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Volume 8 - Page 52 of 141 Index | Zoom | |
blessing in disguise, or compromises the fair name of God and declares His policy to be
let us do evil that good may come. We must not allow the words of those who
misrepresent our motives, calling us partizans and what not, to prevent us from
The spirit in which the separation is made must certainly be one of love, even as the
apostle enjoined the Thessalonians:
"If any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company
with him that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as
"It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful". Stewards dare not betray
their trust by encouraging on the one hand faction and the drawing away of disciples after
them, or by a false interpretation of fellowship on the other.
It is sometimes forgotten that a narrower margin is allowed a leader or teacher than is
allowed the simple believer. I may have fellowship with a believer without compromise
which in a teacher would be impossible. II John 9-11 has the leaders and teachers of
doctrine in view.
This line of teaching is manifest in I Tim. 3: A bishop must be blameless, the
husband of one wife, etc. In the early church (as in foreign missions to-day), where
converts were made from paganism there were many who would have more than one
wife. This was no barrier to fellowship, the responsibility could not be lightly repudiated.
As a believer he would have to walk softly. While the fullest fellowship would be his as
a believer, such could not be the case as a teacher. Such a man could not take oversight.
His many wives would not commend the truth, hence he must be blameless, the husband
of one wife. The home life of a believer is no qualification for fellowship as a believer,
but if a believer cannot rule his own house well he cannot be allowed to attempt to rule
the church of God. We are not discussing whether the office of bishop still obtains, we
are considering this principle concerning the higher qualification of teachers.
Faithfulness may compel me to repudiate fellowship with some as teachers lest I be
implicated in their deeds, and faithfulness must be the touchstone increasingly as
apostacy draws near.
Our hearts are heavy sometimes as we learn the emptiness and the error of the
churches. We cannot, however, join in with their errors to endeavour to stem the tide.
Faithful, separated Abraham could have done more for Sodom, had it been possible, than
Lot who sat in the gate. Events are moving rapidly, and believers will continually be
confronted with the choice of faction, fellowship and faithfulness. While we most
earnestly pray that faction may be forever avoided, and true fellowship most eagerly
pursued, we do, at the same time, pray that, "by honour and dishonour, by evil report and
good report: as deceivers and yet true", that come what come may, even though
faithfulness should foreshadow the forsaken and solitary parallel of II Tim. 1: 15, "This
thou knowest that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me", it may be held