Vol.II No.IX Pg.2
October 1965

Pointless Preaching

Robert F. Turner

A recent report from a preacher in Africa tells of an opportunity to use TV to "teach the Bible" "though she (the teacher, rft) may not mention the Church of Christ..." She will "No doubt" be announced and known by many as a "member of the Church of Christ."

Laying aside the woman-preacher aspect of the case, for the time, we question the wisdom and scriptural right to engage in pointless teaching. (Howls of protest hereby acknowledged)

Alex. Campbell tried to teach the Bible (in Bethany College) without teaching any "distinctive doctrine." He claimed to teach only those facts "admitted by every denomination." We seriously doubt that he limited himself to this rule -- even in the College -- and we further question the possibility of any one to teach the full truth of any substantial portion of the New Testament without teaching things that differ from denominational theology.

Yes, there are moral principles in God's Word that may be taught (to the temporal benefit of mankind, we may add) without carrying the application to the preparation of the soul for eternity. Campbell's alleged distinction was made because he did not believe soul-saving doctrines, faith, etc., came within the legitimate area of collegiate (secular) education. (See "Lectures & Addresses" by Campbell, pages 302-305, 486.) But is the evangelist sent to Africa for this??? The African report says the teacher (TV) will be allowed to teach Bible "principles, which is what we are here to do." And I thought they were there to preach the gospel of Christ, and urge people to obey to the saving of their souls.

Can one be a Christian and not be a member of the body of Christ? Can one teach duty and privileges of Christianity and not teach concerning the church of Christ? (Gal. 3: 26- 27 Eph. 1:22-23 1 Cor. 12:12-13)

Or do I detect in the capital "C" in "Church" that the reporter is considering the "Church of Christ" somewhat as a denomination, distinct from the body of Christ? It is alright to teach the truth -- just don't mention "our" church? Am I getting picky? Perhaps -- but "in your heart you know I am --" well, hitting close to home.

This was not written to "pick" at the African preacher. It was written in an effort to make you think -- and take stock of your own attitude toward God's Word, and our purpose here in this brief span of life.