Vol.V No.II Pg.8
April 1968

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

In '51, '52 and '53 I devoted much time to meeting work, traveling from the east to the west coast. Brethren were awakening to the seriousness of institutionalism in Texas, although many churches had already committed themselves so far with the "big" "on the march" churches they did not care to hear what I had to say. I remember preaching a sermon on "The Church" in one community, and a brother took me aside and told me I was just "too strict" in insisting on Bible authority and pattern.

A few weeks later, in the Ohio valley, I preached the same sermon; and one old brother "had a talk" with me, saying he liked my sermon, but I was "just a little loose" on the subject.

The Texas church had long ago lost its sense of restraint -- "Bible Things in Bible Ways" attitude; and was now working for a popular "public image." The Pennsylvania church was just then emerging from fifty years of "keeping house for the Lord" attitude; and did not relish a sermon that reminded them of an ultra-conservative, nonproductive past.

The story is incomplete without a Tennessee preacher who heard a few of my "different" illustrations and some "fresh" terminology; and wondered if Bro. Goodpasture "would approve??" (I never did get around to asking him!)

In this day of mass communications it is easy to suppose that churches elsewhere are "just like us." Come with me and I'll prove differently. Gulf-coast Texas, Iowa, Indiana, Maryland, and New Jersey should do it. One church is beginning to experiment with something another has long ago tried and rejected, and another is aghast to learn that any church would even consider.

The need is for patient understanding of local differences, and lots and lots of basic, non-sectional, Bible teaching. We could do with a big helping of humility, and less rushing into print with bizarre ideas. At the same time, a willingness to "hear a man through" and "search the scriptures daily, whether these things were so" would help much. (Acts 17:11)

Above all, it is God's truth, not party union, that must be sought. If we will "cleave unto the Lord" (Acts 11:23) saints in Iowa will have no difficulty in fellowshipping "you all" saints in Texas.