A Christian letter seeking for unity in fellowship
September 3, 2007
Dear Brethren & Family,
My wife and I have felt it necessary to set out the following thoughts to you. This exercise has been somewhat brought to this fruition due to ______ ________’s approaching birthday celebration. Please bear with us if some of the following seems evident.
We have love, affection and concern for each and all of you – both as family and as brethren. We are intensely interested in both the Christian and general welfare of each of you. Of course, we have this same love towards all the saints – most of whom we do not, obviously, actually know. We are assured that our love for you is reciprocated.
It is evident that Christians everywhere today are divided into groups, schisms, sects, etc. It is also evident that these divisions and separations are not according to the mind of Heaven. A pre-eminent thought in God’s mind is that of the unity of the body of Christ. There are many scriptures that establish this – a few are: “For we being many are one bread, and one body” (1Cor 10:17); “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” (1Cor 12:12); “That there might be no division in the body” (1Cor 12:25); and, then, lastly, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph 4:4-6).
This unity – brought about through the power of the Holy Spirit and the leadership of Christ in our lives, as well as through our active, righteous and responsible participation in our Christian estate – is of all importance. In the degree in which the unity is reduced or lost is the degree in which we, as Christians, have failed in our Christian responsibilities. The failure is always from our side; not, from God’s side.
It is of all importance to recognize the above truth as to unity – any lesser thoughts allow for and give credence to the tremendous disunity that exists in Christendom today. That there is disunity and that it is recognized by Heaven and even foretold prophetically is true, of course; but, the individual part of the Christian is to refuse any notion that disunity is acceptable to Heaven. It is a common thought today to agree to differ; however, this is in direct opposition to scripture. Each is to dwell under his own fig tree; yet, while it is the twelve tribes it is one Israel. “How can two walk together unless they be agreed.” If each and every one is led by the blessed Holy Spirit (whose great work here is to “lead us into all the truth”), each and every one will acquiesce to His lead and there would never be the disunity that we see today. “If we live by the Spirit, let us walk also by the Spirit.” (Gal 5:25).
We speak abstractly. We don’t say that there won’t be conflict, trouble and trials, as each generation has to learn the wars of Canaan. Paul writes that there must be sects that the approved may be manifest. However, by listening always to and following the small voice behind that says, “Here is the way, walk ye in it” we can be assured of being brought through such trials and temptations in victory. It is important to be confirmed in our faith and to be reminded that God didn’t bring us into Christianity to be defeated – Christianity, rather, is a system of victory.
All this being true, why today is our family – I speak in a general way; but, am limiting the question to immediate family members – in some seven different fellowships, per se? Does this fit with the mind of Heaven as initially considered in this letter?
In the early (pristine) Church the unity was evident. In the end of Acts two the early believers “persevered in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles, in breaking of bread and prayers” as well as “all that believed were together” and every day they were with one accord.
Brethren, how is this? Can we all be in righteous fellowship and yet be diverse? These are important questions. 1st Corinthians 14 says, “God is not [a God] of disorder”. We are not talking here, as Paul writes, of some esteeming one day more than another, or of partaking or not partaking of (some) meat that might offend another. Christianity is a system of the most infinite and profound structure – it is a "peculiar people’s" relationship with their God and, reflexively, with each other.
In the Middle Ages some of the greatest Christian truths were evidently submerged by the activity of Satan – especially in his use of the place of the Catholic church. Satan sought to promulgate the error that the Church itself taught through an hierarchal system of ordained priests and that the individual was to remain essentially silent. The place of the Holy Spirit in his unfettered authority and activity through individuals (according, of course, to scriptural order) was set aside almost entirely.
In time, Martin Luther and other courageous saints were distinctly raised up of God to counter this; nevertheless, one great, vital truth was not reached at that time and awaited a substantial movement of the Holy Spirit commencing in the 1800s. This great truth was recognized by JND and others and involved the body of Christ here on earth as linked to its Head in Heaven. The Lord revealed Himself to Saul on the road to Damascus and said, “Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me?” JND and these other brethren recognized that the Lord is the active Head of His own body – the Church (Colossians 1). This marvelous vessel is not here, speaking reverently, as a decapitated body wandering spasmodically about; but, instead, is, just as with a normal human body that responds to the natural head, to be at the direction of the Lord.
Commensurate with this understanding was the realization that the place of the Holy Spirit was being set aside by the institution of a clerical system. JND recognized (himself an ordained clergyman) that if the apostle Paul were to come at that time he would be unable to preach/teach, etc. without prior permission from the existing clergy. He wrote a treatise entitled “The Notion of a Clergyman: Dispensationally the Sin against the Holy Spirit” in which he pointed out that all Christians are priests and that the Holy Spirit provides the direction and movement of those priests according to the mind of Christ. This great truth unequivocally sets aside the entire clerical system. Of course, room is left for all that is set out in 1 Corinthians 12 verse 28; however, the clerical principle is made void.
Sadly, this clerical principle remains today and is seen in full regalia in Catholicism, Protestantism, Lutheranism, etc. and, in measure, in many chapels and congregations in this country as well as around the world (the pastor and then his own congregation, etc. is commonly so regarded). All this is counter to the mind of Heaven and curtails the untrammeled activity of the Holy Spirit. As a result, those in such circumstances simply do not enjoy the full relationship of and support of Divine Persons. At best the Holy Spirit is grieved and at worst He is quenched.
We have written plainly. We desire to know what is thought about our statements. The Lord graciously afforded much light and wholesome ministry for His people through the diligent labors through the last 100+ years of many gifted saints such as JN Darby, FE Raven, JB Stoney, Mr. Bellett, Mr. Wigram and many others. More latterly we had the gifted ministry of J Taylor, Sr., Mr. Charles Coates and others. Any reading of such ministries immediately provides clear confirmation of what is stated in Scripture – “Out of their bellies shall flow rivers of living water.” These ministries involve “the wells that your fathers digged”; yet, today, they are unknown to many – unknown, certainly to an entire generation of young Christians. A young sister told me a few years ago that she was afraid to read the ministry of JT, Sr. – how can that be?
The book of Deuteronomy is filled with the statements of God as to hearing His voice. It says in Psalm 29 that “The voice of Jehovah breaketh cedars”, and it says somewhere else that it breaketh the rocks. God’s people have seen much discipline in the last 50+ years. All to whom we write in this letter have a relative knowledge of these things – some more than others. Daniel told Belshazzar the king, “You knew all this.”
We here fear a “shaking” of God’s people. The Lord is not pleased with any complacencies as to the current status of the saints generally. The dispensation is to close with a certain glory and brilliance. As such, this currently is not possible due to all the breakdown. We need to consider that Heaven has recovery in mind. In Haggai it is said, “Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? and how do ye see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? But now be strong, Zerubbabel, saith Jehovah; and be strong, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith Jehovah, and work: for I am with you, saith Jehovah of hosts.” That is the thing there – may we all be confirmed in it.
We have been isolated here in the _________ area for some 50+ years. Are we a little sect that simply appears content to dwell alone? A curious anomaly? Or, rather, do we have profound concerns as to all that has entered into the last 50-some years of conflict and breakdown amongst the Lord’s people? Why are we so isolated in fellowship? What might be any valid objections to our status in fellowship?
We need to know these things. The time is long past to continue as if all the current conditions amongst us – you to whom we are writing, and the saints in general – is simply something that unfortunately transpired – no beginning, no reason for the breakdown or all the evils, the divisions, the losses and sorrows. It just ……… happened.
Or, rather, does Heaven have a clearly defined record of this considerable failure. Did it mysteriously appear, as some miasma, to overtake the saints – unknown in origin? Or, did it have a beginning – as do all failures? The Lord traced the failure in the Garden of Eden back to its source.
This letter is now lengthy – allow us to say a bit more. It is evident that, by the mid-19th century and through and beyond the first quarter of the 20th century, a pronounced movement was in place by the enemy to subvert the great movement of the Holy Spirit that had begun in the prior century. The Holy Spirit’s work had brought together a multitude of brethren from diverse backgrounds and had resulted in a substantial and scriptural unification of saints worldwide with attendant blessings of the Lord in ministry and additional numbers. This cannot be denied.
In the mid-1950s Satan worked to raise up a king amongst the brethren – a man known to us all – JT, Jr. It was, in considerable degree, the culmination of Satan’s efforts begun in the prior century. Through JT, Jr.’s influence and growth in power brethren around the world underwent the disastrous results of relinquishing the authority and rights of Divine Persons for those of a man greatly influenced by Satan. This great and public failure can be rightly named as being among the most grave of this dispensation. Fidelity to the Lord was replaced by fidelity to a fellowship – a fellowship that, ultimately, was essentially in name only, and in large degree and as a general statement according to scriptural principles had lost the approbation of Heaven.
At the onset of this failure a brother in _________, __ identified the departure that was taking place. Mr. ______ ________ and his wife – after exhaustive pleas to their brethren had been essentially ignored – left these saints according to Scripture and began breaking bread on the principle established by the Lord in Matthew 18 that “For where two or three are gathered together unto my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
These statements set out here are not self-serving – they are, simply, facts. It is a fact that, during the subsequent, tumultuous years as the saints gradually fell apart under the spreading influence of the enemy, the brother ______ and his wife sought to follow the teachings of Jude – to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.”
In connection with this it needs to be stated that none here think they are without sin. Each bears their own responsibility before the Lord – from this none are excused. It should also be said that there are undoubtedly levels of responsibility in this current failure – “to whom much has been given much shall be required.” David could say, “These sheep, what have they done?” and it is a solemn reality that the older generation bears the most guilt. By the time we come down to the 2nd and 3rd generations a distinction must be made. Indeed, Heaven makes that distinction.
Considering only the local side, what does all this mean to Mrs. ______ ________ and her family? Can all this failure – following upon such evident and substantial recovery and display by many for over one hundred years of vital and wonderful Christian truths – simply be dismissed as some shift of dispensational wind? What are our individual and collective responsibilities in this matter? Is Heaven content to walk away from this conflict with God’s people broken and divided? How did this all start? If it is not over, how will it end?
Most importantly, what are your concerns as to all these Christian affairs? We need to know your thoughts – we are your brethren as well as of your family. We had considered calling each one and another; however, while the phone provides advantages – in this case it seemed to be more awkward than a general letter to each one. However, we are open to any communications – phone or otherwise.
That the Lord has an ongoing controversy with His own is evident. If matters had been settled to the satisfaction of Heaven there would not today be all this disunity – instead, there would be unity. But, the absence of this unity is simple testimony to the unsettled nature of this conflict.
It is easy to say that oneself is a Christian. The proof of it is in the fruit. “If ye love me,” says the Lord, “keep my commandments.” It is time to gather to the banner of the Holy Spirit. The enemy has already flooded in. Joshua could wonderfully say, “choose you this day whom ye will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah.”
“Let every one who names the name of [the] Lord …… pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those that call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.” This is the only right and proper ground of Christian fellowship in unity. May it be so.
This letter is much too long; however, so is the duration of this current conflict. We apologize for the length of our writing; but, feel that the necessity of the contents dictated it.
Your brethren and family in Christ,
 There are, of course, differences in locales as we are regarding some in _________, _______ and _____________,__; ________, __, the _________ area, and _________, __/__,__. However, we are not referring to this; but, rather, to differences in fellowships and the tenets held in those fellowships. There is a general autonomous nature to most fellowships today that is entirely unscriptural. Christianity is unity; not automony.
 Mr.____ ________ fully recognized as right and scriptural the stand taken by his brother ______; however, the pressure brought to bear against him by family and brethren was substantial to the point that he finally fell before it.