Vol.XVI No.III Pg.5
May 1979

Advice Hard To Give, And To Receive

Robert F. Turner

(continued from previous page) continued "joint participation" means support of that which we believe to be contrary to God's will, we have allowed "fellowship" with men to become more precious to us than fellowship with God (Jn.12: 42-43, Rom.14: 22-23; compare 3 Jn.9-10, 1 Cor.5: 1-f).

You indicate the elders are "good" men. I'm happy to read this. But the trends are such these days that "good" men are often drawn into things they have never reasoned out. They see other churches doing these things— perhaps the church that helped them get started or supported their preacher for a time did these things — so they: a) assume a practice without seeking Bible authority, or even knowing the "issue;" b) are fearful of incurring the wrath of others; c) have been prejudiced by name-calling tactics —as "Anti" etc. Those elders, like you and me, must come to grips with their conscience and what is right with God.

You should go to them as soon as possible, and talk with them — showing genuine respect and being absolutely honest with them. Show them this letter if you wish— but only if you conscientiously endorse its content. There is nothing more disgusting to elders (and rightly so) than to have their flock pulled about, fed doctrinal positions they do not really understand, and used generally, by some outside teacher. You can't face God or elders with my conscience.

Some recommend that one in your position continue to worship there, but send your contribution elsewhere, Perhaps there are times when little else can be done, but it is not the best solution. You need to worship and work with brethren whose "team" activity you can fully endorse. This does not mean, as explained above, that every member will agree on every thing; but that you are in agreement on: 1) your determination to do only that for which you believe you have divine authority; and, 2) you concur in the principle of all things done collectively — as a "team" or out of the pooled funds of the group. You will be at cross-purpose with yourself if you are part of a teamwork you can not fully support. Also, experience shows you will likely be treated as a "second class" member, making it harder to remain faithful to the Lord.

Finally (I hate to mention this) but it is possible that the so-called "Anti" group near there is "against" multi-containers, classes, or something else. You see, "Anti" is a prejudicial prefix used for many generations, not always wisely or truthfully. In early times those who refused to use the piano in worship were called "Anti" by the users of course. So, look carefully before you leap!

Sorry I can not bring a brighter and more positive picture. We will hope and pray that those elders are wise and godly men, more concerned about serving the Lord than in winning the praise of men: more concerned with Scriptural authority than in going along with popular ways. Do not "politic" for "votes," or use any carnal methods of persuasion. Know your Bible, pray for wisdom, keep your "cool," and do what you believe God authorizes. By this you can serve Jesus Christ, and deliver your soul.