Why are we not in fellowship together?
May 23, 2009
I am very interested in your thoughts as contained in your e-mail regarding fellowship conditions today in the midst of so much breakdown.
It is clear that the Christian always has Divine precepts by which the testimonial path here can be properly followed. 2nd Timothy 2 has been well said to be an important charter for times of breakdown - written, as it was, in a time in which breakdown had commenced in the Church.
I see that FER, JBS, CAC and others understood and sought to set out that the foundational side of Christianity remains -no matter the circumstances of any particular day. "The firm foundation of God stands". I understand the ministry you quoted to be in accord with this, stating that God is not going to leave this world here without an adequate witness to Christian power - even if it is only two or three. JBS is evidently considering that a Christian would never be alone - there would be others fit for right fellowship. That might come down - especially in any particular locale - to the two or three. Of course, he is speaking broadly - oneself might be alone (for a period of time), and needs to be prepared to be alone if circumstances mandated separation from other (local) brethren. "As for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah".
We have often said here that the highest truth of Christianity is that of the Assembly, and that Satan has sought from the beginning to undermine this truth. The core of this truth is headship. Paul writes "But I wish you to know that the Christ is the head of every man, but woman's head [is] the man, and the Christ's head God." That order was lost by man in the Garden of Eden; but, is fully restored in Christianity. I speak of what is abstract - the practical reality is that, even in Christianity, the order remains fractured. Much as to the practical application of this truth was lost through the centuries, and then a great recovery took place over a hundred years ago in which many, including JND and others, saw that Christ is the Head and the Church His Body.
Much ministry was richly provided since then to enhance these vital precepts. In the mid-fifties, with the departure of JT, Sr. Satan made a concerted effort to undermine so much that had been recovered, using, as a primary instrument, JT, Jr. With this attack the enemy had much success, as is well known to you. The headship of Christ was substituted by the headship of a man.
I've sketched out the above a bit just as a simple backdrop to our present times. In the broadest sense, for the antidote to the failure we come back to 2nd Timothy 2. First, separation; then, as you've expressed, gathering. "To the Name of the Lord", of course, involves much. It is more than verbal identification with Himself - it involves all that is due in a practical Christian walk to "this righteous Man". It is in this practical side that we have the testing.
In a sense, I think you are querying me in your e-mail with a query that I have posed to others: Why aren't we in Christian fellowship together?
The short answer, of course, is that we should be in fellowship. All Christians should be in right fellowship. The long answer involves all that I have written above, and a bit more. I - we here - view recovery in relation to this current (I can say "extended") breakdown as to be something involving more than what is embraced in the pale of those to whom we refer as brethren. In the time of Hezekiah "Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people; for the thing was done suddenly." I think we can expect to see something of that.
In our immediate circumstances, it is evident that the Lord has not yet moved in a concerted way to adjust all these outstanding divisions and failures amongst the saints. As a result, it is intelligent to wait on Himself. King Saul "forced himself" and tragedy ensued. We feel that we are waiting to hear the "sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry-trees".
That being said, we are open to right fellowship with Christians anywhere. The basis of the fellowship is that each has "proved himself" (1Cor 11:20). Should we be in fellowship today? Absolutely.
We hope all is well with you.
Please extend our warm regards to your wife and family.