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A Talk With Our Readers

by Robert H. Boll

This article  by  Robert H. Boll appeared in the January 1916 issue of Word and Work.

[caption id="attachment_3682" align="alignleft" width="192"]Robert H. Boll (1875-1956) Robert H. Boll (1875-1956)[/caption]

Although the new Word and Work is not an out-and-out new journal, but an old one passing into a new stage, and appearing in new dress, from a new home, under new management, and in the hands of a new editor, it nevertheless behooves us to make a bow and to tell our friends, both old and new, what are our aims and purposes.

The first thing we want to say about the new Word and Work is that it goes out on a mission of peace and good will, for God’s interests and not man’s. It is not designed to compete with any other publication; to build.up or to defend any personal interests whatsoever, or to magnify man in any wise; but to the glory of God and for the true blessing of its circle of readers. We trust that the merits of this magazine will be such as to make a place for it in Christian homes and everywhere.

It is our chief aim to produce a clean magazine: clean in its columns; clean in its advertisements; free from objectionable controversy, from personalities, and bitter sayings; clean in principle, and clean in doctrine—in short such a journal as can be passed out to friends with the assurance that it will in none of its features reflect discredit on that lofty Name by which we are called.

Another point of no less importance is that the magazine shall 'be non-sectarian, to the extent that God may grant us wisdom and grace to enable us to make it so. We intend that it shall hold up the standard of simple and non-sectarian Christianity. There is a sectarianism without; and a sectarian tendency inheres in the flesh of us all. We hope to hold a good ground against the outspoken sectarianism; and to fight a good fight against the other sort which rises up unaware, subtly and insidiously from within.

It behooves us well to be watchful. Those who have subscribed themselves as simple Christians to stand by the word of God alone, and to repudiate all human authority in doctrine; who have set themselves to be simply members of God’s church, and subject to the Lord Jesus Christ—have taken high ground. And high ground has to be maintained. Light bums at constant expenditure of fuel or power; but darkness comes of itself. “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance;” for the bondage of creed creeps in upon us on noiseless feet.

There is a constant adverse current, and if once we rest on our oars, thinking we have at last found the right channel we shall presently wake up far adrift from our course. A greatman said, “Every generation needs a reformation.’’ If that is correct it is because every generation is apt to drift, or else to stagnate, to depart willfully, or to stop at some mark reached by their fathers, or to try to conserve their light by shutting the lid down upon it. And then it is a fight to regain the right principle and to go on again. We can have God’s light only in constant communion with him and his word. For neither can sunlight be carried about in a box, but be had only in connection with the sun itself; nor can the living water be had except always fresh from the living Fountain. When we try to preserve it in cans and cisterns it becomes scummy. And the people who use it stagnate also. Having no heart to see for themselves what God says, they become chiefly anxious to know what good brethren teach, and fearful only lest they might come to be considered unorthodox. And so, unwittingly they slip their necks under the yoke of human tyranny and fall under the bondage of a human creed, whether that be formal or informal, whether written or unwritten.

Without at all wishing to accuse anyone of such failure as that, we desire simply to make it known that it is one of the chief aims of this magazine to work for the pure New Testament Christianity and the truth of the word of God. We shall be little concerned about “the representative views of the brotherhood”— of any brotherhood; but very greatly concerned as to God’s word in all its utterances, and shall strive to draw always from the living Fount; to lend our help always to the establishing of to faith of Christ in its New Testament meaning, both broad and narrow; and to guard against the encroachment of sectarianism.

The editors of this paper have convictions of their own, strong and deep on many matters of faith. But these convictions whatever they be are not the standard of doctrine of this paper. The word of God is the standard and to it the convictions of the editors are themselves subject. And it may be well to say here that, while it would not be expedient to open the paper to every disputant and to every scribe who may differ with anything that may have appeared in it, and to make a public forum of its columns (which would be very unprofitable for its readers)—yet on any considerable matter of difference, we expect to call upon some of the best and ablest brethren who may hold an opposing view to set forth that view. Thus we hope to provide that the views and convictions of the editors shall not dominate the teachings of this magazine, but that the way shall always be open for friendly comparison of differences, and mutual helpfulness in searching out the truth. We shall have discussions, but never strifes.


As for the rest, the magazine must speak for itself. May God bless it, and help us to make it such that his blessing can justly rest upon it.

-Robert H. Boll, Word & Work, January 1916

One Response to “A Talk With Our Readers”

  1. Ron Bartanen says:

    I certainly would be in agreement with the content of this article. A very commendable objective for a Christian publication. I do have a suggestion in keeping with the last paragraph, which suggests questions and input from readers would be welcomed (within reasonable boundaries). Would a question and answers column be worthwhile? Keep up the good work–the good Word & Work.

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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8