"How Ye Ought to Answer"
William C. Sexton
In the almost ten years that I have been a Christian, I have learned a lot from many good men. I have had the privilege to study with a number of good men, and some I consider "not so good." But I have disagreed on something with every one I believe that I have ever studied with; and I don't believe that I have ever studied with a person, but what I I e a r n e d something from him. I have been wrong on many things, and I know that I have much to learn yet.
First of all I was taught denominationalism, thus I had to be "untaught," as well as taught the truth. Secondly, I heard many things about the "Issues" before I learned what was involved in them; thus many hours of study were necessary for me to see the truth on these matters. But as I look back and forward, I seem to see more importance attached to the statement of the apostle Paul in Col. 4:6 in regard to the "HOW" one "ought to answer." 11 know that it is important that we know WHAT to answer, and we would not minimize that; but perhaps we are inclined to overlook the HOW.
I have had the privilege of studying with a man and his wife here at Lowell on the "Issues" of "Institutionalism," and helping them to see the truth on this matter. And I believe that it points up a need that is, at least sometimes, overlooked. These persons had heard a number of brethren preach the truth on the subject, but they were unable to see what the truth was. After being here a while, they became persuaded that I truly was willing to take the Bible for what it says, and willing to sit down anywhere and study with them, with the possibility that either or both of us could be wrong but that the Bible was right. I was invited to their home, and after an hour or so of disagreement in our study, something happened that I'll never forget.
I had diagrammed the relationship of the church and the individual to the college on a sheet of paper. I showed that I believed that the College could exist, and might Support such as an individual, but that it was an institution separate from the church. Then I diagrammed the institutional "Orphan Home," and showed that I believed that it could exist, and if I thought that there was a need, I could support such as an individual. But when the College began to solicit and/or accept funds from the church, then I would oppose it with all of my might; and that the "Orphan Home" was in the same category. These persons said: "Oh I just now see what you mean." You are not opposed to these people being helped, but you are opposed to the church supporting another organization." I said "Exactly!"
These two persons, began to recall whom they had heard, and what was said, and most that they had heard, now makes sense. But at the time they heard it, it did not. They realize that they have been at fault, and we have seen a wonderful change in them. But I am wondering that if the HOW had been given as much consideration as the WHAT, perhaps these persons could have seen the truth long ago.
Now we are not censoring any, but just calling our attention to the Lord's instruction. I am sure that each preacher has at some time or another heard one of his fellows make arguments that he could not conscientiously make, yet he would not condemn him. It seems to me that some have been impressed with the importance of WHAT (the truth) should be given as the answer (and truly nothing else can be given with God's approval), but have placed little if any importance on the "HOW" ye "ought to answer." And if I understand the BOOK, "every scripture is inspired of God, and is profitable for doctrine . . ." Thus one part is no more or less important than the other. Do you know "How ye ought to answer?" Have you given as much consideration to this aspect of your teaching as to the WHAT? If not, we suggest that you reconsider.
Truth Magazine IX, 4: p. 1