Vol.XX No.XII Pg.6
February 1984

Received From Men

Robert F. Turner

Timothy's faith was from mother and grandmother (2 Tim. 1:5). But faith is supposed to come from "hearing the word of God" and not from men — right? It does — as an absolute source. Rarely someone studies the Bible and gets their faith entirely independent of all men, but that is the exception. Normally, people acquire faith from people. It ought to be compared to scripture and proved by truth, but faith is usually what our teachers believe. It adds seriousness for the teacher and demands caution of all listeners. "Of whom you learned" the things you believe is part of Paul's argument. What if the faith of the teacher is corrupt? The "Calvinist faith" that now dwells in many brethren dwelt first in their preacher and before that in the writers from whom he read. Our faith also generally has the intensity of our teachers. Weak faith churches often remain that way conveying their weak faith to their converts. They are converted to weak faith and seek no other. And other churches radiate strong faith from generation to generation by conveying their faith to their children and converts.

Children of some brethren are observed to be ignorant and carnal-minded. Why? One reason is that parents have conveyed what dwelt in them. How could they train children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4) when they do not possess it themselves? How can they teach their children what they do not know? A few children bypass their parents and learn directly, others are trained up in the Lord by godly brethren who give of their own faith, but most of these children have in them only the poverty that was in their parents. Why do some churches continue to produce preachers, teachers, and elders while other churches have never produced a single one? Are the people of different quality? I doubt it. Some churches encourage spiritual development and can provide for it. Men learn to teach — how and what — from teachers (2 Tim. 2:2). Godly elders convey their skill, devotion, and spirituality thus generating elders. Few want to be an elder having never seen one, nor have they a good idea how to do the job without seeing elders at work.

Are values learned by discussing them? To some degree, I guess, but mostly they are acquired from men we associate with. Small wonder that materialism is invading the church. We have learned from our worldly companions, and "evil companions corrupt" (1 Cor. 15:33). We need a Moses (Heb. 11:24-) or an Abraham (11:8-10) to demonstrate right values. We need one who is a success without being rich.

Lectures are not enough! We draw courage from the brave. Patience is learned living next door to Job. Zeal is not generated by command but is an infection caught through the fever of the fervent.

Conclusions? 1) Treasure those who have in them such precious gifts. 2) Where such do not exist, someone must bravely break ground and do the hard work so he will have treasures for those who seek them.

Joe Fitch, San Antonio, TX.