The fellowship of the saints
- Fellowship is not a fruit of agreement but agreement is the fruit of fellowship! Does the Bible teach that? Do we come to be in the fellowship because we are of the same mind, or do we come to be of one mind because we are in the fellowship? Much depends upon the answer you give. If we come into fellowship by agreement upon opinions, then how many things must we agree upon, and which ones, before fellowship commences? If we must agree upon all views and opinions then no fellowship at all exists today for no two persons are wholly agreed. If we need not agree upon all, who is to determine which ones we may eliminate from the area of agreement without impairing fellowship? If we decide which opinions and views we must agree upon to have fellowship, what happens if one learns more on some point and changes his mind? Shall he be put out of the fellowship or "growing in knowledge"? On the basis that fellowship is contingent upon agreement in matters of opinion, no congregation existing a hundred years ago could now be in fellowship, and no congregation now existing would be in the fellowship a hundred years from now if our Lord tarry that long.
As Campbell wrote in Parable of the Iron Bedstead, "Why not, then, dispense with this piece of popish furniture [the wheels and knives used metaphorically of human creeds as tests of fellowship] in the church, and allow Christians of every stature to meet at the same fireside and eat at the same table?"
Amen, my friends. Amen.