THANKS for allowing us to come into your home with this journal. We hope that you will not regard either the paper or our sending it to you to be offensive in any way. We do not intend such. Forgive us, if our effort is so considered by you. We are not trying to force this paper or anything taught herein on anyone. Your name and address was provided to us by someone who thinks you might be interested in studying the matters to be presented in this paper. We view sending this journal to you as a compliment to you as a Christian; regarding you as a concerned, serious follower of Jesus Christ and a student of God's word. We credit you with having an "honest and good heart" and with being "noble-minded" in that you are willing, like the Bereans, to "receive the word with all readiness (openness) of mind;" and willing to search "the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things are so," (Acts 17:11). You certainly have the ability to study and reason for yourself in such vital matters; and we hope that you will exercise this responsibility for yourself.

Since the paper has come to you, won't you please study its contents? I pray that you will; and that you may find it of sufficient interest to want to receive it regularly. It will continue to come to you if you will simply return the enclosed card asking that it be continued. The 14 cent stamp is the only cost to you. Isn't that fair enough? We do not hold that your asking that the paper continue means that you agree with or believe the teachings offered; only that you are willing to consider the subjects. If you don't want the paper, just throw it in the garbage, and it will cease after the third issue. In either case, we pray God's blessings upon you and yours. We love you.

In this issue, my effort at clarifying the issues regarding "the local church," as was discussed in the Smith-Holt debate, is quite extensive (a nice way of saying that it is long and somewhat involved). Also, it is admittedly repetitious, but this is on purpose. I was dealing with concepts and teachings growing out of them. Very few Christians have even thought about these matters, much less seriously studied them. I was laboring to be understood. Did I succeed? You are the judge and the jury. I pray that you will give me a fair hearing and trial.

I recently heard an interesting Statistic: the Church of Christ (I presume that designation includes all of our segments and factions) publishes more religious papers or journals than any other religious group! The facts were given to support this. Think about that for a minute. More than the Southern Baptists, Roman Catholics, Methodists (they were in second place as I recall), or any Pentecostal group. This means only that the number of these periodicals is greater, not that the circulation is greater. There is no doubt that we are richly blessed or woefully cursed with a large number of papers, journals, and magazines. Then if we added all the church bulletins, which are widely circulated, to this number, it would be staggering to receive them all. I receive between 80-100 from all sources.

And yet we dare to add another to that burdensome number! It has not been done without serious, prayerful consideration and with much apprehension. Why have we done it? I can assure you it is not for personal gain or glory. "The Examiner" will not be the kind of paper that will do that. It is simply because we believe that we must do so! There is a desperate need on the part of God's people, whether they all realize it or not, for a paper that will openly address the matters that will be discussed herein. This issue is a sample. Stay with us and you will see --if you are willing to "see"!

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all."