By Joseph D. Meador
Brother Meador, there is much confusion today in the church
regarding the issue of fellowship. In our state of Kansas the
church has lost its distinctiveness in many communities as open
fellowship is practiced with the denominational churches. Please
discuss fellowship as a New Testament doctrine.
The Bible plainly teaches that the individual who is desirous
of interpreting or knowing the will of God may do so (John 7:17;
2 Tim. 2:15). Jesus declared, "Ye shall know the truth"
John 8:32); he also told us that his Father's Word is truth (John
17:17). In so doing, Jesus routed the skeptics of today "who
would have us to accept the view that we can only 'seek' the truth;
that we cannot, in fact, ever find it." Therefore, when we
discuss the allimportant area of Christian fellowship, we
are dealing with the interpretation of factual, verifiable, and
objective truth which is found only in the Word of God.
So the student might understand the will of God, the biblical
text has been written by the Holy Spirit in propositional language,
i.e., language which is written in a style so as to leave no doubt
regarding the meaning or intent of God (2 Tim.3:1617). This
fact is established by the testimony of the Scripture in such
passages as John 8:3132; 1 Corinthians 2:13; Galatians 1:612;
and 1 Thessalonians 5:21.
We observe that in the Bible: Every precisely stated proposition
is either true or false.... Truth is objective and absolute
not subjective and relative. If the proposition, "Jesus Christ
died for our sins," is true, then that proposition is true
for everyone, no matter what his attitude toward it might be.
When Peter declared on the day of Pentecost that God had raised
Jesus from the dead, this proposition was true in spite of the
fact that some rejected it. The Bible taught just what it now
teaches centuries before any man now living was born. Our being
born and growing up to have attitudes and beliefs toward the Bible
does not change what it teaches. Its truth is objective and absolute.
In giving a more detailed definition of a proposition, it has
been noted that: A proposition may be categorical in that it asserts
that something either is or is not the case, without stating any
sort of conditions (cf. Rom. 8:8). Or, a proposition may be hypothetical
in that it may state that if one thing is the case, then another
thing will be the case (cf. Matt. 6:33). Or, a proposition may
be disjunctive in that it may state that either one thing is the
case or another thing is the case (cf. Matt. 7:13,14). A proposition
may be conjunctive in that it may state that both of two propositions
(or more) are true (cf. Matt. 22:37-40).
Finally, we now present in systematic order, various scriptural
propositions relating to the specific lines of fellowship which
have been drawn by God and which he intends to be known, understood,
and respected by every disciple.
- The New Testament Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ has all
authority; and this authority is contained in His Word; and His
Word (the New Testament Scripture) is the approved standard of
judgment for every human action; and Christ's all authoritative
Word was given to the apostles; and this all authoritative Word
given to the apostles and written for us today in the New Testament
is all sufficient. (Matt. 7:2829; 17:15; 28:18; Acts
3:2223; Eph. 1:2223; Col.1:18; Heb.1:12;John
12:4850; John 14:2526; 16:1213; 17:8, 14,18;
Mark 13:11; Rev. 20:12; 2 Tim.3:1617; 2 Pet. 1:3).
- The New Testament Scripture teaches that fellowship between individual
baptized believers is contingent upon each one first being in
fellowship with God (1 John 1:510).
- The New Testament Scripture teaches that a specific line of fellowship
exists to ensure the consistent purity of the body of Christ (Acts
5:111; Rom. 12:12; 1 Cor. 5:15; 2 Cor. 6:1418,
7:1; Gal. 5:1921; Eph. 5:1114, 2233; Heb. 10:29;
2 Pet. 1:10; 2:4, 2021; 3:17; Rev. 7:914).
- The New Testament Scripture teaches that divine fellowship cannot
exist between righteousness and sin; between spiritual light and
carnal darkness; between Christ and Satan; between believers and
unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:1418; 2 Thess. 1:79; 2 John
- The New Testament Scripture teaches that sinful conduct on the
part of the Christian obstructs fellowship with God and thus all
faithful believers (Rom.5:611; 8:19; 1 John 1:6).
- The New Testament Scripture teaches that the definite line of
fellowship which exists now is recognized and shall be validated
by Jesus Christ on the day of judgment (Matt. 7:2123, 13:41,
25:3134, 41;John 12:48SO; Rev.20:1115).
- The New Testament Scripture teaches that fellowship is predicated
on an obedient lifestyle toward the gospel (Matt. 7:2127).
- The New Testament Scripture teaches that we are in fellowship
with God only as we live faithfully according to his Word (doctrine)
(John 14:15,23, 17:619, 17:23; 2 Thess. 2:15; 1 John 2:24;
2 John 911.)
- The New Testament Scripture teaches that a faithful child of God
is not, and cannot be, in spiritual fellowship with those (a single
individual or an entire congregation) who teach, defend, and promote
doctrinal error and/or division (1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 5:111;
2 Thess. 3:615; Titus 3:10; 1 John 1:810; 2 John 911).
- The New Testament Scripture teaches that a Christian must mark
(take note of ant avoid) those who teach, defend, and promote
false doctrine and/ or division (Rom. 16:17; Titus 3:10; 2 John
- The New Testament Scripture teaches that Godly repentance and
prayer restores fellowship with God and thus all faithful believers
(Matt. 3:8; 21:2829; John 9:31; Acts 8:2024, 17:3031;
Rom. 2:4; 2 Cor. 7:10; Heb. 10:2627; 1 John 1:810;