Vol.XII No.IV Pg.2
June 1975

Truth Makes Validity

Robert F. Turner

When I wrote the heading, Self-created Churches for the historical article on page four, I realized some might think I was writing about man-based religions. Of course, I refer to the God-ordained right of saints to form a local church, without the necessity or sanction and approval by some historic church. This is another of those scriptural principles, lost in apostasy, regained through much Bible and soul searching, bathed with the blood of martyrs, and now — poorly understood and appreciated. But it is a cardinal factor in establishing and maintaining true congregational independence.

So called historic churches believe Gods grace is dispensed by an institution — that God gave this institution and its successors authority to pass out the blessings. So, the church of England, Lutheran, Reformed and the like, make a great point of their relation to the mother catholic church. Episcopacy must have an unbroken line of succession, and by this link with the church baptism, the Lords Supper, etc., are given validity. And brethren are falling into this same error (unintentionally of course) when they argue that the great middle section of the church makes a thing valid or right by its approval, and without that approval we are outcasts — a sect. Our Self-created article is so condensed we fear its point may be missed, so we urge you to reread it — carefully. The true church does not depend upon historic succession, either of the corporate body or of men appointed to some supposed office. It is the result of a relationship that exists between God and His people — the product of the processes of spiritual redemption.

In keeping with a fairly recent tradition, we say succession is in the seed. I believe this is true (Lu. 8:11 1 Pet. 1:23-25), but we must try to appreciate the consequences of this principle. An accountable person, with absolutely no connection or relation to an established or organized church, could read the Bible for himself, learn the truth, obey it, and be an acceptable saint. He could influence others to do the same. Then a plurality of these saints could covenant together to worship and serve the Lord as a team (collectively); and this would constitute a scriptural church, as valid and acceptable as a congregation of the first century.

This principle ties man to God in truth, not by party affiliation. It made restoration possible. It must not be slighted and again ignored.