Vol.XII No.VII Pg.7
September 1975

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Dear bro. Turner:

Do You understand it is wrong for a Christian to be a union man and do all the things the Unions do? P.F.


I find nothing wrong in workers joining together for bargaining with management, settling claims, etc. The matter, at this point, is nothing more than business judgment whereby a man uses his time and talent to best advantage. As a unit of an economic and social system, he may use legal means to improve his lot. This is not church business, but principles of Christian conduct apply here as in all affairs of a Christians life.

Living a Christian life, and letting our light shine in the world, we will be a leavening influence and affect changes. This is a side effect of our determination to serve God and seek heaven. But Christianity does not directly challenge the social or economic order. Saints who are domestic slaves must count their masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and the doctrine be not blasphemed. Even if the master is also a saint the social and domestic order is not necessarily changed (1 Tim. 6:1-2), although the master is reminded of his obligation to God (Eph. 6:5-9, Col. 3:22-4:l). (See 1 Cor. 7:20-24.) Management also has the right to use legal bargaining power with labor.

But the second part of the query raises other problems. A Christian who is in management is not at liberty for the good of the company to violate the principles of his master, Christ. Nor is the worker excused, by union vote, to destroy property, mistreat a fellow-worker, or steal time from the employer. Our obligation to God must remain first, in all affairs of life. If management or labor demands something of the individual that is inconsistent with his service to the Lord, the Christian will quit his job rather than deny the Lord.

And I might add — until we take our service to the Lord that seriously, we stand little chance of teaching others that we are serious about serving God and going to heaven.

Bro. Turner:

Does a man grow into an elder, and does he have authority in the church whether accepted or not? F.W


The Greek presbuteros means advanced in age, a senior, and is use in contrast to youth. Respect for age is under consideration in 1 Tim. 5:1, cf. Titus 2:2-f. But the estate of the elders (Acts 22:5), and presbytery (1 Tim. 4:14) refer to men who by recognition and appointment are elders in an additional sense. All Greek-English lexicons consulted (5) recognize this use of the word.

A man grows old, experienced, etc., but he is NOT an elder, bishop, overseer, shepherd in a local church until his qualifications are recognized by the congregation and he is appointed. Ordain, things wanting (Titus 1:5) and appointed (for) them (Acts 14:23), clearly shows this. He is appointed to a work, not an official position. Abuse of authority does not justify the grow into error.