This article was written by Bill McCartney and published in “Letters of Interest”, January 1951. Section titles have been added by the assemblyHUB editors.
How should we apply Romans 15:7?-“Wherefore receive ye one another as Christ also received us to the glory of God.”
Those of us who for many years have met in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ can come to no other conclusion than this that the Scriptures provide no other plan of gathering than that which we, as assemblies of God’s people, have sought to maintain. The most beautiful thing in this world of sin and confusion is a company of redeemed ones meeting in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and seeking to fulfil the Scriptures in maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Why is assembly growth so small?
But these questions often arise: Why is it that our growth, especially in this land, has been so small? Why is it that we see today so little evidence of that of which Acts 19:20 speaks: “So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed”? Why is it that assemblies are not springing up all over the United States of America and Canada?
One cannot but feel that it is because we have cut down the large upper room to conform to our own traditions. Romans 15:7 sets the very highest standard for reception. “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.”
How can we, beloved brethren, lower such a divine and holy standard? It is the desire of the great Head of the Church not only that all men might be saved, but, according to Ephesians 3:9, that all men might see what is the fellowship or administration of the mystery.
On the look-out
Would to God we had more in our assemblies with large hearts, such as had Priscilla and Aquila, who would keep vigil for the Apolloses and invite them into their homes to teach them the way of the Lord more perfectly. It is recorded in Acts 28:30 that Paul dwelt in his own hired house and “received all that came unto him,” preaching the kingdom of God and teaching those things which concern our Lord Jesus Christ.
But today we misapply the Scripture, “Come out from among them and be ye separate,” and so isolate ourselves from the unsaved and from the Lord’s people that we have few to save and few to teach. In this we are unlike our blessed Lord who ate and drank with publicans and sinners and was ever teaching and encouraging the uninstructed ones.
Avoiding the extreme
Of course, we are not here countenancing denominational-ism, nor are we advocating affinity with sectarian groups. But we are saying that if in our abhorrence of denominational-ism we go to the extreme of excluding from our fellowship every believer who has not been taught the truth of God as we know it, then we ourselves have become guilty of sectarianism.
Let us not be guilty of falsehood when we sing, “Here everyone that loves Thy name our willing hearts embrace.” How many of the choicest of God’s people might be with us today if we only extended to them a warm welcome and took time to explain in a loving, courteous manner the precious truths we enjoy and seek to practice to the glory of God.
How often we hear from Christians the strong rebuke, “If you people practiced what you preach we would be with you.”
Why not, brethren, get down on our faces before God and confess our sin in the mishandling of the holy things of God and seek in these last days to gather His saints together unto Him? Then perhaps once again we would enjoy the growth of the early church.
Editorial Note: Bill McCartney was the founding editor of Letters of Interest magazine and the principal person behind the formation of Stewards Foundation. His passion, revealed in the articles he wrote, was that new assemblies be planted and established assemblies grow in number and depth.