Teaching in the MomentI often speak of my father with admiration — I have had many years both to be impressed by his breadth of knowledge and wisdom, and to compare him with other effective students and teachers I have known. He WAS able at both studying and teaching, and an avid reader — and unique, as well. But I was thinking recently about one thing I noticed in him, which seems to be true of many, not always in a bad way but sometimes.
As with many others, he got caught up in the "issue" of his time — for him, it was a concern about the effects of PREMILLENIALISM upon the church and those who had bought into it. This was probably because it was front and center during his impressionable years (from 25 to 45). All his life, at any given moment this foundational concern of his would be his "default" application — everything else would be seen as it related to this subject, and most of his writing (he had an article in the local paper for several years) was at its sharpest when dealing with it. This is not to say he never dealt with anything else — in fact, he spoke or wrote on almost everything, over time — but his preoccupation with it no doubt would cause some to say, "That's his 'hobby'."
When this issue dominated the scene, it NEEDED focus, and it was by the concerted and persistent effort on the part of men like Foy Wallace and R.L. Whiteside that the damage caused to the brotherhood by it was minimal. (e.g., "Hymaneus and Philetus", and the same general question is raised in 2 Timothy 2:16).
I said all that to say that it occurred to me that I must be careful personally to not get so weighted down with one issue that I get out of balance…Factually, most of my posts have to do with the "grace-fellowship-unity" trend among some brethren, and this is because to me it IS the "issue of the day". (Difference between me and dad was that this is the same "issue of the day" I confronted 60 years ago when I started, and has been cropping up ever since—and I think must still be considered front and center, because the advocates of it are ever replaced by clones year after year).
Choosing what to teach about is not simple. Even casual reflection upon things we face reminds us of issues like indifference, worldliness, irreverence, discipline, self–denial — each is "large", and deserves more than passing notice. My reasoning in making the focus on the issue of authority and collective action is that those other issues are constant, and like the "poor, which you always have with you" (John 12)… they never go away, and need constant admonition (which we must not be lax in doing). But if the question of authority is not addressed strongly, and contained, those other questions become largely irrelevant because, if we surrender the principle that ALL must be done by divine authority, we lose the very grounds on which we can glorify God, not self — and that is why He put us here!