Vol.XVII No.VII Pg.2
September 1980

Shaller! Shaller!

Robert F. Turner

My grandfather once described a certain preacher with two words (of his country dialect): "Shaller! Shaller!!" In case you city folk do not recognize those words, they say there was no depth to the man.

We must not confuse muddy water with depth, and we cannot expect all saints to be master theologians; but "going on to perfection" (Heb. 5:12-f) involves putting the surface pieces of Bible information together, AND digging out the basic principles God would have us know. We are vulnerable to "kooky" interpretations of detail in close proportion to our failure to grasp the basic underlying truths.

God expresses His grace toward man "in Christ" (Eph. 1: 2: 3:), a principle clearly taught. When He gave His Son to die for us, He established the realm in which, and the means by which the individual may be partaker of His grace. If this was clearly taught and understood we would erase much of the speculation concerning "grace" as a sort of Watkins liniment to be rubbed on at the 11th hour; or an "enabling power" God sends to indwell certain ones (the elect?).

The "church" is God's herd, flock, covey, etc., of people who put their trust in Christ, looking to Him as Lord and Savior. Centuries of history have wed us to the idea of "church" as a society in which blessings are stored or dispensing by the administrators; a society which must validate baptism, the Lord's Supper, and even the proclamation of truth. This confusion over the nature of "church" continues to lead us into problems.

Extremes range from a denial of the "entity" of a local church, to putting the local church in practically the same position Romanism puts the universal church. We must better understand the N.T. use of "church" before we can work out many details.

Justification by faith, a solidly based Bible principle (Rom. 3: 4: Gal. 2:16- 3:) has been smothered beneath negations of "faith only," Old and New Covenant confusion, and evangelical ideas of depravity and imputation. Until we get the basic idea of justification by faith straightened out in our heads, we will run wildly about, striking at this or that error of detail, but leaving our brethren shaken and dazed as respects principles.

Free-will, Direct Relation of Man to God, Ultimate Authority, the Role of Conscience, Judgment, and other like topics must be given our careful study. Our pride, and "know it all" attitudes must give way to "seeking" (Matt. 7:7) or we will remain SHALLER!