Vol.II No.VII Pg.5
August 1965

Is It "Just Personalities?"

Robert F. Turner

For fifteen years or more certain "issues" have been prominent among brethren of this generation, and have resulted in divisions in hundreds of congregations. In the early days of this problem many sought to escape their responsibilities to study such matters by saying, "It is just preacher fuss;" or "just personalities!"

No doubt there were, and will ever be "preacher fusses" and "personal differences;" but only deliberate unconcern or blindness could hide the fact that fundamental principles of truth are involved in current issues.

Each congregation is INDEPENDENT with respect to its work and the oversight thereof, or it isn't. Congregational independence is an identifying characteristic of the N.T. church -- i.e., each church operates independently or it forfeits its right to be considered a N.T. church.

If it becomes merely a contributing church to evangelistic and benevolent societies or to a "sponsoring" church, independence is violated. Collective action is OPPOSED to independent or distributive action, as simple definition of terms will show. Men may get "worked up" while discussing this, but as long as a church takes a part in unauthorized organizations there is something more than "just personalities" involved. The church is a spiritual, not a social institution. Church sponsored banquets, fishing carps, secular schools, homes for un-wed mothers, etc., do NOT belong in its budget. A valid issue also exists where elders forbid the preaching and discussion of

such errors. (Matt. 12:30)

As long as such conditions exist, we are "whistling in the dark" to say "The problem is just personalities." In truth, the one so blind becomes a part of the problem. Congregations are top-heavy with people who have "joined" a party. They had "Church of Christ" ancestors, liked the preacher, had friends there, or perhaps learned just enough "first principles" to be baptized; but have done little toward spiritual growth since then.

They give little heed to policies and practices of the church -- except, perhaps, where their personal likes or dislikes are involved. They know little or nothing of general developments elsewhere. Little wonder they see "nothing but personalities" in a church problem -- with them, this is all it is. Such folk should realize, while there is yet time, that we all shall be judged by God's word, not by our personal feelings.