September 1981

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

Here's a question we have received which hardly seems "real" enough to warrant the "You Know What?" page. It was asked in seriousness, however, so we will comment on it here. "Is it unscriptural to meet after services Sunday night for a personal work program? We sign get-well cards, check on those who miss services, set up a visitation with non-members, and discuss ways we can take the gospel to the lost."

How could such a gathering be unscriptural? The local church is a "team" of brethren seeking to serve the Lord. Showing concern for the sick, the weak; and taking the gospel to the world is certainly "church" work. After services Sunday seems an appropriate and convenient time. It seems incredible that anyone would object to such a procedure; so, in absence of more specific objection, I must answer, "It is not unscriptural! But 46 years of preaching have taught me to read between the lines — no —- not on this letter alone, but on the general pattern of such. (1) The objector may not want to do the work, and the public gathering, where his absence would be obvious, embarrasses him; (2) Or, some denominational or "liberal" church has a like method of doing this work; (3) Or, the objector is not in charge of this effort, and is jealously affected; (4) Or, someone fears this may become a "cell" effort, apart from the church and its designated oversight; (5) Or, one who is often absent resents any "check-up" that reveals his absence and causes brethren to question him; (6) Or, the "cards" cost money someone does not want to pay; (7) Or, perhaps you have had enough of this. I could fill the page, and more, from experience.

Let me make it clear that I know nothing of this particular case, so this is not written to point fingers at certain brethren. But I hope those who have allowed themselves to "object" for excuses like the above will realize how common is this malady. We are, in places, sick unto death — for no better reasons than personal and petty bickering. To be "unscriptural" there must be some violation of Bible pattern. Even "poor judgment" or "inexpedient" is not unscriptural. Team work demands we put "self" aside, and submit to one another for God service.