Vol.VII No.XII Pg.8
February 1971

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

Perhaps you have heard the story about the man who wanted to know why his wife cut the end from a ham she was preparing to bake. She said her mother always did that. Mother said that grandmother, always did it. And grandmother, shaking her head as memory spanned the years, said yes, she always did that — because she did not own a roasting pan large enough to hold the whole ham. That illustrates the meaning of tradition bound.

There are church members, just as tightly and foolishly bound to doctrinal conclusions of the past; with less real historic reason for their faith, and no Bible reason at all. We may be unaware of the fact that most denominations of our day no longer hold to their creeds as they once did. They couldnt care less about conforming to this or that traditional doctrine. But we — who so long fought creeds — are threatened by the same spirit we once condemned.

A creed need not be written by a council and formally accepted with a pledge of allegiance. It can be any belief (credo, is Latin for I believe) which we accept as the final authority in a matter, and by which we judge and fellowship, or refuse to fellowship others. Read with care the quote on page 6, this issue.

We urge people to have convictions and to stand by them. This is not the same as saying, however, that what one believes is the divine standard. We must leave the rule where God put it — in His word; and be as willing to have our own conclusions measured by that rule, as we are anxious to measure others by that rule.

The radical mind may plunge recklessly after something new, and the reactionary mind may seek to bind where God has not bound, but these extremes do not stamp the mainstream of the movement with authority. In fact, creeds form in such mainstreams and are given strength there. It is there that majority opinions are framed into church doctrine and become law in the minds of the creed- bound. It is the great middle section that frowns upon private investigation, and refuses to study issues in the light of Gods word. It might rock the boat of their serenity.

As you read Tribles Sermon about creeds in 1892, ask yourself if you are cutting ham ends today simply because some one before you did it.