Conditions & Comments - Bible Counsel - Feature Page 12
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Some conditions or issues, letters, and thoughts here are shared for meditation by the gathered saints in a scriptural assembly. This page is to set forth thoughts and information concerning those who especially value BIBLE-ONLY, and practice that revival of 1827 AD, and responses are welcome. Our desire is to see all saints of God gathered in this worldwide fellowship to have "unity of the faith", as God desires. It is not expected that everyone will agree with all things. Responders here might share other views to consider. Send thoughts to the site manager directly at the e-mail shown here (address: email@example.com). Replies will be held confidential. Thank you.
THE LORD IN THE MIDST
Some Thoughts Expressed By An Esteemed Brother
> "A local assembly is never more or less than the expression of the whole (church) in that place."
> "We are not bound by what others do if we do not recognize (collectively) the Lord to be in their midst."
> "His rights (the Lord) to act as head over His house are never to be limited by any sort of human procedure. If He is recognized as in the midst in a place then to put aside what happens there puts aside his presence and authority in that place."
- From correspondence 12/09 - R. DeWitt (parentheses above added).
SOME PROBLEMS OF SPECIAL MEETINGS
[Correspondence adapted here for some ministry and to avoid names.]
This is just a note regarding the thought you mentioned of perhaps having the said brother come and hold a special meeting. A brother might be well regarded and we might not question his ministry in general, but I am concerned about the practice of inviting saints to come and hold special meetings, who are not commended out in the Lord's work fulltime. This does not seem a good thing and I believe is a bad practice. There is a paper on Ministers which speaks further on the subject.
Once we start doing this it is difficult to justify drawing the line on others who want to do this, so I am not in favor of starting it. If it becomes a practice it can become divisive. We could invite a brother in this fellowship worldwide to attend our regular Fellowship Day some time, suggesting he might have something to further share along with others there on a subject. As I said, notwithstanding that the said brother often participates at Christian gatherings, an assembly should not go beyond the safeguards we have for ministry and be giving preference to one. It might be well to discuss this further among the saints in the local gathering.
There are a number of things to consider in this. Of course one can invite some to come to a cottage meeting and have a study ---it is their home. One time years ago I was invited with others to a home with a brother who was learned, to speak with young people who had concerns, and together we led a discussion and questions with them about gatherings. We do something like that now with various young people gatherings; and such a gathering should always be with the foreknowledge of local brethren, so that they know what is happening and can comment. That may have been what the brother you mentioned intended with a meeting he arranged for a visitor, except it sounds like it became an assembly meeting and announcing it as an address and using the meeting room.
My concern here is when it is set forth as an assembly action and the saints are called to hear a brother deliver a message or address. That is not a discussion, and begins to recognize one and set him forth as a minister among the assemblies. It can proceed (and has in the past) for that one going on to other places and doing the same, and the home assembly is circumvented as to approval and commendation. As I said, I am not speaking against some brother, but the practice is not good. Ministry days are afforded at times by most assemblies (all day fellowship meetings) without such special gatherings. A couple of brothers, as you know, did something like that years ago, and the home assemblies had to put a stop to it ---and these two did leave us and begin an independent work with various Christians in the world. I know of other similar situations where matters "got out of hand". I believe it is going too far. When good intentions go too far they may become a bad thing. Brethren elsewhere might be encouraged to come to the local special Fellowship Day and share some thoughts, as do others, exercising their "holy" and "royal priesthood" (1 Pet. 2), and matters can then be left to the leading of the Spirit by all brethren.
We need to receive a unified commendation by the home assembly (example as Gal.2:9) as to one going about doing ministry in places. I am just apprehensive with this round-about way today of special addresses not commended as fulltime by elders in their home assembly. It opens the door to disorder and serious problems as has happened. Look up always!
- Your brother by grace, [R. L. DeWitt; Cd-g; 1/09]