This article was first published in “Letters of Interest”, November 1960. Section titles have been added by the assemblyHUB editors.
The following statement in a recent letter from a brother who visited on this side of the Atlantic for several months, causes exercise of heart: “I feel the lack of unity among the assemblies in the United States and Canada is a master stroke of the enemy, and is robbing the Lord of His glory and of His place in the midst of the saints. What wisdom is needed as one moves around among God’s people”!
With very little imagination one could place himself in the position of a European visitor and wonder at the meaning of some of the strange and non-scriptural phraseology current in certain areas.
We, like any visitor, would soon sense the disunity underlying such a statement as, “Those walking in the old paths, welcome,” especially if we learned that the “old paths” advocated were not old enough to be scriptural.
We would quickly detect conceit in another similar phrase, “Those teaching the right ways of the Lord are welcome.” Any group of Christians assuming the high ground that they, and very few others, are the only ones who teach the right ways of the Lord, must surely be self- deceived, not having learned the frailties of humanity and that iniquity taints the Christian’s most holy activity.
Barring fellowship for the wrong reasons
To learn that inter-assembly fellowship in many parts is based upon uniformity of practice rather than upon the presence of Christ in the midst of those who gather in His name, would be a great surprise to us.
Furthermore, the antipathy on the part of some claiming a superior spirituality toward other brethren who disagree with their claims, eventually would lead us to see how foreign such an attitude is to the spirit of Christ.
Contentions among us
Like the sister Chloe of the first century, we would probably return from our visit and report to some spiritual father, as she did to Paul, that there are contentions among us.
Would to God that the apostolic authority of Paul’s word to Corinth were more felt today. “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1: 10).