Vol.XIV No.VI Pg.2
August 1977

No One Is Perfect

Robert F. Turner

"No one is perfect!" It is an old refrain, offered as sop for everything from a typographical error to a counterfeit currency operation. And somewhere in between, writers are careless thinkers, or show a Freudian slip in their theology. I know full well that man has separated himself from God, and must he reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:19). Then why would I write (V.14, N.3, p.5) "God is reconciled to imperfect man...? I caught it two months after publication.

And I have before me another's paper with an exegesis of Rom. 9: which says, "God alone is sovereign in the universe, (9:10-21). His is the right to choose from among fleshly Israel, those who would be saved. This is demonstrated by His choice between Jacob and Esau (9:9-13)." The same issue has an article, "No, I Haven't 'Gone Calvinist"' and I don't think he has. But that concept of Rom. 9: is rich grist for Calvin. The choice of Jacob over Esau was with reference to physical Israel and lineage — not with reference to being saved or lost. Surely this was another know-better "slip."

Then there are statements made that show failure or an unwillingness to recognize an issue. A different writer, in a different paper, says, "Since each congregation is autonomous, we can choose to cooperate or not, and be just as Biblical either way." ("Cooperate" is here used in a context that defines it as pooling funds with other churches in a sponsoring church project.) We are free agents, and can choose to serve God or reject Him, for a time. But autonomy as a principle of church polity is limited to matters undetermined by divine rule. One church may choose to "break bread" on the Lord's Day morning, and another in the afternoon of that day; but neither can evoke their "autonomy" to change the day established by divine precedent. This statement assumes the thing to be proven, i.e., that churches may pool funds and function as a team under the oversight of one group of elders (in the project matter) without giving up "autonomy" in that matter. But then, "No one is perfect!" It's "our song."

It is being sung as though we were not responsible for our conduct and teaching. As though we need not recognize our errors, seek to correct them and pray God for forgiveness. As if "no one is perfect" is license to go our own error-filled way and expect God to accept whatever we choose to give Him. Some offer man's imperfections as a substitute for "prove all things, hold fast that which is good" (1 Thes. 5:21). Instead, it is reason to study harder and pray fervently.