Vol.IX No.I Pg.4
March 1972

Be Not Many Masters

Robert F. Turner

Ever now and then a preacher (usually young and/or inexperienced) gets the idea that he has discovered something new and wonderful in his non­sectarian, undenominational, and non-institutional concept of church; or that salvation is a gift of God through Jesus Christ, rather than the product of legalized obedience. He startles the brethren (and makes them antagonistic) by announcing that he is going to tell them something they have never heard before — or that is very different from what they believe and practice — and all who question his exaggerated statements are sectarian or do not understand him.

There are party members and le­galist among brethren of this generation, just as there have been in the past — and just as there will be in the new movement todays iconoclast will form. But many have been pushed into such concepts by careless arguments of preachers, and could be rescued by loving — tender — care and sound teaching. Of course that is work, and does not satisfy the pride of the iconoclast, nor produce revolution.

More than thirty years ago I conducted my first protracted meeting, and preached Gods People, The Church, No claim is made for originality. Bros. Srygley, Hardeman, Brigance and others taught me that ones allegiance must be to the Lord, not to a party; and my private Bible study confirmed this.

I have called out empty chairs, during tent meetings; painted blocks, on TV programs; andchalk marks on a thousand boards (more or less); and in every case Christ was the Saviour, His gospel the call, and His church consisted of those who obeyed His call, being submissive to His will. There is nothing new in such teaching and it is different only to those brethren of today who have been fed steady diet of devotionals and institutional promotion. My experience has been that such people appreciate a change of diet — if you do not turn them off with a lengthy harangue about how different you are. Let them make that decision.

Our brethren believe in salvation by the Grace of God. If they have an imperfect grasp of its significance—if their concepts are shallow and mature — all the more reason why the subject should be carefully studied and presented. But start with common ground. Take a statement often made and accepted, and dig into it. Help brethren to expand, grow in knowledge and mature in understanding.

It is bad enough when a preacher discovers a truth (which his more experienced brethren have known and preached for years) and allows his pride to cause frictions. It is much worse when his new—found truths are actually Calvinistic error concerning the Holy Spirit, imputation of righteousness, faith only, etc., which were debating issues when he was in diapers, but which he now absorbs from sectarian commentaries.

We can not learn much from one does not know enough to teach us what he does know; and thinks to increase his own stature by repeated reference to our lack of knowledge. Jas. 3:1-f