The following three lessons were first preached on
consecutive Sunday afternoons for the Pepper Road church of Christ in
Athens, Alabama. They have been repeated many times. While we have revised
the original text somewhat, we have tried to preserve the wording and
sentence structure that is characteristic of extemporaneous public
speaking. Hopefully the reader will overlook literary flaws.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive study of the
problems that created so much division during the '50s and '60s. It is an
effort to help people see the real issue in each of the controversies
discussed, to briefly point out some of the arguments presented on both
sides of the issues, and to do so in a fair and respectful way.
It is our conviction that churches of the 21st century
can fulfill their God-given responsibilities in benevolence and evangelism
without institutional boards or sponsoring church arrangements. Greater
dedication is the need, not centralized oversight; greater sacrifice, not
more complex organization.
May the Lord use this material to promote better
understanding among Christians to His glory.