Vol.I No.IX Pg.7
September 1964

What "They" Say We Believe

Robert F. Turner

Some months past a family near Burnet, members of the church in a nearby community, suffered a "burn-out." Individually, some of our members gave a gas range, bedding. etc.; and the R.B W. church, from its treasury, sent a substantial cash offering to assist these people. There is nothing unusual about this, nor would I mention it but for the fact that we were told -- with some indignation -- that we could not do this, because we did not believe in helping such people.

Imagine our surprise at learning this! We had a doctrine we didn't know about. Further, we had been teaching, publicly and privately, all scriptures on the subject. (2 Cor. 9: 12 Gal. 6:10 etc.) The truth of the matter was that someone had told many falsehoods, or half-truths, about the R. & W. church, and these had been believed, without checking their reliability. There is a vast difference in teaching the use of the church treasury only for that which God has authorized, and in letting poor little orphans starve on your door-step.

And ever so often I am told in all seriousness that I believe the church building is "sacred." It is strange how I could believe this without even knowing about it. All this time I am convinced that the Most High "dwelleth not in temples made with hands."

But I must believe this, for I oppose eating in the church building. Amazing!' Up to now, I thought I only opposed church support and sponsoring of recreational and banqueting activities-- on the grounds that these are not the assigned work of the organized church. In view of current digressions along this line --- churches building kitchens, gymnasiums, ballparks, etc., for unauthorized uses-- I would question the advisability of any activity that might cast a doubt upon our convictions. But this is a long way from saying the building is "sacred." On the other hand, a recent survey of churches that stress universal welfare work through benevolent societies, etc., (F.F., 7-14-64) shows the average member of these churches contributed the great sum of 7 cents per week to benevolent work of all kinds. Lest this limited survey reflect unkindly upon our readers, we suggest you make your own "average", using your own church records, if they are available.

Again, the folk who erroneously accuse me of believing the building is sacred, go all out for a "dedication" service in new buildings. Some of them show me their new "sanctuary" (meaning "holy place"). They want me to admire the beautiful cabinet work of their "altar." Not infrequently they display a cross -- over their building, or built into the glass at the front -- with lights that burn through the night. Sometimes they have a sign in the foyer saying, "You Are Entering The House of God." They begin their services by softly singing, "The Lord is in His Holy Temple; Let all the earth keep silence before Him." If they know that this means to respect divine authority rather than "keep quiet in the building" they never "let on." It's rather confusing. Some prayer and fasting might help!