Hair Splitting

Leslie Diestelkamp
Uyo, Nigeria

Today, if someone dares to suggest that the Lord's church be altogether authorized and limited by "what is written" in the New Testament, he is immediately accused of splitting hairs. For instance, if someone suggests that we recognize that according to the New Testament, no church ever sent funds to another church except to relieve a specific need in the receiving congregation that the church treasury was only used with regard to benevolence, to relieve needy saints; that, in evangelism, churches sent directly to the preacher in the field, and that in either benevolence or evangelism, no church ever gave funds from its treasury as a gift to any human organization, this person is branded as a trouble-maker and a narrow minded hair splitter.

But this matter of hair splitting is just a matter of perspective. To some, opposition to any of the following is hair splitting: Dancing, drinking, divorce, nudity, etc. To others, opposition to these things makes one a hair splitter: Instrumental music in worship, Thursday night communion, observance of Easter and Christmas, supporting colleges from the church treasury, etc.

Actually, I don't lose any sleep when people call me a hair splitter. Some such people don't understand the significance of what they say, and deserve pity. Others wouldn't split anything - not even if it means that truth and error must walk side-by-side. They no longer make significant objection to a Missionary Society, to mechanical music in worship, to twice-a-week communion, etc. The fact is, this last group doesn't oppose anything with much zeal, except certain people whom they call "hair-splitters."

Brethren be careful! When you brand someone a "hair-splitter" you probably brand yourself a compromiser!

Truth Magazine IV:2, p. 13
November 1959