Vol.XI No.VIII Pg.7
October 1974

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Dear Bro. Turner:

Have we "caused division" with anti-class brethren over an expedient? When (if ever) should "individual scruples" be ignored for the good of the majority? T.L.S.


Those who promote the class method of teaching act upon what they believe to be divine authority. They believe such specific methods of teaching are authorized in the generic command to "teach," in the same way travel via plane is authorized in the generic "go". (Neither "teach" nor "go" can logically authorize a method of organization.) The expediency involved is, to them, that of finding the best method of doing Gods will.

There probably have been unwarranted divisions caused by adamant attitudes and determination to either have classes, for classes sake; or to keep them out for no better reason. If both parties consider the matter one of expediency or judgement rather than one of faith, then qualified and accepted elders can decide the outcome and brethren will submit to them (1TI.5:12-13), and to one-another (EPH.5:21), for the Lords sake, and for peace. With or without elders, majority opinion should be considered.

When matters of indifference are (by former training) to some a violation of conscience (ROM.14:), those with "scruples" are to be received — treated as brothers — though they will not attend the classes. The same passage teaches that they are to receive as brothers those who have classes. "Let not-him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him" (vs. 3). Note: the "meat" and "days" of ROM.14: were things planted in the conscience of some by training other than from NT sources. They did not claim NT authority for their ideas.

Should such "scruples" determine the course of a congregation? ROM.14:22 says, "Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God". We should not try to force a brother to act contrary to his conscience, nor should we try to force a congregation to act on his level of "scruples". Only in collective work (where brethren must act as a team) must an arrangement be found whereby each could "keep faith" (conscience) while respecting the other. (The "no class" man could stay at home until "worship" time) Only when each party respects the convictions of the other, can there be a harmonious relationship. Instead of seeking the "good of the majority" should we not seek the glory of Christ and His cause? This is the basis for unity.

"Parties" (in the sect sense) usually form with a minimum of individual conviction, and a maximum of allegiance to persons and prejudices. But should we grant an honest, objective endeavor on the part of all to learn Gods will on some subject; and should this result in two groups, each convinced that theirs was the only divinely authorized course, we still should have no bitterness and personal animosities. Let them separate, with an equitable division of the property they once held in common. And let each continue to seek truth.