Positive Speech

By Robert F. Turner

A small group of saints, having agreed to work and worship together, had obtained a meeting place. They met regularly for several months and were growing numerically as well as spiritually. Then, from another city, they were visited by an elder and a preacher. The preacher asked to speak to the assembly, and his request was granted.

He congratulated the group on their fine beginning as a “mission,” and said that since the church where he preached was an “organized” church, the members had consented to take this new “mission” under their wing. Henceforth, all bills would be sent to the city church, as well as all contributions. The city church would send a preacher to the “mission” at times.

When he finished, one stalwart man present asked politely if the elder had anything to say. No, the preacher had stated things quite well. The man then asked the preacher if he had anything to add. He did not. So the local man made a very simple statement: “There on the wall are your hats; and there is the door! Now, get out of here, and don’t come back!” That’s what I call getting to the point, and I think he was clearly understood.

In my earlier years I preached at a small country church in Indiana and was surprised to see one of the elders pull his rocking chair into the aisle directly before the pulpit and, from this position, listen carefully to my sermon. I assumed he was hard-of-hearing or something like that. It was not until later that I learned he was “presiding”  a custom brought over from England.

I was also told that some months before, a stranger had asked to speak and his request was granted. As he developed his subject he advocated a premillennial position. The elder had tapped his cane on the floor for attention and asked the speaker to repeat his last statement. When he did so, the elder said: “That’s what I thought you said. Get down out of that pulpit!”

Perhaps this was lacking in style and finesse, and I can-not vouch for the elder’s objectivity, but there is a beautiful simplicity in the finality of the matter.

This is not written to advocate arbitrary rule or censor-ship. But we sometimes long for men who will say something positive and mean it. (Reprint from Robert F. Turner, Stuff About Things, p. 35, by permission)

Guardian of Truth XLI: 3 p. 13
February 6, 1997