Why Not Call Things What They Are?

R. J. Findley
Longview, Texas

Nomenclature can sometimes be a pestiferous thing, particularly when we deal with the denominational world. The language we use must not be the language of Ashdod; it .must not be in enticing words of man's wisdom but it must be characterized by great plainness of speech (2 Cor. 3:12). It must always be with grace (Col. 4:6) and such as cannot be condemned (Titus 2:8). The Campbells had this in mind when they advocated speaking where the Bible speaks, which most certainly means how it speaks.

The denominational world, it seems, has us running scared by the terms they use, so scared that we feel we cannot accept many of them regardless of whether right or wrong.

For example, they speak of joining the church. Of course they err in applying this word in the sense of uniting with and becoming a member. One is born again by becoming obedient to God's plan. But we find a case where a child of God did assay to join a group (Acts 9:26). When we go to a new congregation to cast our lot with them, are we not in a sense, joining that group?

We deride the actions of many churches when it is said they voted on their members or other activities of their church. But in any business meeting where saints come together to discuss matters that come before them, and each one is called upon to assent or dissent, is he not voting? Personally I couldn't think of a more appropriate word for it.

Then we refer to denominations as sects. How often in years gone by have I heard the expression, "Skinning the sects." But are they really sects? But one may ask, weren't there sects in New Testament days? Most assuredly there were. The Sadducees, the Pharisees, the Essenes, and the Herodians. But it must be remembered all these were branches of the then accepted religion. It is not so today. Since a sect is a section of the whole, it follows they were never a part of the New Testament church, and to call them such is a misnomer.

Brethren on both sides of the questions plaguing the church are saying the term liberal should not be applied. To many of us, the course they are pursuing has generated strife by departing from the old paths. Paul issued positive instructions as to our regard for God's word: "We will present ourselves holy and unblameable in his sight, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel." To do this we must continue in the faith. Then those who have and are moving away, should be identified. Again I say, why not call them what they are?

Truth Magazine, XVIII:19, p. 7
March 14, 1974