Losing a dear loved one is a very difficult and emotional trauma. Especially it is overwhelming when that loved one is a congregation of Christ. This is not a physical death that we are speaking about, but a spiritual death that totally destroys a congregation to such an extent that it does not exist anymore.
I believe that it might even be less difficult to survive the death of a spouse or close loved one. It is hard to define my feelings and perhaps I had better explain. Certainly, I look upon the death of a Christian spouse or loved one as a loss, but only for a short time because that loved one will be with us in the presence of our God and Creator, and that gives us comfort. I look upon the death of a congregation of Christ quite differently. I have memories of our fellowship together. I can remember the closeness and concern when each had a need. I remember the tears of sorrow when we share our griefs and the joys of happiness when someone might be blessed. Why do I grieve? Because I won’t even know when you are ill or in grief. I know that you are not physically dead, but out there in the world somewhere dying day by day spiritually.
What caused this? Perhaps I was too naive in assuming you knew more than you really did. Perhaps I assumed you were spiritually stronger than you really were. Or perhaps, I was too naive and assuming in our first attempt at hiring an evangelist.
How I yearn for a return to a year ago! There were forty-five of us then, now only nine. Last Lord’s Day was our last assembly for the remnant that remained. It was demoralizing, much like a funeral. Now that small remnant will go our separate ways. How I wish we had never hired that man!
Brethren, how is one to know what a man believes when he so cleverly conceals his life and beliefs until he has the job? How is a congregation to know when a man and his wife have multiple marriages when references fail to tell the truth? How does one know when a man doesn’t pay his obligations? How, how, how?!!
These things have happened to us. It has destroyed us! It has forced some back into the world and others into unscriptural churches. Charisma takes it toll and the devil reaps the rewards! This is like a “living” death realizing that these loved ones have become so discouraged that they leave the Lord.
Eight years of sweat and tears have gone into the work in this area only to see it put to death in less than six months. Brethren, pray for us, that perhaps with the help of God we might be able in the future to re-establish the work in this area.
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 8, p. 228
April 20, 1989