Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 10, 1964
NUMBER 18, PAGE 7,12b-13

Who Really Is Suffering From "Compartmentalism" - ?

H. A. Kirkland

In an article February 20, 1964, brother Burton Coffman in the Gospel Advocate takes to task the "error" of "Compartmentalism." He attaches this "error" to all those who disagree with certain "opinions" concerning the work of the Church, individual responsibility, church support of "Christian" colleges, and the many other HUMAN INSTITUTIONS so prevalent among "us." In this article he likens the "antis" to the old slave ship captain who shot some of his crew for desecrating the Sabbath. Then he uses ridicule and scorn as he reviles those who honestly oppose these human innovations! 'Physicians heal thyself" and "Thou teachest another teachest thou not thyself?"

That which brother Coffman titles "Compartmentalism" is known by other clinical designations among Psychiatrists. It is a common problem in all human beings, easily demonstrable to all who will honestly consider. It is prevalent in both our brother's writings and all others who would castigate the "antis" for opposing the many "good works" accomplished by and thru human institutions and organizational arrangements troubling God's people in this and every generation.

In the textbook Psychology and Life, Scott, Foreman and Company third edition, 1948, page 491, brother Coffman's "error" is designated Lock-tight Logic Compartments. It applies to one who "simply refuses to see the logical relationship between two sets of ideas or drives." Brother Coffman in his article refuses to see any relationship existing between two sets of ideas or drives. He appears to try to make both one! Many people have their mental compartments closed where their "pet" projects are concerned, not only in the church. Such people will use all manner of complicated reasonings they can "logic" to justify their position is such related matters. While brother Coffman attacks such as "error' and is careful to stigmatize the "antis" he presents the perfect example of the very "error" as seen in his article. Again this mental condition is called by the term Segregation, or a Certain Blindness to our Inconsistencies" by Doctors Strecker and Appel in Discovering Ourselves, The MACMILLAN COMPANY, New York, 1962, page 175. In this problem, according to these good doctors, "Conflicts are not recognized. They are ignored. They produce a type of conduct which is utterly inconsistent with the remainder of the personality. The individual does not recognize the inconsistency. Consciousness flows on in two separate streams, the one independent of and inconsistent with the other. In itself and to the observer, resultant behavior is paradoxical — but not to the individual himself," (IBID).

Contrary to brother Coffman this is a mental condition and is not exactly the same thing Jesus spoke of, and to which brother Coffman referred. Trying to ridicule brethren with such instead of helping them to see "logically" is most cruel and beneath the dignity of a true servant of Christ. No respectable Psychiatrist would engage in such if their patient was ill. No good Christian will either if his mental processes are right. Perhaps our brother needs to find him a good "analyst" for he may be closer to the old slave ship captain than he is willing to admit. For many years I also roamed the seas of inconsistency, trying to justify pet projects, nationwide programs under elders while at the same time condemning "missionary societies" and instruments of music. People who are honestly trying to do Bible Things in Bible Ways will find the way out and thanks be to God I found out how to establish authority for ALL I do in word or work (Col. 3:17). Then I began to "come to myself" face the facts and into the light of God's day and ways. It was like a return from the "snake pit" for I no longer have to worry about what the brethren did or are doing. Such mental conditions can not be overlooked. The illness of lock-tight logic compartments, segregation or compartmentalism, is too prevalent among brethren. These institutional brethren manifest it when they condemn the institutions of other churches but through complicated reasonings justify their own.

In this lock-tight logic compartment brother Coffman tries to teach what the individual does, the church is doing. But even his tight compartment will let the truth of such a position. He is not willing to admit that when a brother commits fornication the church is "doing it." Nor will he allow that it is o.k. for all the men of the church to make love to his wife just because he does! I doubt if he accepts such ideas of free love. But his reasonings, logically pursued place him in such a ridiculous position. Again, can you imagine what goes on in a mind that refutes the idea money contributed to the Lord is not "set apart. And so it may be used without discrimination? Such arguments followed to the logical conclusion makes or justifies use of the Lord's money to be used to support ANY HUMAN INSTITUION. The only qualification needed is that such is a good work by men's conclusions

Brother Coffman in his mental wanderings (delusions-2 Thess. 4:11) tries to justify the kitchen in the church building on the old ground it is not "sacred. Since the New Testament word means consecrated to God (Vines) this dear brother must be using his own meanings and is not speaking as the oracles of God. (1Pet. 4:11) This brother would justify his position on the fact that many churches began in dance halls (I have never known of one of these), theatres etc., while I know some have found it necessary to meet in odd places few "began" there. However, according to brother Coffman's reasoning their meeting in such places keeps the building from being consecrated. The logical conclusion is that if they "began" in such places the church building can be used for such activities as dances, shows, etc. If not, brother Coffman is using "segregated" thinking himself, which he calls error! Poor deluded brother, he is unable to see the difference between necessities of rest rooms included in the original authorization of a meeting place (Heb. 10.25)and a place to engage in eating and social functions, when Paul said it is the purpose of our houses (1 Cor. 11.22) "Thou hypocrite. Thou condemnest thy brother for compartmentalism and seest not thy psychiatrist about thine own.

Now we again observe our poor brother's mental condition. He can not see the difference between a "secular" subject and spiritual subject. He has to agree that Sex Hygiene is a very popular worldly subject. I wonder, if our brother thinks the church ought to take on such sex education of all the children? Or is it the obligation of parents to teach their children in certain realms (Titus 2:1-5; Eph 6:1-4). Now no one in their right mind would deny some "secular subjects are needed to understand and apply the word of God. But is it the responsibility of the church to assume the support of such education from its treasury or do parents have responsibilities which the church does not?

Brother Coffman claims his ridicule and reviling is not to bind on others "our own views." He is willing to leave the support of "Christian" schools up to the local elders to decide. But God has never required his people to submit to error no matter who made the decisions. Peter and the others did not submit to error and abstain from teaching the truth (Acts 4:19; 5:29). The greek word submit in Hebrews 13:17 implies a voluntary giving up (Vines). No man can obey men in any matter, including the support of Hu- [line left out of original] to unauthorized activities to submitting to circumcision, only a segregated chain of logic can say. He well knows men must DO ALL IN THE NAME (by the authority of) JESUS CHRIST (Col. 3:17). He teaches men and women they must submit or be lost in matters of salvation, why not in matters of WORK and WORD both?

Brother Coffman states the disease of "Compartmentalism" is a "blindness spiritually," but if he would reconsider the sources from which he learned his terms and symptoms, he would remember all normal beings possess this to some extent. It is a question of mental illness only when people emphasize such to be disruption of normal behaviour. This is just what brother Coffman and his institutional brethren have done. "If you don't like it, get out!" I have heard it many time. So my institutional brethren are in reality very sick.

In conclusion brother Coffman uses the same dodge of the lock-tight logic compartment and mental segregation. Former greats have done it so that makes it all right. True logic recognizes that it matters not if Abilene Christian, David Lipscomb, Sewel or any one else accepted or solicited church contributions to their human institutions. They will all answer for what they have done--(2 Cor. 5:10), and I am sure they are capable to do so. But the religious world is filled with such segregated thinking, "It was good enough for my mother and it is good enough for me." Call it lock-tight logic compartments, segregated thinking or compartmentalism, it is a mental condition and all who can not or will not see the differences clearly demonstrated in the New Testament in the work and the organization of the church, HAVE NO LOGICAL RIGHT to claim a difference exists between acceptable worship, terms of pardon, clean holy living and what is taught and practiced by their religious neighbors. It is only a matter of time until the walls of segregation between these brethren and their religious neighbors will be completely broken down, as they did in previous digressions. Already they are crumbling and such articles as brother Coffman's clearly show how it is being done. The same kind of logic abounds in brother Baxter's "Questions of the Day just out. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, looks like a duck and has feathers, it must be a duck. NO AMOUNT OF SECREGATED THINKING CAN CHANGE THIS — Box 275, Dillard, Oregon