Congregational fellowship is God's sublime answer to Cheers, "where everybody knows your name." [p. 159]He compares it to a Neighborhood Watch, where people know us and watch out for us. It is our family.
So what shall it be? Stay or go? Fight or withdraw? Maintain unity in the bonds of peace, or abandon unity in the same spirit of peace? I can't tell you how many times I've revisited these tough questions.He discusses six questions that help him clarify his decision to go or stay:
...I can't help but think that learning to honor differences of conscience and style within an immediate family of brothers and sisters in Christ is a noble quest. Indeed, a spiritual imperative. [p. 161]
1) Is my discontent a matter of conscience or comfort zone?He then acknowledges that there is little or no scriptural instruction telling us when we should leave a congregation. The biblical record does not show people leaving one congregation for another because of doctrinal differences or personal preferences. Perhaps that option is not supposed to be on the table. First century Christians did not choose a congregation. Instead they, themselves were chosen and placed in a congregation. To me this is the biblical answer. As long as they remain brothers and sisters in Christ, do not separate from them over disputable matters.
2) What efforts have I made to effectuate change?
3) What endorsement am I lending by my continued presence?
4) What good influence might I have by staying?
5) What are my alternatives?
6) Is my discomfort worth the cost of broken fellowship?
Labels: Who Is My Brother