Understanding the Day of Breakdown in the Christian Church and the Divine provisions for the path of righteousness
September 20, 2007
Thank you very much for your painstaking and exercised letter – we appreciate that you sought to provide to us your thinking as to Christians and Christianity today.
We agree with most of what you wrote. We agree that Christendom today is, in many respects, in a shambles and that, as you pointed out, “anything goes, and there’s often little regard for God’s truth and His rights.”
We agree that, in many “exclusive” circles the demand is as much for conformity to rules, etc. as to any living relationship with Divine Persons. The large, professing bodies such as the Catholic church, the Anglican church, etc. are, also, built almost entirely upon procedures, teachings of the “fathers”, etc.
The true nature of Christianity, ultimately, is that we are in a relationship with Divine Persons and then, as a proper reflex to that, with other Christians – and, finally, with men. Speaking reverently, we certainly won’t need the Bible in Heaven,. This side as to the relationship is paramount and living. The Scriptures are like the banks of the river – they are to keep us within the Divinely given relationships. I know you agree with all this.
The difficulty for us Christians is in the practical side – i.e., the working out while here of Christian principle and practice. Our power is through the Holy Spirit – He is here to lead us into all the truth. He is that small voice behind us saying, “Here is the way, walk ye in it.”
Whatever hinders that is, at least in principle, objectionable. A wife is a good thing; but, the apostle wrote that it is better to be single. Why? The single cares for the things of the Lord; the married cares for the partner. I use this only as an example – the relationship is obviously right and God-given. We are to properly manage our circumstances.
God is holy, and we are called upon to be the same. The Lord said, "Be ye holy, for I am holy.” That is a profound reality, and very testing in its practical application, isn’t it? But, we have a new nature as being born again (John writes in his 1st Epistle in chapter 3 that he that is born of God cannot sin), and the capacity to walk in that nature is through the Holy Spirit. Jude writes “But to him that is able to keep you without stumbling, and to set [you] with exultation blameless before his glory”, etc. – that is written for us here in this world – there will be no occasion of stumbling in Heaven.
The need from our side is fidelity to the truth – “the truth as it is in Jesus”. From God’s side, all has been accomplished in the Cross of Christ – the flesh (i.e., the natural mind and the will) is disallowed, and the new Christian nature is sinless.
What promotes the relationship is love. From our side, our natural proclivities hinder us from properly and fully experiencing this relationship of love. Only as we “put to death the deeds of the body” by the power of the Holy Spirit can we walk properly with God. Thus, we are told to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” – it is a holy matter – not to be approached casually.
The simple truth – important to recognize – is that, if we were all fully led by the Holy Spirit we would say and believe the exact same things. In such an instance, all Christians everywhere would not only be in complete moral agreement, they would, of necessity, be in the same fellowship. It is important – vital, really – to recognize that this is what Scripture sets out as the standard for fellowship. I am sure you agree with this.
The result of an honest consideration of what is stated above is to agree that it is not acceptable from the Divine perspective – and, therefore, should not be acceptable to us – to agree to differ. Of course, as you quote, “one man esteems more than day”, etc. – I am not referring to that; but, to basic and vital Christian doctrine and to the practical path of the honest Christian in implementing and maintaining that doctrine while here in a contrary scene. God, as you have attested in your letter, desires our unity.
Christendom, as you have ably pointed out, is full of confusion – from error in teachings of exclusive brethren to the claps of the Pentacostals to the Vatican, etc. The Lord told the disciples to “follow the man with the pitcher of water” and they would be led to the proper place. It is incumbent upon us to properly fulfill Christianity – it is not an option to be casual – “cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord negligently.” We have to take up our Christian responsibilities locally first; then, work outwards from there (see Ezekial 9:6 – “begin at my sanctuary”). You quote 2nd Timothy in saying that we are to “pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those that call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.” This is indeed the thing there, and, it is noteworthy that this exhortation by the apostle to the young Christian was given in a day in which breakdown had already commenced. We live in a time, as you have acknowledged, of breakdown.
However, it is also noteworthy that this “pursuit” cannot be done without the preceding section – “Yet the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, [The] Lord knows those that are his; and, Let every one who names the name of [the] Lord withdraw from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also wooden and earthen; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If therefore one shall have purified himself from these, [in separating himself from them], he shall be a vessel to honour, sanctified, serviceable to the Master, prepared for every good work.”
This scripture has been greatly misused, of course, and many have been damaged by that misuse. However, it is Scripture, isn’t it, and, while attempts have been made to reduce its import, it is clear what is being stated. We first ensure that we are separate from what would hinder; then, as a result, we are serviceable to the Master.
Many brethren think that the Lord essentially regards brethren everywhere the same, and, as a result, are fooled into believing that Christianity is a system of “don’t judge the brother.” Of course, this couldn’t be farther from the truth – God has judged Man in the flesh and we are called to do exactly the same – firstly with ourselves and, reflexively, in regard to others. We don’t sit as “judge”; but, we make and apply judgments according to scripture.
I have written rather widely in all the above. I understand from having received something from ________ that you must have also sent your response to us around to different ones in the family (which is fine), and, I thought I should “cc” the others with this letter, in return. Thus, I felt the above “groundwork” would be of interest.
God recovered great truths to the Church in the time of Martin Luther, and considerably more in the time of JND. These truths had been essentially buried down through the Dark Ages as a result of the efforts of Satan. Subsequent to JND, it is evident that there was a pronounced enhancement of many truths up to the mid-20th century. Great assembly truths were gone over, and the vital place of the Christ as Lord and Head to His Body was enlarged upon. The place of the Holy Spirit became substantially more understood.
Satan sought ceaselessly to subvert these important truths – commencing directly upon the recovery of saints worldwide with such as JND and others and continuing forward. In the mid-1950’s he raised up an instrument – our great-Uncle JT, Jr. The subsequent history is amply known, and the involvement of our prior generation in this disgraceful failure is more than sobering – especially following, as it did, upon considerable light.
Allow me to ask you this question: If you had compliance in such a terrible system of error and subservience to an evil man at the expense of the rights of Christ – a system that extended to the ravagings of saints and their families worldwide – and your brother-in-law _______ had spoken up to you, your family and your brethren at the outset – warning that essential Christian truths were being overridden and that you and the brethren would suffer the grievous results if the evil were not challenged and met – and afterwards, when all was unassailable public history – would it not be in accordance with Scripture and even agreeable as a generally-approved practice amongst men that you would seek _______ and acknowledge that what he had said was right?
Dear _______, we are each responsible for our own actions before Heaven. Neither you nor I – nor, many others (essentially, all of our generation and down) – are responsible, as such, for the terrible breakdown of the last 50+ years. I have called it a catastrophic breakdown, and such it is. It does no good to try to simply pass it off as a transient phase in the history of this dispensation – a momentary wrinkle in Christian history. It is a fact that Heaven provided a solid recovery of important truths from the 1800’s until the mid-1950’s, and it is a fact that, as a result, many saints worldwide enjoyed substantial food from the gracious hand of the Lord.
This brings us to today. Our Christian responsibilities have always involved righteousness. You are part of – part of the result of, if you prefer – this above-named conflict. The great challenge for us all today is how we respond to the mind of Heaven in all areas of our life. This includes this yet-current conflict. Has Heaven retired, defeated, from this conflict? Is Heaven content to ignore all the devastation that has taken place? Is Heaven desiring that you, ____ and ___, ____ and _______, ______, your Mom, us, ____, _______, ___ and ________, all the kids, and the brethren in general simply go in different directions? Can it all now just be ignored? Is it to be like the end of the Book of the Judges in which “every man did what was right in his own eyes”?
We need to be in fellowship, _______, according to every scriptural precept. Yet, “How can two walk together unless they be agreed?” Something was rightly bound in _________ in 1955/1956. As a result, it was bound in Heaven. It has not been loosed. This loosing has to take place. We are your local brethren (I speak intelligently). A great question now is: What do you think as to all this? ____ and ___? ____ and _______?, etc. I pointed out to your Mom that, as Daniel told King Belshazzar, “You knew all this” (see Daniel 5). Without seeking to make anything of ______ ________, it is a painful reality, after all this clear history, that not a soul that was involved in this failure has ever approached Mr. ________ and his wife and told them that (1) what they did and stood for in the mid-1950’s was right and accredited of Heaven and (2) that it was evident that what he testified as to has taken place. This includes your Mom and numbers of others. Many more, as has been noted, have already been removed.
What can you make of this? Does such a circumstance call into question currently the moral integrity and judgments of such saints? I can tell you that the Lord greatly resents the apparent lack of transparency with such brethren. Heaven wants to know as to our judgments. The Lord says in John 7, “Judge righteous judgment.”
The foregoing is all factual and scriptural. How are you responsible for a departure that commenced when you were a child? Your responsibility lies in your current Christian obligations to Heaven, and, reflexively, to your brethren. “If therefore thou shouldest offer thy gift at the altar, and there shouldest remember that thy brother has something against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and first go, be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Mr. ______ ________ and his wife are not the issue – the truth is the issue. However, they are bound up in this conflict of truth.
We hope this letter provides a better basis for our mutual understanding of the truth. Our every desire is to be in right fellowship with you, and all the dear saints. We believe the Lord is moving to accomplish this. May we be with Him in this work.
With love in Christ, (signed) _____
 _____ and ____ ratified the _________ stand over 35 years ago – making even more painfully evident the reticence of the other, local brethren