Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 3, 1969

The Shape Of The Table


For endless weeks in Paris those negotiators haggled over "the shape of the table." The whole world watched, first with impatience, then with irritation, passing to aggravation, moving to exasperation, expanding into frustration, and ending perhaps with a sense of outraged infuriation. What difference could it make whether the table be round, square, oblong, divided, circular, or whatever while men were dying each day in the muddy swamps of Viet Nam? What sort of gigantic stupidity could obsess these men?

"For the sons of this world are for their own generation wiser than the sons of light." (Luke 8:16)

The Paris Peace Talks and Christ's statement simply don't add up. Or do they? Were the Paris hagglers "wiser" than the "sons of light"? Did their interminable picayune haggling over every infinitesimal point (while men were dying) make sense? Who would say they were "wiser", or even "wise" in such niggardly nitpicking? Well, they may not have been "wise" — but we think the Lord's statement still applies. He did not say that the sons of this world are "wise"; he said they are "wiser than the sons of light."

A case in point: The sons of this world will spend hours, days, weeks, months, even years talking over and negotiation some point of difference. They are doing it in an effort to win some sort of relationship by which men can live in peace with one another, and stop slaughtering one another. Day after weary day, week after exhausting week, month after month they talk on, and on, and on, and on! And, finally, the carnage stops, the guns are silenced, and peace (usually uneasy and often short-lived) descends upon the scene.

But the "sons of God" dealing with issues which affect not a few miserable years of earthly existence but eternity itself, confronting some question on which they are divided, may have one or two or three sessions to discuss it, then each is willing to consign the other to an endless hell, and be done with the discussions!

If the sons of this world can show infinite patience and determination in an effort to reach an understanding with which all involved can live, why can not the "sons of light" be equally determined to continue their study of ALL issues facing them until, in the light of God's word, they have come to an understanding of one another and of the truth, which will enable them to live and work together as brethren?

If the "shape of the table" is worthy of four months' discussion, what about the value of a soul? How much is that worth?

F. Y. T.

"For He Was A Good Man...

This is the editor's own personal note of grief at the tragic death of a long time friend. In the foggy darkness of early night, on February 5, Brother J. D. Hall, his son-in-law, Tom Bell, and the pilot of the Company plane met instant death when the plane streaked through blinding darkness and rain into a hillside at full throttle.

I thought J. D. Hall was in serious error in his teaching as to the nature of the church. And told him so — more than once. He listened with infinite patience and courtesy to every word I had to say, smiled with utter friendliness and responded, "That's just about what I would have said fifteen years ago!" I think he was wrong, completely wrong, in his teaching. But he had a gentleness about him, and unfailing courtesy, that I never saw ruffled. He truly believed with all his heart that he was serving the Lord; and he gave of his time, his strength, and his money without stint in so doing. I believe he died very much as he might have chosen to die, fulfilled and happy in the confident assurance that he was serving God. He neither looked for nor expected human approbation. I wept when I heard the awful news of his death; I weep again as I write these lines of remembrance; and I will always think of him in the words Luke applied to Barnabas... "For he was a good man." How tragic that a man so clean in life, so dedicated in heart, so selfless in attitude could yet be so "hung up" on a bizarre doctrinal eccentricity. I loved him, and my life will be the richer because I knew him. I pray God's mercy upon him, and upon us all.