A Letter regarding the scriptural mandate to Break Bread
December 20, 2007
Thank you for your further thoughts as to Christianity. I should say that the best initial response I can give you is to answer your question “Please tell me how you want me to determine those with whom I can break bread.”
There is only one answer – it is to follow the precepts of Scripture. In your prior paragraph you quoted the foundational precept: “those pursuing righteousness, faith, love and peace out of a pure heart.”
The working out of that, of course, involves exercise and judicial scrutiny. I understand the order to be: “let each prove himself” and then to follow, as it were, the above precept.
If you are pleading that fellowship today is essentially unavailable since conditions today are confused, I cannot acknowledge by any scripture that to be an acceptable basis for not – at least within an acceptable time frame (certainly not many months and/or years) – being able, as a son of wisdom, to enter into righteous circumstances enabling fellowship.
A question for any is this: “Are you walking as a righteous Christian?” (of course, I speak constitutionally – James says “we all often offend”). If not, why not? And, if so, what prevents fellowship? Again, as a guard to the above, it appears by Scripture that at least “two or three” are needed – one alone hardly can be reconciled with what is considered in the term “fellowship” – admitting, as it does, of more than one.
I think you are looking in the wrong places in speaking of this and that teaching (of brethren): the failure is with Malcolm. Please don’t misunderstand me in this statement –what I am saying is what Paul writes, “Let each see how he builds.” Those to whom we refer as brethren failed grievously and there is great responsibility attached to that. The failure has been nothing short of monumental – a sobering consideration. Christendom is in confusion and error. The wild gourds are endlessly being shredded into the pot – I speak soberly. Yet, “the firm foundation of God stands.”
If we cannot break bread in a time of breakdown; then, Heaven has set on a failure in the inherent structure of Christianity. I speak reverently. This, of course, is not the case.
You say, “If I break bread with a handful here, I am then stating that there is no other righteous, pure-hearted company here in this city.” It would be absolutely true that if you were righteously breaking bread you are making a public statement that you are a righteous assemblage. From a testimonial viewpoint, this is one of the reasons that you would break bread – to show publicly “the death of the Lord until He come.” If you are righteous and pure-hearted, why would you not be breaking bread? In addition, this would provide the character of a “light on the mountaintop” for others. The Lord “added daily” in Acts. To what, or whom, did He add? Those already who were persevering “in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles, in breaking of bread and prayers.”
I hope you can see that your reasoning and approach to this entire issue is really, playing into the notion that, since everything is in confusion, I will, by breaking bread, etc. simply add to it. If you break bread unrighteously, that is true. The answer is to withdraw from what is wrong and to pursue fellowship righteously – 2nd Timothy 2. As has been pointed out, you cannot leave the house – you simply separate from what is wrong. If the whole world were composed of unbelievers and you alone were a Christian – would you cease your Christianity with all the related features? You can trust that the man with the pitcher of water will ensure that all who are righteous in your locale be brought together.
Of course, this takes courage. Oneself has to be prepared to walk in small circumstances and be prepared to defend against the onslaughts of the opposition. It is Philadelphian in character – “a little power”. That “little” is all that is needed to overcome. “Who has despised the day of small things?”
As far as “brethren” and the ministries and teachings of the last 50 to 100 years, etc., I can say simply that, constitutionally, JT, Sr. was a gifted servant and well grounded in the truth. His ministry and a reading of his letters immediately bring this out. If some made him a “pope” they did it to their own disservice. Certainly, many sought a “king” and I think the ascendancy of JT, Jr. was ample evidence of that.
As far as your questions as to some of the teachings, etc., I think that, because so much of the teaching of those such as JND, FER, JT and others has been adulterated, it can make it harder, at times, to follow the proper line of teaching. In prior days, “A man] was known as he could lift up axes in the thicket of trees”, and there was one who “smote a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day.” It is rather harder to properly wield the axe in the thicket of the day we’re in, isn’t it, and, of course, difficult to keep properly in view the lion (the facts) through the flying snow?
Nevertheless, the power for it is there – “a spirit of power and love and wise discretion.” You speak of being open to help – an encouraging word from you. In one sense I have had the recognition here of what is right made so much more plain than it has been for you in your locale; so, the decision for fellowship has been simple. It has been clear here that something has been properly maintained in this locale for the Lord. I can say that, in itself, this might be a provident starting point in working out your own local matters. It cannot be truthfully said that ______ ________ and his wife unrighteously left their brethren in the mid-fifties, nor can it be rightly said that they have been walking unrighteously since that time. The facts all show otherwise. Of course, ______ ________ is not the issue nor am I trying to eulogize in any way – rather, I am stating facts that show that Christianity provides the precepts and the power for walking righteously in a time of breakdown.
I see the need for you to take up your own matters before the Lord. For the present, you have to leave the next fellow, so to speak. The Lord will justify anything done that is right, and He can use your right stand to affect others, including your family and local brethren.
I trust that all that I have written is acceptable to you. I hope you all have a safe and healthy holiday.
P.S. I recognize what you say as to parents representing God to the children; however, I am uneasy as to it as a “stand-alone” statement. I think in the proper/full context I could accept it. I think, as an example, of a man like Idi Amin – is he a proper representative of God to his children, etc.? And, if considering only a Christian household, how would JT, Jr. have properly represented God to his children?