Vol.XIV No.VI Pg.1
August 1977

The Jew In The Pew

Robert F. Turner

Paul wrote, "He is not a Jew which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." (Rom. 2:28-29)

We have so long opposed so-called "spirit" which slights or ignores the actual obedience of God's commands, that we may have forgotten that true obedience must be "from the heart." Paul is not saying there is no such thing as an "outward" Jew, but that such is of no consequence as respects divine approval. God looks not on the outward man, but upon the heart.

Do we think "he is a Christian" who wears the name; or "this is the church of Christ" because it is socially or historically related to brethren once regarded as His church? Isn't it time we realized that it is not enough to rally beneath the flag,

"Church of Christ." One does not belong to Christ because he sits in a certain pew. He may sit in a certain pew because he belongs to Christ. Hmm! "Christian" tells what one IS, or it is worn hypocritically. I fear we sometimes are satisfied for it to say what one DID, some years back. When a baptismal certificate is accepted as proof one is "Christian" we are making the same error as the Jew who thought outward marks were enough.

Nor is it enough to balance, mathematically, our sermons and articles on letter and spirit. God did not reject the literal Jew, nor did lie denounce the need for obedience (Rom. 11:l; 2:6-13). Neither letter nor so-called "spirit" can stand-alone. "Attitude" that will not obey is not the right attitude; and outward conformity to commands is not the "obedience of faith" (Rom. 1:5; 16:26). A "mechanical blending" is impossible.

Somehow we must stress more fully the character of Christians and the church. It is very possible that character can not be fully taught by sermon or article — it must be demonstrated. "Not meat and drink; but righteousness ...He that in these things serveth Christ is accepted.... follow after ... to edify" (Rom. 11: 17-f)