by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XXI

December, 1941

Number 5.

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

I think the people are not to be censured for believing it is a terrible matter to carry on "religious" work without being a member of some organized church.  The idea has been drilled into them by teachers.  

I have recently had some experiences that show how strongly the people feel on the matter.  It is really serious with them.  A preacher visited my home—a painfully sectarian preacher.  He was friendly toward me, "for old-time sake."  We had been associated in church work in other years, while I was orthodox.  His friendship did not show any coolness until I told him of some recent meetings I had held.  He shut up like a clam, and made no comment.  He looked at me as if he were thinking, "What a pity, that he thinks he can be pleasing to the Lord without being a member of an organized church."  

In a certain town I met a preacher and his wife.  They were extremely cordial to me, until I told them I was on my way to conduct a series of meetings.  Their interest in me ceased, and they turned away in apparent disgust.  They really are fond of me, but they feel that it is blasphemy to presume to work for the Lord, without the sanction of the church.  

In a certain town lives a woman, more than sixty years of age.  In other years I visited in her home.  She lived with her parents.  She is a widow.  I conducted the funeral of her father some years before I became unorthodox.  Her mother died this year.  I felt a real interest in the matter, and wrote her a letter of condolence.  Toward others she is the very "soul of courtesy."  But not toward me.  I had desecrated the name of the Lord by presuming to serve Him without being a member of an organized church!  Her feeling in the matter made her so discourteous that she would not even write and thank me for the words of comfort.  I wrote the second letter to her.  I still have received no answer.  

She does not know that the scriptures say: "A sectarian man, after one and a second admonition, refuse,"  Titus 3:10.  She believes that she is obeying the scriptures, when she refuses the man who in NOT sectarian.  "Church" people have played havoc with that passage.  First, the King James Version of the scriptures renders it "heretic," instead of sectarian.  Then churchmen gave to the word a meaning that suits them, and excuses their sectarianism.  They tell us that a heretic is one who holds a belief contrary to the "established faith of the church."  Therefore, the lady in question feels justified in considering me a heretic.  She feels that she is doing God's service when she even refuses to write me a letter of thanks.  "Does not the Bible say 'A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition reject'?"  Seems to be her line of reasoning.  True, she has not admonished me, but such little details do not matter!  

In translating "hairesis," heresy, and "hairetikon," heretic, the King James Version has done great damage.  Still that Version incorrectly renders these words only when it is necessary in order to protect Christendom from the charge of acting contrary to the word.  In Acts 5:17, the Version renders hairesis, "sect."  In Acts 15:5, the translators correctly render it sect.  In Acts 24:5, they again correctly translate the word.  

But in Gal. 5:21, where Paul mentions "sects," among the works of the flesh, they translate it heresy.  This was dishonest.  They knew that hairesis means a sect, or a religious party.  Paul says in the passage just mentioned, that it is of the flesh, to belong to a religious party.  They could not afford to let Paul say this; so they made him say it is of the flesh to hold to a belief contrary to the established teaching of a religious party.  The translators, themselves, were members of a religious party, and it was more important to them that they be justified in this, than that the truth of God be taught.  So they deliberately corrupted the translation.  They did this in I Cor. 11:19, also.  

As for Titus 3:10, they could not afford to have Paul telling us to reject them, the translators.  

The translators correctly rendered hairesis, in three instances; they made a false rendering of it, and its adjective form, four times.  The one passage to which I have not referred in this article, is Acts 24:14.  It is important.  Paul does not confess that he is a member of a sect.  His denial of it is clearly implied.  He says his enemies call it a sect.  

I have the King James Version as authority for saying hairesis should be translated "sect."  See Acts 5:17; 15;15, 24:5.  If that is true, then hairetikon should be translated "sectarian."  It is an adjective.  So Titus is told to refuse the person who is sectarian.  Christendom is so far from the scriptures, that it refuses the one who is NOT sectarian.  

Other Versions of the scriptures have tried to correct the King James Version in this passage.  One says "a factional man."  This is correct.  Another says "a factious man."  Wilmore's Analytical Concordance says hairesis means a religious party.  In spite of all this, Christendom says it means one who is not agreed with the church in doctrine.  As a matter of fact, the word does not even touch doctrine.  A religious party is a "heresy," or "sect," even if it is correct, doctrinally.  

Paul censures those who use the name of Paul, Apollos or Cephas, for sectarian purpose.  And he censures just as emphatically, those who use the name of Christ for sectarian purposes. See I Cor. 1:10-13.  To believe in Christ Jesus is wonderful.  To have the assurance that He is our Savior is much to be desired.  But to use His precious name as a means of separating ourselves from other saints is decidedly wrong.  And if we may not belong to a denomination bearing the name of Paul, Cephas or Apollos, neither may we use the title of John the Baptist, or the name of Martin Luther.  Furthermore, we should never use man-given names, such as Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, etc.  Further still, we should not call our assemblies "classes."  The name given in the scriptures, is "the ecclesia."  Fortunately, no one has appropriated that name.  It requires the use of no name coupled with it.  The ecclesia is what we call our assemblies in this section.  And everyone knows what assembly is designated by this word.  And everybody around here is aware that we consider any assembly of saints, just as much an ecclesia as we are, and that we are glad to fellowship them.  

For, in the passage under consideration—Titus 3:10—Paul is not discussing the matter of fellowship.  Titus was to constitute elders to suit each city 1:5.  Elders are here regarded as teachers.  A sectarian man would teach sectarianism.  Titus was to refuse him—not as a brother, but as an elder.  Today, Christendom refuses any elder who is not sectarian.  Paul tells us to refuse those who ARE sectarian.  

I have said the people are not to be censured for their attitude in the matter.  They have an incorrect Version of the scriptures, and their preachers do not even preach as good sermons as may be given from that Version.  Those preachers who have attended theological schools are supposed to know the truth.  Knowing it, they refuse to teach it.  

But the people could read the Version.  They do not do this.  So I do censure them for blindly accepting the oft-repeated statement made from the pulpit: "Christ commands you to join the church."  In the days when I was orthodox I said that very same thing, thousands of times.  If someone had asked me to show the passage where Christ commands this, it would have been an embarrassing moment.  Strange to say, I never thought it to be necessary to even look for the passage.  That is, not until a few years ago.  When I looked for it I failed to find it.  

Members of a sect are united by a creed, First, the creed says the scriptures are the word of God.  Then it proceeds to mention about a cozen things that it says are to be believed.  Some of them are true; some are not.  But if the scriptures are the word of God, why say we believe certain parts of it?  This implies that there are other parts which we do not believe.  And this is exactly the truth, concerning Christendom.  

Being bound by a creed, members dare not search the scriptures.  If they should find something contrary to the creed, it would be "just too bad."  If they believe it, and say so, they will be expelled.  If they want to stay in the denomination they must either ignore the scriptures, or keep quiet about anything they find that is at variance with the creed.  

When I first began teaching the salvation of all mankind, many creed-bound people accepted it.  They were happy in it.  But the day came when they found that they must profess to not believe it, or be expelled.  Some did.  

My brethren in the ministry told me that if I would be silent on the salvation of all, they would have no objection to my believing it.  They would fellowship me if I pretend to not believe it.  "In other words," I told them, "if I play the hypocrite, you will fellowship me, but if I am honest, you will expel me from the church."  

I am indebted to a Methodist preacher for the statement that "all progress in scripture truth has been make by creed-busters." 

Let it be understood that a person is not necessarily sectarian-minded just because he is a member of some religious party.  Neither is one free from sectarianism just because he is not a member.  Furthermore, a non-sectarian persons not necessarily correct in doctrine and deportment.  But I emphasize that we should be absolutely non-sectarian, and also correct in doctrine and deportment.  Sectarianism, both in and outside an organized church, hinders scripture research.  Even we who pride ourselves that we are not sectarian, may be mistaken about it.  Let us carefully search our own hearts. 

One trouble about organized churches, they, as a general thing are intolerant.  I have preached in the woods, in yards, and in private homes, in communities where there are church houses.  If sectarianism breeds such an attitude on the part of its devotees, this is sufficient reason for staying out of it.  Recently I was shut out of a church that has never shut a person out before.  It is because I am non-sectarian.  If I belonged to some church, this would not have been done.  

When ordering back numbers mention the month and year—not volume and number. 

Thanks to all who have responded to Brother Jackson's letter.  Donations are still coming in. 

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