CHURCH TRUTH - Bible Counsel - Section C
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For saints who value
There seems to be three great spheres of Christian experience: Redemption Way, Church Truth, &
Spiritual Life (John 14:6). Most believers can ap-preciate redemption way and spiritual growth, but church truth seems to be much neglected. We need to take "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27).
It is not required by God to be gathered in a scriptural assembly, but there is and will be blessing for saints to meet on that ground and part of a collective testimony worldwide, as God intended for His church, and by His revival of 1827 AD. Faithful readers here can gain some understanding of such fellowship, and may desire to be associated to also express the "one body in Christ", embrace "all the counsel of God", and show forth "unity of the faith" by the Word of Truth. There is no such thing in the Bible as going to "the church of your choice", as many believers say. Write to the Site Manager for further understanding and to find a Scriptural fellowship.
CHURCH TRUTH is about faithful compliance and conformity to what God intended in Acts 2: 41- 42 at the beginning of the church, and then the Epistles. It speaks of obeying and honoring God collectively without innovations. One who is saved (Jn.3: 16) ought to follow the Word (see Jn.14:23-24; Jn.17:17; Titus 1:9; Phil. 2:2); including baptism, the gathering locally, the collective testimony in the world; and obedience to the Word, a Godly walk, the Lord's glory and honor, etc. A local gathering in accord with Scripture may be near to one to visit, if interested.
From time to time papers will be set forth here and on the Feature Pages herein, concerning various aspects of this truth. We ought to love all saints everywhere and be a help, even if we cannot walk with all. - RLD
NOTE: When we speak of a scriptural assembly we need to be prepared to show what it is biblically, and what it is not by the innovations of men. This writer feels free to invite inquiry on each issue or order of Scripture ---and distinguish between what men have invented (and often prefer), and what some of us are holding as true to God's Word and that recovery of circa 1800 AD. One might disagree, and that is a choice, but Scripture is quite plain as to what God has intended for His testimony in the world. One can write for help herein to find such a fellowship.
- RLD 08/15
FOUNDATION GUIDE FOR THE ASSEMBLY
By R. DeWitt, 2007; rev. 03/17
[Some understanding of the scriptural assembly locally and worldwide, and in testimony as shown in the revival of 1827 AD which first met in a home, and is now in many cities and countries worldwide.]
Some Christians are associated with so-called High Churches who have a formal hierarchy of priestly men and many rituals, with their doctrines, rules, and form; some believers are at the other extreme with various independent, casual, and open sects who follow varied innovations to make them appealing and popular with men; and many Christian groups are somewhere between these. We need, rather, to endeavor to be yielded to God's Word, and that is what the fellowship from circa 1800 is about. A few thoughts are here from other papers to help Christians, who have never heard of the revival of AD 1827, and were not reared within a scriptural assembly.
The Gathering Place according to the scriptural order for the church, is probably not like anything one has known from the various Christian gatherings they have seen in the world, who often denominate: take a name, have a hierarchy of leaders, follow rituals, ceremonies and rules, may embrace worldly ways, have entertainment and activities, programs, innovations, etc. Others form independent gatherings in homes and do whatever they all agree to do in the name of Christianity; yet also fail to bow to Bible-only.
While many intended scriptural assemblies begin in homes until they grow larger, they need to do it in fellowship with the universal Church as God established for some help, rather than independency which is divisive (1Cor. 12:25); and certainly not to be exalting certain men among them. There are various ideas developed to please man, rather than true to the Word of God. One needs to decide if they want to be a part of a scriptural assembly as a worldwide fellowship in "unity of the faith" as God ordained, and as a local expression of that, or just follow traditions and the popular ideas of men.
A true believer ought to seek to know church truth, church history, talk with the elders associated with the gathering, be baptized, pray much, and be an observer for a time before asking to be received into that scriptural fellowship, for unity with the revival of 1827 after the biblical order. It endeavors to hold to Bible-only for universal unity. Reception is not dependent on knowing all the Scripture, and one should come simply in faith as a learner. One should come with the thought of "one accord" as shown and in truth. Certainly, we do not expect perfection with any saints, but God has preserved the testimony and pathway that He ordained.
The Word Of God should be our only authority for the Christian faith, not rules, creeds, the reasoning of various men and personal preferences. One should study the Word, seek some counsel from sound Bible teachers, and pray earnestly. Bible Truth Publishers, Addison, IL is a sound source of church history and ministry.
The Assembly Life concerns Christian love, happy fellowship, and the various Bible meetings and function as in Acts 2:41-42 and the Epistles ---a Godly spirit, and the care and fellowship for all the saints. Some small gatherings in homes grow to need a larger building in time for the assembly. One should stand apart from various sects and appreciate the truth of expressing the "one body of Christ” as given for the church, rather than the independent ways or mergers of the various religious sects of men. Mergers are not scriptural. A seeker ought to learn such as the ground of gathering, the history of the gathering, the form of gathering, the functions of the gathering, the priesthood of the gathering, etc.; all to know if God is honored, the Bible is followed, and there is liberty of spirit.
The Holy And Royal Priesthood (1 Pet. 2) is a precious truth given all saints, and something different than one will find in the various sects and systems, where the liberty and gifts of God's calling and participation is not allowed. One should study this and value the priesthood of the saints. Men are not called to make rules for others.
The Order And Government Of God speaks of the scriptural form of the collective gatherings, unity worldwide, a Godly spirit, correction of waywardness, and honor to God; and God's mind and purposes for His testimony from the beginning of the church. This is by sharing of all the gathered saints and some guidance by elders. The saints worldwide should be essentially of one mind before God.
The Honor And Glory Of The Lord ought to be paramount among the saints in the assembly and in our personal life, rather than pleasing men with their religious ideas.
The Collective Worship And Ministry speaks of communion at the Lord's Table and the Supper, as worship in both a collective and personal way by the working of the Spirit (Matt. 18:20), and the ministry shared in Bible studies and in messages delivered among the saints needs to be sound and esteemed; and those visitors in the "room (place) of the unlearned" can profit from it, as God says (note 1 Cor. 14:16) .
[It is important to appreciate that in all this it is speaking of God's standards and testimony in the world after His order. There is no such thing in the Holy Scriptures as "a church of your choice", so one ought to seek to find what God intended for the church, rather than look for a popular place of convenience and our preference. One can learn more about such a fellowship at the site: www.biblecounsel.homestead.com and ask questions there. One cannot speak for others, and surely each child of God ought to pray earnestly to find God's mind for one's pathway.] – RLD: CF15
THE ONLY ONES ?
Commentary By R. L. DeWitt
[There is no thought here to speak against dear saints of God who seek to be faithful to the Lord, though they might be ignorant of Scripture and God's testimony; but rather to speak against the haughty spirit and perversion of God's Word, and that by many who love to please the world with ecclesiastical innovations and practices, to entertain the flesh in the Name of the Lord. God's call to "unity of the faith" and His intended work for the good of all saints and His honor and purposes, needs to be ministered and considered.]
Some Christians are troubled by ministry asserting that God only has one church ---one body, one Spirit, one hope, one faith, one intended testimony in the world. To make that statement ---and further, to determine to gather on that ground is most upsetting to some professing believers, notwithstanding the truth of Ephesians 4:1-6, and Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, etc. God's one testimony in creation, and expectation for honor and submission to Him as the one Creator, is fundamental to true believers. His one testimony in the gospel is thankfully everywhere by most saints of God; and His intended testimony for the Church ought to also be everywhere by all believers ---alas, it is not!
Sometimes when Christians say: "You seem to think you are the only ones", I reply: "The only ones what? Are you saying those of us who gather as we have stated think we are the only Christians? ---we do not; the only ones accepted by God? ---we do not; the only ones going on in the scriptural way? ---perhaps". This is unacceptable to those who are content to follow only parts of the Word of God. The conviction I hold, friends, is that the fellowship I have been with for the past 50 years, is the only gathering of believers I know to be in full accord with the Word, true to God's revival of church truth in circa 1800 AD, and with the mind of God for His testimony in the world. If it is not, then I hope one will show me where it is so I can go there. We surely should not be satisfied wth the sectarianism that prevails in the world.
I would not be content to just gather where it pleases the flesh, and where some good friends are to have a pleasant fellowship ---even doing good works. This is not saying the saints I am with are perfect, but God does have a perfect path and a complete plan for the Church. I prefer to honor and obey my Lord. I consider that most believers are not gathered on that ground, and I seek to be some help to them. Notice I speak of this need for true "born again" believers in Christ, for many professing Christians only take the name but want to serve self. One needs to see where they stand, and have a desire to obey and honor God as He showed us for "unity of the faith" and "no schsim in the body".
Here are some thoughts from another paper, and let us note the unity expected: "In 1 Cor.1:2 it speaks of the universal church (all true believers), but we need to consider also verses 10-13 there; and note other verses which speaks to each of us of an expression of that which needs to be prayerfully regarded---Mt.18:20; Jn.17:11, 21-23; Acts 2:41-42; Acts 20:27; Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:25-27; 1 Cor. 16: 19-20; 2 Cor. 1:1; 2 Cor. 13:13; Gal.1:2-3; Eph.2:19-22; Eph.4:3; Phil.2:2; Phil. 4:22; 2 Tim. 2:15; also Psa. 133:1-2; Amos 3:3; etc. It is only geography that should separate assemblies, not doctrines, activities, or personal pref-erences. Our local gathering should only be a local expression of the universal church, and meet and function the same, though some minor routines might be different for convenience to meet local needs." [ref. CCC]
If it should be that one would reject such a claim to scriptural truth, and hold that all the ways of all professing Christians are good and acceptable, then they need to stand forth honestly before God and justify their choices by the "Word of Truth". I do not believe their choices will stand the test. Universal unity and scriptural fellowship is essential in the mind of God, I firmly believe!
Other papers in the Christian Counsel Collection speak in more detail on these subjects, but there is a need to put the saints in remembrance of these truths for faithfulness in the little while that remains to us here, for saints of God will surely be in unity in Heaven, and will be held accountable for "all the counsel of God". -RLD: 2009; rev. 12/17