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DO THE READERS KNOW of those believers in Christ holding that recovery of church truth in AD 1827--- endeavoring to continue the expression of the "one body in Christ" worldwide in the scriptural order, as intend -
ed by God for "unity of the faith"----rather than independency, mergers, and sectar-ianism? Does one want to know? Such a fellowship does exist today. SEE THE SITE
MANAGER for a brief history.
Some thoughts here especially for the faithful saints who value Bible-only , who earnestly desire to be faithful to our Lord and His Word (Mt.18:20; Acts 20:27). See also other pages listed below for some thoughts. Write to the Site Manager if one has questions or comments.
- Bible Counsel: Feature Page 13
NOTE: For the faithful gathered saints already in a scriptural assembly who would like to review related papers on our path, they might see the page: Conditions And Comments -F12 , and may write for copies of papers.
Contact Site Manager with any questions.
CHRIST IS THE CENTER
If the "Kingdom of Heaven" is like an OUTER CIRCLE of profession and honor to God and His ways, as we understand, and the "Kingdom of God" is like an INNER CIRCLE of posses-sion of Christ and the "new birth", then we might well look for a CENTER CIRCLE with-in of believers gathered around Christ and His Word for obedience and submission.
This page speaks to those who value the fol-lowing G.R.E.A.T.W.A.Y: Gathering with other saints to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ alone in love; Receiving "all the counsel of God" and "rightly dividing the Word of Truth"; Expressing the "one body" of Christ in the world; Acknowledging the "priesthood" of all believers; Trusting the Lord and keeping His Word; Worshipping in devotion as pleases God; Appreciating God's assembly, order, and government; Yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
In anticipation of those who might have some objections, one ought to say: no one should presume to boast of being in a center circle; nevertheless, it remains and that should be the object and desire of faithful saints.
ASPECTS OF GOD’S COLLECTIVE TESTIMONY
Some important things are noted here to consider about God's collective testimony and gathering of His saints in the world. Faithful saints surely should not want to be indifferent about these things, and be separated into various religious sects developed by men. We can see the unity God intends world wide in reading the Epistles of our Bible. Church means THE CALLED OUT ASSEMBLY (Saints --sanctified ones) PERTAINING TO GOD, and is viewed in Holy Scripture in both a local sense and as part of the universal testimony (the collective unity everywhere). This inventory may help one see if they are in accord with the scriptural way of gathering for the testimony God has given. One then can seek to find this fellowship in christendom in the world for blessing and to honor God. All the saints of God should desire to be part of the universal testimony, which is not about what one might CHOOSE to hold, as we often hear expressed. A faithful seeker can learn more of the history, church ministry, and ways of God preserved down through time by contacting Bible Truth Publishers, Addison, IL (Bibletruthpublishers.com). - R. DeWitt, 12/05.
1. CHURCH TRUTH - general, needs to be understood as an essential part of the Christian testimony, just as Redemption way and Spiritual life are, with Christ as the center and object (Jn.14:6). It is God's instruction and desires for the body of Christ ---locally and in the universal church. The Church and fellowship in a locality should be seen as God's gathering in a geographical place in fellowship and extension of the universal testimony in the world (note 1 Cor. 12:25); and thus needs to be of "one mind" and "one accord" worldwide as God says. It speaks of obedience, and such as gathering together for collective testimony --"unity of the Faith", our place and walk in the world, the Lord's glory and honor, etc.
A gathering must be fully in accord with the Word of God, and not just some similarity. Innovations and religious ideas of men have no place in the true church, and believers ought to take a stand on that. Every believer should know what the true church in the world looks like. The expression of the "one body in Christ" is essential truth, so believers must decide if they are going to be gathered on that ground, or continue with independency and sectarianism. If one will not embrace it, he/she may wander among various sects of men and choose a place one likes; however, the writer believes one will then not prosper in one's soul, and will likely suffer loss in the day of judgment (see Rom. 14:10-12; I Cor. 11:19). Church truth is a call to obedience, and rebellion to it will bring loss. Is one ready to consider this?
a) We need to stop reasoning about the church, and obey God by His Word..
b) Many real Christians do not read the Bible, and think the gospel message of salvation to the lost, and praising the Lord is all God expects of us.
c) Following charismatic or academic men, religious leaders, listening to nice sermons and entertaining music, participating in programs and various religious activities, is NOT a description of a scriptural assembly.
d) Most of what we see in the various sectarian gatherings are religious ideas of men, rather than the truth of the Word. Many innovations are added and much scripture is omitted.
e) One may contact the writer for further information on church truth, and find dependable ministry at Bible Truth Publishers, Addison, IL -USA.
2. CHUCH HISTORY - overview, shows us what the New Testament assembly (church) was like, and what God intended for His redeemed people collectively in all ages --see Acts 2:41-42 and the Epistles. It is quite different from what we are seeing among the various denominated sects, which began in the Reformation time (circa 1500 AD) and continues today, and also some independent new gatherings. In the beginning God established the Church, and after the Apostles were taken up men corrupted God's testimony and brought in some Jewish traditions, and allowed religious ideas to prevail (notably circa 500 -1500 AD under the Roman Catholic religious rule). One needs to have a good understanding of church history, see God's work of revival, and be gathered in fellowship with those who also desire to keep that which is committed unto us. It is God's church and His Word is our only authority. Is one ready to accept this?
a) Every gathering has a history and one can know how it came about, and if it is true to the Word.
b) Seekers can know if a gathering is independent and divisive of the "one body in Christ" in the world.
c) Can one appreciate that recovery and revival of Church truth in the early 1800's, and esteem the Word (see the so-called "brethren movement of 1827 AD); and understand how it continued, though some have departed from it with many revisions, to return to extremes of rules and controls, or to liberal conformity to what pleases the flesh?
d) The writer can provide papers and further information on church history.
3. CHUCH GATHERING - reception, must not be on the ground of popular ideas or to accommodate friends and special interests, but the Word of God, the holiness of God and His honor. If the saints are reading the Word of God and are yielded, they will see what honors God. The overseers in God's gatherings are appointed by Him, not men, and those properly called to the oversight should discern by examination and letters of commendation, who can be received into the fellowship at the Lord's table. This is paramount to holiness, and to avoid defilement of the table, false teachings, and stumbling the gathered saints there. One must be a baptized and "born again" believer, known to be clear about essential truth, and walking in a Godly way separate from various sects; and this all takes time to know if one does not have a reliable letter of commendation. Is one ready for reception?
a) The trend in many Christian groups today is either loose and about social relations to the expense of God's honor, or strict personal interpretations which goes beyond the Word and sets rules of men. One needs to see that the form of gathering is not alone the truth of gathering. We ought to honor and obey God rather than men.
b) We ought to show love, care, and friendliness to visitors, but not embrace and include them until it is shown they desire to bow to God's Word and His honor.
c) Applicants for reception need to know what they are coming into, as well as the assembly knowing them. It is a two-way thing.
d) The writer recommends a prayerful study of the Bible Epistles, and will share further information if one is interested.
4. CHURCH WORSHIP - collective, is in "unity of the Spirit" (Eph.4:3), and must be orderly and by the leading of the Spirit. Some manner of quietness ought to prevail at this time at the Lord's Table, so as to not quench the Holy Spirit and private meditations. Preaching, activities of the flesh, etc. is out of place in worship. The collective singing of suitable hymns of worship by the saints, prayers of thanksgiving and remembrance of the sacrifice of our Lord, humility, private devotion, and the reading of related portions of the Word, is proper and praiseworthy. The taking of the one loaf of bread and drinking of the wine together speaks of Christ's sacrifice, and is the central theme of collective worship; and it is the privilege of all faithful ones who do well. The assembly must understand and maintain these truths. Is one ready for worship and be on holy ground?
a) Only God knows what is pleasing to Himself, so our ideas of worship are of little value.
b) The writer can send a paper on worship if one is interested.
5. CHURCH MINISTRY & ministers speaks of that which is of God and by God. Nothing is left to man to decide in the church for worship, order, and ministry. The Lord is in the midst (Matt. 18:20), and we need to acknowledge His presence. Is one in agreement with this?
a) The priesthood of believers (1 Pet. 2) allows all the gathered brothers to minister as led of the Spirit.
b) The sisters are to remain silent in assembly meetings as part of their calling and testimony, as God states, but they should join in the worship in song and silent prayers; and they can minister as helps in many works, and be inspiring and of encouragement to all outside the collective time of meetings.
c) Ministry must be appropriate and edifying, and not to press some personal conviction, though in Bible studies one might share personal understandings in propriety for discussion.
d) A number of papers are available on scriptural ministry and the gifts and roles of each believer, if one would like to see them.
6. CHURCH ORDER & government ought to be esteemed by faithful saints, which must be in accord with the Word, rather than ideas of men. Elders are appointed by God to maintain God's honor and His testimony. The brothers and sisters in the fellowship have a place and function, and all brothers ought to have an exercise to speak the Word, shepherd the saints, preach the gospel, etc. The sisters ought to encourage all, be an example, and minister to various needs outside the gathering meetings. This all should be understood and appreciated for God's glory and our good. Is one ready to accept this?
a) There is no such thing in God's assemblies as "majority rule", and since we sometimes don't see unanimity in a gathering, we need to also consider the judgment of godly elders.
b) Since teachers, pastors (shepherds), and evangelists (all in the plural) are gifts to the assembly, and not special titles and positions, the whole assembly ought to exercise their priesthood, and together in humility be of "one accord" and "one mind" (Phil.2:2) to consider important matters.
c) There is essential and non-essential truth, meaning some things may be true but not required for the assembly to maintain, and only a matter of conscience ---not to be pressed.
d) When the flesh rises up to oppose the common good and the Lord's honor, the assembly needs to judge it; however, if not unanimous the elders must conclude the matter in judgment before God (Heb.13:7 & 17).
7. CHURCH MEETINGS & fellowship include the remembrance meeting for the Lord's supper on the Lord's day ("first day of the week") by the "born again" saints, which ought to be as in Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 and all Epistles; also at other times the Bible study meeting, prayer meeting, and happy fellowship for encouragement to all by Bible-only. A gospel meeting for preaching of salvation might be held for the sake of any in attendance without the Lord, and to invite the public to come and hear words of life; and children's classes are also important to help the young ones while the assembly is having a regular Bible study. Is one ready for such fellowship?
a) There are regular assembly meetings, as given, and it is good to also have times of special gatherings for fellowship, ministry, and blessing.
b) The writer would be pleased to share other information on functions.
True believers ought to want to be a part of such a worldwide fellowship, seeking to keep "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27), and be "rightly dividing the Word of truth" (II Tim. 2:15). God says: "Let all things be done decently and in order" (I Cor.14:40). More can be explained on this if one desires to know, but if one is satisfied with their own choices we will just leave this between that one and the Lord.
- RLD: CF03; 12/05. -from biblecounsel.net