Posted by: Bro. Lawrence D. | July 28, 2008

Agonizing Over Church Membership/Fellowship

I don’t know if this belongs under the title of my last post or not but I decided to place it here. I hope you hear my heart.

I have a theory. Or should I say a premise? The theory or premise is that persecution eliminates or, at the very least, diminishes division in the body of Christ. It’s based off of a scenario that I came up with after listening to Dr. James White’s interaction with a sermon preached by Greg Matte, pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church (You can see the interaction on Dr. White’s YouTube page, Dr. Oakley1689. It is entitled “Bunyan Conference Houston 2008: Session 4A ). The subject of the sermon was Calvinism.   

In the introduction, Pastor Matte laid down two ground rules. He said, 1) “There are intelligent and godly people on both sides of this issue”, and 2) “This is not a test of fellowship.” Now because of Dr. White’s reaction to this second ground rule, I was motivated to write this post. First of all, he feels that the phrase “test of fellowship” needed to be explained. Dr. White gives an example of what he feels demonstrates that there are different levels of fellowship in the form of a couple of questions. He asked, “could he seriously allow me to minister from the pulpit there on a regular basis?” and “could he minister regularly in my church on a regular basis?” Secondly, Dr. White brings fellowship to the level of church membership. He continues, “You see in our church we have a confession of faith and to become a member of our church the elders meet with you and they ask ‘do you have any issues with the confession of faith'”, which Dr. White says is the London Baptist Confession of 1689. Because of Pastor Matte’s position on Calvinism (as Dr. White defines it), Dr. White says that Pastor Matte would have to admittedly, “reject most of it, at least to what it says about salvation. And Greg Matte could not be a member of my church. He certainly couldn’t be an elder there. He wouldn’t be allowed to teach. It doesn’t mean that I am saying that the man is not a Christian. But”.

Now it is that “But” that presents the problem for me. Here we have a man that Dr. James White admits that he would not discount as a member of the body of Christ. And yet this same man is not welcome to contribute to, nor to be a member of, this local body because he wouldn’t necessarily be able to agree with some piece of paper. Now I may be wrong but that seems completely foreign to the scriptures and it seems to put one lesser form of commonality (thinking like everyone else on a lesser issue) than on the higher form of commonality, namely, faith in Christ for salvation.  If you listen to the sermon as Dr. White interacts with it, you will hear Pastor Matte appear to agree with Calvinism but mostly in the form of statements that sound like nothing more than cliche’s. Sure he does minimalize the teachings. And even in a couple of places you may feel that he misrepresents the position. But in the one place that would offend most Calvinist, the area of salvation, he at least admits that he adds nothing to his salvation. But even if he was an outright Arminian and not a Calvinist (which he said he was neither), what does that have to do with his ability to join a church for fellowship and sacrament? That brings me to my scenario:

Let’s say that tomorrow it was declared that all U.S. citizens who professed to be Christians had to report to the nearest major sports facility (coliseum, remember the one in Rome in the first century?) to be interviewed by the government. Let’s say that the ones who did not report were turned in by those who knew that they professed to be Christians and then were rounded up by law enforcement. So let’s take it for granted that they got all professing Christians together in each individual county. Let’s say that the initial interview consisted of threats of death if you held true to your faith. Now let’s assume that every member of every group which is considered a cult group refused to affirm Christ as Savior and Lord and escaped. So after days of interviews, everyone who held firm ends up on their respective areas’ football field, baseball diamond or basketball court. Now let me ask a few questions:

1. Would there only be Calvinist there? Only Arminians? Or how about only Cessasionist? Or only Charismatics? Or only Trinitarians? Or only Oneness?

2. Would we be surprised to see that brother or sister who holds that other position there? If so, would you believe that their martydom meant absolutely nothing because they believed in tithing? or baptized babies? or thought they chose Christ?

3. Would there be any theological debates going on? Or would anybody be preaching an “Are you sure your saved” sermon?

4. Would we clique up in our groups that day? Would we care so dearly about our denominational distinctives? Would the blacks be only with the blacks and the whites only with the whites and so on?

5. If that brother or sister standing near you began to pray and suddenly broke out in tongues, would you move away? Or would you join hands with them and just pray the way you pray?

6. If they allowed us to have our bibles (a miracle it would be in itself) would we argue over which version was the correct one?

7. Would anyone be monitoring what another had on?

8. WOULD WE HAVE UNPRECEDENTED AND UNPREJUDICED FELLOWSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER?

I believe we would. And that is my point. How can all of these things suddenly be a non-issue in the face of death? How is it that all I would suddenly be able to see in you is another brother or sister in Christ? There would be no interviews to see if you would affirm some ancient creed or confession, would there? We would be encouraging one another to stand firm in the face of death while we anticipate the joy of seeing our Saviour face-to-face!

Why can’t this happen every Sunday while we’re safe and sound? Why can’t a brother who is not a 5 point Calvinist stand and give an exhortation in your church (Dr. White or you who are reading this)? Why can’t he be a member of your church? Is it because it’s more your church than Christ’?

Somebody needs to help me with this dilemna. What am I missing here?

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Responses

  1. Dude this is an unbelievable post. Dude this is an unbelievable post. Did I say that already? This gets to the heart of the issue and what Paul really called heresies in 1 Corinthians. Paul says I have heard that there are “heresies” among you. False teaching? Nope, but outright divisions that brought about disfellowship. So it is funny how we define fellowship. Yeah we will fellowship outside of the church but once you came in you couldn’t share the pulpit. Wow. Where do we see such a thing in scripture.

  2. I’m feeling incredibly convicted by some of the stuff yourself and brother Lionel are coming out with of late. I have a lot to consider!

    This is a serious post!

    God bless brother!

  3. This post gets to the heart of many issues of division. Wow! We are the ones who keep this from happening. Why? Well are we really threatened with death right now? No, we have a comfort zone that we can go wherever we choose to go. But make it illegal to go to church and threaten us with death. House churches that are mixed with people from different denominational backgrounds would begin filling up quickly. Looking at Revelation 2 and 3, does Jesus Christ address one church as better than the other? Would He say to us, “you reformers did better than ye pentacostals, they missed it”? Of course not so, why are we so divided? Great post Bro. Lawrence, you didn’t miss anything, hit the nail square on the head. His grace be with you

    Karsten Miller

  4. Well this is a wakeup call to me no doubt! Man, you and Lionel are both stretching my minds these days man – love it!

    As to answering the question, I’m not even stepping there yet…

  5. Hi Lawrence,

    For the most part, I agree with you. We’ve become too easily divided, and persecution would most likely bring us back some well needed perspective on who is our brother.

    One thing I have to mention, though, is this.

    For those who hold themselves out as teachers, there is a stricter judgment. I’m absolutely okay with a pastor not inviting someone who he feels is in serious error to step into the pulpit and teach.

    There’s a responsibility to not mislead the sheep. Remember what Jesus said about someone who teaches a child to do wrong.

    There are ways, however, to handle this without being schismatic, though.

    Perhaps the pastor could ask the visiting pastor to not teach in the area where there is disagreement. Or – the pastor may explain to the sheep that he and pastor so-and-so are brothers in The Lord but disagree concerning such and such topic. (I favor this last option).

    Another thing I want to toss out is that our unity comes from our common love for the truth.

    While there will always be some honest disagreements about what the scripture says, wide divergence from the plain sense meaning could be an indication that the truth has been rejected rather than misunderstood.

    If this is the case, then the error is borne from darkness, and what fellowship does light have with darkness?

    1 CORINTHIANS 1:10 — “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

    If you look at the above scripture, you’ll notice that Paul didn’t ask us to embrace everyone’s divergent view of the scripture. He asked us to have the same mind – or truly agree – with one another.

    Like I said in my comments to your last post, though, you can’t just become a doctrine Nazi and dis fellowship everyone who disagrees with you in the least little thing. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in all things. We walk in the light, so we should always be careful to walk BY the light, amen?

    One other thing, Brother, and I don’t want to shake your premise too much, because I believe it is strong enough to build your point on…but I want to point out that willingness to die for Christ is not necessarily a hard and fast proof of salvation.

    Hear me out on this, okay?

    We know that Muslims are willing to die for their god, and we know that their god is a false god.

    We also know that there will be false Christs.

    Knowing that humans are willing to and capable of being martyred for false gods, it’s entirely conceivable that false christians would be willing to die for a false christ.

    So, actually, the fact that you’re willing to gop to the gallows with me doesn’t necessarily mean that you believe in or worship the Jesus of The Bible.

    Okay… other than that….great thought provoking post! Keep em coming!

    Larry Dozier

  6. Hey Laz you said:

    If you look at the above scripture, you’ll notice that Paul didn’t ask us to embrace everyone’s divergent view of the scripture. He asked us to have the same mind – or truly agree – with one another.

    It actually says there is one truth. Thus the problem became a division on things that tend to be man-made deductions. Let me ask you if two Christians (genuine) disagree on a topic both filled by the Holy Spirit who is right?

  7. Brother Laz,

    I definitely hear your heart on this and you can rest assured that I’m not a “unity at all cost” type of dude. I too believe that our unity with one another should be based in truth.
    However, I also believe that there’s a truth which is of first importance (I Corinthians 15) and a truth that is a matter of one’s own conscience or in which every man must be fully convinced of in his own mind (Romans 14).

    Is the Calvinism vs. Armianism debate of the first kind or second? I’d say the second. You can proclaim the gospel completely outside of this debate. You can proclaim to men that Christ gave His life to save sinners without even touching on limited atonement. You can proclaim to a man that he is a sinner in need of a Savior without convincing him that he’s totally depraved. You see where I’m going?

    Secondly, if you’ve read any of my first 3 posts, you’d know that I don’t buy into the whole idea of testing other believers (or ourselves) for authenticity based on subjective criteria at all. The point I was trying to make is that under the certainty of death many of us, if not all of us, would lessen our focus on these peripheral issues and began to focus more on Christ. This can happen every Sunday but why doesn’t it? The authenticity of a believer wasn’t my focus. It was the commonality of certain death. True, willingness to suffer martydom is not a certain sign of anything. (Just read I Corinthians 13) But under such sweeping conditions as I described in the scenario, I can’t see the group doubting one another’s salvation.

  8. By the way Bro Laz,

    I love the second example that you gave of how the pastor would deal with allowing a brother with whom he disagreed to give an exhortation. It shows several things about that pastor. He’s mature. He’s confident in the Holy Spirit, in that he believes the Holy Spirit is able to guide all true believers into all truth. And he’s confident in the flock.

    By the way, what about membership? Can an individual who holds the opposite view from you (of course understanding that that view is not anti-Christ/gospel) be a member of your fellowship?

  9. My dear brother this should be the eulogy for church as we know it now. My “dome is rocked” and I stand to place this in action.

  10. Hi Bro Lawrence,

    I agree that there are degrees of fellowship involved here. There was a good article I read online about how some Christians are “backyard” Christians – ie you can enjoy a good relationship with them chatting over the backyard fence, but they’re not like family members, who actually live with you. Degrees of intimacy based upon shared experience, shared beliefs and shared direction and purpose.

    In regards to church membership, I only see a command to put out members who are obstinately persisting in sin. As for divisive members, we are to simply take note of them.

    For myself, I see the calvinism vs arminianism thing as being just one of those issues which may define whether a brother is a backyard neighbor or an in the house family member. No need to break fellowship, but there will always be this “thing” that comes between the two of you.

    In regards to ministry, though, I personally would be Leary of yoking myself with someone of the opposite opinion on reformed theology, simply because it is a big enough issue that it colors, to some extent, the rest of your view. How can two walk together lest they agree?

    That’s how I see it, anyhow.

    Hope some of that makes sense LOL

  11. Here’s the article I was referring to. Forgive me for posting such a long article as a reply to your OP, but I believe it’s relevant to this thread and was a great help to me:

    ***********************************
    ***********************************
    Doctrine and Unity
    David Miller
    January 26, 2005

    I often feel as if I am being squeezed between two sets of friends. On the one hand, I have theological friends. They value truth, biblical doctrine – the meat of God’s word. In a world sowed with Satan’s lies, God’s Word is our arbiter of truth. It is an anchor that holds us steady, a rudder to guide us, a lamp to light the way. If we abandon the deep things of God’s Word, we will be easily fooled and led astray by the enemy’s deception. When the pulpit proclaims the deep things of God’s Word and the people are firmly grounded in His truth, Christians will grow strong, discern truth from error, and will understand God’s will. For the church to function properly, they say, it must maintain doctrinal purity. And I agree with them!

    I have other friends for whom the highest value is the unity of the body of Christ. Jesus died to redeem one body, they say, not many. On the night before he died, Jesus prayed that his disciples would be one. Schism in the body of Christ grieves the heart of God and is a personal affront to the blood Christ shed for the church. Besides, they point out, many of the doctrines we divide over really don’t matter that much. Why should the church be fractured over petty doctrinal differences? God wants a unified church. And I agree with them!

    And that is why I am torn. I love to study God’s word in depth and teach it expositionally. I think Christians without a firm grounding in scriptures are swimming in shark infested waters. It is folly to reject doctrine in a world of lies. I am amazed at the persistent unwillingness among some to exercise biblical, doctrinal discernment. But I also see, among us “doctrinal” folks, a sometimes petty, critical nature. Some drop the h-bomb (heretic) on anyone who does not agree with any point of their cherished creed or doctrinal system. There is a superiority of attitude among us, the kind of schismatic behavior that Paul condemned in 1 Corinthians 11.

    I would like to propose a middle ground, one that cherishes doctrine without disdaining unity in the body of Christ. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15, identified the facts of the gospel (the death and resurrection of Christ) as “of first importance.” Does not that imply that there are other doctrines that are of second importance? They are important, but not as important as salvation. Is my view of baptism, or the second coming, or of church polity, as important as whether I hold a biblical view of salvation? Can we maintain doctrinal purity without fracturing the unity of the body Christ died for? I believe we can.

    Four Levels of Doctrine

    I propose that there are four general levels of doctrinal truth. For each level, there is an appropriate “unity response” – a way of dealing with those who would disagree. It is important that we understand each level and respond appropriately.

    Level One: Brick Wall Doctrine

    There is some truth around which we must construct a brick wall of separation and protection. Jude 3 says, “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” There is some doctrine which we must contend for, even to the point of separation. God’s word is a sword, and swords divide. There are some doctrines that all must believe. If you do not believe them, you have denied the faith. There can be no unity in the body of Christ with those who doctrines threaten the very existence of that body.

    Some Christians are unwilling to admit that this level of truth even exists. But doctrines of first importance must be contended for in uncompromising measure. What are those doctrines? I would use 1 Corinthians 15 as a guide. Paul identifies the facts of the death and resurrection of Christ as of first importance. So, “Brick Wall” doctrine is that truth which is essential to the gospel of Christ. If you question the authority of God’s Word, the foundation of the gospel crumbles. Salvation is grounded in a biblical view of a sovereign, triune God. There is no compromise on these doctrines. Salvation by grace through faith alone – the exclusivity of salvation through Christ – is essential doctrine. The fact of Christ’s return to judge the world is necessary. Around these doctrines we must erect a brick wall – tall and thick. Those who deny these truths are not brothers in Christ. They are wolves among the sheep. We do not fellowship with them, we contend with them

    Level 2: Picket Fence Doctrine

    A picket fence is a friendly way of separating neighbors. It is not a brick wall that divides, it just establishes boundaries. You chat over the fence, have picnics together, watch over each other’s homes and value the neighborhood you share. Around many doctrines we do not need a brick wall, but a simple picket fence.

    Imagine if there was only one church in your city. How (and who) would you baptize? What form of church government would you use? Would you practice tongues or not? Instead of fighting over these issues, we form a “Christian neighborhood.” Around the neighborhood is the brick wall of protection. Inside the neighborhood we have picket fences. We chat over the fence, fellowship together, watch over and bless each other and value our unity in Christ.

    Yet, we keep the picket fence. We Baptists can baptize believers, have deacons and vote on everything. The Presbyterians can sprinkle babies. The Bible churches can have elders. The charismatics can speak in tongues and prophesy. The Methodists can methodize. We can all follow our convictions on our side of the picket fence. We try to be good neighbors, have as much fellowship as we can, then go back to our homes to follow Christ according to our beliefs.

    There is a church less than a quarter mile from us. There are few doctrines (other than the basics of salvation) on which we would agree. Recently, they wanted to baptize some new Christians, but their building has no baptistery. We opened our doors and filled the tub. Neither of us compromised our doctrine, but we opened the gate in our picket fence, and had the neighbors over for a visit.

    So, what doctrines are Picket Fence Doctrines? First would be beliefs about church structure and polity. Infant or believer’s baptism? Deacons, Elders, ruling pastors? Congregational rule, elder rule, hierarchical rule? Why fight these doctrines. I am Baptist by birth, but also by conviction. I believe the Bible teaches baptism by immersion of believers. But I don’t have to hate those who sprinkle babies. I can open the scriptures and show them what I see there, but until Christ comes again, we are going to have differences of interpretation in the Christian neighborhood.

    It is considered a truism that denominations are divisive and evil. I disagree. As long as they are only picket fences in the Christian neighborhood, they allow us to practice our beliefs without having to fight every issue. It is when we erect brick walls of separation around our denominational differences that the problem comes. But the picket fences allow us to maintain friendship while following our individual convictions.

    Some major doctrines that may require picket fences. Calvinists and Arminians view so many things differently. The question of God’s sovereignty in salvation has been the watershed doctrine that has divided the church. Though I am opposed to Arminian doctrine, I know many who hold those views and have a passion for Christ equal or greater than my own. So what do we do? We stand at the picket fence and lovingly try to convince one another of our position. When the discussion is over, we shake hands and return to our homes where we worship with the folks who believe as we do.

    It is not that these doctrines do not matter. They are crucial. But I must, in humility, recognize that it is possible for someone to be a good Christian who loves Jesus and still comes to a different position than I do on these issues. If someone preaches universalism, I erect a brick wall. No fellowship. There can be no unity with wolves. But if someone disagrees with me on election or predestination, we maintain a friendship over the picket fence.

    So, the Christian neighborhood is surrounded by a brick wall that protects us from the wolves, the spiritual predators. Inside that wall, we live in unity. Each of us has our own home, separated by picket fences, but we work hard to build a unified community inside the brick wall. I may not worship at First Assembly, or River of Life, or New Covenant, or Calvary Baptist, but I can still recognize them as my Christian neighbors.

    Level Three: Backyard Doctrine

    Even if you live in the same home, you don’t always agree about everything. You sit on your deck in the backyard and talk about all kinds of things. Every doctrine of scripture is important. It is important to figure out how the world will end. We can debate the North and South Galatian theories and who wrote the book of Hebrews. We may sit in the backyard and talk about these things, but they do not affect our fellowship and we should never divide over them. Not even a picket fence is needed.

    The most obvious example of backyard doctrine is eschatology. Our church has dispensational premillennial pretribulationists (wow – that’s a mouthful), premillennial posttribulationists, and Amillennialists. Who knows, maybe there is a postmillennialist hiding behind a pew somewhere. I think this doctrine matters. Every Christian should study scripture and decide what he believes. But I can see no reason why eschatology should be a point of fellowship.

    If a doctrine affects salvation, erect a brick wall. If it affects the fellowship or functioning of the church, erect a friendly picket fence. But if the doctrine affects neither, then sit in the backyard talking about it, but never let it become a point of division.

    Level Four: Closet Doctrine

    A closet is a place of privacy. Some things I believe, I should just keep to myself. I should follow the Lordship of Christ and permit other Christians to do the same. In the early church, the question was whether a Christian should eat meat sacrificed to an idol. Paul told the Romans and Corinthians that each of us can follow our own conscience under Christ, and keep our opinions to ourselves. In 1 Corinthians 8 through 10, and in Romans 14 and 15, Paul spent a long time explaining this principle of personal freedom to his churches.

    For us, the issues are observing the Sabbath (or what day to observe it), or taking a glass of wine, or going to the movies, or dietary preferences, or…the list is long. Paul commands that those who say no on disputable issues should not condemn those who say yes and those who say yes should not disdain those who say no. Each of us seeks to be obedient to Christ on these matters and allows others to do the same. We also should be willing to limit our freedom to be a blessing to others.

    Three Final Considerations

    First, each of us must study the Word of God and try to assign each doctrine to its proper category. We will not always agree where doctrines fit, but with the Spirit’s guidance, we can uphold doctrine without sacrificing unity. Here are the questions I would ask. Is this doctrine essential to the salvation offered by God in Christ? If it is, then erect a brick wall around it. Is this doctrine essential to the fellowship or functioning of our church? If so, then erect a picket fence is needed. If the doctrine affects neither salvation nor fellowship, no fence is needed at all.

    Second, great damage is done to the purity of the church when doctrines are moved to lower levels than they deserve. If we compromise fundamental doctrine for the “unity of the church” we endanger the very nature of the church. We cannot treat important doctrines like matters of personal conscience. If we do, we sin against the Lord who bought us.

    Third, great damage is done to the unity of the body when doctrines are moved to a higher level than they deserve. I saw a bumper sticker recently, “If it ain’t King James, it ain’t Bible.” Here is someone who is making the choice of a Bible version a test of faith. Something that should be left to category 3 or 4 is being moved up to category 1. That fractures the body of Christ. I should not question someone’s Christian commitment because they believe the church will go through the tribulation or because they speak in tongues or baptize infants. I cannot treat these issues as if they were category 1. If I do, I offend the blood of Christ that was shed to redeem One Body.

    Some issues, I should keep to myself and allow you to do the same. Around other issues, I erect a picket fence. We can have deep friendships in the Christian neighborhood, even if we maintain separate homes. Around certain issues, I must erect a brick wall. Luther said, “Here I stand, I can do no other.” There are doctrines worth contending for.

    Lord, help us to always know which truth fits in which category, so that the Christian neighborhood can be protected from its enemies and still experience the unity you desire.

    ***********************************
    ***********************************

  12. Hi Lionel,

    *****************************
    ********** QUOTE ************
    *****************************
    Let me ask you if two Christians (genuine) disagree on a topic both filled by the Holy Spirit who is right?
    *****************************
    *****************************
    *****************************

    Well, if I’m one of the two, you can safely assume that I’m the one who is right <-:

    In any other case, it might be that neither is right, or one is right and the other wrong, but it will not be that both are right, although both may have valid points that bear listening to, and may enrich the hearer.

  13. Bro. Laz,

    I enjoyed reading the article you posted. Pragmatically speaking, I’ve never heard of anything better proposed as a guide to maintaining unity. (Maybe Albert Mohler’s “Theological Triage” comes close.)

    However, I must say that I don’t necessarily see the 4 categories in the bible. I see two: Brick wall, and closet. Unless, you can demonstrate otherwise, it seems that biblically I have grounds to view divisions, based on anything outside of the “Brick Wall” category, as the result of sin’s affect on us just like any other prejudice or preference.

    If it’s true that the things contained in the final 3 categories are negotiable (because of different understandings of scriptures teaching), then it would seem that they are actually matters of personal comfort. And I believe that proves that those categories would desolve in the persecution scenario that I put forth.

    The truth is, we’ve added to the functions of the church. For instance, who said that the church leadership had to baptize anyway. Couldn’t a Christian, who wanted their baby baptized unto the Lord, do it themselves at home? What if my neighbor was visiting me and came to faith in Christ and wanted to be baptized? Couldn’t I do it in my bathtub without anyone else present? And infant baptism, or baptism in general, isn’t the only thing that could be viewed in this way.

    For things that were intended to be done together (ex. singing, praying, etc.), I would almost be unequivocal in saying that I Corinthians 13 love being practiced by all would eliminate schisms over such things.

    Perhaps the problem of division is multi-faceted and even more complex than I think. But I still think that if persecution would eliminate most of the problem, then so would a committment to Christian love.

  14. BLD aka the professor man I knew you was going
    to start some trouble man lol. Btw it was a great article about the times we live and the doctrines we have today. The dying part will change things which I’am “not” asking for. But the people in china if they haven’t been poisen with the gospel of america I don’t think they are going through this. The nonsense we have here I could be wrong with that. But for me I’ll watch and read this good stuff from the professor

  15. Agonize is the correct word my brother. This along with your other articles are truly cause for re examination. We have to look long and hard at who we will not call “brother” and then see if their is a truly Biblical reason for non fellowship or if it is a I am right and you are wrong fleshy reason.

    HBOC
    CEP3

  16. Everyone keeps implying that division has to do with disagreement, it makes more sense that the division of the clergy/laity is what is spoken about. We are all brothers and all special, there are not certain men who may speak from God but all believers in the fellowship. Think about it!

  17. *********************
    ******* QUOTE *******
    However, I must say that I don’t necessarily see the 4 categories in the bible. I see two: Brick wall, and closet. Unless, you can demonstrate otherwise, it seems that biblically I have grounds to view divisions, based on anything outside of the “Brick Wall” category, as the result of sin’s affect on us just like any other prejudice or preference.
    *********************
    *********************

    Larry sez: Good point, Lawrence. The article makes a lot of sense to me, but so do other things that ain’t necessarily right. We do need to let The Bible be our ultimate guide.

  18. Just outstanding! The more I read from you younger men of God the more I’m encouraged to pray for you and take confidence that the church is yet growing stronger. There will always be those that place their teachings above that of the scriptures, in terms of Christian fellowship. It is important to distinguish these separatist characteristics before we assue fellowship. It undertakes what I call “serious investigation” and heartfelt prayer as we become motivated by the question of motive itself before we assume fellowship which so many of us do without giving much thought. It is amazing that you picked that out my son as you listened with discernment. Please keep up the very good work.

  19. Many thanks for making this thread, sir, and for the heart for truth/zeal for UNITY of the BRETHREN that you’ve developed challenged others on. Nothing short of refreshing…..and much needed for such as time as this, when it seems that there’s nothing but CIVIL WAR in the camp, Friendly Fire, Factions, and everything else but uniting to KEEP THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THING—WHICH IS THE GLORY OF CHRIST.

    Blessings…..definately placing you in the Blogroll for favorite sites…


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