Vol.XX No.IV Pg.1
June 1983

Write Up Experience

Robert F. Turner

During my very early years as a Christian I heard preachers use Jn. 9: 31 ("God heareth not sinners") as saying only the baptized would be heard. This was usually aimed at "mourner's bench" religion, where aliens ignored God's commands (repent and be baptized) and tried to "pray through." Then one day while riding with an older and more experienced preacher he said this conclusion was partly right but the exegesis was faulty.

"The 'sinner' (Jr. 9:16,31) was in rebellion against God as a manner of lifewalking in darkness. A baptized person could be in that condition. In fact, the Jews "knew" this by reference to such scriptures as Psa. 66:18, Isa. 1:15; 59:2 where those in covenant relation with God would not be heard because of their rebellious ways." To the ears of one who had preached it with the limited application, this was false teaching.

A few weeks later I was riding with another older, experienced man, who had been quick to "write up" many with whom he differed, and who expressed "doubts" about the man with whom I had earlier traveled. I did not have the good sense to keep my big mouth shut, but told him of the man's erroneous (as I thought) view.

He did not correct me (though later I learned he knew the proper use of Jn. 9:31) but seemed to enjoy my "discovery" of what I thought was the first man's unorthodox interpretation. It was not until I had made careful study of the scriptures involved that I realized the first man was trying to help me, while the second seemed to be looking eagerly for something "on" a brother, to "write him up."

Those travel companions are dead now — this incident long past. I am shamed by this memory, would like to forget it, but it comes again to mind as I have the feeling its principles are being repeated by others. The seasoned preacher, as well as the inexperienced, could have erroneous concepts. Error needs correction; but little of this will be done by arrogance or "brotherhood police" tactics. The "spiritual" must correct error in meekness, considering himself, lest he also be tempted (Gal. 6:1).