Jump to content

Plain Talk


RETIREDFAN1
 Share

Recommended Posts

Vol.XIII No.VIII Pg.7
October 1976
You Know What?
Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Please discuss 2 Cor. 5:21. How was Christ made sin for us? S.H.

Reply:

Many early exegetes simplified the meaning here by inserting the word offering, saying, Christ was made a sin offering for us. There is justification for the conclusion (Isa. 53: and its many applications in the NT). For sins in Heb. 10:6, 8, refers to sin offering (as context shows, vs. 10,12), and both K.J. and A.S. insert sacrifice or offering to fill out the sense. (Study Rom. 8:3.) This is a short-cut solution, and does no injustice to the idea expressed.

But sin (hamartian) is used twice in this sentence and would not likely have a dual use. Its contrast with righteousness should also be considered. I believe the passage says God made (acted as though) Christ had sinned, placing upon Him the penalty for sin, i.e., death, or separation from God. The penalties of sin (in abstract) were laid upon Him, on our behalf.

Made (poieo) is used here as in Jn. 5:18, 8:53, 10:33. The Jews said Jesus Made himself equal with God. From their viewpoint, he only acted as though he was God. Christ actually knew no sin yet He freely gave Himself up to the penalty (as though He had sinned) in order that there be no injustice done when we, who have known sin, are forgiven (Rom. 3:26).

I do not hold to the fanciful concepts of imputation spun from this verse; neither to Jesus soul, blackened by the sins of the world, nor to divine purity heaped upon us. We should be content with the emphasis which God placed upon forgiveness; in our initial coming to Christ, and in the continued blessings possible for all who walk in the light. Righteousness of God refers, I believe, to that right standing before God made possible through Christ. Child of God does not mean a little God.

Bro. Turner:

Is there scriptural authority for singing an invitation song or song of encouragement following a sermon?

Reply:

See Vol. 12, No. 10, p.2, for more discussion of invitation songs. This repeated question indicates either or both a poor understanding of the purpose of public singing, and of generic authority for carrying out our divinely assigned tasks.

An invitation song is not a specified part of public worship; nor is any other subject matter that may come under the general category of spiritual songs (Col. 3:16). Just as in teaching and admonishing one another we may decide to sing Our God is Alive, so we may decide to sing, Come to Jesus. The congregation thus says amen to the sermon, and joins the preacher in inviting people to give themselves to the Lord. Both song and prayer taught the unlearned (1 Cor. 14:15-17), and unbelievers were taught in public service (v.24). May we use the Psalms of David in a spoken sermon to a non—member, if we can not sing to a non-member? Tickets for the fools hole are plentiful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.VIII Pg.8
October 1976

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

How many of you have wrapped a string ball? For a super- duper, start with a small hard rubber center, perhaps a jacks ball. A paper wad will do if you dont have the jacks ball. Then tightly wrap the twine, around and around, slightly rotating the ball with each turn so it does not cross at the same places and create north and south poles. The more tightly and evenly it is wrapped, the better the ball. Then, when proper size is obtained — or you run out of string — the sewing begins. We used a big-eyed needle, waxed the thread with bees wax, and would sometimes have to pull the needle through with a pair of pliers. Sew thoroughly the top third of the wrapping if you expect the ball to hold together.

After several games the sewing begins to break, and the ball grows whiskers. It sings when it is hit hard, and the whiskers slow down its flight. You shave the ball now and then, but soon one side is going to burst out with a beard, and the game is called off. You can spend the afternoon arguing who would have won if the ball had stayed together.

And congregations have some of the characteristics of a string ball. A good one is tightly wrapped about a hard core — resilient enough to take a blow, then spring back into shape. Each wrap is in its place, serving the needs of the whole, and having no desire to be heaped into nobby peaks, forming cliques that make a lop-sided ball. It is well sewn with love for the Lord, and for one another; and when a string breaks an immediate effort is made to sew it back into the ball. Shaving is always a last resort, sadly undertaken; for the members know that although it is sometimes necessary, it represents a breakdown in oneness and may portend the day of the big burst.

But good string balls, and congregations, are not made to decorate the mantle. They are made to be used. The firm, soul-satisfying crack of a ball well hit tells us the ball is performing as it should, serving its purpose. But when the ball, or church, begins to swell, and become soggy — when it becomes whisker laden and no one has enough interest to give it a shave — the end is at hand. The energy of the best hitter is absorbed in the sodden mess, and a home-run swing does well to get one on first. Pretty soon the game will be called and nothing left to do but to argue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.IX Pg.1
November 1976

Doing My Own Thing

Robert F. Turner

A popular, and in many ways an appealing philosophy is expressed on posters and cards for our now generation.

I do my thing, and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you, and I am I; and if by chance we find each other, its beautiful. Frederick S. Pens

Its beautiful all right, until finding you makes an our responsibility, and one or both of us want to maintain our own selfish ways. Is my thing whatever I want to do regardless of how it affects others? In an our situation, have we no obligation to live up to one-anothers expectations? Is there no place for our things —- beginning with the family unit, and extending to neighbors, and finally to the whole world? Doing my own thing often disclaims accountability to others. It becomes a childish, irresponsible philosophy that disregards the needs of society. Of course the expectations of others can be arbitrary and unfair. That is why laws must be formed among men. If each one of us went about doing our own thing it would result in chaos and anarchy, with each of us slaves to our own folly. But citizens of a law-governed society have the right to expect something of others.

Each of us must act upon personal convictions (Rom. 14:5); and yet none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself (v. 7). And why is my liberty judged by anothers conscience? Because I recognize a Master greater than man, who would have me be considerate of my fellowmens feelings and interests — that they might be saved (1 Cor. 10:25-33). The Christian is greatly concerned about the expectations of his Maker. But unalterably doing my own thing means having no respect for Gods wishes — in essence, denying the existence of God. It is the antithesis of His teaching, viz., to be more concerned for others than for your self (Phil. 2:4).

Todays beautiful philosophy may deny the true beauty of our Maker.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

XIII No.IX Pg.2
November 1976

Young Fools, Old Fools!

Robert F. Turner

At the risk of praising the fool let us admit that sometimes a loudmouthed egotist accomplishes things which have foiled the self-effacing, humble person. Maybe he overpowers the opposition with bluster, or enlists less bombastic folk in a sort of awe-struck service. The church may experience a preacher-centered growth that crumbles when he departs. But there are times when it seems the difference in genuine failure and success is a strutting, look out, here we come clown.

Training and inclinations tell us to discourage all such conduct — to class it as worldly pride which wars against the soul. But examples of quiet Milquetoast failures suggest other alternatives. Man is subject to classifications other than introvert and extrovert. We must not equate boldness with pride, nor the lack of faith and/or courage with humility. There was a place for Peter.

Many preachers will admit that in their brush -arbor days they baptized more people than they do today. We can say the local preacher baptizes them now, or people have lost interest in religion, or big meetings are a thing of the past — and there is some truth in all that. But preachers also change. I would be hypocritical if I tried to preach the simplistic and often crude sermons of my yesteryear. But it is possible to become cynical, and quit believing that people want to be better, and that we can give them what they need. The cock-sure, eyen heady attitude of our earlier preaching may have worked some chemistry that is left dormant today by more sophisticated and conventional preaching.

I recall a young man who took a brief course in door - to - door salesmanship — and sold magazines like crazy until he realized that his pitch was just that, and nothing more. When he awakened, he couldnt sell beans. He needed greater faith in his product, and less in his technique. But if age and experience are going to polish off a mans enthusiasm for his work, he is really finished as respects his use in Gods vineyard.

I am not ready to concede that the cocky young preachers know it all, or that their work is complete without that of more mature teaching. There are greater changes to be wrought than dry to wet. If desire to teach remains, and faith is as strong as ever, the more experienced man is more realistic in his appraisal of mens needs, and of what may be expected as results. But I want to encourage the younger preacher. Fight on! Believe in God and self, in that order. Amen!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Perfecting Process

Dan S. Shipley

Of the many Bible characters Id like to be better acquainted with, one is the well-to-do young man who comes to Jesus with the question about what he must do to have eternal life (Matt. 19:16-22). I like his question — it indicates some concern about gaining eternal life. More moderns ought to be concerned about the same question. I like his past. He had loved his neighbors, honored his parents and kept Gods commandments. Sounds like a good man.

However, the Lord sees better than men. Only He could rightly answer the question, What lack I yet?. He sees the lack because He sees the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). Here, He beholds a wrong attitude toward material possessions. He sees a heart that values earthly treasures more than heavenly. Now we see his answer as to whether he would be perfect (complete) as he sorrowfully leaves the Lord. But, hopefully, we can see more.

For instance, we can see that achieving the completeness suggested by the word perfect involves our willingness to do so. Jesus says, if thou wouldest.... Like this young man, many morally good and religious people do not sufficiently desire completeness in Christ. Calvinism says that depraved man cannot have such desires. But Christ makes it a condition of completeness — If thou wouldest.... Again, If any man willeth to do his will... (Jn. 7:17) indicates the close correlation between Gods will and mans. Whether it involves learning, giving or serving God generally, there must first be a willing mind (2 Cor. 8:12). But, perhaps we can see too that becoming perfect involves recognizing that were not. Honest people will be willing to continually face themselves with the question, What lack I yet?. They sincerely want to be complete; therefore, want to know what is lacking. Herein lies the mark of an honest and good heart. He that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works maybe made manifest. . (Jn. 3:21)... Too many prefer to make a prejudicial defense of what they are instead of seeking to learn what they lack! In fact, many resent the notion that they man be lacking in anything. Such Pharisaical prejudice and pride are not uncommon in the modern religious world--and, not unheard of in the Lords church. Sin makes us less than what we ought to be but unconfessed sin will keep us that way — it seals our incompleteness by making pardon impossible.

Finally, we must see this perfecting process as something to be sought with patience. Achieving maturity in the faith is a gradual thing. Failure to realize this has discouraged some from even making the effort. They see an almost unspanable gap between their present state and perfection. Such should view Jesus question: if thou wouldest be BETTER... The first step is improvement, not perfection! The important and a binding question to be faced is not, Am I perfect?; but, Am I improving?. The ultimate goal is PERFECTION, but its attainment comes one step at a time; in achievable-size chunks — and only then, remember, if we sincerely will it and continually work for it with patience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.IX Pg.4
November 1976
The Local Church
Robert F. Turner

The word church is a collective noun, like herd or flock. It calls together the saints, it groups them. It may refer to the group as a whole (Matt. 16:18), or it may refer to the saints distributively (Acts 5: 11). It may be used of the universal body of saints (Eph. 1:22),a relationship of individuals to God in Christ, having no organizational entity, or, it may refer to a group of saints who function as one, having overseers and servants, and acting collectively (Phil. 1:1; 4:15). A statement or argument which rests upon the word church must indicate the use intended, and present proof accordingly; or remain an ambiguous and useless statement.

We do not consider church, either universally or locally, as referring to a society which validates worship or service. We are acutely aware of the need to avoid any position which places an institution between a saint and his Savior, a servant and his Master. The priesthood of believers — the direct relationship of individuals and Christ via the word — must be preserved. But there is still a need to clarify the role of a local church, and the distinction which exists between it and the church in a universal sense. It is completely illogical to treat the local church as the organizational medium by which the universal church functions.

There is a sense in which church is considered an organism in the word of God. Websters Collegiate defines organism in two senses: (1) Biologically: An individual constituted to carry on the activities of life by means of organs separate in function but mutually dependent; any living being. Obviously church is not literally an organism; but figuratively, Paul presents saints as being (like) the members of a body. For as the body is one, and hath many members... so also is Christ (1 Cor. 12:12 - f). By saying, so also is Christ (and by putting apostles, prophets, etc. in this body- v.28-f) he is referring to the universal body of Christ, or the universal church. And since this is a figurative matter, consider the second definition: (2) Philosophically: Any highly complex thing or structure with parts so integrated that their relation to one another is governed by their relation to the whole. This certainly can be said of the universal body of Christ, for we are thus branches on the Vine (Jn. 15: 6), children in the family (Eph. 3:15), members of His body. It is an organism figuratively, and has organized functions only in a figurative sense.

The saints who agree to work as a local team or church are, of course related to all saints in the universal organism, and their desire and obligation to work together grows out of this basic sphere of fellowship in Christ. But their relationship to one-another that is distinctively local is an additional relationship, dependent upon the congregational covenant (their agreement to work as one.) The N. T. has no evidence of a universal treasury, nor universal decision making business meeting (Acts 15; notwithstanding) — no universal organized functions. But such things are clearly present on a local scale. The (local) church may hear and speak (Matt. 18:17), man send (Phil. 4:15).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.IX Pg.5
November 1976
- -Its Distinctive Role And Function
Robert F. Turner

(continued from preceding page)

and may receive (Acts 11:30). Such a group may collect funds (1 Cor. 16:2), pay wages (2 Cor. 11:8), care for widows indeed (1 Tim. 5: 16). It is absurd to deny that such a church is an entity or that it is organized literally. It functions as an organic whole, requiring some form of management (overseers), and servants (deacons) who act on behalf of the whole (Rom. 16:1; Phil. 2:25; Col. 1:17).

We are a part of the body of Jesus Christ by virtue of our obedience to Him, and the will of men cannot keep us out of that universal church. But our relationship in the local church is subject to the will and judgment of men. Jerusalem disciples refused to accept Paul into their fellowship because they were afraid of him (Acts 9:26-28). In Corinth, one was kept in the local fellowship who should not have been allowed there (1 Cor. 5:1-f), and elsewhere some were cast out of the church wrongfully (3 Jn. 9-10).

The local church, as an organization, is a functional implement. It is divinely authorized (see passages above) and appointed (see Titus 1:5), as the means by which saints pool their efforts and resources to accomplish divine purposes. It is brought into existence by the will of saints, as its need is dictated by circumstances of place and opportunity; and the importance of such together activity is impressed upon us as a part of faithfulness (Heb. 10:23-f). It may be viewed as the result of faithfulness to the Lord, under given circumstances, without being considered as the means of redemption nor as the object or focal point for our faith. As circumstances change, the local church may be discontinued without affecting the life of the universal organism from which it sprang. (We are assuming, of course, a situation where there no longer exists a plurality of saints who could work as one.) There is no spiritual life for an individual saint apart from the organism (body) of Christ; but ones spiritual life does not depend upon the existence of a local organization. Barnabas exhorted brethren to cleave unto the Lord NOT unto the church (Acts 11:20, 21, 23).

With the previously given definition of organism in mind; is my relationship with another saint in Bur- net, Texas governed by our relation to the whole local church in Burnet, or by our relation to the whole universal body of Christ? Of what body do we find our basic sphere of fellowship? To what head must we mutually look for guidance? To what Vine must we mutually cling in order to bear acceptable fruit? With no desire nor intent to deprecate the importance of saints working together in a local church. I must conclude that our work there grows out of and is dependent upon our relationship in the Lord. Our primary loyalty must be to Him. In fact, my lack of faithfulness to the Head (Christ) may be valid reason for my being expelled from the fellowship of the local church.

We therefore conclude that while the universal church is permanent — a figurative organism; the local church is an organizational implement, dictated by circumstances, to be used by saints in local collective functions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.IX Pg.6
November 1976
The Elect Servant
Robert F. Turner

Israel was called servant (Isa. 41:8-9; 45:4); but in Messianic prophecies the word took on special meaning. Isa. 42:1-7 reads, Behold my servant, whom I behold; my chosen, in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.... to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house. In Matt. 12:15-21 this is directly applied to Jesus Christ.

The Servant of Isa. 49:5-7 is clearly the chosen Christ; and this thought is carried on in Isa. 52:13 and in the well known Messianic words of Isa. 53; (v. 11). Israel was the servant of God who rejected Him; but Christ was the rejected Servant whom God glorified. Peter seems to make this very contrast in Acts 3:13. (See American Standard. The word here is paida as used in Isaiahs prophecies; not huios, usually used for Son of God.) Peter is saying these Jews denied the chosen Servant whom God sent as their Savior.

As in all other roles assigned to the Son of God, this chosen Servant occupies the highest position, example for all servants, glorifying service. When Peter exhorts servants to be subject to their masters for conscience toward God, he reminds them that Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps (1 Pet. 2:18 -25). The very name takes on a new and exalted significance when applied to the Shepherd and Bishop of souls. As king, He is King of Kings; and as servant, He is Servant of Servants. Again, in the prophecies elect or chosen are related to Servant; and Peter says Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.. . (1 Pet. 1:20). Paul calls this the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph. 3:11). Did God elect or foreordain any individual? Yes, indeed! Deity elected the Son of God, clothed in flesh, to be the Chosen Servant who would bring light and salvation to both Jews and Gentiles. He is the elect ONE, and those who come to Him in faith are elect in Jesus Christ.

When Paul writes of the remnant according to the election of grace (Rom. 11:5), he explains himself by showing that Jewish people who put their trust in Christ — and Gentiles who put their trust in Christ —- are alike saved. The salvation tree (so to speak) is not national, nor is it a fixed number of individuals. (If God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee (v.21). Jews who lack faith are cast out; Gentiles who believe are grafted in; unbelievers who become believers can be grafted in again; believers who become unbelievers will be cast out (Rom. 11:17-24).

Grace provides the means of redemption, by electing the ONE who would die for all mankind. This Servant, Jesus Christ, is available for all who will trust in Him. But John Does place, and Mary Smiths place among the elect ones, is dependent upon the faith of John Doe and Mary Smith. Christ is the perfect Servant. Are you a faithful servant of His?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.IX Pg.7
November 1976
You Know What?
Robert F. Turner

Dear bro. Turner:

Please discuss the sin for which man can not  repent (Heb. 6:4-6). Is this the sin unto death (1 Jn. 5:1 6)? Is it the sin against the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:31-32)? M.I.

Reply:

I truly feel inadequate in the face of such questions but will do what I can. They do seem to fit into a like category, as l believe none refer to a single act or particular sin but to a state or condition to which those who were once saints may come. From such a state, of deliberate, rebellious rejection of Christ, they can not be renewed unto repentance because they deny the only legitimate means you have to offer. Their freewill is operative, but it chooses to deny the Lord.

The Hebrew letter contains three like passages. Heb. 6:4-9 is part of an exhortation to saints who are not growing (5:11-14). He urges them to do better, then gives this drastic warning of what could happen if they continue to drift away from Christ. Crucify afresh had a special meaning to Jews, for their people had rejected their Messiah and been responsible for His literal crucifixion. This was done in ignorance (Acts 3:17); but these saints were enlightened — there was nothing to offer them they did not already have.

Heb. 10:26-29 continues the warning with special attention to sacrifice. In times past the Hebrews had sinned, then offered an animal sacrifice; they sinned again, and offered another sacrifice; etc., etc. But now the final and only true sacrifice had been offered, and if they go back to Judaism (rejecting Christ) there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. the willful sin here is not some single or particular act, but complete rejection of Christ by those who had knowledge of the truth. It should be emphasized that recognition of Christs historic existence is not enough — He is rejected when we no longer seek forgiveness through Him.

Heb. 12:15-17 is the third drastic warning, and the more difficult. The A.S. version says Esau found no place for a change of mind in his father — the later words supplied. This could be the meaning, but I am inclined to associate this with the above passages and say he had exhausted all legitimate means of obtaining the birthright — he had passed the point of no return. He did not plead with a hardhearted father, but with a just one, who dealt with things as they were.

In Matt. 12: it seems Christ is warning that the coming of the Holy Spirit would signal the last or final dispensation — when all had been done to offer redemption unto man. They could make light of and reject His personal ministry, and yet repent and be saved. But for those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit (compare par-takers of the H.S. who reject Him; or, done despite unto the Spirit of grace —Heb. 6:4, 10:29) there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. This is the sin unto death — willful rejection of Christ in flesh, who died for us — and I do not say that he shall pray for it. There is nothing more to offer one who spurns Christ.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.IX Pg.8
November 1976

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

Did you ever make a spool tractor? A wooden spool from Clarks O.N.T. number eight thread makes a good one. First, the rims of the spool must be cut with notches, evenly spaced and not too deep. Then, sneak into the kitchen and cut a one-quarter inch thick slice from the bar of Octagon soap which mother uses for washing dishes. Maybe she wont mind when she sees how industrious you are. Trim the soap into a round washer which fits the end of the spool, and bore a hole through the center.

Next, you need a button (two-holer if possible, a bit smaller than the soap), and a tack, a rubber band, and a small stick or kitchen match. Drive the tack partially into one end of the spool, hook the rubber band over the tack and thread through the center of the spool, through the soap, through the button, and around the end of the stick or match; in that order. Now, all you need is a little spit (on the soap), and you can wind up the stick, place on the floor, and watch it go.

Now, Ill dare you to try this experiment. Spend ten or twenty dollars for a fancy toy to give your small boy; and compare his reaction to that which you will see if you tell him about the spool tractor, then help him gather materials and make one.

The same principle will work with your wife. Sharpen the kitchen knives, hang those drapes she has wanted up, or do whatever it takes to give her some personal attention; and it will mean more to her than an expensive gift your secretary chooses and mails to her. The kid with home-made toys, and the wife with a home-loving husband are not nearly so poor as some folk seem to think. There are riches that money can not buy.

I dont know where the idea originated, that happiness has to sparkle. Maybe it came from the fact that gold glitters, or diamonds reflect light — and these are traditional gifts. But morning dew, or fresh snow, also sparkle — as you and your wife have the first cup of coffee, and talk over the coming day. Furs are warm, but not nearly so warm as the touch of a hand when cold winds of trouble blow. James Russell Lowell was right when he penned: The gift without the giver is bare.

Come on Dad! I double-dare you to help your boy make a spool tractor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.X Pg.1
December 1976

Those Awful Baptists

Robert F. Turner

Antagonism between Baptists and Christians dates back to the early days of restoration in the U.S., when Alexander Campbell, publishing The Christian Baptist, broke sharply with the Calvinistic doctrines of his former religious ties. Many of the churches of Christ of those days were reformed Baptist churches; and pioneer preachers like Raccoon John Smith were reformed Baptists. One can scarcely expect objectivity and warm friendly relations to thrive in such a period.

In my early preaching days, forty years ago, most religious debates were with Baptists, with little offered to diminish hard feelings. It is not surprising that a study of differences is likely to be short on genuine understanding and long on prejudices. (Naturally the Baptist are far more prejudice than we, of course!) I wonder what it would take to make the truly basic differences (and such differences certainly do exist) clearly grasped by this generation.

Would such clarity convert the Baptists? Some of them — yes! There are Baptists who would deny election on the Calvinistic basis, and who believe in true free agency of man. There are Baptists who deny Total Depravity and its implications. There are those who know that only an obedient faith can save, and who would be baptized for the remission of sins if they could be freed of prejudices against Campbellite Pelagianism.

But what would a clear understanding of these matters do to some members of the church of Christ? Would they become Baptists? Some of them — yes! In their zeal to deny human implementation and stress the enabling power of a personally indwelling Holy Spirit, or the imputation of Christs perfect life; some have espoused positions that, carried to their logical conclusion, and freed from prejudices against those awful Baptists, would lead them straight home to Calvin. (Many have accepted the Baptist Association of Churches, in principle though not in name.)

I hope my Baptist friends and my brethren friends (and I once had some of both) wont hold this against me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

December 1976

Big Daddy Or Grow Up?

Robert F. Turner

Remember the way you felt when your teenager took the family car on his first solo drive? You wanted him to become an independent driver; you knew he was big enough to drive, and you felt his knowledge of the mechanics of driving were sufficient — but could he handle that powerful machine?

Sometimes I have the feeling that truly independent congregations are about like that teenager. In earlier years Big Daddy was by their side — in the form of policy making papers, influential preachers, prevailing winds generated in colleges, etc. If some church had a problem, Big Daddy could answer it, and bring pressure to see that the answer stuck. Churches used the song books Big Daddy recommended, and were Premillennial if they did otherwise. They bought the literature Big Daddy sold, read the books he recommended, and branded as digressive or anti those whom Big Daddy reviewed as such. Dont blame it all on Daddy! Sincere efforts to preserve soundness have been misused by immature churches, happy to be babied.

But developments of the past twenty-five years, resulting in liberal-conservative separation, have established a different clime among conservative churches. They have been made painfully aware of the danger of Big Daddy to their congregational independence. Sermons on institutional issues have persuaded them to think for themselves — you can drive solo!

Do you know of a single project among conservative brethren, necessitating a form of brotherhood acceptance, but that is weak or has failed? At this point I am not questioning their legitimacy. I am simply saying that many conservative brethren have rejected Big Daddy centers of influence, legitimate or otherwise.

The results? A lot of bent fenders and some serious wrecks. Independent churches are running amuck in weird self-driving attempts; and concerned but frustrated former centers of influence are wringing their hands. Would it have been better to have encouraged a central brotherhood paper that (Sort of) kept brethren in line? Well, preachers have gone off the deep end, country-western music has invaded our singing, and foolish questions are dividing churches — but we are driving the road, independently. There are some fine independent churches, working at home, supporting foreign work, serving the Lord.

Where Gods plan seems to have failed, is it not possible that we are not spiritually mature enough to drive alone? Grow up brethren!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.X Pg.3
December 1976
Painless Religion
Dan S. Shipley

The unpleasant hurting sensation sometimes experienced in the physical body can have beneficial effects. Without   the symptoms of chest or stomach pains, for instance, one may be unaware of serious ailments needing immediate attention. The prospects of a comfortable coronary or a painless appendicitis may sound appealing, but the end thereof could well be death. Physical hurting is not only an informer, it is also a reminder and protector. Even the sore toe can convey an attention getting message by hurt saying, Hey! Remember to take care of me!. The point is, hurt is a necessary and often helpful part of our physical existence.

Furthermore, Im not so sure that hurt doesnt occupy a somewhat similar role in the spiritual realm as well. Take the hurt of Godly sorrow, for instance. Without it repentance is impossible for godly sorrow worketh repentance... (2 Cor. 7:10). You can see it in the repentance of the Pentecostians who were pricked in their heart (Acts 2:37). I think we see it in Peter who, in realizing his sin against Jesus, went out, and wept bitterly (Matt. 26:75). Who are the blessed mourners of Matt. 5:4 if not those who are hurt by sin? Such hurt is actually an essential part of gaining spiritual health. But, as with the physical body, there are different kinds of hurting.

Another sort is that which comes with the sting of rebuke. Whether administered publicly or privately, there are times when the rod of verbal chastisement is necessary. Paul used it with Peter and threatened more of it with the Corinthians (Gal. 2:11; 1 Cor. 4:21). Timothy is told to use it (1Tim. 4:2). Actually, it involves a double hurt in that it affects the rebuker as well. Paul was sorry for having to make the Corinthians sorry (1 Cor. 7:8), though it later brought joy. No doubt, their putting away the fornicator from among them was a painful experience too, but the church could not be healthy without it.

Since hurt, therefore, is so vitally related to spiritual health, why do so many seem so set on taking all the hurt out of religion? Why the demand for an ouchless religion? Many appear obsessed with the fear that someone may get their feelings hurt! Others want to spare themselves the pain and unpleasantness of saying what needs to be said to lost souls (preachers and elders included). Could it be that we have become more concerned about removing the hurt than about removing the sin? That is something like a doctor administering a strong pain-killer for severe stomach pains without treating what caused the pains. Obviously, he has not removed the problem; only the patients awareness of it. Neither do we remove the problem by removing the pain. True, we have manufactured lots of tranquilizers in our quest for a painless religion. Many, though dying in sin, have been made to feel good under the sedation of false teaching, good intentions and excuses. The pain may be gone, but not the problem.

Speaking the truth in love is good medicine — good for those who speak it and hear it — and hurt!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

December 1976

The Kingdom Is Like - -

Robert F. Turner

Is the church (Gods people) the body of Christ (Eph. 1:23); or is it LIKE (in some respects) a body, and since He is head over these people, therefore, LIKE the body of Christ? Are we literally His hands, feet, etc. or are we figuratively His body?? To ask such questions is to answer them in any sane mind. Yet, many seem reluctant to apply common sense reasoning to Bible figurative language.

The most common and effective way to teach an unknown is to compare it to something known. The common simile says this is like that. His remark was like a knife — it cut, figuratively; or, it had a point, or, it was mounted on a handle. The exact use is left to the user, and is usually indicated in the context. When the comparison is made to an event or happening this is called a parable, or a fable (depending on the type of story told as illustration) . In some figures of speech the like is omitted (tell that fox Lu. 13:32) or is a deliberate exaggeration (running like lightening); but all convey a message limited by context and intent. Metaphorical language is so common it is practically inseparable from communication. We use it all the time, and I just finished using it. (All the time? or just much of the time?)

One need not know the names or the technical descriptions of figures in order to properly use and interpret them. It doesnt take a genius to know we do not drink a container; or that Jesus, holding bread in his hand as he spoke, did not mean this is (literally) my body (1 Cor. 11:23-f). Bread and fruit of the vine symbolize or represent the body and blood of Christ. But symbolism, a form of figurative language, is also subject to the limitations placed upon it by the author. We have no right to alter the elements of symbolism established by the Lord and the Holy Spirit, or to place significance upon circumstances or details which were given no significance by divine authority.

Some figures seem to invite unauthorized extension more than others. The kingdom figure is much abused by repetition of the Jewish materialistic concept. Some expect Christ to sit on the literal chair of David, ruling over a this world realm. His teaching concerning the nature of His kingdom (Mk. 12:34; Lu. 17:20-21; Jn. 18:36-37) and the many references to its present existence (Acts 2:30-33; Col. 1:13) seem to make no impression. And the child of God figure is extended to teach a right of fellowship for the unborn child, or that once one is a child he forever remains in Gods family. Because a literal child so remains, or a literal king has a gold throne, many do not hesitate to assert these things of the figures. Did King Herod have a bushy tail?

The same illustrative material may be used in more than one figure and with different meanings. We become a child of God by birth (or adoption) but the child figure may also be used to emphasize the necessity for displaying characteristics of our heavenly Father (Jn. 8:38-47; Matt. 5:43-45). In every case, the author determines the use of his figures, and we must be content to make only the application authorized by context. (continued, next page)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.X Pg.5
December 1976
- -Figures Describing Gods People
Robert F. Turner

(continued, previous page)

The people of God are those who hear, believe, and obey the call of the gospel of Christ (2 Thes. 2:14, Acts 2:37-41). Generally speaking, we are either in darkness (in sin, unacceptable unto God), or we are in the light (in truth, acceptable). Those who are acceptable unto God are described or designated by a multitude of figures, each emphasizing some particular characteristic of the saints. Gods people are LIKE workers in His vineyard, LIKE soldiers in His army, LIKE sheep in His flock. These are not different relationships — they are applied to the same people. When one becomes a branch upon Christ, the vine, he also becomes a lively stone, built upon Christ, the foundation. He enters one acceptable relationship, variously described by these figures.

Each figure has its own language or terminology. One is built upon the foundation, when Gods people are LIKENED unto a building; but he is born, when Gods people are LIKENED unto a family. It would be a mixing of figures to say one was born into a vine, or enlisted in a flock, or built into a family. If born of God is a mystical, better-felt-than-told process, then so is that of becoming a worker in the Lords vineyard, or a runner in the Christian race.

In each of these figures Christ is put in the prominent position. He is King in the kingdom, Shepherd of the flock, elder brother in the family, and head of the body. His position is not simply an honorary one, but its importance is established by its function. As head of the body He directs its activities; as King, He rules all who will be subject to Him, who therefore make up His kingdom. He is the vine that gives life to each branch, and without whom there can be no fruit. He protects the sheep, and directs and pays the laborers. Christ is the foundation upon which each building block depends.

It is also important to note that in every figure the unit is an individual. If a man abide not he is cast forth as a branch. Members of the body are saints, not congregations. The family of God is a brotherhood not a churchhood. His kingdom is made up of citizens, not of communities (as Campbell thought). This is a vital point. It establishes the direct relationship of saints to Christ. Our primary obligation is to be faithful to Christ, not to the church. The true church is not the object of our faith, but the result of faithfulness to Christ. It is the duty of each saint to maintain that faithfulness, and a faithful church will be the result of such fidelity.

Most figures have a central theme, and are given to teach a single point. When Gods people are likened unto a kingdom, RULE is the theme — God rules, through Christ, in the hearts of His people. But we may be told, The kingdom is like — a treasure — in value; or leaven — the way it is spread; or mustard seed — which from a small start produce big things. We should never make more of the figure than is obvious in its context.

Finally, no figure teaches a permanent relation. Our position in each is subject to our remaining faithful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.X Pg.6
December 1976
The Real Excuse
Robert F. Turner

Evidence That Demands A Verdict is a compilation of historical evidences for the      Christian Faith, by Josh McDowell. (Campus Crusade for Christ, Inc.; 1972.) McDowells comments are flavored with evangelical concepts of the Holy Spirit, but he is reasonable, and presents material that is usable and appealing. We give an example, from his introduction.

**********************
The rejection of Christ is usually not so much of the mind but of the will; not so much I cant, but I wont. I have met many men with intellectual excuses but few with intellectual problems...

Excuses can cover a multitude of reasons. I greatly respect a man who has taken time to investigate the claims of Christ and concludes he just cant believe. I have a rapport with a man who knows why he doesnt believe (factually and historically) for I know why I believe (factually and historically). This gives us a common ground (though different conclusions). I have found that most students reject Christ for one or more reasons: 1) Ignorance — Rom. 1:18-23 (often self-imposed); 2) Pride —Jn. 5:40-44; 3) Moral problem — Jn. 3:19-20.

I was counseling a student who was fed up with Christianity because she believed it was not historical and there was just nothing to it factually. She had convinced everyone that she had searched and found profound intellectual problems as the result of her university studies. One after another would try to persuade her intellectually and to answer her many accusations. I listened and then asked several questions. Within 30 minutes she admitted she had fooled everyone and that she developed these intellectual doubts in order to excuse her moral life. One needs to answer the basic problem or real question and not the surface detour that often manifests itself.

A student in a New England university said he had an intellectual problem with Christianity and just could not therefore accept Christ as Savior. Why cant you believe? I asked. He replied, The New Testament is not reliable. I then asked, If I prove to you that the New Testament is one of the most reliable pieces of literature of antiquity, will you believe? He retorted, NO! You dont have a problem with your mind, but with your will, I answered

Aldous Huxley, the atheist,... admits his own bias (Ends and Means, pp. 270 ff) when he says that: I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves.... For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.X Pg.7
December 1976
You Know What?
Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Where do we get the authority to say when a New Testament example is binding and when it is not? P.T.

Reply:

We have no authority to bind commands or examples — God does that. We just try to understand and follow the teachings of Gods word, accepting or rejecting on the basis of our understanding. We desperately need more faith in Gods way of teaching truth.

The apostle Paul taught by example (Phil. 4:9, 1 Cor. 11:1). When some first century church did something on the basis of Pauls example, we have apostolic authority for the same action. Either this is true, or there is no point in considering binding anything that the apostles taught.

First century churches did some things that were disapproved by inspired men (Corinths neglect to discipline, 1 Cor. 5:). This teaches, by the force of a negative, that we can not have divine approval in such an attitude and act today. But other things were done with apostolic approval (church support of Paul, Phil. 4:15; 2 Cor. 11:8), and by this approval we believe such support is authorized today. Either this is so, or the vast majority of the N.T. books are next to worthless as respects authority. If such approved examples are not binding, how does one argue that commands (given to churches in the first century) are bound on us? The rejection of divinely approved examples is an initial step in the rejection of any specific will of God, and of inspiration in the Bible sense. But the querist indicates that some argue: if human judgment determines which examples are approved, then the example (as: Lords supper on First day) becomes but a matter of personal choosing. Interpretation, of examples and commands, involves human judgment; i.e., we must apply human intellect to that which is revealed and draw conclusions as to what the word symbols mean. Human reasoning is involved in the application of Acts 2:38 to someone not a Jew, and who had no part in the crucifixion. Find the authority to study commands and draw conclusions, and I will offer it to you for authority to interpret (or properly determine meaning) of all that is written by inspiration. When Paul said the things written aforetime were written for our learning (Rom. 15:4), was he referring only to commands? Consider 1 Cor. 10:11.

The N.T. is not a church manual, with a list of things to be believed, things to do, regulations for organization, etc. It is first century literature — history, biography, public and private letters, doctrinal discourse, and encouragements for early saints. But indications are plentiful that a wider use was intended. (Note 1 Cor. 1:2b; 2 Pet. 1:13-15; Jn. 20:31). The nature of the writings (if we are fully convinced that the Holy Spirit did the teaching — 1 Cor. 2:13; Eph. 3:3-5), is enough to cause us to cherish and follow approved examples. No divine rules are set up for interpretation of examples or commands. But Paul declares that what he wrote can be understood (Eph. 3:4; 5:17), and he certainly wrote something more than specific commands.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.X Pg.8
December 1976

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

While waiting for a grease job and oil change at a Detroit area service station, I listened to the chatter of the boys at the rack. One fellow was voicing his dreams of advancement and better days ahead, and his friend was skeptical. Others have done it, he replied, and all men have the same opportunity.

That really caught, my ear, for I had not heard such sentiments uttered in many a moon. I said to myself, Brother, that may not be true, but if anyone gets ahead it will be someone like you who believes it is true. We have become so realistic that we have no place for dreams. Our cold calculations tell us it cant be done, so we ignore that restless spark in man that says, I dare you — try it anyhow! Sometimes I think we neither believe in ourselves, nor in the power of the gospel of Christ.

I remember baptizing a young man, who immediately asked what he could do to serve the Lord. Not having the heart to squelch his enthusiasm, I told him he could teach his neighbor. But I dont know anything to teach, he objected. I gave him the stock answer: You know what you have done — just tell him about that. A few days later he called to say he had told his neighbor all he had done, and the neighbor wanted to know where the Bible taught such things. A bit incredulous, I helped him locate some key passages, and gave him a few pointers on presentation. Within two weeks he brought the neighbor in to be baptized; and now both men wanted to know where and how to pitch the next effort for the Lord. Things like this can get out of hand, so that the preacher has no time for golf or fishing. It is also embarrassing to the church member on the other side of the neighbor, who had never made an effort to spread the good news. I was tempted to tell the new converts to work on their lazy brother, but I didnt want to discourage then so early in the game. May God forgive us!

All have the same opportunity? Well, all have twenty-four hours per day, contacts that have as little or less learning than we, influence commensurate with our efforts, and a conscience that urges us on, even if we have tried to ignore it.

We accomplish things only when we roll up our sleeves and try. Thats all a mule can do — once you have gotten his attention.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.XI Pg.1
January 1977

Who Steals My Purse---

Robert F. Turner

I like to think that the person who stole a nandina bush from our lot was conscience stricken as he dug it up. He was a hard-working man, with a large family, and it took every cent he could earn to buy groceries. There was no money for Christmas gifts, so he swallowed his pride and got a few toys from Good Will for the children. But his wife was ill, and when he saw the colorful leaves on our nandina he remembered how she had longed for flowers she could not have. If only he could plant such a bush on the barren ground outside her window. We could take the loss very nicely under those circumstances, regretting only that he did not ask for the bush so there would be no theft, and we could help dig others to go with it.

But when we think the bush was taken by a shrub thief, who sold a truck-load of stolen bushes for a bottle of gin; or by a woman (they do it, you know) who just wanted shrubbery without paying for it; or by a drop-out cop-out kid, who dug it for kicks and then threw it away — well, that makes it a capital crime. Capital — not because the bush was of great value. (I thinned it out of our front yard, and threw it away —- then, retrieved it and stuck it out on the vacant lot just to see if it would grow.) But capital — because of what it says about great and growing segments of our society.

Integrity is not measured in dollars. Character is not dependent upon clothing or business position. It seems many have decided it is all right to steal a few dollars, or the company tools, or an employers time. And it is O.K. for big political figures, or VIPs of the white-collar world, to steal large sums — just so they dont get caught and embarrass their party or company. But in the process, people made in Gods image are selling out themselves.

The hand that tore a worthless bush from the ground, may have torn an immortal soul beyond repair.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pg.2
January 1977

1977 Meeting Schedule

Robert F. Turner

Somehow another year has passed and it is time to publish the meeting schedules for 77, — and then try to hold up long enough to meet them.

My first is in Lake Jackson, TX., Jan. 16-21. Home a week, and then to Lancaster, TX., Jan. 30-Feb.4. Home a week, then off to Taft, Tex., Feb.13-18. Most of my meetings are Sunday to Friday, with Saturday for traveling.

Then theres an unbroken string: So. Side, Pasadena, TX., Feb. 27-Mar. 4; Portales, N.M., Mar. 6-11; NW in Austin, TX., Mar.13-l8; Rays Branch, Bowling Green, Ky., Mar. 21-27; Richmond, Ky., Mar. 28-Apr.1; Providence, near Brodhead, Ky., Apr.3-8; Hidalgo, Ill., Apr.10-15; Camden, Ark., Apr.17-22; and Westside, Wichita, Ks., Apr. 24-29. Then home a few days before Amarillo, TX., May 8-13.

After that Vivian and I may take a vacation in the northwest, with some preaching and lots of relaxation. And then West Ave., San Antonio, TX., July 17-22; Loop 287, Lufkin, TX., July 31-Aug.5; Gardendale, Ala., Aug.7-12; Glen Burnie, Md., Aug. 15-21. After a meeting with Lang Rd., Houston, TX., Sept. 4-9, there will be one week to pack for Australia. Brother Bob Harkrider and I plan to leave the U.S. on Sept. 19, and return Dec.13; spending this time in missions and special training classes in many parts of the Australian continent. My book, STUFF ABOUT THINGS, is finally published; and may be ordered from Publishing Systems, Inc., 240 Hawthorne Ave. Athens, Ga. 30601, or from various religious book stores.

Bro. Dan S. Shipley will also be a busy man in 1977. He has a full-time preaching job with Oaks-West church; and in addition will be in a meeting at Highland Blvd., San Antonio, TX., Jan. 17-23. Then, Apr.3-8, he will be with brethren at Fayetteville, Ark. He goes to Sulphur Springs, TX., May 1-6; and to Lake Jackson, TX., May 16 thru 22. In June (20-26,) he goes to Globe, Ariz., and in Sept. (25-30,) to Sinton, TX. Later in the fall, the exact dates yet undetermined, he will be at Ranger, TX., and Taylor, TX. As most of you know, bro. Shipley regularly writes page three of Plain Talk.

Lynd, On Genesis

On our quote page (6) we carry an abbreviated outline of the book of Genesis; by bro. Dennis Lynd, 706 E. Timber, Pontiac, Ill., 61764. Dennis presents an unique look at Genesis. Consider it carefully, and you may want to reread Genesis several times, with this perspective. Im sure he would appreciate genuine constructive criticisms and comments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.XI Pg.3
January 1977
Praise The Pluggers
Dan S. Shipley

To    some, the word plugger may seem a little coarse and undignified when applied to people. It shouldnt. Not even when applied to Gods people. As defined by Webster in its colloquial sense, the plugger is one who keeps steadily and doggedly at work. When that work is the Lords work the pluggers are the faithful, So, even if the word seems common, the people it describes are certainly not. They are the unsung heroes of the Lords army. They are the backbone of the church. They are worthy of honor (Rom. 13:7).

Praise the pluggers. Not for their extraordinary talents, but for making good use of whatever talents they do have. They dont let their inability to do great things hinder them from doing little things. They are content just to do the best they can at what they can (Eccl. 9:10). That may mean cleaning the building or mowing the lawn. It may involve helping the sick or cheering the fainthearted. It may mean nothing more than giving a tract or an invitation, but they just keep right on, doing all as unto the Lord.

Praise the pluggers for their dependability. When the doors to the meeting house are open, they are there. Even when company comes, even when they dont feel so good, even when the weather is bad, even when others in their own family cant join them, and even when the preacher has to be away, they are there to worship the Lord. They dont quit when the preaching gets hard, when the preacher gets fired or when brethren get disagreeable. Its not that pluggers dont have their feelings, their personal problems, and their druthers. They do. Its just that serving the Lord is most important with them. Thats why you wont have to go looking for the plugger. Hell be there. You can count on it!

Praise the pluggers because their faithfulness is not limited by a certain church building or a home-town God. Though mindful of their special obligations to their home church, they know their obligations to the Lord dont end there. Thats why you will find pluggers worshipping God wherever their travels may carry them. And when they move to a new town, you wont have to look them up — theyll look you UP! Even amid strangers in a strange city, even with all the adjusting and getting settled, you may as well move over and make room, because the pluggers will be there! It may mean driving thirty or forty miles; it may mean missing supper or getting home late, but if it involves serving the Lord, theyll be there.

Praise the pluggers who keep on working to save lost souls. Though often discouraged, they never give up on trying to restore wayward brethren. They continually seek opportunities for discussing the Scriptures and teaching their friends. They ever stand ready to give answer (1 Pet. 3:15) and to give help with the gospel.

Praise the pluggers because we too often take them for granted. We hear the sinners skinned and those reputed to be somewhat are lauded but the pluggers are forgotten. Thank you for pluggers, Lord!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.XI Pg.4
January 1977
The Indwelling Spirit - - -
Robert F. Turner

The personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit has long been a neglected study among brethren; treated lightly if at all, with the observation that good men differ on this matter. The personal indwelling school seems to be the more emotional and subjective group; while the through the word school tends to be so objective they may be on the cool side. I am little concerned with personality leanings, but the revival of Calvinistic doctrine among brethren gives reason to examine the relation between Calvinism and personal indwelling.

Classic TULIP Calvinism begins with Total Depravity. It denies the freewill of man and free agency or human implementation in redemption. The elect ones are taught inwardly by the Spirit, and the inspired word, apart from direct or immediate Spirit operation, is considered inadequate. Even faith becomes an experience of grace, revealed to our minds and sealed on our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Orthodox Church-of-Christers have long denied such an operation of the Spirit in conversion of an alien. Paul said, Faith cometh by hearing—and that involves an objective approach to the word — to something outside of man. We are free to exercise choice — to accept or reject. Faith, and the obedience of faith, is a human response to a divine invitation. The atonement and its message are extended to all, and all who will accept can be saved. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34-35).

But some who believe in the personal indwelling of the Spirit in saints seem ready to say they are taught inwardly by the Spirit, to remain faithful to God. K. C. Moser, in Way of Salvation wrote, It then becomes the work of the indwelling Spirit to keep this old man under subjection so that the child of God can successfully serve Him (p.134). He specifically denies that this is done via the word of God (p.131). In fact, in his Gist of Romans (on Rom. 8:l4) he says, The Spirit of God may lead in two ways. He may lead us through the word of God, or he may lead us in the sense of inciting us to a holy life. The context argues for the latter leading. I cite Moser because his works have been revived and are having an influence on young preacher-students and others.

When we cold ones point out that the Father and the Son are said to dwell in saints, the usual reply is that this is done through the Spirit (Eph. 2:22). God (deity) is ONE; but Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct personalities, treated as plural. It is easy to see that wherever the Spirit dwells, deity is present; but this does not satisfy the scriptures. Jesus says He and the Father (two personalities) will dwell in the faithful (Jn. 14:23, Eph. 3:17). Further, through the Spirit (Eph. 2:22), is en heni pneumati, translated in the Spirit by the American Standard. Exactly the same expression is found in 1 Cor. 12:l3 by one Spirit are we all baptized... and in Phil. 1:27 stand fast in one spirit, with one mind

May I suggest you put a lower case s on all those passages, and then restudy them carefully. We may assume (Holy) Spirit when the scriptures refer to something very different. 

Vol.XIII No.XI Pg.5
January 1977
- - - Does He Act Apart From The Word?
Robert F. Turner

(continued from previous page)

I need not say I do not know how deity dwells in humanity — you suspected that. But I will say that the search for metaphysical how is unwarranted. If Christ in-dwells by faith (Eph. 3:17) that is enough. And look again at Jn. 14:23. Does this necessitate the conclusion that after we have loved the Lord, and kept His words, then, as a third happening, the indwelling takes place? Could not the love, the obedience, and the indwelling be inseparable? Is not God in those who love and do His will with the spirit of submission that is the basic factor in being one of His children? (Rom. 3:29; 7:22,25; 8:1-6) There is no need to confuse this kind of knowing God with memorizing the written record of His will.

When we conceive of the Spirit directing leading or influencing apart from the word, sinner or saint, there is more at stake than differing opinions of good men. Does the Holy Spirit direct regardless of the human will? — i.e., is man left free to accept or reject that direction? Is the influence irresistible, or can man say No! to the Spirit? If the leading is irresistible free agency has been shot down. If the alien can resist, because of the old man in him, but the saint can not resist the indwelling Holy Spirit — then the spirit of Satan is stronger than the Spirit of God. How strongly do we believe in free will and free agency?

But that isnt all. If we hold to the free will of man then the leading of the Spirit must come in some way external to the mind of man. Man must be able to approach the lead objectively, understand it, and respond positively or negatively. That leading or influence then becomes a form of teaching — in essence, revelation of divine will in addition to the written word. Certainly we should not allow indwelling concepts to contradict clearly taught Bible truth.

Personal indwelling concepts are heavily subjective. They rest on inner feelings rather than external and objectively approached evidence. Although terminology will differ with religious expectations, an inner light or still small voice causes someone to feel that God is telling him something. The message is not subject to examination by others nor is it provable by the scriptures. We have only the claims of the claiming recipient, and they can be startling indeed. Bro. Moser wrote, (Way of Salvation, p. 141), Now, if one through the influence of the Spirit claims God as Father, this is proof of his sonship. This abandons the principle of an all-sufficient confirmed word, by which fruits may be examined and sonship proven.

Christ promised the Twelve another parakletos (advocate or comforter) who would, in lieu of the teaching done during the personal ministry, teach (them) all things. Surely we know better than to misappropriate this promise. Our Parakletos (1 Jn. 2:1), is the resurrected Jesus Christ, who functions as our High Priest at the throne of God (Heb. 9:25).

The blessings of Gods Spirit are available to whosoever will hear and obey the call of the gospel of Christ.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.XI Pg.6
January 1977
Lynd, On Genesis
Robert F. Turner

Both of the sacred testaments begin with the genealogy of Jesus. In Matthew 1 the genealogy of Christ is given three times and emphasis is put on Abraham, David     and Jesus. The genealogy of the Messiah is the unifying theme in the book of Genesis. God selected a line through whom His Son would come. Genesis gives the account of this lineage from Adam to the sons of Jacob. Emphasis and discussion are centered around seven generations. Jesus is the son of Adam, the son of God (Gen. 1-3). He is the son of Seth (4-8), the son of Shem (9-11:26), the son of Abraham (11:27-25:11), the son of Isaac (15-27), the son of Jacob (25:19-33, 36), the son of Judah (34- 35, 37-50).

If the Messiah was to be man He would be a descendent of Adam. But Adam had two sons. Cain slays righteous Abel, and Cains line is characterized by wickedness. Seth is born to replace Abel, and his line is characterized as righteous. General intermarriage occurs between the lines, resulting in corruption. Noah is a direct descendant of Seth, and corruption is not found in his life. The flood is the final rejection of Cain and all those corrupted through the intermarriage of the lines. Only Seth (Noah) comes out of the flood.

Selection and rejection occur as this genealogy is passed from generation to generation. This is an important feature in understanding the book of Genesis. After the flood Ham (Canaan) and Japheth are refused, as Shem is chosen. Terah is a direct descendant of Shem. His son Abram is chosen, while Haran (Lot) and Nahor (Laban) are rejected. The genealogy next passes to Isaac, while Eliezer, Ishmael and the sons of Keturah are rejected. God chose Jacob and rejected Esau (Rom. 9:10-13). This selection and rejection extended to the nations that came from these individuals (Mal. 1:2-5). It is the genetics of the Jew-Gentile distinction, and helps one to understand Israels struggle with the nations.

Chapter 34 begins the section that deals with genealogy among the sons of Jacob. Simeon and Levi are rejected because of their wrath (34). Rueben is rejected because of fornication (35). This leaves the genealogy to pass to Judah, the next oldest son (Gen. 49:1-12; 1 Chron. 5:1-2). Joseph, the preserver of life, got the birthright. The genealogy was the more important of the two blessings, and it is the subject to watch in the book. A potential power struggle between Joseph and Judah became a real power struggle among their descendants as Israel (Ephraim) divided from Judah. God had chosen Judah (Ps. 78:67-72). Through Judah the prince was to come. Jehovahs sanctuary was in Judah. The Davidic kings were of the tribe of Judah. In Israel were the usurpers and the centers of false worship.

What Genesis discusses in relation to individuals the rest of the Old Testament discusses in relation to nations. Genesis contains the first principles of Old Testament history. Beyond this, Genesis points to the Messiah who would reconcile Jew and Gentile to God in one body, and have a legitimate right to the throne of David over a united spiritual kingdom.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.XI Pg.7
January 1977
You Know What?
Robert F. Turner

Questions About Church Business
Regularly, in conversations and by mail, we are asked about various matters of a business nature that pertain to church work. Most of these problems are in the realm of judgment and involve scripture only as principles of right apply. The expediency of this or that course is best determined by local people, who know far better than I, how the work of the Lord will be affected. Hence, I will venture only a few general remarks.

First, we should remember the divinely authorized work of the church, and consider only those functions which fall clearly within this realm. Money in the treasury belongs to the purpose for which it was given, and elders or business planners should be true to the trust placed in them.

Records need not be elaborate, but if all expenditures are made by check and properly stubbed, it is easy to make a monthly sheet showing income, expenditures, and balance. Members have a right to know what is being done with funds given. With just a little more trouble the expenditures can be grouped under headings: Support of Evangelists, Building Pmts., Work & Worship Supplies, Benevolence, etc. This makes it easy to prepare an annual report, and plan a new year.

Every church should have some sort of business file — if only a few big manila envelopes. Mark them Finances, Business Meeting Minutes, Teaching Supplies (where to get them, and what to get), etc. Obviously each church will have differing needs, but I will make one suggestion for very personal reasons. Mark one Meetings and keep all meeting correspondence there. It is amazing how often the preacher is the only one who knows of a meeting arrangement — and forgets it, or has moved before the time arrives. The Lords work deserves better attention.

May a church make a profit on the sale of property? May funds being held for future use, be put in a savings account, to draw interest?

Such questions are more frequent now, in times of affluence and inflation. In principle, the church is not in the money-making business. We are in the giving business, not in the getting. I believe a vital principle would be violated if a church bought property for the purpose of resale; or invested for material profit the money accumulated to carry on the Lords work. Poor stewardship is evidenced, and perhaps a lack of faith, when a church does not see the needs of the world clearly enough to apply all the resources available.

Circumstances beyond our control could necessitate a change of property — or we could out-grow, or need to reach a new community, etc. Todays inflated values could mean a profit under such circumstances; and I see nothing wrong with taking and using it. It is even possible that money must be held for a time, awaiting proposed expenditures, and gain some interest. But all such possible situations are fraught with danger, establish excuses and precedent with some, and invite trouble. Let Pauls caution be our example. (2 Cor. 8:20-21).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vol.XIII No.XI Pg.8
January 1977

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

Many churches now use a portion of the Wednesday night time as a training session for men of the congregation. Young men, and older ones who have been inactive, are asked to prepare and present Bible talks. A few members may object because they dont like the program, but the idea is in keeping with scriptural purpose — to encourage spiritual growth. Its success will be measured by the serious thought and effort we put into it.

Young men are idealists, who see black and white. We should not fault them for that. Be thankful for a new generation, not yet disillusioned, with courage to reach for the stars. It is the striving for perfection, in keeping with our perfect example, that shapes the Christian life. If we can teach these beginners to study Bible ideals, and exhort us to follow, much good will be accomplished.

But the beginner often acts like older preachers who have not studied or developed. He strives for sensational effects; he thinks the pulpit gives license to bull-whip the pew; his pet peeve (Christmas, Easter, or saying Golly!) becomes the cardinal issue of all times. I have heard early teenagers advise the elders. Where did these beginners get such a concept of preaching? Some of it is bluster — to cover embarrassment and the fact that they have nothing prepared to say. And, we should not forget the weight of the examples set before them by older preachers. If we had done our job well — impressing them with our fairness, our concrete knowledge of scriptures, our humility in hiding behind the cross — it is reasonable to think they would try to follow such examples.

Audience response often encourages the wrong things. One boy, with gift of gab, may spiel off a lot of nothing, and be highly complemented. Another, well prepared with scriptural study, may be slow of speech — and is passed with a pat on the shoulder and Youll do better some day! Both should be encouraged and given judicious counsel for improvement.

If the church is to grow spiritually, and fulfill her divine purpose, we must take seriously our work in the training of future teachers. The pulpit is not a glamour spot where stars play their role. It is a platform, elevated for the advantage of the hearers — so they can better follow sound teaching and learn of God.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

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

Create an account

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

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share




×
×
  • Create New...