Vol.V No.I Pg.6
March 1968

Is The "Thing" Scripturai?

Robert F. Turner

"The cause of most of our discomfort is three little insects, about like mites, bedbugs, and cockroaches. Of course our religious pests have different names. I call them binders, bolters, and beggars -- these three, and the greatest nuisance of these is beggars. The binders are the Judaizers who seek to bind where God has not bound. The bolters are those who are too quick to divide the local congregation over matters of personal conduct and difference. The beggars are those professional seekers for funds for institutional enterprises, violating the autonomy of the local churches and bringing us into religious slavery

The denominations have built so many lean-tos, sleeping porches, annexes, and servant houses around it that you can scarcely see the church. We have not done that. You can still see the church -- yes, but, confidentially, have you noticed the back yard recently? It is all cluttered up with dog houses, chicken coops, goods-boxes, and enough second-hand lumber to kindle fires the rest of our natural lives --, that is, if all that junk in the back yard is for kindling. Or, did we intend to do some building ourselves? The premises look suspicious. Whatever the purpose of all these materials, a little spring cleaning is needed.

Some say that all of this does not touch us. We have no organization except the church. Are we quite sure of that? I know that we have been preaching about organizations larger than the local congregation. We have dwelt so much on it that we have almost run some of these poor insects to death. They have been running in circles, and this is about the path they have followed: First, they have taken refuge under a chip somewhere and said: "We are a business institution, a private enterprise. You cannot bother us." But that sort of plea does not stimulate contributions. People are inclined to take the attitude that if they are a business institution they can just go ahead and attend to their business. So when they have seen the donations falling off, they have come out in the open and said: "We are a church institution, and the churches should support us." Then somebody would begin spraying a little more scriptural shoo-fly about the organizations larger than the local church, and the dodging would begin all over. Finally, they find shelter behind the kitchen sink and say: "We are a religious institution, but we are under the direction of the elders of a local congregation; so the churches should support us through the elders of the church in charge."

There is scarcely an institution or enterprise that has not at some time sought the friendly shelter of a local church. We seem to have gotten the idea that local congregations are cities of refuge. If we can just get to a local church before somebody severs an artery with the sword of the Spirit, we will be safe. We have seemingly overlooked the fact that it is not a question merely of who is promoting the thing, but is the thing itself scriptural?" (emph. mine,)


From Article By W.E. Brightwell, Publ. In Gospel Advocate, 1934. (1-68 Torch)