Charles Baugh

There is a purpose for all things ... is that not true? As I read various publications, the purpose for the printing of that paper usually shines through. There are some, it seems, that don't have much purpose at all but to tickle the ears of their subscribers. It is apparent that others have a real desire to share with others what they really believe to be the truth, and truly desire to edify others with that truth. I see that purpose shining through in The Examiner also, even though it may not be emphasized or pointed out to a great degree. I do not want to put words in the mouths of the writers or the editor but I believe that purpose is to bring to light some things that hinder the free reign of God in the lives of men and women. We may never know what all the hindrances are, but it doesn't take a genius to know that the present system is not working too well. As we observe the decline of morals in our own country and the lack of interest in spiritual matters, surely there are many things that hinder men and women from believing in the Son of God and thus letting Him reign in their lives. Jesus prayed to his Father "that they all be one ... that the world may believe that Thou didst send me" (John 17: 20- 21). It seems that the answer to Jesus' prayer is in the hands of those who profess to believe in Him.

Observing the religious world around us, where there is little, if any, unity, why should we be surprised to find some whose purpose is to re-examine existing concepts in search for those hindrances? The sad part is the reaction of others when they hear or read what is being pointed out as a hindrance. Yes, I have a purpose in writing also. That purpose is to encourage all who read these pages to do so knowing that the writers honestly believe something is wrong ... something is hindering the free reign of God in the lives of men and women. That is really what is being said ... THERE ARE HINDRANCES.

Some of these suggested hindrances are:

1. "the use of the word CHURCH"
2. "the authority of elders"
3. "the appointed worship place and time"
4. "the use of 1 Cor. 16:1-2 as an on-going thing", (an act of worship)
5. "the organized institution (church) as something men must get into to be saved"
6. "the clergy system"

... just to name a few.

If you have read The Examiner for any time at all, these subjects will be familiar. And there have been many more. Admittedly these things might be strange and even harsh to the first-time reader; and if the reader's attitude becomes hostile at this point, he may never know what is being said. How sad. Anger has closed that mind. Knowledge and truth cannot be gained with a closed mind ... not even from the scriptures.

How wise Gamaliel was, a teacher of the law, when he told the Sadducees who were about to slay Peter and the other apostles ... "leave them alone, if what they are saying is from man, it will be overthrown; ... or else you may even be found fighting against God" (paraphrased). Read Acts 5:15ff ... don't miss verse 39. I heard a preacher proclaim The Examiner to be "a work of the devil". I heard of another one who classed it with Playboy magazine ... that is, it should not be left lying around where children might read it. I wonder what the wise man Gamaliel would say about The Examiner. I've got to believe his remark would be very much like the one to the Sadducees. He would not take a chance on being judge and maybe end up fighting against God. What Gamaliel was really saying was, "Hey fellows, these men might just have God on their side. There just might be some truth in what they are saying. Let us not risk fighting against God".

Just recently I read an article by a renowned writer (not in The Examiner) who is concerned about the decline of the Church of Christ. In the article he is suggesting some things that must be done to save the Church of Christ. His first suggestion was: "We must confess that we have been wrong about some things". Well ... I agree with the "been wrong" part, but why specify "some things", as though they can all be pointed out, thus saving the Church of Christ? It seems to me that instead of saying "I have been wrong", it should be, "I can be wrong". With this attitude of heart I should seek after truth in all things. Oh, I have been wrong, and try as I may to be right, I will be wrong again. But thanks be to God, He is not requiring perfection on my part. When we instill in our hearts the proper attitude toward God and fellow man, not putting our own selves first, we will be able to see those things that hinder, and our neighbor will see God reigning in our lives. Those things that seemed so important will not seem that way any more. The important things will be God and neighbor. We will be able to read or hear what our brother has to say and not become hostile. We might even come to understand just what is really being said.