Vol.III No.X Pg.5
November 1966

Looking For Gold

Robert F. Turner

Would you go into the deserts and mountains to look for gold without first learning to identify gold ore? "This is a pretty rock!" "Let's stake this area, because it is so easy to reach!" "I know all about iron ore so this must be gold!" None but fools would search for gold on such bases.

Every serious prospector must know the characteristics of the ore for which he seeks. He knows how it looks, feels, responds to heat, acid, etc. He knows if it is malleable, and to what extent. If he is searching for gold he knows these features as they gold. He may, or may not apply to know much about iron, lead, silver, or other metals; but he knows gold.

But many are looking for the right church, having not the slightest idea of its true characteristics.

They "visit around" -- and think they are displaying great wisdom in so doing -- with no definite standard by which to identify the Lord's church, should they meet it in the middle of the road.

This church is nice, but we do not like the mannerisms of the preacher. That one is located in the wrong part of town. Another has a friendly group of people, but they are too strict for our taste. Yet another seems O.K. but none of our friends go there. We either continue to drift -- and avoid the obligations of church ties -- or we find a friendly group, whose building is conveniently located, and the preacher goes to the football game with us -- so we confidently affirm that this is the "right church."

If we are really serious about serving God shouldn't we look for the church of HIS choice, rather than the one of OUR choice? And can we really know HIS choice without going to His word, and reading the characteristics of the church that bears His name?

Before you set out to examine the various religious organizations in the world, shouldn't you consider the (1) Name, the Lord gave His people; (2) Terms of Admission stipulated, by which people became a part of His church in the first century; (3) the divinely ordained organizational structure, by which God's people work as one; (4) the Work assigned Christ's church; (5) the pattern of N.T. Worship; including (6) the means of support of church work; (7) the standard of Authority, by which all questions must be determined and settled? These things, and other like things you must know in order to recognize the Lord's church should you find it.

Some say this is all too complicated for them. Well, it takes some time, some study of God's word; but people genuinely interested in serving God do not object to that. They expect anything so vital, so related to their eternal well being, to require effort and dedication. Anyhow, time, effort, etc., are not the big obstacles to finding the true church. The really big problem is getting folk to subject their own will to the authority of God.

Once we are willing to let God have His way with us -- we give ourselves -- then the search for truth is a happy, rewarding experience.