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.