Wednesday, August 09, 2006

THE BASIS FOR FELLOWSHIP

In the second chapter of the letter to the Galatians, Paul tells of his encounter with the pillars of the church in Jerusalem. Only after he related to them the details of the Gospel he spoke to the Gentiles, did they give to him and Barnabbas "the right hand of fellowship." If Paul had been teaching error, he would have had to correct that before there could be offered fellowship.

Later in the same chapter, Paul relates how he once opposed Cephas (Peter) to his face who "stood condemned" because he was siding with the Judaizing Christians who were separating themselves from the Gentiles - as if they were unclean. Cephas and others stood condemned because "their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel." There can be no fellowship with the person who isn't teaching the truth. The teaching must be corrected before the relationship can be mended.

The Scriptures teach that, in the same way you cannot fellowship with a "so- called brother" who is practicing sin (1 Cor. 5), you cannot fellowship with a false teacher. Those who distort the Gospel are accursed (Gal. 1:6-9) and those who teach contrary to it are not even to be eaten with (2 Jn. 9).

This principle is true today. The church must stand for the truth having leaders who fearlessly and lovingly watch over the flock with all diligence. While leaders dogmatically adhere to the truth, they do it with patience and gentleness. The unity of the church relies on this kind of leadership. A strong congregation that enjoys Christian fellowship is charactized by it teaching the truth in love. Without this, there is no basis for fellowship.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:45 AM

    Very good article Dan. I fully agree. Many times people tend to fellowship with others that believe "almost" the same thing. They want to ignore the falsehood so they can continue to be friends, and keep that fellowship.

    Kevin

    ReplyDelete

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