Vol.IV No.XII Pg.5
February 1968

Know Thyself, And Me

Robert F. Turner

While telling some brethren about the Arlington meeting, where brethren who differed came together to discuss "the issues" (see front page) I was interrupted with the question, "Why couldn't those brethren see the truth -- what were they thinking??" I tried to answer honestly: "They may have been thinking, '"Why can't those brethren see the truth -- what are they thinking??'"

I recently received a very complimentary letter regarding PLAIN TALK -- which I would just love to quote in full -- but I'll bite my tongue, and give you the last section only.

"Your last bulletin brought home teaching that we seem to have overlooked: God is love, and while he was on this earth He had to teach the thickest bunch of selfish Jews He could have possibly picked; and yet He persevered, and told us.."the servant is not greater than the Lord." Maybe we are not so all fired smart and loving and full of the sincere milk of the word as we thought we were. Because whatever the word of God is, it is effective. If there is no increase, it is not the fault of the seed nor of the one who gives the increase. It has to be the sower and tender."

Putting ourselves in the other fellow's place -- seeing our own failures -- putting the "blame" where it belongs -- these are tough chews; but they are absolutely necessary if we are to practice the "golden rule".

The difference in people may account for more conflict than what we have supposed to be difference in our understanding of the scriptures. One man is emotional, moody; and reads by the light of his feelings. When the Bible says, "God is love" "love one another" he gets a mushy, warm-molasses feeling, and would swallow foul digression rather than spit it out. He is emotionally incapable of understanding how another could be sickened by such "weakness"; and how this man fights digression, real or suspect, because he too loves the Lord and His Church.

What we must realize is that the second man is also emotional -- and he too must be made to see this. We can not separate emotions from the two, but must seek to control and balance with factual information, and careful study of Bible principles involved.

People differ in background. One has been an elder whose sound judgement and scriptural position has been trampled underfoot by mob rule. The other has been mistreated and "fired" by capricious and arbitrary rule of elders. These men may have a basic understanding of the scriptural rule of elders that is very similar; but it "comes out" differently when they preach on the subject, because of the difference in their backgrounds. Pure objectivity is very difficult to practice, even when we try hard.

But divine authority IS EXTERNAL -- from without man -- and we must not conclude that because we see things differently, that TRUTH differs in keeping with the subjects. Honest efforts to trust God for His truth will make us ONE in the faith.