Brethren And The Blueprint
(Occasionally, when reading religious papers such as this, we find a well worded phrase, a timely warning or a bit of sage advice that we feel we just must share with someone. Usually we read it to the wife or one of the brethren. In reading The Preceptor for October, I ran across an article by Bill Humble entitled The Church of Christ Is Different. The last few paragraphs of this article were in my opinion the "sharing" kind, so for the benefit of other readers, I have copied these paragraphs and hereby submit them for your consideration. Thank you. Bill Fling.)
"Since the Bible does contain a blueprint for the church, we who are members of the church of Christ have a duty. This duty is to judge every item of faith, every act of worship, every religious practice by the divine pattern. If we fail in this responsibility, then we ourselves are guilty of practicing the modernistic attitude toward the Bible. This duty explains why members of the church are concerned about religious questions which are dismissed lightly by the average denominationalist. We have regarded such questions as the action and purpose of baptism, the nature and name of the church, and instrumental music as questions of vital importance; we have preached countless sermons showing that they do make a difference. The attitude of the Methodist or Presbyterian is quite different, for he dismisses them as "insignificant" with a wave of the hand, saying, "What difference does it make anyway? It isn't what ceremonies you go through that counts; it's whether you really love the Lord."
This duty to examine every practice by the divine pattern explains also why churches of Christ are often concerned with "issues" and "problems" which would be of no concern to the denominationalist. To him our discussions are foolish and silly, they are much ado about nothing; to us they represent a determined effort to conform to the blueprint. True, brethren often conduct such discussions in the wrong spirit and attempt to win a personal victory or discredit a brother rather than determine what the will of the Lord is. Discussions conducted in such a spirit are not right, and the sectarian may justly gloat, "These Campbellites are at one another's throat again."
Through it all, however, there is one encouraging fact. Though discussions become heated, the very fact that discussions are being carried on indicate that we still believe in the necessity of determining just what the pattern requires. If the time ever comes that we assume the "it makes no difference" attitude and discussions cease, complete harmony might result; but the peace would not be worth the price. Our cause would be lost.
A century ago brethren were involved in controversy regarding the missionary society; they were asking one another whether such an organization was included in the pattern. Though the world laughed and though division came, brethren were determined to follow the plan and follow it they did! Today another generation of like-minded brethren are again discussing the question of "how" to do missionary work. Instead of accusing one another of being "anti-missionary" or "pro-society," would it not be better to dedicate ourselves anew to answering the question, "What does the blueprint say?" — and this without bitterness, malice and hate?
When the issue of "church support to colleges" arises, why charge that one brother is against educating our children or that another is against the Lord's church? Why not rather investigate the question, "What is the Lord's way?"
"Problems" and "issues" are sometimes unpleasant, but they are not wrong; their only alternative is the "it makes no difference" attitude. Be not deceived; for when this attitude arises, our cause is lost!"