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DO THE READERS KNOW of those believers in Christ holding that recovery of church truth in 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 Conditions And Comments page, and may write for copies of papers. It would not likely be understood or appreciated by other readers. 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.
An Essential View Of The Church
A SCRIPTURAL ASSEMBLY ASSESSMENT
By Robert DeWitt
This description and listing of some components of the Church is to help one examine their own understandings, and show in brief some things it appears one ought to know, appreciate, and practice within a scriptural fellowship in the world, to be in conformity to the Word of God and pleasing to Him. The various Christian gatherings in the world need to continue collectively that which has been given in the Word for "unity of the faith". See addresses below for information.
The saints of God as the "body of Christ" ought to be as one fellowship in the world as God clearly intends, and as the saints will be in Heaven. The scriptural Church is not as the sectarian movement in christendom with various independent gatherings. The universal Church is truly not sectarian as the various sects with their rituals, creeds, programs, innovations, entertainment, designated names, hierarchy of men, etc. The "holy priesthood" of all believers (1 Pet. 2) does not place one believer above another, though they might have different gifts to apply ---one can see helpful papers on this if interested. In the beginning the church was as Acts 2:41-42, and according to the Epistles.
It is important to see that God recovered church truth in the early 1800's with that revival of AD 1827 known as "the brethren movement", which recognized the essence of unity in the truth of the Word; and some saints were led to separate from the ecclesiastical establishment of men and gather as God had intended. This does not suggest one should go out from various sects and begin some new fellowship (which would be further sectarianism), but find that scriptural path in unity which has been going on at least 190 years now. There are some saints of God who are already gathered thus in church truth worldwide, and may not understand all these things a scriptural assembly ought to hold, and have not appreciated the truth of "one body" in Christ; and they may decide to leave when it seems suitable to them for some reason. Should we not be concerned about obedience to God's ways, as we "see the day approaching" for the translation (rapture) of the Church, and "hold fast" to His Word? Let us consider some fundamental expectations here we need to hold, and then seek answers if one does not agree:
1. SALVATION: Does one know if they are saved by the grace of God and assured of heaven forever, and thus a part of the bride of Christ --the church (see John 3:16; Eph.5:25-32; Col.1:18--24; 1 John 5:10-13; Rev.22:17; etc.)? God says: "Ye must be born again" by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved for Heaven (John 3:1-7; John 14).
2. DEVOTION: Does one have affection for the Lord Jesus Christ as God's "only begotten Son", our Savior and Lord ---have a personal relationship with Him, desire to honor Him and be devoted to Him; and look for His return as the "bridegroom" coming to receive His "bride"? Devotion includes much prayer, and also keeping God's ordinances of baptism and collective worship at the Lord's table according as given.
3. BAPTISM: Does one understand that baptism is A: an act of obedience and honor, to identify self with Jesus Christ in His coming and death for our sins, and B: is a stand apart and against the unbelieving world; and is one then baptized according to the Scripture (Matt.28:19; Acts 19:4-5; Rom.6:3-4) and knows baptism is not a means of salvation of the soul, but a dedication of one's life to try to follow the Lord Jesus? God holds such a professer of that to be accountable! Salvation of our soul, rather, is only in RECEIVING the Lord Jesus into one's heart with devotion to Him as lord of one's life (note 1 Jn. 5:10-12).
4. BIBLE: Does one value "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27), and want to be fully in accord with it, "rightly dividing the Word of truth" (2 Tim.2:15)? There is a real danger of scrambling the Holy Scripture and confusion if one does not see this; and is also why one ought to read such as the KJV Study Bible for a dependable rendering (though one can also compare with other versions).
5. ASSEMBLY: Does one see that gathering together is God's work by the Holy Spirit (as Matt. 18:20), and the universal church is every true believer in Him in the world; and one does not have approval of God to be independent of God's testimony, take a name, and set up a table and follow personal preferences?
6. FELLOWSHIP: Does one see the need for all assemblies in the world to be one happy fellowship of "one accord, of one mind" (Phil. 2:2); and in unity expressing the "one body in Christ" (Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12; etc.) in the scriptural way as it will be in heaven?
7. HISTORY: Does one understand church history, the Apostles' teaching, and that each local assembly of saints should only be a local expression of the worldwide church in a geographical place, as in the beginning (Acts 2:41-42; Rom.1:7; 1 Cor.1:2; Gal.1:1-3; etc.); and must therefore show unity as the same in doctrine and scriptural truth as all others ---apart from the various Christian sects and religious organizations with their doctrines, rituals, names and titles, traditions, entertainment, hierarchy of men, etc.?
8. ORDER: Does one understand why we ought to reject names and titles, rules of men, sects and organizations, a hierarchy of men in charge; and why we should only be called such as Christians, believers, saints gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ alone, as the Word shows ---even "two or three" or more brethren? Organization speaks of man's plans, but God's order and unity is His way.
9. TESTIMONY: Does one appreciate that the local assemblies in the world must uphold essential church truth in the Word of God for the collective testimony, though can allow for individual conscience on non-essential truths if not divisive and pressed on others (such as Rom.14)?
10. SERVICES: Does one know the church is not an organization, but a gathering center for saints and the depository of truth; it does not provide services or programs, etc; and service is the responsibility of individual saints?
11. APPRECIATION: Does one appreciate that each faithful and sound assembly in the universal fellowship, must honor all other such gatherings in the world, known to be free of evil (1 Cor. 16:19-20; Phil. 4:21-23); and accept letters of commendation only from them (such as Rom.16:1-2) and not various sects by men?
12. OVERSEERS: Does one understand that only God appoints the overseers (elders) and not man; and they may not be gifted as speakers or preachers, but they need to be esteemed as teachers and guardians of the faith, though they are not perfect?
13. GOVERNMENT: Does one recognize the priesthood of believers, rather than appointed men to minister and rule, and that governmental actions in a sound assembly are the collective mind of the brethren there with the Lord "in the midst" (Matt.18:20); with the approval of the elders rather than majority rule, and must be honored elsewhere ---providing that the gathering is free of any known evil and esteems the universal truths with all?
14. COMMUNICATIONS: Does one value the collective testimony in accord with the Holy Scriptures, and agree that pressing personal conscience can be troubling and divisive of the fellowship and dishonoring to the Lord; and thus Godly communications is important?
15. HONOR: Does one see the need for all the gathered saints to show the love of God, help each other to go on well, and always seek to honor, obey, and esteem the holiness of the Lord?
16. UNITY: Does one appreciate the need to come as a learner and join in a universal scriptural fellowship for unity, expressing the truth of "the one body in Christ" worldwide to honor God, seek the good of the saints, and work together in the little while we have here in this scene?
Readers should be clear about these things, or at least allow these truths. There is no perfection among any of us, but God does have a true testimony which continues; and we can see the recovery of church truth in the early 1800's with that revival of 1827 AD known as the "brethren movement". Further information and responses to questions can be provided. If one can appreciate these things and does not hold other doctrines or different beliefs contrary to these stated herein, they should be quite happy and settled with this fellowship 'til the Lord comes. One can read more about this at the Internet site: www.biblecounsel.net and obtain books and literature at Bible Truth Publishers, Addison, IL. to understand church history and receive ministry for study.
- RLD: CF11; 2008; add: 05/14.