April 1, 1991 Issue
by Ronny F. Wade

Sooner or later most families experience trouble of some type. My observation has been that generally we are reluctant to talk about these difficulties to other people. Part of this reluctance may be due to our love for the parties involved or to the shame we feel because of what has happened. One thing is usually certain: advertising family problems is seldom ever profitable, in fact more often than not, it is harmful and counter-productive. Since the church is the family of God, we should be no less careful about advertising trouble when it occurs in the body of Christ. It seems to this writer that over the past two years there has been an inordinate amount of this activity going on in the brotherhood. With great regularity letters are being mailed out, at random, detailing trouble here and there, the actions of certain people, and the proposed innocence of others. Names which I personally do not know and places I have never visited, and probably never will visit are paraded before me as though I need to make some determination as to the accurateness of the accusations being made. No sooner than I lay aside one bundle, another arrives. This one brings new charges and accusations, and I am left to wonder what in the world is going on.

In fact a number of times this past year, brethren have asked me "what does all this mean?" "who is right and who is wrong?" But the most perplexing question of all "why are they sending me this stuff?" Think about it: why advertise trouble? Is there any good reason for doing so? Personally, I seriously doubt it. In fact to be very honest I am tired of getting this type of mail. For the life of me I can see no worthwhile purpose in it. The Bible guides us in the solution of spiritual problems. But nowhere in it do I read that church trouble should be advertised on an indiscriminate wholesale basis. In Mattt. 18 our Lord tells us that if some one sins against us, we should go to him and attempt to resolve the matter. If that fails, then we take one or two more and go the brother in an attempt to resolve the issue. If this fails then we tell it to the congregation. If the man is so obstinate that he will not hear the church then we should withdraw from him. In disputes that involve preacher/congregational matters, it seems only reasonable to me that such difficulties should be settled among the parties involved. To advertise these problems to those who know nothing of the facts or background, and who have no jurisdiction whatsoever in the matter, is not only unwise, but in the long run detrimental to the church. Whatever happened to the concept of suffering wrong, personally, for the good of the cause of Christ?

May I kindly suggest that the next time you receive a letter that advertises church trouble, just place the contents in another envelope and return it to the sender. If enough people will do this, maybe the sender will get the message and stop peddling this type of information. In fact if all the money expended on postage, and paper for purposes such as this had been diverted to spreading the good news of the kingdom, we would all be the better for it. In the opinion of this writer enough is enough.

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