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Vol.I No.X Pg.8
October 1964

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

The scriptures say God sends His rain upon the just and the unjust; which prompted some wag in this dry country to say, "If He will just rain on the unjust, we could carry water for the just." In places the run-off would suffice.

The Lord Himself said few were on the right road (Matt. 7:14) but no amount of warning seems to dim the appeal of the majority. We simply refuse to believe that "the many with the most" could be wrong.

Noah and his family (8 souls) must have been the off-beats of his age. A little bunch of religious "crackpots" building a boat where there was no water, and before: the days of trailers. And Lot, vexed with the filthy lives of his neighbors, was a regular kill-joy in Sodom. Perhaps Caleb and Joshua were tempted to "join with the crowd" --- if not to please the ten other spies, to avoid "disturbing" the people with their minority report But these, and other hardy souls, had the courage to stand by their convictions. The majority was wrong-- then, as it usually is now.

But WHY is the majority wrong? Well, not because it is the majority. Right and wrong are not determined by numbers, great or small. The majority is usually wrong because of the way the majority usually responds to the truth, or to divine authority. (1) People, as a whole, lack faith in God. They substitute human authority for Divine, and base decisions up on fallible standards. Thus begun, there is little chance for sound, right conclusions in religion.

(2) Lacking faith in God, and having not the strength to stand alone, the masses seek security in numbers. The weak flock together, and imagine themselves mighty because they travel with the crowd. But might does not make right. They travel the broad way.

The solution is not an easy one. It demands independent study and action. Each must recognize his individual responsibilities before God, and find strength to act in his faith in God. The appeal of popularity -- one of the strongest known to man -- must be resisted. Compromise- so necessary in purely human affairs- must be seen as inconsistent with divine authority. We must be both humble and resolute.

For man's eternal soul is at stake.

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Vol.I No.XI Pg.1
November 1964

The Moment Of Truth

Robert F. Turner

From the Spanish bull-ring, where the cool nerve, the Matador has long been regarded with national pride, comes the expression, "moment of truth."

El Torro and the man! The massive beast, nostrils aflare, goaded to hot fury, perhaps symbolic of all man's foe, is ready to drive a cruel horn into his vitals. In previous charges the man has led the bull closer and closer with the cape -- but always to pass. Now the beast must be brought to ground. Skillfully the sword must be placed so that the maddened rush of the bulldrives the blade to its destiny. With this savage lunge, the beast dies, or sweeps el Matador aside in a crushing mingle of blood and dust.

The flashing caps, the splendid uniform, the wild cheers of the packed stadium --- all glorious, but none kill the bull. Boasts of billboards, expectations of the sports writers -- all meaningless now. It is the awful "moment of truth." The man is truly El Matador --- "the killer" --- or is swept to ignominious defeat. As I contemplate this spectacle I realize how surely we all face our "moment of truth." This generation has scarcely known hardship. Depression is meaningful only to grandparents; and the, horrors of war are seen as foreign products, by citizens of a powerful winning nation. How would we face a disastrous national crisis?

We have posed as Christians. Baptized into Christ, we "attend" church, sing, pray, and partake. We say we love God, and acknowledge that God must come first; but rarely is our dedication to this principle fully tested. What knowledge, what moral fiber have we developed by which to meet our spiritual "moment of truth?"

When our practice is questioned do we become angry? Is our defense the flimsy garment of tradition? El Torro cuts swiftly through such. Are we artful winners of our own "straw" arguments? One day we must face a genuine foe. Do we judge ourselves by ourselves? One day God will judge us in righteousness, for eternity; and we will face an awesome, irrevocable and final "moment of truth."

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Vol.I No.XI Pg.2
November 1964

"She Didn't Mind It!"

Robert F. Turner

Faith is a simple thing--for those who possess it; and often expresses itself in simple ways.

I was awakened recently by a phone call which told of the passing of a dear friend and sister in Christ. Eighty-six years young, and active to within one week of her death, "Aunt Mattie Garrett" had finally answered the call that is common to this life.

A bit shaken, I began to offer my sympathies, but was stopped by the low, calm voice of my caller. "She didn't mind it!" she said, with conviction. And I knew she was right.

No-- she didn't mind it. She spent her last day on earth singing softly to herself, the gospel songs she had known so long, and murmuring such words as "heaven" "Jesus" and the like. There was no struggle here; but a quiet anticipation of the crossing of Jordan, and a much-needed rest. Remember that old "spiritual"??

"If you git there a-fore I do, Tell my-Lawd Ize comin' too---"

Well, I am --- and so are you! And just hope and pray that when our time arrives we will have lived so that "we won't mind it!"

That kind of faith may be simple, but there is profoundness in its simplicity that recommends it highly. """"""""'

We never cease to be amazed at the response we get to PLAIN TALK. A few cancellations now and then are routine, (about 1 per 1,000) but the warm and encouraging letters are thrilling.

One lady is surprised that I write so much truth despite the fact that I went to college. (She evidently does not agree with current school propaganda that the church must depend on colleges for her preachers; nor do I.)

One friend, who knows he can criticize my work and remain a friend, completely "graded" an issue-- making "corrections" he felt I needed -- and returned it. (I got five "A"s, one "C", and one "B", all appreciated.)

We get mail from people not on our list-- PLAIN TALK is "passed around. Well, it's free; so if you wish to receive PLAIN TALK just send us your name and address.

HELP US KEEP YOUR ADDRESS CURRENT. If you move, please send a card with both the old and new address. Your questions and comments help us to better serve you. We use PLAIN TALK because we love you. (Gal. 4:10)

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Vol.I No.XI Pg.3
November 1964

We Must "Take" The Remedy . . .

Robert F. Turner

"This fellow was on the way to be baptized, see! And this limb fell on him, and killed him. Now, what about that fellow?"

Repeatedly, this ancient question is asked --- often by people who seem to think they have originated the Gordian knot --- as if every commandment of the Lord relative to baptism must now be cast aside.

Suppose we have that same man on his way to hear about Christ, for the very first time? A crocodile jumps up out of the bar-ditch and gobbles him down. Now, what about that fellow?? In both cases the untimeliness of his death, or what he may have done had he lived, have nothing to do with his spiritual fate. This is determined by what he did do -- the "things done in his body" while he lived. (2 Cor.5:lO Rom. 2:6)

Was he a sinner? If so, the wages of sin are death. (Rom. 6:23) But we are reminded that "the gift of God is eternal life." To which we reply that this is "through Jesus Christ our Lord." Christ's death on the cross is the REMEDY--it made possible the salvation of sinners; but the remedy must be taken, or appropriated, before its benefits are realized.

Citizens of the proverbial "far-away" island who have "never heard of Christ" are just as lost as those in Suberbia, U.S.A., who know of Christ, but ignore Him. Those islanders die of physical disease, in the absence of modern medicine, just as we do who have the medicine but refuse to take it. The same principle is true with reference to spiritual sickness. Spiritual death is due to sin -- here, or there, or anywhere. One of the plainest of Bible doctrines is the Remedial aspect of the gospel of Christ. The laws of God's revelation do not impose a burden upon mankind; but are a part of God's gracious remedy, to correct and deliver us from the consequences of a spiritual condition we brought upon ourselves.

Man was already a sinner when our Lord died for us. (Rom. 5:8) In Matt. 26:28 Jesus said, "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." "FOR REMISSION OF SINS" means, in order that sins may be removed. lie did not die because sins were removed, but so that they may be removed. That is clear to all Bible readers.

Then Peter uses the same expression in his instructions to the believing portion of the Pentecostial multitude. "Repent, and be baptized every one of you--- for the remission of sins." (Acts 2:38) The obvious facts are: these people were sinners, they believed Peter's statements re. Jesus Christ, and they must now repent, and be baptized, (by Christ's authority) SO THAT THEIR SINS WOULD BE REMOVED. God's instructions were a part of the remedy for sins --- the means by which God saw fit to test their faith, and the conditions upon which he saw fit to offer salvation through Christ.

Recognizing your sinful condition, have you faith enough to obey God??

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Vol.I No.XI Pg.4
November 1964

Two "Fellowships"

Robert F. Turner

(Read this twice, then think about it awhile!)

In 1 Jn. l: John describes his fellowship with God as one dependent upon his walking "in the light" of God's truth. He had learned of Christ, first hand, and then wrote this truth for our benefit; so that we may have the same kind of fellowship he had, i.e., fellowship with God. There is no fellowship with God for those who walk in darkness -- error and sin.

But in 3 Jn. (vs. 9-10) John tells us of some of his brethren (evidently folk who had fellowship with God) who had been cast out of the church. Diotrephes had severed fellowship with then, and forbad others to have such fellowship. This was wrong, undoubtedly; but the fact remains that it could and did happen. This is a case where God maintained a fellowship which men refused.

The opposite is true in 1 Cor. 5. Here, a member of the church in Corinth (whom we conclude to have had fellowship with God at one time) now lived in immorality. According to 1 Jn. 1: (and implied here) this man had now severed his fellowship with God. He walked in darkness. But the brethren in Corinth continued to keep fellowship with him. This, too, was wrong -- but it did happen. Men maintained a fellowship which God refused.

Thus, two types of fellowship are apparent --- that with God, depending wholly upon our walking in truth; and that with men (even brethren), which is subject to man's approval or disapproval. Saying we should approve only that which God approves (with which I agree) does not change facts. Brethren sometimes approve that which they should not -- or disapprove that which they should accept. God knows the difference, and judges accordingly; but the "party" doesn't always act as God would have it act. As we individually obey the gospel we pledge ourselves to serve God. To Him we must individually give account when life is thru. (Matt. 16:24 Rom. 14:4, 12) Following this agreement of allegiance, and subject to its obligations, we join hands with others to work and worship together in a local fellowship, or congregation. God commands this union; the ties of this association are grand and its obligations real; but it remains the means of serving the Master, and must never become our Master.

Fellowship of men with men is an earthly tie which has an acceptable religious significance only when it complements our service to God. It is given divine regulations, but men do not always follow those regulations. One who counts on the outward bond of "church" fellowship alone to guarantee his spiritual redemption, leans on a broken reed. NO, I DO NOT DEPRECIATE THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CHURCH. I seek to emphasize the meaning of the true church, as God's people, who do God' a work, in God's way -- praised for their allegiance and service to God, rather than for their faithfulness to the "party"

Brethren who are primarily interested in keeping their fellowship with God intact, will be drawn to one another by this common interest, and find a congregational fellowship that forecasts the sweetness of heaven.

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Vol.I No.XI Pg.5
November 1964

Use Your Bible ......

Robert F. Turner

THE "NATURE" OF CHRIST'S KINGDOM

In Prophecy:

  1. Truth, Peace, Justice, Righteousness. Isa. 9:6-7 10:20-21 11:1-f. 
  2. Ruler both Priest and King. Zech. 6 ;2-13 Heb.6:20- 7: l-f. 

If Christ is now our High Priest, He must also now be our King. 

 

In Preparation: (Christ's Personal Ministry)

  1. Not of this world, i.e., materialistic· Jn.·18:36 
    1. If so, servants fight that Christ be not delivered. 
    2. Vs. 37, Yet as King, to all who receive the truth. 
  2. Cometh not with "observation" but "within you". Lu.· 17:20-21 
    1. "Within" explained by following points. 
  3. Must be "received" with humility, by citizens. Lu.· 18:17 
    1. Compare Matt. 5:3, 10 Poor in Spirit, Persecuted for Right. 
  4. One draws "near" kingdom, as he understands truth. Mk. 12:29-34 
    1. Teaching error "shuts up kingdom against men." Matt. 23:13 
  5. Kingdom entered by obedience. Matt. 7:21 (Cf. Jn. 3:3, 5) 
    1. Christ "reigns" in those who obey Him. Rom. 6:12-23. 

 

Compare Kingdom of Christ, with Kingdom of Satan.

  1. Followers of Light VS Followers of Darkness. Col. 1:13 Acts 26:18 
    1. In neither case is an organized unit under consideration· 
    2. If Satan can thus "reign" in his realm, so Christ in His. 

       

       

Conclusion:

The Kingdom of Christ is a spiritual kingdom; entered by obedience; peopled by those who willingly allow Christ to reign in their hearts, and who are thus prepared to enter heaven and praise Him forever.

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Vol.I No.XI Pg.6
November 1964

85 Years Ago, "Co-Op" Issue Was History

Robert F. Turner

In 1830 the Mahoning Association-the last vestige of denominational organization among early churches of Christ in this country was dissolved.

From "Life of Elder Benjamin Franklin" (by Franklin & Headington, 1879) we cite the history of the return of intercongregational organizations, leading to the Missionary Society, and the Christian Church denomination.

------------------------------

"It was not very long after the dissolution of Mahoning Association that "Cooperation Meetings" began to be held. These meetings were held on different plans. Sometimes individuals of different churches united, organized with president, sect-treas., raised means by contributions, and employed preachers to go into destitute places. This was called "Individual Cooperation."

Sometimes the meeting was composed of messengers or delegates from several churches who met with one of the churches, in which case it was called "Go-operation of Churches." ++++++

At first these co-operation meetings were composed of counties or of the churches within one or two counties. Afterward they were enlarged to "District Meetings," including several counties, and often corresponding to the Congressional Districts.

In 1835 a meeting for the entire State of Indiana was called and held at Indianapolis, in June. An annual meeting, known as the "state Meeting" was held thereafter at various places, but more frequently at Indianapolis.

It was simply a mass-meeting of such brethren as chose to attend, until 1852, when it was resolved, "that the State Meetings shall, in future, be composed of messengers sent by District Meetings, County Go-operation Meetings, or by individual Christian churches." ++++++++ In 1835 "after mature deliberation, the four churches of God in Cincinnati (Ohio) known commonly as Disciples of Christ, or Christians," organized "The American Christian Bible Society" with annual membership, life membership, and life directorship. The object of this society was declared to be "to aid in the distribution of the Sacred Scriptures, without note or comment, among all nations. It assumed at the outset to be a "parent society," to which others might become auxiliary, by "agreeing to place their surplus funds in the treasury of the parent society." +++++++

The Bible and Tract societies met at the same time and place, and were for some years referred to as "The Anniversaries." In 181r9 a large concourse of people, including many prominent preachers, assembled in Cincinnati, to attend the "Anniversaries." Great enthusiasm prevailed, and by the unanimous approval of all present "The American Christian Missionary Society" was organized. ++++

Public opinion which, upon the death of the Springfield Presbytery and the dissolution of the Mahoning Association, had swung clear of every form and vestige of ecclesiastical organization, except the local conegregation, was now ready to be led into denominational consolidation, and took no alarm when the "Hymn-Book Committee" referred to "the Christian Brotherhood at large, as represented in the American Christian Missionary Society."

(From pages 239, 240, 242, 244, 250.)

----------------------

Think of it! Eighty-five years ago a history was written of digression in the church, brought about by the effort to serve God thru organizations and associations larger than a local church. Will we never learn??

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Vol.I No.XI Pg.7
November 1964

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Marble Falls, Tex. Sept. 11, '64

How may the congregations of a county scripturally cooperate to put on a radio program with each of the congregations paying a part of the cost to the elders of one congregation? Why do you believe the Herald of Truth program scripturally wrong?

A Listener

Reply:

These questions, directed to our PLAIN TALK radio program, are of such wide interest we prefer to answer before our larger publication audience.

Unintentionally (I believe this is an honest question) the writer seeks to supply his/her own answer. I hope pre-judging will not close eyes and ears to my reply.

Let each church plan radio work according, to its own ability. Buy the time from the radio station, pay for it, allow your own preacher or another (as you see fit) to preach during that time, and identify the program as soming from the one congregation. The scriptures recognize no Burnet County Association of Churches, and it is dangerously foolish for us to do anything that encourages such. If it be considered advantageous to have a "gospel" program at the same time each day, I'm sure that can be arranged with the radio management. However, our chief concern should be to conform to God's arrangement rather than to man's. God's work can best be done in God's way -- in fact, this is the ONLY way we can be assured of divine approval. Surely we see this!

Herald of Truth is the product of an intercongregational arrangement. I have no objection to preaching via TV and radio, and so far as I know the contents of the programs are good. It is the pooling of a "brotherhood" treasury, over which one group of elders is given control, to which I do object. There is no scriptural authority for such diocesan arrangements.

Highland, Abilene, is not in want. Funds sent there can not be called "alms" (Acts 24:17) by the greatest stretch of the imagination; hence it is absurd to use 2 Cor. 8: etc. in an effort to justify this "sponsoring church, brotherhood project" program.

The organizational structure of the church (defining the limits of organized functions) begins and ends with the single, independent local church. We had better leave it just as our King fixed it,

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Vol.I No.XI Pg.8
November 1964

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

I like brown shoes, and wear them most of the time. However, if you insist upon wearing black shoes I will not argue the point. Go right ahead! I'm a very tolerant man with respect to shoes.

But some of my friends tell me I am intolerant in religious matters. They just can't understand why a kind-hearted, tolerant fellow like me would say that they MUST obey God's commands, and practice in religion ONLY that which God has authorized. (Well, maybe that is the way they put it.) Sometimes they find it difficult to tolerate my intolerance.

Some "intolerance" is born of egotism --- the product of self-centered individuals who think they are the center of the universe, hence their ways must be accepted by all. This is very bad. (Jas. 4:11-12)

And there is an "intolerance" of sort, which is born of love. I love my granddaughter, and insist that she not eat the shoe polish. (The brown, that is.) I can't bring myself to be unconcerned about this matter. And there is an "intolerance" born of respect for authority, and deep concern for those who fail to respect the divine will. Paul contended with the Israelites frequently because (a) he loved them, and (b) he knew they could not be saved while they followed their own erroneous ways. Paul's convictions, and his concern for men, made him seem intolerant. (Rom.10:1-f)

People who really believe something --- strongly enough to work for it, teach it, practice it-- are often called "narrow" or "bigoted." Meanwhile, the shallow-thinking, crowd-following, spineless fellow is likely to mistake his own lack of conviction for "broadmindness" and congratulate himself for being such a wonderful person.

It is well and good to be tolerant in matters of indifference --- where the rights of men are equal. But to "tolerate" sin and transgression of God's law is to assume the right to "judge" that law; (Jas. 2:9-f) or to relegate divine matters to the category of black and brown shoes.

In the final analysis, "tolerance" is often a disguise for the lack of conviction and concern. That fellow And there is an "intolerance" born wouldn't wear any shoes at all if he of respect for authority, and deep had "spunk" enough to buck criticism.

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Vol.I No.XII Pg.1
December 1964

Fatal Step To Sectarianism

Robert F. Turner

History is replete with examples of zealous reformers in religion; men whose honesty is unquestioned, whose efforts required sacrificial costs, and yet who succeeded only in forming another religious "sect." So often is this the case that much needed reform is discouraged. Criticism of current practices, with legitimate "Back to the Bible" pleas, are smothered under charges of "heresy" and "new sect."

Must we conclude that tradition is divine authority? What error turns honest, knowledgeable and needed reformers into "another sect?" Genuine heresy has many faults, but we are here concerned with one fatal step that changes the face of heroic restoration to ugly sectarianism.

"Heresy" is, essentially, " self- willed opinion, substituted for submission to the power of truth," and a "sect" is "the divisionor party formed" when truth is abandoned. (See Vine's Expository Dictionary of N. T. Words) Notice that TRUTH must be determined, its standards established, before "heresy" can be defined. We can not know if one has departed from home, until we fix a place or residence.

The Jews charged Paul with ¼Þ´ot; heresy'' (Acts 24:5, 14) and if we could accept their standard of truth (Judaism) we would agree their charge was just. Roman Catholics said the early reformers were "heretics;" and this was so- -- by R. C. standards. But one is not a heretic BEFORE GOD -- UNLESS HE DEPARTS FROM GOD'S STANDARD OF TRUTH.

A small group may (as in the case of Paul and his brethren) leave a large and popular religious body (the Jewish religion) and, in the eyes of that large body, become a "sect." In reality, before God, they are simply turning to TRUTH; and it is the so-called "mother" group that puts human traditions before divine authority. But why do so many of these honest efforts to go "back to truth" actually end in the formation of another sect? Since complete truth is the principle by which heresy is determined, the answer is deeply hidden in a subtle change of attitude toward truth. When a party begins to consider its PRACTICE as the equivalent of TRUTH, the fatal step to sectarianism is made.

This is a cunningly deceptive step, so easily taken. We reason; the true church is that body of people who accept and obey the truth - right? We accept and obey the truth, therefore we are the true church -- right? Then only those who do as we do are members of the true church! The switch from divine to human standard is made so smoothly that many members of a group called "Church of Christ"' never recognize its presence.

Other steps follow. We tend to rely upon "our" scholars to provide the answers to doctrinal problems; and what "our" brethren establish must be safe and sound. "Our" practice must not be questioned, especially if the majority of "our" brethren accept it. Before we realize it we are judging the law of God by " our" standards.

If any should seek to drink from the pure fountain of God's word without the "benefit" of "our" traditions and nomenclature, we cry "heresy;" and if we succeed in driving them from "our" building, we cry " sect." THE FATAL STEP took place long before, -- when we lost our objective view of God's Truth; and ourselves subjects, not judges of the law. Jas. 14:7-12). (Read carefully, 2 Cor. 10:12-18)

Some may use this article to justify petty and irrational hobby-riding, and others may choose party standards rather than risk being associated with such "crack-pots;" but the principle remains. We learn individual obligation and dedication to God's word, or we are lost in sectarianism.

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Vol.I No.XII Pg.3
December 1964

Did You "Repent In The Aisle"?

Robert F. Turner

Many years ago while teaching a Bible class I asked a young lady the meaning of "repent" Her immediate answer was, "Oh, that's what people do in the aisle." Then, seeing my puzzled expression, she continued: "You believe in the seat, repent in the aisle, confess at the front, and are baptized in the baptistry."

Very neat, very neat indeed! And I suspect that there are a surprising number of adults who get little beyond this childish conception of the "plan of salvation." We "repent in the aisle!" Abject sorrow for sin, that humbles--brings us trembling before our God-- shakes our complacency and puts steel in our determination to sin no more, is virtually unknown.

If tears are shed this is a rarity and may often be traced to nervous embarrassment or a prolonged emotional appeal on the part of the preacher. Some speaker s seem to fear any emotional appeal, while others seek to stimulate a synthetic down-pour by tactics of mass psychology. What has become of genuine, soul-searching conviction that changes a whole life? Well, the necessary ingredients are still with us, and but await recognition and proper use.

Sin is rampant, and if repentance is rare> is not for lack of reason. But sin must be made apparent to the sinner. Platitudes and generalities soothe the flesh-- they do not strike the heart. When men "come to themselves", are "pricked in their heart", then they may repent. (Lu.15:17 Acts 2:37-38) Paul feared lest a penitent man be. "swallowed up with overmuch sorrow." (2 Cor. 2:7) Does this fit our man "in the aisle"? "Ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner" -- a portion of 2 Cor. 7:8-11. Read these verses carefully, for they distinguish between "sorry I got caught" and the humbling, self-abasing experience of one who realizes his unworthiness in the presence of God. Such a feeling fills with care, and our very being revolts against our former manner of life --- the sin, of which we are now so ashamed.

"Unclean! Unclean !" we cry; and turn with joyous gratefulness to the Saviour's offer of forgiveness.

Paul taught "repentance toward God" as well as "faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 20:21) All sin is against God (Lu. 15:18) i.e., the creature wrongs the Creator when sin is committed; and since God alone can forgive, it is fitting that the creature present a contrite spirit to the Throne. The old-time mourner's bench was based on Calvinistic errors too space-consuming to be discussed here; but I sometimes wonder if we may not have "run past Jerusalem" in our casual attitude toward repentance.

Jesus said, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Lu.13:3) Repent or perish-- it is an ultimatum of Almighty God, an awesome thing. But the sin-burdened soul who truly repents sees more: "Repent, and be baptized-- for the remission of sins". (Acts 2:38) Christ lifts the burden of those who obey Him, and mourning turns to thanksgiving.

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Vol.I No.XII Pg.4
December 1964

"People Of God"

Robert F. Turner

There are two classes of people in the world: those acceptable to God, and those not acceptable. Peter says of the acceptable, 'Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.." (RV "a people for God's own possession") (1 Pet.2:9) These "people of God" are those "called out of darkness into his marvelous light." (vs. 10)

The "call" is that of the gospel of Christ (2 Thes. 2:14) by which all people are taught. (Jn.6:45) In one sense, this "call" is the dividing line between those acceptable to God, and those not acceptable; in that those who believe and obey God's call are acceptable, while all others are "in darkness" "without mercy". ( Note with care Co1.1:12-14 Acts 26:16-,18 Acts 2:37-42)

In the first century these "called out" people-these "acceptable" with God-- were called the CHURCH, i.e., the greek word by which they were then designated, is now translated as "church". (Note Acts 11:20-26. In Antioch those who heard the preaching of Christ, and believed, turned to the Lord; these made up the CHURCH.) (Cf. Acts 20:28 Phil. l:l; 4:15) Thus, the N.T. teaches that the CHURCH(i.e., those who make up the church) are the people acceptable unto God; while all others (those outside the church) are not acceptable.

Yes, the church is important! Yes, church membership is essential! Those who are not a part of the Lord's church are not a part of the people or God! THESE SEEMINGLY EXTREME STATEMENTS ARE "RADICAL" ONLY TO THOSE WHO FAIL TO GRASP THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SCRIPTURAL DEFINITION OF "CHURCH" OR "PEOPLE OF GOD." I have not said you must "join my party" to be saved. I have not said that only members of a denomination called "Church of Christ" would be saved. But I must make it equally clear that no one is a member of the Lord's church -- that will be saved-- who has not "obeyed from the heart" the unadulterated call of the gospel. (Study Rom.6:16-18, 3-7 Acts 2:37-47)

Methodist sprinkling, Baptist voting, and "Church of Christ" communion are not gateways to heaven. We must learn to distinguish between being acceptable to a party of people, no matter what name they wear, and in being acceptable to God.

The "people of God" are likened unto a temple, in which God dwells. The foundation is Jesus Christ, and the walls are of lively stones-- faithful Christians. (1 Cor. 3:ll, 16-17 1 Pet 2:4-8) They are likened unto a kingdom of citizens, with Christ as King; (Col.l:l3) or a body of members, with Christ as Head. (Eph.1:22-23 1 Cor. 12:12-f.) The church belongs to Christ and congregations of Christians are called "churches of Christ" (Matt.l6: 18 Rom. 16:16) God's people are even likened unto the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:23-f.) so it is easy to see why these people should wear His name.

But the people of God wear the name of Christ because they are His people-- they are not His people because they wear His name. (Maybe this should be re-read -- slowly!!)

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Vol.I No.XII Pg.5
December 1964

Use Your Bible ......

Robert F. Turner

REQUIREMENTS OF "RIGHT DECISIONS"

Intro:

  1. The Decision to be a Christian, most important of your life. 
  2. This study reemphasizes the demands of your past decision, or 
  3. Calls on you to make a "right decision"' while opportunities last. 

 

RIGHT DECISIONS REQUIRE COURAGE. (Judges 7:2-3, f.)

  1. To depend upon the strength of God, not of numbers and arms. 
  2. God can not use the "fearful and trembling". (Cf. Deut. 20:8) 
    1. The "fearful" (lacking faith) will be lost. (Rev. 21:8) 

 

RIGHT DECISIONS REQUIRE: INTELLIGENT CONSIDERATION. (lu. 14:28-33)

  1. üÆial">Gospel obedience is not "by accident" "blindly". (Cf. Matt. 28:19) 
  2. Count the cost, and accept heavy sacrifice. (Lu. 14:33) 
  3. God promises no easy road; just Victory for the Faithful. (Rev.2:l0) 

     

     

RIGHT DECISIONS IMPOSE OBLIGATIONS. (Joshua 24:14-24)

  1. Pledge to serve God invalid if we keep our idols. (vs. 14) 
  2. Jehovah is a Holy God, a "jealous" God. (vs. 19) 
  3. Therefore: 
    1. put away the foreign gods (any rival affection) 
    2. incline heart unto Jehovah, hear Him. (vs. 27) 

 

RIGHT DECISIONS MUST BE MADE WHOLE-HEARTEDLY. (lu. 9:57-62)

  1. Neither material considerations nor earthly obligations are first. 
  2. Doesn't take much of a man, but ALL there is of him. 
  3. Christ doesn't want those "look back" .... 
    1. Such are not" fit" (suited) for the kingdom of God. 
    2. Decision to serve Christ is long-term -- for all time. 

       

       

Concl.....

  1. Decision to serve Christ requires mature judgment. It is not a children's game; we should not be rushed by unreasoned emotions, or influenced by family, business, or social considerations. 

     

     

  2. Yet, despite the cost, it is best and greatest decision of life. It alone has to do with our eternal soul, and its destiny. 

     

     

  3. If not to Christ -- TO WHOM SHALL WE GO? (Jn. 6:66-69) 

 

As Peter said,

'LORD, TO WHOM SHALL WE GO? THOU HAST 3 WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE."

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Vol.I No.XII Pg.6
December 1964

Attitudes Divide Brethren

Robert F. Turner

Following taken from Biography of W. W. Otey, a well-documented book by Cecil Willis; which traces history of the church of Christ from 1860-1960.

With the ending of the war a new era arose for the churches. New attitudes arose. A new civil war soon was in prospect --- one within the churches. "When reconstruction was completed and Virginia was readmitted to the Union in 1870, the great pioneer period of the Disciples had ended." The older pioneers, for the most part, had gone on. "Second and third generation Disciples quickly came to occupy positions of influence." These were men who enjoyed the fruits of other men's labors. They realized not at what price they enjoyed their heritage. Among these younger brethren--

"there was less bitterness toward the denominations; a growing feeling existed that little could be accomplished by following the venerable practice of pointing out from the pulpit the errors of the sectarians. The reliance on itinerant evangelists, the principle ministerial provisions 'down to the days of the beloved and lamented Abell (died 1874),' was unacceptable to the younger brethren; resident full-time 'pastors' became the order of the day." (Quotations from H.J. Darst, "Ante-Bellum Virginia Disciples" publ. 1959. rft)

Darst further stated, "These changes in belief, practice and attitude which occurred in the several decades immediately following the War resulted in the Disciples rapidly losing much of the distinctive character which they had possessed during the ante-bellum years..." ***** However, there were some of the brethren who were unwilling to discard, without a fight, these "distinctive" characteristics upon which the churches in the area had been built. This conservatism on the one hand and liberalism on the other, resulted in an inevitable tension between the preachers and members in various churches. *****

A. W. Fortune ("The Disciples in Kentucky" publ. 1932. rft) portrayed these divided sentiments thusly:

"There were two different interpretations of the church which inevitably came in conflict. There were those who believed the church should move on with the world and adapt the spirit of the New Testament to conditions that were ever changing. They held that, when not forbidden by the New Testament they were free to adapt their program to changing needs. On the other hand, there were those who believed the pattern of the church was fixed for all time, and the fact that certain things were not sanctioned was sufficient reason for rejecting them. The men on both sides were equally honest, but they had a different approach to these issues that were raised."

This quotation fairly summarized the difference between brethren shortly after the Civil War and is yet descriptive of the differences between the Churches of Christ and the Christian Church.

---------------------

Learn From History, Or Repeat It.

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Vol.I No.XII Pg.7
December 1964

The "Organized" Church

Robert F. Turner

Dear sir:

1. Is it right to speak of the local church as an organization?

2. Is it right to use these terms when speaking of the local church: a. "Unscripturally organized" b. "Scripturally unorganized" c. "Scripturally organized"?

3. Is the church an "unorganized organization" when it begins to meet and function: later becoming an "organized organization" when it appoints elders and deacons? ETE

Reply:

The local church may be called an "organization" under the fair and obviously basic meaning of the word. (See Webster's Unabridged Dictionary) Certainly there are many types and phases of "organization" -- and the church will not fit all phases of the definition --- BUT THEN, NEITHER WILL ANY NUMBER OF ADMITTED ORGANIZATIONS FIT ALL PHASES OF DEFINITION.

The local church sends as a unit, (Phi1.4:15) receives as a unit, (Acts 11:30) hears and speaks as a unit, (Matt. 18:17-- all of which demands a collective entity. The local church has overseers (1 Pet.5:2)(who receive on behalf of the group, Acts ll:30). Those who set this function aside and allow collective actions to be determined by "business meetings" have not changed the aspect of "organization"; they have only altered its form of operation. And the local church has servants (Rom. 16:1) and messengers (Phi1. 2:25). All this, and more shows that saints who function as one in a local church comprise an "organization." This is simple application or a legitimate term to completely scriptural functions. " Scripturally unorganized" is a play on words, and would have to be examined in context in order to make an intelligent appraisal. I suspect it is self-contradicting when applied to a functioning church; and probably originated in a misconception of the term "organized" as applied to a local church.

When a plurality of saints begin to function as a unit --- to act collectively-- some kind of "organizing" has already taken place. It may be very loose, and subject to change from time to time, but it is there. As soon as scripturally qualified men are available, the "setting in order the things that are wanting" (Titus 1:5) should take place. This is the result of spiritual growth, and it occurs just as a youth, upon maturity, is expected to take on adult responsibilities and "think as a man." (See 1 Cor. l3:ll) The local church existed before, and by divine approval (Acts l4:23), but it was not fully developed. I fear we have allowed a mechanical and somewhat artificial definition of "organization" to blind us to plain common sense.

The local church is not something "apart" from the saints; but is the saints in a certain relationship with one-another. By agreement they pool resources and function as one in certain endeavors. These functions, requiring oversight, messengers, servants, a common treasury, etc., make up the basic ingredients of "organization" and it is only in this sense that I apply the term to the church.

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Vol.I No.XII Pg.8
December 1964

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

A man who" just loved outdoor cooking" could no longer endure the sissy civilized refinements of a modern kitchen. He built a stone barbecue pit and grill in his back yard-- where he could assert his rugged individualistic style, cooking and communing with nature.

To make a more solid footing for his table and chairs, and avoid mud and/or red ants, he poured a concrete slab all around the grill. Then, when a few "cook-outs" were spoiled by sun or showers, he built a good roof overhead --- extending a chimney through the roof, and installing a vent-a-hood to remove unwanted smoke. Since the vent-a-hood required electricity, it was a simple matter to add lighting, and an outlet for the electric coffee maker.

Came summer, and he screened-in the shelter to foil the flies and other insects attracted to his table. Then, to "do it up right" he built a tile-topped work cabinet, complete with double sink and "running water".

This man "just loved outdoor cooking." Nothing quite like it. Ha reminds me of the way some brethren "just love the Lord's church." They are attracted to the philosophy of New Testament Christianity. "Bible things in Bible ways" "Back to the Bible!" " The church you read about in the Bible!" These slogans sound good, and they like to identify themselves with the stalwarts of old who fought bravely for such a cause.

But the reality of N.T. Christianity -- like that of outdoor cooking-- is something else. If there be any virtue in the two (and for the N.T. church I base my case on God's word) the benefits can only be realized by accepting the practice as well as the terminology.

The dudish "out-doorsman" is within his rights, even though we may reel he is "kidding himself" about his "rugged" character. But the members of the church who alter New Testament Christianity to suit their own taste, not only deceive themselves but bring reproach upon the name of the Lord and His work.

There is incongruity in the sign: CHURCH OF CHRIST; and the church supported banquets, inter-congregational organizations, sectarian spirits and worldliness that is often within. "We love the Lord's church" -- indeed!!!

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Vol.II No.I Pg.1
February 1965

"Generous "Innocent" Error"

Robert F. Turner

I once preached for a young congregation in Indianapolis, that met in a building purchased from the Christian Church. As the 1940 Easter season approached, a wealthy Christian church lady who visited with us occasionally made a very generous offer.

"I would like to move the electric organ from my house, at my expense, to your church," she said; and I will leave it there, and donate my service as organist, until this young church is able to obtain a suitable instrument of its own."

The kind lady was perfectly sincere, and innocent of ulterior motive. This made it difficult for me to explain to her --- without hurting her feelings --- that we did not want her organ, or one we might purchase; that there was no N. T. authority for the use of such in the worship.

And 25 years later this spirit of "innocent error is found among nominal members of the Lord's church. One wishes to install a kitchen in the church building, at her own expense, to facilitate church parties and social fellowship. Another will give a farm, or great sums of money, to establish some church-related society, or build a "church camp. Often -- perhaps most of the time -- these generous people mean well. They simply lack a proper understanding of the Lord's church and its work. We could call them "ignorant and "liberal --and perhaps accurately describe their state (as was true of the Indiana organist). We may thus warn others of the error, and whip the party into line, but it is doubtful that this will help those "zeal-without-knowledge would-be donors. Nor is this an indictment of plain speech. In fact, it would tax the wisdom of Solomon to reject some offers, explain the scriptural reason for the rejection, and make everyone like it. Sometimes greed enters the picture. 

Sometimes those who know better lack the principle and character to say "No!" And there are some so sensitive to the feelings of others they had rather ignore the word of God than to cause trouble in the church. (???)

Liberal and "Middle-of-the-road churches today are filled with a host of good" people, innocent in error." They accept without question your sermons of generalities --- about the Authority of Christ, Congregational Independence, "Bible Things in Bible Ways etc. (they love slogans, and "Church of Christ terminology falls like gentle rain upon their upturned, smiling faces.) But make specific application of Bible principles to current practices in the church, and the smile is erased, and they are "hurt."'

The cold facts are that many nominal members of the church are untaught concerning some of the most basic characteristics of the N. T. church. Further, their "innocence" is fallacious--it does not justify their error. They refuse opportunity to study issues in the light of God's word, or to believe in the completeness of the divine pattern. They lack nobleness (Acts 17,11) and in a real sense are willingly ignorant." (2Pet. 3:5) Neither their zeal nor their generosity alone will save them. What is to be our attitude toward these people? Certainly not hate, nor vindictiveness. We do not wish to hurt -- in fact we are hurt to learn that our brethren react so violently to suggestions that we study God's word together. Our "heart's desire and prayer to God is that they may be saved. (Rom. 10:1-3) We do not believe we are perfect, nor set ourselves as the rule for judging others; but the TRUTH must be taught, and we must remain free to teach and practice what we believe to be the truth. And God shall judge us all. (Rom.l4: l2)

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Vol.II No.I Pg.3
February 1965

"The Sermon In The Buggy"

Robert F. Turner

He was a religious man, unashamed of his convictions. As Treasurer of a mighty nation he was a man of great authority, holding a prominent position in the Queen's court. Yet he had taken leave of his official duties, and journeyed far in order to worship God as he believed he should.

Nor was his worship an empty ceremonial matter, forgotten as soon as he shook hands with the preacher and walked out of the door. As he traveled homeward he read the words of God's prophet, Isaiah, and pondered their meaning.

"He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: (Isa. 53:)

Having no knowledge of Jesus, the fulfillment of this prophecy, nor of the New Testament (Covenant) he could not fully appreciate such passages. A "veil was upon the hearts of those who would not receive Christ (2 Cor. 3:12-f.) but in this man's case it seems he simply lacked opportunity to see and make proper application. This emphasizes the honesty and sincerity of the man. He was anxious and ready to know, and receive truth.

He knocked, and the door opened; he sought, and he was given opportunity to find. An angel sent an evangelist to the road the nobleman traveled, and the Holy Spirit brought him beside the chariot. But neither the angel nor the Spirit operated directly or miraculously upon the truth seeker. In keeping with God's plan in this Christian age, he had to hear truth, believe it, and obey. (Jn. 6:44-45 Rom- 10,13-17) So the preacher got into the chariot and "began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus." On previous occasions, when this preacher had "preached Jesus" he preached "the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name (authority, rft) of Jesus Christ, and baptized those who "gladly received his word." (Acts 8:5-12) There is no reason to believe his preaching tactics had changed. He evidently told the nobleman of the coming of Jesus Christ, his personal ministry, death, burial, and resurrection -- showing the fulfillment of prophecy in that He died for the remission of our sins.

"As they went on their way, they came unto a certain waters and the eunuch said, 'See, here is water; what doth hinder m to be baptized?' Upon being assured that if he believed that Jesus is the Son of God he could, the chariot was stopped, and the two of them "went down both into the water, and the nobleman was baptized. When they were come up out of the water the preacher was taken away, and the nobleman "went on his way, rejoicing."

This remarkable account of conversion is found in Acts 8:26-40. It teaches us that a sincere religious person is not necessarily acceptable before God, but that one with such an attitude is suited to become a Christian. It shows us the limitations of Old Testament passages, but their use and application to New Testament truth. It tells you how to be saved.

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Vol.II No.I Pg.4
February 1965

Use Your Bible

Robert F. Turner

......

 

INGREDIENTS OF SALVATION Salvation -- from sin, and eventually in Heaven -- has many facets, and many ingredients. BEWARE the teacher who puts "ONLY" with any one of these parts.

Salvation is not by faith only, neither is it by works only. Christ is "the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." (Heb.5:9). And obeying Him, clearly means doing what He commands. 

WE CAN BE SAVED BY --

THE GOSPEL Rom.1:16; 1Cor.15:1-2; Eph.1:13 Mk.16:15-16 GOD'S GRACE (FREE GIFT) Eph.2:5,8 (And God's "free gift" to man is HIS SON) Rom.5:15 THE SCRIPTURES 2 Tim.3:15 DOCTRINE 1 Tim.4:16 JESUS CHRIST 1 Thes.5:9; Acts.4:12; Rom.10:13 HOPE Rom.8:24; Heb.6:19 THE WORD Jas.1:27 FEAR (Awesome respect) Acts 10:35; Rom.11:20-21; Heb.4:1 LOVE: 2 Thes.2:10; 1 Jn..4:8-11; 1Jn.5:3 REPENTANCE Acts.17:30; 2 Cor.7:10 CONFESSION 1 Tim.6:12; Rom.10:10 FAITH 2 Thes.2:3; Acts.16:31 BAPTISM Mk.16:15-16; 1 Pet.3:21 WORKS Phil.2:12; 1 Thes.1:3; Jas.2:17,22,24 

No attempt has been made to present ALL the ingredients of salvation. This outline was prepared by one of our elders, bro. W.R. Stephenson.

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Vol.II No.I Pg.5
February 1965

"Go- - Make Disciples"

Robert F. Turner

This is a great day for "keeping up with the Jones'" and a large segment of the brotherhood tends to measure the welfare of the church by the extent to which "we" equal the denominations numerically, and buildingwise. We long to see more converts to Christ, and would not discourage nice places for assembling, as long as they are compatible in design and use with the divine purposes of the local church; but we fear we are too much concerned with our "corporate image", and too little concerned with making disciples for Christ.

Jesus sent His Apostles forth with the command, " -- make disciples of all nations -- " There is an important difference in the "teach" (KJ) "make disciples" (ARV) of MAT.28:19, and the "teaching them to observe all things" of verse 20. But there is more to making a disciple than "teaching".

The word "disciple" was applied by the Greeks to a close follower of some master -- perhaps one of some "school" of learners who gathered about a Philosopher. Day by day they listened, hung on every word, and imitated their teacher in every way. They drank of his wisdom, imbibed his "spirit"lack sacrificed for him.

The Apostles were not sent forth to "make members of the church" -- in the usual sense of numbers affiliated with a party. They were to fire human hearts with a "hunger and thirst for righteousness" -- to make "learners", "indicating thought accompanied by endeavor" according to W.E. Vine's Expository Dictionary. When one understands the import of the word "disciple" he is sickened by its application to the casual, indifferent attitude of many who are today's nominal "Christians". Although the word "disciples" was applied in a limited way to some who were but for a while "learners" and then turned away; (JOH.6:66) its general application is to those who, learning, were baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; (MAT.28:19-20) and who were later called "Christians" (ACT.11:26). All who claim to be "Christians" today obligate themselves as "disciples," and a grave obligation it is.

Jesus said, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed" (JOH.8:31); and again, "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (LUK.14:26-33) (Compare MAT.10:35-f). These passages clearly picture the cost and nature of true discipleship. They call for whole dedication -- total commitment. Here is "Christ-centeredness" stripped of its sectarian catch-phrases.

True disciples (Christians) conform their lives, individually and collectively (as a local church) to the divine pattern set by their Lord. They work together in love within the framework of a "thus saith the Lord" (JOH.13:34-f).

If we will concentrate on making more disciples, the growth in numbers and buildings will do well enough.

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Vol.II No.I Pg.6
February 1965

"Sponsoring Church In Texas, 1885"

Robert F. Turner

"Before the Civil War, Carroll Kendrick inaugurated "State Meetings, patterned generally after those conducted by his brethren in the East. For all practical intents these were missionary societies on a state-wide basis, but Kendrick had a more conservative flavoring to them.

State Meetings were held annually at which every phase of the work in Texas was discussed. Whatever missionary work was agreed upon was then put under the eldership of a local church, usually the church at Sherman. The more conservative element among the brethren eased their conscience by imagining that since the work was under the elders at Sherman, it was not a missionary society of the human variety.

By 1886, the more "progressive element in Texas succeeded in ditching the old State Meeting idea, and established the Texas Christian Missionary Society. For two years in advance of this every informed brother in Texas knew the attempt would be made to establish the Society. Many were certain that if the effort succeeded, it would mean an open division in Texas. So, during these anxious months preceding 1886, the question of church cooperation with particular emphasis upon the affairs in Texas, gained wide publicity in every periodical in the brotherhood.*****

David Lipscomb, following the opposite track in logic to that once pursued by Alexander Campbell, maintained that the church universal had no organic existence. All thinking about the work of the church must begin and end with the local congregation.

The local congregation was the largest unit of God's people known to the Bible. Violations of this principle arose within two areas. The missionary society was a violation of this principle because it was a human device proposing to improve upon a divine plan. But what about the work in Texas under the elders of the church at Sherman? Was this not the church (more than one church, rft) in action? Lipscomb's logic was couched in strong language:*************

'We develop from Scripture that each church kept the direction of its own contribution under its own control through its messengers. So keeping the church and Christians close to their work. They could fully realize that it is their own work.

Is this the case with the Sherman arrangement? We may think these are small and indifferent matters, but if a great amount of money is placed under the control of one church, it gives it undue power. It takes the work from the control of, and removes it from contact with those who raise the means to sustain it ... ' 

-------------------------------------------------

It has been well said, that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. These excerpts, reprinted from history , can only help those who will apply them.

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Vol.II No.I Pg.7
February 1965

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Dear broTurner 

Is it right for a woman to pursue a professioncommerciallyfor economical reasonsH.B., Michigan.

Reply:

The "worthy" (virtuous, KJ) woman of Prov.31:10-f. "considereth a field and buyeth it" and "planteth a vineyard". She "perceiveth that her merchandise is profitable". She "maketh linen garments and selleth them, and delivereth girdles unto the merchant".

However, none of this was done at the expense of her family. "She looketh well to the ways of her household, -- her children rise up and call her blessed".

Paul taught that young (Christian) women should be "discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, etc" (titus.2:5). The Amer. Standard version translates "keepers" as "workers", the point being not that they are commanded to "stay" at home, but to be guardiansmaintainers of the home through their diligent and faithful work.

The home is her responsibility. Bearing children, making for them a good home, maintaining a proper home atmosphere, providing loving care for husband and offspring; these things must come first. I do not believe she is forbidden to "work out" -- circumstances may require this -- but God's word pictures the home as her "profession" or "career" and for this she should prepare herself emotionally, spiritually, and by education. Such a "place" is glorious, and rewarding. BroTurner:

When one congregation is disciplining a brother who is in sinwhat is the responsibility of neighboring congregationsShould they receive a man who is rejected by the first congregation? LLB, Oregon

Reply:

Common sense, and respect for the actions of brethren whom we hold to be sound in the faith, should make a church wary of one who is disciplined by another church. It seems reasonable that the "home" church would be better able to determine the light or darkness of his course than others.

However, it is error to consider the rulings of one congregation binding upon all others. Fellowship is hinged upon truth (God's word) not upon the actions of any congregation (1 Jn.1:3-7 2 Cor.10:12-f). Sometime men keep fellowship with one who has walked in darkness, and is no longer in fellowship with God (1 Cor.5:1-f). It is also possible for men to refuse fellowship with some -- -putting them out of the church -- whom God continues to fellowship (3 Jn.9-10).

Disfellowship calls for collective action (Matt.18:17 1 Cor. 5:4) and the organizational structure of the church is limited to that of a single congregation. One church can not take disciplinary action for another, any more than it can take any other action on behalf of another. Each must make an independent decision as to whom they receive into their number, with a view to pleasing God, according to His word. Any other standard will denominationalize the church.

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Vol.II No.I Pg.8
February 1965

"Stuff About Things"

Robert F. Turner

I'm a lot older than you may think. I can remember when we always used quote marks when we wrote our' orphan homes, or our schools. Writers were aware that the printed word was powerful, and that it might be carefully scrutinized for errors by another journalist, just itching for something to write up."

Most brethren knew (away back then) that the single independent local church was the only divinely authorized church organization, and realized that the universal church could not own anything. A "Church of Christ College or Church of Christ Orphan Home was therefore out of the question unless a single congregation owned such a thing --- or, of course, unless you used quotes to show that you really knew better, even though the "we and "our did fit quite well.

I'm so old I can even remember when missionary" had quotes around it. And I remember being told, by one not much older but deemed much wiser, that "we should quit using terminology that had to have quotes. He reasoned, to this effect: "If we can't express ourselves concerning practice and doctrine in terns either used in the scriptures, or in harmony with the scriptures, then something is wrong with our doctrine and practice. Using quotes, and continuing the concept and practice, only prepares the people for the day when quotes can be dropped." I believe Paul Wallace was right about this. In reality every gospel preacher -- and in a sense every Christian -- has a mission to perform. One who crosses the ocean is no more a missionary than one who carries God's message to the next county; and writing our missionaries (with quotes) is an acknowledgement that we created a new type of preacher (some might call it the pastor system) and must use some different term to distinguish a preacher at home from one abroad. As writers become less ashamed of the invented distinction, the quotes are dropped.

Today such new-comer terms as intercongregational, brotherhood project, etc., are rarely enclosed in quotes; and our colleges, our homes, are household words. By ridicule, quarantine, and name-calling the objectors are silenced --- at least in the liberals conscience --- and we march merrily on "our way while typewriter quotes" and I are rusting.

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Vol.II No.II Pg.1
March 1965

Sure, You Can Plug It!

Robert F. Turner

In my boyhood days my hometown in Kentucky was a "trade center". Each Saturday, and on "County Court Monday" farmers brought their produce to town and used the opportunity to trade knives, hound dogs, "$2. Pistols" and hard liquor.

Most farmers were proud of their products. They guaranteed fresh eggs; and if you wanted a watermelon you could "plug it" before you paid for it. That deep red sliver from deep inside the melon, was your earnest of things to come.

And even today a reputable dealer stands behind his merchandise. He is happy to have you investigate his wares, for he believes in them. What would you think of a store that refused to allow its weights and measures to be checked against the standards? Who is angered by your desire to "plug" his product? Hmmmmm.!!

But you and I know churches that are angered if their practice is questioned in the light of God's word, the admitted standard in religion. Is a preacher or elder to be trusted who by sheer weight of position or popular approval states his case then denies all appeals for proof from the scriptures? And what of those who refuse to read or study any other view? We hold that TRUTH is verified by an appeal to the STANDARD OF TRUTH. My conceptions of the church, its organization and work, will shine more brightly when investigated in the light of God's word --- if my conclusions are right. If I am wrong, yet truly desirous of serving God, the uncovering of my error is my gain -- something devoutly desired.

A proper attitude (humility) welcomes investigation and correction. But the arrogant, puffed with "party" pride, and those uncertain and fearful of their position -- these can not afford to have their doctrines "plugged." Plunge the sword of the Spirit into this melon, and its source of human tradition or "social gospel" is revealed. "Come Let Us Reason Together" is an empty slogan, for decoration of Bulletins, etc., but not for use. They are few who welcome the cry:

"Sure, You Can Plug It.'"

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Vol.II No.II Pg.2
March 1965

Does Your "Halo" Show?

Robert F. Turner

When you look into the mirror, does your Halo show? Have your wings begun to push through your shirt? You need special treatment, my friend -- a fresh look at the standard Jesus set for us. Here are just a few "pills".

Sunday, before you start to worship, take a few moments for remembering. Does some brother have reason to believe you have wronged him? (I said, "you wronged him" not "he wronged you.") 0. K. " 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. 5t23-24)

Our sins need not be overt acts. Lust, anger, desire for revenge, selfishness, and others begin in an undisciplined mind. If you cannot control your "heart" you sin. (Matt; 5:21-48)

In the realm of business, have you some matter against a brother? Did you go directly to him to work out an agreement? Failing this, did you ask other brethren to assist you two in coming to an agreement? Or, did you find some pretext for discarding your "brotherly" status, and bring suit against your brother in civil court?? "I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren***? Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another." (1 Cor. 6:1-8)

How long has it been since you seriously considered 1 Tim. 5:4-6, 16?? Are you taking care of your parents, or grandparents, as here commanded? I know of one preacher who shipped his mother off to a "home" (?) to be supported by churches instead of taking his own responsibilities as commanded. (He has ample finances too.) I doubt that he ever uses 1 Tim. 5:4 as a sermon text.

A good look into the perfect law of liberty will dull that Halo, and clip those wings, for all who will give heed. We will ask God's forgiveness, and try to live a humbled better life before our blessed Lord.

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