Vol.IV No.IV Pg.2
May 1967

Reviewing "Our Plea"

Robert F. Turner

Who are "we" and what is meant by "our plea?" Between 1889 and 1900 the Gospel Advocate editorials of F. D. Srygley probed these questions with marvelous insight. It is from such writings that the "Analysis" on page 6 is taken. Read it carefully, for it is loaded with a much needed lesson, not only for "the denominations" in the world about us, but also for the denominational or sectarian spirit in the brotherhood. (The Srygley quote is taken from "N.T. Church," p. 9-f., edited by F. B. Srygley, and reprinted by Gospel Advocate in 1955.)

"We" -- when speaking of Christians or "members of the church" -- inevitably makes "us" "our brethren" the equivalent of the Lord's church. This poses an insult to our religious neighbors; those of the denominations who still care enough about doctrinal matters to notice; and who think of "us" as just another denomination.

But the "we" "us" and "our" problem is greatest, not in its effect upon our neighbor's feelings, but in "our" tendency to accept a party status. When what "we" do, and the views of "our" brethren, become the standard of truth to "us," "we" have partaken of the denominational spirit of which bro. Srygley wrote. (See p. 6.)

"Our" Plea -- of which we often read, is easily confused with "Church of Christ" doctrine. Whenever folk are taught that "our Plea" is (1) baptism for the remission of sins; (2) acappella singing in worship; (3) partake of the Lord's Supper upon every First Day; etc., we "freeze" these subjects at "our" present level of understanding. PLEASE NOTE: I believe baptism is for the remission of sins, acappella singing (without instrumental accompaniment) alone is authorized in the N. T., and saints are to, partake of the Lord's Supper upon every Lord's Day. But I believe these things because I understand the worth of God to teach these things. If I should discover, through further Bible study, that one or more of these things could not be substantiated, I would no longer believe them true.

"Our Plea" should be, then, a plea for the authority of the word of God, and its sufficiency. A plea for folk to study and accept God's word as the standard -- not the "predominant sentiment" of any body of people -- not the pattern of "Baptist usage" or what "we have always done" in the brotherhood we know as "Church of Christ."

In fact, "brotherhood" itself could use some less-denominational and sectarian definition. Christ's brethren are those who "do the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matt 12:50)