Vol.XVII No.VI Pg.2
August 1980

Is This Trip Necessary?

Robert F. Turner

A disturbing letter from the Philippines says, "The congregations here in ______ and ______ provinces are having semi-division because of VEILING." It seems two U. S. brothers toured these sections "teaching Veiling," and have "started misunderstanding" among the preachers and brethren there. The letter says a pro-veiling man, supported by an Alabama church, has "reported" another Philippine brother for "not teaching veiling" and caused his support to be cut off. "He branded me and my companions unfaithful gospel preachers for not teaching veiling... He calls the women in the church who are not veiled unfaithful Christians."

Now I know nothing of the letter writer, nor of the matters discussed; and I would like to believe this is all an explainable misunderstanding-but it is still a disturbing letter. The possibility that U. S. brethren would export as a matter of faith that which most of that persuasion acknowledge to be a matter of private conscience, is disturbing. And that jealousies, vindictiveness, and carnal in-fighting should take place in this "mission field"— you mean they are like us?? Perish the thought.

Our affluence, and travel facilities, put the world field within the reach of small groups or even individuals, with whatever peculiar doctrine they may have. It is a heartbreaking fact that the no-class, tongue-speakers, veilers, national organizers, Calvinists, et al., can claim to act in good conscience, and yet do much to tear apart congregations of babes in foreign fields. Nor could we deny that each and all of these brethren have the liberty to go and teach. We can not say any of us have the right to teach as a matter of faith that for which there is no Bible authority; nor to make matters of private judgment and conscience into rules for determining congregational fellowship.

Common sense should tell us to remove private judgment matters from our sermons — especially in weak fields and before those young in the faith. But there is no way to shield the world from our folly. What we are is going to show — and the only true "defense" is to trim our light so it may show unashamedly anywhere. A doctrine that is dangerous overseas, is also dangerous at home!! Shall we "compass sea and land to make one proselyte" when the same trip could promote unity and peace (Rom. 14:15f).

Finally, of course, truth will prevail on its own merit. We do not advocate sectarian censorship, nor ask anyone to deny his honest convictions. Maybe just, "Is this trip necessary?"