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- BIBLE COUNSEL - Section E
Some Thoughts On Ministry
The writer does not want to press on readers the ministry herein, but share thoughts and pray God will reveal the Word of Truth to those who are exercised thereby. No one can be "pressed" into truth. Those with concerns may feel free to write for some help or clarification. -RLD
VIEWING REALITY OF BELIEF
Many professing Christians use verses of Scripture and speak of God and belief, but then are soon found to be only professors and not possessors of Christ, and thus ignorant of basic redemption truth; and some visitors who are truly "born again" saints are in disagreement with very fundamental Bible truths held by the gathered Bible-only saints. Christians who are known to be true to God and showing strong evidence of being devoted to our Savior, and value "all the counsel of God" is essential. This all suggests the need of a clear recognition of what a true, obedient and faithful Christian believer is ---not speaking here of perfection. I believe certain criteria must be held to honor God, and the local assembly must not just accomodate and include a professor of Christianity and allow them to go on as though all is well. Certainly a visitor is welcome to come and learn, but not to be gathered at the Lord's Table to participate until well-known as "born again" (John 3) and faithful (as noted also in 1 Corinthians 11:26-29). The Lord's supper speaks of holiness and the assembly of saints need to preserve that. - R. L. DeWitt
As to our previous discussion about this one who comes to church meetings occasionally, and has been asking to be a member, allow me to just share some thoughts for your consideration. I don't want to conclude anything, but wonder about him in a number of ways. I will not speak about all personal things he has expressed, but want to compare with what you are seeing and your concerns.
He speaks of the Lord some, but it is mostly about a divine Being far away. I would like to hear thoughts about his personal relationship with the Lord, and some devotion. Does he know the Lord Jesus, or only can give intellectual assent to Him as a Teacher? He seems to love his wife and family who are faithful and gathered in the assembly, and surely would like to be a part of what they enjoy and esteem, but it seems he may be only intellectualizing belief and faith, and the heart may not be involved ---yet he says he is a Christian. He may also be honest but blind to real faith. I wonder about this because I seem to not see the "fruit" the Lord says should be evident (Matt. 7:20); and he continues to speak mostly of the world and foolish things rather than the Word and thoughts of the Savior. I would like to see him let go of reasoning and begin communion with the Lord from an honest heart before he is embraced as a saint of God.
I think some there with you might ask him how he knows he is saved, and then what does the Lord Jesus mean to him, rather than ask "yes and no questions". I wonder what he would say to these. I don't think I should ask such questions since I am too far away to see what his immediate response would be, apart from meditating on the answer awhile. If this one is truly "born again", then he at least seems to be quite carnal and not appreciating what we have in Christ; otherwise, I wonder if there is really a new life there. He is very worldly!
I have spoken to this dear man about assembly expectations at times in our correspondence, and our heart for the Lord, but instead of a clear response he usually says: "I agree", then sends me more worldly thoughts and comical pictures. I don't know, but I suppose the best one can do is keep before him the thought that the saints are waiting to see the reality (fruit) of a new life, and not give him a recipe to follow for conformity to the appearance of Christianity. In time he may realize this matter is for him to resolve, and not the assembly. God says: "ye must be born again" (John 3:7)!
I suggest you not quote me to others, lest one pass it on to this person sometime. I pray for you all, and am so thankful for your good and sound testimony there. Look up always! - Your brother by grace forever, RLD: GL23; 08/10