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Volume 8 - Page 51 of 141 Index | Zoom | |
Faction, Fellowship, Faithfulness.
pp. 91 94
It is written that, "he that soweth discord among brethren is an abomination unto the
Lord", and we may well shrink back from any participation in that which is so grievous.
To the Corinthians, the apostle speaks with equal intensity when he would show them the
fleshy character of a party spirit. "Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? or
were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
We must not think of unity as though it were a synonym for uniformity. The spirit that
prompts the language, "Master, we saw one casting out demons in Thy Name, and he
followeth not us; and we forbade him, because he followeth not us", must be repudiated,
for it savours not of Christ, but of the flesh. Among those who seek the truth of the
Word, there is not one that can lay claim to all the truth, and while the diligence and
usefulness of others should provoke us to emulation, we must encourage continually the
spirit that can say, "Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all the Lord's people
were prophets, and that the Lord would put His spirit upon them".
While we must ever watch our hearts and words lest Faction should be encouraged,
we must equally weigh over the teaching of the Word as to Fellowship. Many who have
sought to avoid the evil of a party spirit, have however overstepped the scriptural bounds
of Fellowship. We are urged to "put up no bar", and not to sit in judgment upon
fellow-believers. Much as we appreciate the spirit that often prompts those who thus
speak, and while we have endeavoured to allow in others the liberty we ourselves enjoy,
we see too plainly the teaching of the Word to allow ourselves to become entangled in a
fellowship that is contrary to the Word, merely for sentimental or other feelings. While
we are enjoined to "receive him that is weak in the faith", and not to despise the one
whose weakness causes him to act very differently to ourselves, there are occasions when
continued fellowship becomes a betrayal of our trust.
"Whoso leadeth forward (proagġn, L., T., Tr.) and abideth not in the doctrine of
Christ hath not God. . . . If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine,
receive him not into your house, and greet him not; for he who greets him HAS
FELLWOSHIP (koinoġ) with his evil deeds" (II John 9-11).
Here is scriptural ground for a cleavage. No plea of fellowship, or love, or our own
liability to err, or the sadness our attitude may cause, or the fact that most probably our
motives will be misunderstood, or that we shall lose the support of many a dear child of
God, or that ties of sweetest friendship may be severed, none of these things can alter the
plain teaching of the Word. The forerunners of the apostacy are everywhere busy.
Earnest students of the Word are sowing seeds the harvest of which would horrify them
could they but foresee it.
The Person of Christ, His nature and offices, are prominent in the list of doctrines
marked down for attack. Sin, too, by the fact that its absolute origin is not a subject of
revelation, affords scope for much teaching that either reduces sin from a crime to a