Ok, so where am I going wrong?
The sometimes testy subject of fellowship is on my mind this week. I say “testy” because fellowship circles in the church invariably bring with it issues associated with error. Let me explain by way of a theoretical example.
A brother in Christ who has for years been revered as having an exemplary record regarding biblical study by upholding the Pauline call to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15) and lived life in pursuit of “righteousness, faith, love and peace” (II Timothy 2:22) then, out of the blue, with inexplicable audacity publically serves up a lesson from a “different gospel” (Galatians 1:6). One is left wondering, “What gives?” So with grace and humility words are exchanged “seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6) over an extraordinary length of time not just by me but many faithful brethren seeking to correct ‘if God perhaps will grant them repentance” (II Timothy 2:24-26) but, alas, to no avail. To this day he remains defiant even accusing correctors of being dishonourable and inciting division.
Now, having pursued a course of “proving all things” as true and correct from the scriptures to show the errant one’s departure from the truth to brethren who fellowship him via personal contact, using him in church outreach programmes etc. and endeavouring to point out with the same attitude displayed to the errant one that such contact and association is “sharing in his evil deeds” (II John 2:11), I and faithful brethren are the ones rejected and found to be dishonourable even to the point of misapplying II John 9-11. Have I misapplied II John 9-11? I do not believe so. A.T. Robertson, Baptist (1863-1934) says the text is dealing with those who progress beyond the doctrine of Christ not about Christ. Adam Clarke, Methodist minister (1762-1832) said, “He who passes over the sacred enclosure, or goes beyond the prescribed limits; and abideth not in the doctrine – does not remain within these holy limits, but indulges himself either in excesses of action or passion; hath not God for his Father, nor the love of God in his heart.” Which brings me to the title of this week’s thought for the week, where am I going wrong? Are you willing to help me out using scripture, of course?
I’m back from the holidays having relaxed and recharged for a new year that hopefully will be better than last year’s disasters.
As it happens, I viewed some interesting blogs and commentaries that issued forth some poignant thoughts especially of a Biblical nature. However, in printing or referring to such articles or thoughts doesn’t mean I endorse the faith of the author for such may go beyond that which is written (I Corinthians 4:6) or may be in fellowship or endorse the fellowship of those that abide not in the doctrine of Christ and therefore share in their evil deeds (II John 7-11).
One such article that caught my eye comes forth from Martin Johnson, a church of Christ minister who served as a missionary in Indonesia. He presents a position on the consumption of alcohol that I, personally, can relate to when I first became a Christian back in 1985. Here is a snippet:
When I first became a Christian I thought it was okay for Christians to drink alcohol socially or recreationally as long as they didn’t get drunk. I based this decision on the following reasons:
- In the first century they couldn’t have prevented grape juice from fermenting since they had no refrigeration.
- Jesus made wine.
- Paul told Timothy to drink a little wine.
However, after I began to hear others say that Christians couldn’t drink socially I began to study the issue secretly hoping that they were wrong. But, I’m now convinced that my reasoning was wrong and that Christians have no business drinking alcoholic beverages socially or recreationally.
Read the article and let your heart react to some good, practical advice.