Vol.VIII No.VII Pg.4
September 1971

One In A Row

Robert F. Turner

Remember the song, One In A Row? Now thats a big one, a very plural one; but no more so than the individual who constitutes a church. (Since the church is made up of individual saints, then one saint is the church; just like one cow is a herd, and one sheep is a flock. It is really quite simple. once you get the hang of it.)

And if God authorizes a saint to do a thing — as a parent, as a citizen, as a secular laborer (Col. 3:17f) then surely the same is authorized as a church activity, to be supported by the church treasury. If Christian parents are to give their children a good secular education, under environment conducive to their well-being as Christians, then surely the church treasury can be used to support the college. If the saint, as a citizen, has obligations to civil government, surely the church treasury can be used to promote political aims. Since a saint labors with his hands so he may have to give to him that needeth (Eph. 4:2k) surely the church can go into secular business in order to render benevolent assistance.

I am fully aware that today many preachers, elders, saints will accept all of the above facetiously offered arguments (?) without an objection. (Well, a few might hang up on the cow and sheep bit.) But I have put these fallacies into print in the hope that some who accept the conclusions may pause to study their false base. Is it not possible that God might give certain instructions to saints for their activities as a team (local church) which He does not enjoin upon them in their many other capacities? When brethren argue the church is not the home does this not recognize distinctive activities and rules for saints in these different realms? By what authority then do some band many churches together to operate and/or support general welfare institutions? It must he something more than scripture that instructs a saint in his capacity as parent or citizen.

One saint is NOT a church — even a plurality of saints are not always a church. Matt. 18:16-17 proves that a plural its of saints may do a thing in some capacity other than the church. And God gives certain responsibilities to individual saints, and of these responsibilities says, Let not the church be charged. (1 Tim. 5:16). Ignore these clear scriptural distinctions, and the peculiar and distinctive function of the church as a functional entity is destroyed. AND, ignore or deny the functional entity of the local church (as do writers in the Sentinel of Truth magazine) and such passages are left meaningless.

The church IS Gods people, the called-out ones. As a whole they are given no catholic (universal) organization or function. But such as can work and worship together — as a team — are encouraged to do so. (Heb. 10:25; 1 Cor. 14:23-25) They are given necessary instructions concerning oversight, servants, etc., (Titus 1:5-f; 1 Tim. 3:1-13); and by precept and example are shown their function. (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 1l:22-f; Phil. 4:15; 2 Cor. 11:22-f; 1 Tim. 5:16)

Anything a saint may do, a local church may do! is clearly an error.