Vol.I No.X Pg.1
October 1964

Why Are We Here?

Robert F. Turner

Abraham may have stirred himself one early morning, looked at the tent of skins that sheltered his bed, and mused, "What am I doing away out here?"

Far from his "old home," away from his people, he sojourned in a strange country. (Heb.11:8-f) WHY? Because he had faith in God, and the strength to obey God's commands.

An Israelite, weary of wandering in the wilderness, ate his meager fare and thought of the flesh pots in Egypt. He may have been one of the many who grumbled the equivalent of "What am I doing out here?" Or he may have been one of the faithful few who accepted their lot patiently, through faith in God, and their destiny.

The early church was regarded by the great majority of Jews as the "sect of the Nazarenes." (Acts 24:5) It consisted of a "little bunch" of "heretics" (24:14) who had "pulled" off from the main stream of Judaism; and as a consequence were alienated from friends, racial advantages, etc. (Phi1.3:4-9) Well might a Jewish merchant, who had become a Christian, look at his failing business, his shattered social position, the growing tide of persecution, and ask, "What am I doing out here?"

Such reflections are the lot of mortals. It is not easy to quit the security of home, friends, and traditional "status quo" in order to stand for truth. But one who has the courage to do so usually knows the answer to his question. "I am out here because I must be honest with myself, and with God!"

When Martin Luther was brought before the Diet of Worms he stood alone before the Emperor, Charles V; and an august assembly of 204 Dukes, Archbishops, Abbots, Ambassadors, Counts, and like royal persons. The Pope had already condemned him, hence the conclusion of the court was foregone. He may well have thought, as he looked at the awesome foe, "What am I doing out here?" But he knew the answer. His prayer, recorded by D'Aubigne, contains these words: "I have nothing to do here, nothing to contend for with these great ones of the world! I should desire to see my days flow on peaceful and happy. But the cause is Thine... and it is a righteous and eternal cause. O Lord! help me!"

The cause is Thine! One need not agree with Luther to appreciate the devotion to God here expressed. Luther stood where he did because he believed as he did, and lived up to his convictions.

In the Restoration, when Stone, the Campbells, Smith, and others were forced out of their home congregations, they were branded as "heretics" and "trouble-makers." Each little group had to answer this question, "Why are we here?" Are our honest convictions worth the price we must pay?

Thank God, they answered "Yes!" (Read "Yes Mother--", this issue.)

And now, when spiritual laxity and disrespect for divine authority again threatens the church, history repeats itself. As man-made institutions are pushed into the budgets of the churches, banquet halls are built, and intercongregational activities promoted, brethren are faced with this choice: swallow your conscience -- accept and support our devices -- or get out.

Individually, we face our moment of truth. We must choose whom we will serve-- God or man. And if service to God means we must step out of the popular stream, we know why we are here. The cause is Thine, Oh Lord! We do not walk alone!