Vol.V No.IX Pg.7
November 1968

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

We have brethren who feel their women must wear a head covering in assembly; that they must not ask questions in Bible class, even while showing a humble submissive spirit; that one container only, is scriptural for the Lord's Supper; etc. These brethren say that if we "let down" for one such matter, we open the gate to all "innovations"; i.e. they think the use of multiple containers is a disregard for Bible authority, that will eventually lead to disrespect for divine will in other matters. Please comment on the disregard for Bible authority in such little matters.


There are no little matters in which God's authority may be disregarded. If God's word teaches we must use one container, to disregard this is presumptuous sin -- a serious thing indeed. To judge (selecting portions of) God's law, is to elevate the subject of law above the giver (JAM.4:10-12; NUM.15:30-36).

I do not teach women that God commands them to wear hats, that God imposes total silence upon them because I do not believe the scriptures teach this (see Vol. 1, No. 6, "Women Keep Silence"). I have repeatedly restudied these and like matters, when seemingly sincere brethren "pressed" them, because I am concerned lest I adopt an attitude toward God's word, or toward God's people, that is "highhanded" or presumptuous.

We act in "good conscience toward God" by honestly facing a subject, determining as best we can what God says about it, and act accordingly. I try to do this, and expect brethren (whom I may regard as being in error) to do likewise. Many of the differences that exist among brethren will allow for individual treatment (one woman will wear a hat, for conscience sake; another will not) and there is no need for hard feelings or division (Read ROM.14: carefully, for a lesson on respect for the conscience of another.). And even when differences exist in collective activities, so that all participants are involved in the responsibility, and all conscientious objectors must abstain; the willingness to openly study the matter must remain, on the part of both "sides".

But too often, even when differences are discussed, one "side" gives no honest attention to what the other is saying — makes no effort to understand why they have come to such conclusions. Many arguments (?) on the subjects mentioned are the result of prejudices and customs of long standing. An honest effort to understand, even this, will promote better feelings and teaching opportunity. If "foolish questions" must be ignored, do so out of respect for peace, (2TI.2:23) having compassion and long - suffering.

It is too much to expect that all people, out of differing backgrounds, educations, current environments, will reach the same conclusions about everything. But it is not too much to expect them to try, and this can only be done when all have a deep respect for Divine authority. If "unity" efforts must fail, let them fail here where Almighty God draws the line.