almighty God is all of these and more. Not only does God have the power to know all things at all times and the power to make something from nothing, He also has the unique power of presence -- the ability to be in all places at once. As Paul says, "He is not far from each one of us". (ACT.17: 27) His abiding presence is pictured by the Psalmist (139:3-12) and is implied by the writer of Hebrews in recalling His promise: "I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee", 13:5. Remembering that He is a witness to every thought, word and deed of every man ought to encourage a better conduct. In prayer we sometimes speak of "coming into His presence", but really, we never leave it. (Do we fear or appreciate His presence -- or both?)

Since God's power is immutable (unchanging, "eternal", ROM.1:20), it is never diminished nor abated in any way -- even when exercised through men. The power employed by the apostles was from "on high", which they readily acknowledged. (ACT.3:12; 15:12) How unusual then, that modern-day "faith-healers" who claim the same power from the same source should have such different results! Divine power never fails; it is instantaneous and complete, independent of the subject's faith. Many still err, "not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God". (MAT.22:29)

To believe in God is to believe in His great power, in His authority and sovereignty. He alone has the power to save and destroy (JAM.1:12; MAT.10: 28) -- and to provide all things that pertain to life and godliness. (2 PE.1:3) He IS almighty!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.X No.II Pg.4
April 1973

The Whole Armor

Robert F. Turner

I have been requested to write an article on The Whole Armor Of God, but I would like to put Pauls admonition in its context. The text (Eph. 6:10-f.) is the concluding part of his message to the Ephesians, and I may be so bold as to propose an outline and paraphrased commentary.

Paul says: PRAISE GOD who, IN His Son JESUS CHRIST, has blessed us, chosen us, predestinated us, accepted us, redeemed us, given us wisdom, told us the mystery of His will, given us inheritance— that we Jews who first trusted in Christ, and ye Gentiles who later trusted in Him, should together praise His glory.

I pray God He will give you wisdom and knowledge to know: (1) the hope of His calling, (2) the riches of His glory, and (3) the greatness of His power, wrought in Christ.

We, Jew and Gentile alike, were once lost in sin, but are now ONE IN CHRIST, being saved by His grace; and have become fellow citizens, members of the same family (of God) and together make up the spiritual temple which God inhabits. My (Pauls) ministry is to the end that we may give glory to God in the church by Christ.

Therefore, walk worthy of this high calling! Keep unity! Grow to maturity, using the means God has provided. Walk not as pagans, but walk as children of light; remembering how Christ loves His church, and gave himself for it. (for us!)

Finally, PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR!! Partial armor will not be enough. Our enemy is very strong— his attack is planned, methodized (wiles), and is directed by (evil) spiritual forces. (This is no mere fleshly combat, but a struggle for souls, for eternity.)

Put on the belt of truth, whereby all efforts are unified and the laxity of falsehood dispelled. The good life, righteousness, as a breastplate, will protect you when false charges are hurled. Right living builds character, an ingrained fortification against unexpected, unjust darts.

The gospel is not self-propelled, and we can not march with it without preparation. Meyer says that the preparation is conceived of as the foot-clothing itself. When the attack is launched it is too late then for preparation. We must stay ready.

Above all we must have faith, the result of an objective approach to Gods word; thought out, honestly and completely accepted. Superstition and traditional dogma will not shield us from Satans darts. Many are being burned today because their shields are flimsy material, borrowed from parent or preacher— easily pierced. And lacking real faith, there is no real hope. Salvation does more than look back to remission of past sins. It must anchor the soul, a protecting helmet against lifes cruel blows.

Then, we must wield the instrument of the Spirit if we are to overcome spiritual wickedness. Gods word will put to flight an enemy that thrives on philosophy, degrees, and human reasoning, And prayer completes the equipment, so that we glorify our God.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.X No.II Pg.5
April 1973

"Eye Opener" Indeed

Robert F. Turner

A book, "God Wrote Only One Bible" has been sent to me from EYE OPENER PUBLISHERS, Junction City, Oregon. As I did not order it, I presume it is for review. It is surely the most prejudicial and unlearned attempt at Bible textual criticism since Watchtower publication of "New World Translation" -- and I am sympathetic with the author's love for the K.J. Bible.

But the King James version doesn't need this kind of "defense". The author makes ridiculous claims for the Textus Receptus, a Greek text used by the K.J. translators. He says, "This was the text used by the Apostles in separate manuscript form". He also says the Syrian Bible "...the Peshitta, even today, generally follows the Received Text". (Imagine a 5th. century text (or, as some claim, one dating from 150 A. D.) following a 16th. century text.). The author grossly misuses his sources; ex.: "Kenyon recognizes that the Italic Latin Bible was translated from the Received Greek text..., etc;" and has the gall to cite page numbers from Kenyon's "Our Bible and Ancient MSS". Of course Kenyon said no such thing. We could charitably assume that the author was honest, but expressed himself poorly.

Erasmus, in 1516, gave the world the first printed copy of the Greek NT, based on six or seven mms., of which only one was even moderately ancient or valuable, and none was complete. (The last six verses of REV. were retranslated by Erasmus into Greek from the Vulgate Latin.) Textus Receptus (from a claim in a later preface) was public by Stephanus in 1546, based mainly on later editions of Erasmus. Elzovir's 1624 edition incorporated corrections from the work of the great French scholar Beza. I'm afraid the EYE OPENER writer first decided the KJ version was the only authentic word of God, hence it must have come from the only authentic Greek text, hence the Textus Receptus must have been the text used by the Apostles, etc. etc. Prejudice is blinding. He would judge such mms. as the Sinaitic and Vatican (dating back to 340 A.D.) by his 16th century pet; and discredit Wescott and Hort by association with Mary-worship. (What of Erasmus, encouraged in his work by Pope Leo X.) Those who question today's Bible text will not be brought nearer, but driven further away, by such reasoning.

And finally, guess what?? EYE OPENER is selling "An interlinear literal translation of this Textus Receptus". I have compared the sample section used in advertisement with my George Ricker Berry interlinear (copyrighted 1897, Wilcox & Follett, Chicago) and find them the same. So, that is thatl

I love the King James version, despite (or, maybe even because of) its early English. I recognize valid critical objections to its textual source but feel its translator's faithful use of the text they had is better than interpolative commentaries that are sometimes offered as translations of today's better texts. And I firmly believe that saving truth is available to all who will conscientiously "search the Scriptures" -- either KJ or revised versions. God's word is far from being overcome.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Vol.X No.II Pg.6
April 1973

Bible Text Trustworthy

Robert F. Turner

"Dr. Ezra Abbot, "the foremost textual scholar in America," and a member of the revision committee, said that about nineteen-twentieths of the various readings have so little weight that, although they are various readings, no one would think of them as rival readings; and nineteen-twentieths of the remainder are of so little importance that their adoption or rejection would make no appreciable difference in the sense of a passage where they occur.

Schaff says that of the 150,000 variations only about 400 affect the sense; and of these 400 only about 50 are of real significance for one reason or another, and again, not one of these 50 "affect an article of faith or a precept of duty which is not abundantly sustained by other and undoubted passages, or by the whole tenor of Scriptural teaching."

Says Dr. Hort, "With regard to the great bulk of the words of the New Testament, as of most other ancient writings, there is no variation or other ground of doubt, and therefore no room for textual criticism. The proportion of words virtually accepted on all hands as raised above doubt is very great; not less, on rough computation, than seven-eights of the whole. The remaining eighth, therefore, formed in great part by changes of order and other trivialities, constitutes the whole area of criticism. ...Setting aside differences in orthography, the words in our opinion still subject to doubt only make up about one-sixtieth of the whole New Testament. In the second estimate the proportion of comparatively trivial variations is beyond measure larger than in the former; so that the amount of what can in any sense be called substantial variation is but a small fraction of the whole residuary variation, and can hardly form more than a thousandth part of the entire text."

And adds A.T. Robertson "The real conflict in the textual criticism of the New Testament is concerning this "thousandth part of the entire text. The great mass of the New Testament, in other words, has been transmitted to us with no, or next to no variations." (this from Warfield, rft)

Many of these variations are of no more importance than the failure to dot an i or to cross a t would be in English, yet so vitally precious is every word of the Bible that the textual critic leaves no stone unturned, and omits no variation, however infinitesimal it may be, in his effort to reproduce the original text. It is then, a cause for rejoicing that our New Testament was considered so important as to be early represented by more than 4000 manuscript copies, the work of a great army of copyists, and by more than 9000 version copies and many thousand patristic quotation copies; and the 200,000 or more variant readings are witnesses to the faithful toil of the textualists who deemed the New Testament worthy of such labor, and they are a guarantee for the integrity of the text."

Link to post
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...