Vol.XV No.III Pg.1
May 1978

Waving Our Flags

Robert F. Turner

A brother was explaining the distinctive character of the church of which he was a member. He said, "We support an Orphan Home." Of course they did. They couldn't stop that $15 per month contribution if they wanted to; for it was a status symbol. Lower that flag, and "prominent brethren" would rebel, institutional pressures would be applied, and someone might even call them "Anti." They would lose their place in their party.

The same thing could be said of churches that march under the flag of "no class," "no located preacher," or even "no support of institutions."

We are not here concerned with arguing the merits of any of these "positions." Further, we understand the necessity of sticking with honest convictions; and we know that those with the same or similar convictions have rapport or are drawn into association with those of like faith. But we are concerned with the sectarian spirit that puts "party" before honest convictions, "flag" before God's word.

Being right about a position does not avoid a sectarian spirit or status. I suspect there are some who would "throw a fit" if a piano was used in the worship, but who couldn't explain why to save their lives. "No instrument has become their "flag" — inherited from an earlier generation, and followed without genuine regard for God's teaching on the subject.

Or maybe some one knows all about his particular "flag," Right or wrong he can make all the arguments, citing pet scriptures for the symbol of his "soundness." But his ears are closed to the opposition, no matter how many scriptures used. This is not honest, objective following of God's word. It is sectarian flag following. Such a person may have meager knowledge of any save his "pet" scriptures.

The Lord's church does not need sectarian "flags" to survive. His people "sanctify in their hearts Christ as Lord, and have a reason for the hope that is in them" (1 Pet. 3:15). "Soundness" is found in "wholeness," not in emphasis upon some one part. The Lord's people can say "hello" without waving a party flag.