Training for Reigning - 24 - Why can't we go there? pt2

B EFORE YOU START reading let me warn you that parts of this article may prove none too "interesting." But if ever you are likely to ask that ill-informed question, "Why can’t we all be one?" then you owe it to yourself to plow right through. Reading time is only seven minutes.
As we resume our study of the five groups of ideas, that as a rule, form the basic features of a denominational church, we need to remind ourselves that our sole concern must be, not to prove that we are right and that they are wrong, but to make certain that we shall identify ourselves only with a "fellowship of the Son"- the fellowship to which our faithful God has called us; I Cor. 1: 9.
At this point let me digress to make sure you understand the meaning of that word "fellowship."
When brethren remark that certain Christians cannot be received into Assembly fellowship because "we aren’t in fellowship with them," do you understand what is meant? Because many Christians have a very wrong idea of what those words imply. Let me emphasize once more, then, that
That suggests two things:
(a) When people have something they can share-in-common (share together) then to that extent they can be "in fellowship."
(b) And when they are united to share-in-common then they form "a fellowship."
I Cor. 1: 10 makes it clear that if Christians are to form a fellowship that belongs to the Son, they will have to have a common understanding of His mind concerning His Assemblies
- must all "speak the same thing." Unless this is so how can there be a sharing-in-common? There must be common agreement respecting the basic principles of God’s Word as it relates to His Assemblies - or else there are no Assembly truths that we can share-in-common. That just means that without such a common agreement, a basis for fellowship cannot exist, and divisions must form themselves automatically.
Now do you understand?
Let’s hope that you do for many well-intentioned Christians seem determined to ignore that fact! BUT YOU CAN’T STRADDLE TWO HORSES GOING IN DIFFERENT PATHS
- . . It’s to attempt to do so, figuratively, that is the direct cause of so much man-made confusion among His gathered people today . . . And now let’s get back to considering "What saith the Scriptures?" respecting those five groups of basic ideas around which denominational churches revolve:
(1) A denominational "church" is a company of Christians, gathered under, and distinguished by, a denominational name. Their building is usually called "a church" also.
Contra: All distinguishing (and so dividing) names, other than those given to Christians, generally in the Bible, are expressly forbidden: 1 Corinthians 1: 10-13; 3:3-4.
Nowhere in Scripture is a meeting-place called "a church." Instead we read of several "churches" meeting in houses: Romans 16: 4-5; Colossians 4: 15.
All lexicons give the meaning for "ekklesia" (the word translated "church") the English word "assembly"- an assembly composed of people. An "assembly of God" is described as "a spiritual house" "builded together" of "living stones"; 1 Peter 2: 5; Ephesians 2: 22; 1 Timothy 3: 15.
(2) The denominational church is held together by agreement to a creed; membership in the church organization; vows to abide faithfully by the rules of the church as outlined in their "constitution."
Contra: Assemblies of God are held together by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 3: 16), acknowledgment of the Name and Lordship of Christ and obedience to His Word (Revelation 3: 8).
Christ never instructed His servants to draw up a creed. The so-called Apostles’ Creed was not prepared by the Apostles, but by men who sought to improve the means of imparting truth adopted by the Holy Spirit. If a creed had been needful, surely no man was better fitted to give one to us than the Apostle Paul. But it is noteworthy that in Acts 20: 32 he did not say to the Ephesian elders, "I commend you to God and the creed." He knew that nothing less than the whole Word of God would suffice to teach us His will for us.
Church organizations are wholly foreign to Scripture. Assembly fellowship, not membership, is what is set before us in the New Testament.
Church "constitutions," likewise, are completely man-made. So, too, is the practice of making vows required of those who would "join the church."
The Bible gives no hint that Christians should be required to formally "join" an Assembly of God. Instead, following the order instituted by the Holy Spirit Himself, a person who has "received the Word" unto Salvation, has been baptized as a believer, and who seeks to "continue stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" (which just means the teachings they gave us, by the Spirit, as recorded in the New Testament) can be "added" to "the fellowship" as simply now as then; Acts 2: 41-42.
But my space is at an end. Finish it up with me in the next chapter (if the Lord will) won’t you?. Meantime, how about making the last part of 1 Sam. 2: 30 your special guidance- text for this year.