Vol.II No.X Pg.2
November 1965

Effects Of Name-Calling

Robert F. Turner

I have been asked, "Doesn't it bother you when your brethren call you 'Anti'?".

Not particularly! Most of those who do this are simply following the lead of some prejudiced preacher, and have little or no understanding of what it is all about. Would you become angry at little children who, without knowing what they were saying, called you some name they had heard grown-ups repeat? Neither can I feel hard toward these sheep without a shepherd, who blindly follow blind leaders.

Instead, it gives me a deep sense of pity. It causes me to wonder how I can respond, or what I can do to open the eyes of their understanding. How can I correct their sectarian concept of the church, and free them from the creedal bonds that would allow them to use name-calling to justify their unscriptural practices.

The situation is not unlike that of years past, when all members of the church were called "Campbellites" by "those who were either ignorant or embittered by prejudices" -- as one old preacher put it. An almost exact parallel is found in the late part of the 19th. century, when those who objected to the use of mechanical instruments of music in worship were called "antis" or "non-progressives" by the liberals of that day. I do not expect to be more favored than those stalwarts of yesterday who fought for the purity of the Lord's church. Soldiers of the Cross give battle by using the sword of the Spirit. The Bible is opened, and right or wrong is determined by an appeal to this standard. If anyone wishes to question our practice or teaching we are ready to meet them openly, orally or with the pen.

But sectarian "wheelers" and spiritual cowards do their fighting with carnal methods. They seek to prejudice others against us by name-calling. They "maneuver" to cancel meetings, fire preachers, appoint elders, etc., to further their ends. They snipe with their bulletins, where we can not reply (Plain Talk "equal-space" discussion-offer remains open). True Christians are "bothered" by such only because it reminds them of lost souls, in need of the love of God and an understanding of His will.

Out beyond our little circle of local problems and petty differences there is a big world of lost souls. Our task is clear. Stand for truth regardless of circumstances, and work for Christ till the night comes.