Bible Basics: The Basis of Fellowship

By Earl Robertson

It is often times alleged that our “customs and traditions divide us, and not the word of God” and that “means and methods” are the basis of our divided state. One preacher recently said on the radio that our personal “opinions and priorities make us intolerant: that we won’t have anything to do with anyone who disagrees with us.” There might be some local churches experiencing such, but such is not a brotherhood problem. The liberals have forced the division and now assert that it is nothing more than “opinions, means and methods” that causes it. We challenge them to tell us by name what these customs, traditions, opinions, means and methods are that have divided the churches of Christ. The ecumenical spirit assumed by some dialoguers has caused a fever in these men which renders them unable to know the difference between faith and opinion, methods and organization, sing and play.

This reminds me of what Larry Miles recently wrote in Word and Work, a premillennial journal of Louisville, concerning why R.H. Boll was not allowed to remain front page editor of the Advocate. Boll was teaching premillennialism. It is a false system. He wrote, “Rather than allow him the freedom to interpret the scriptures as the Lord has revealed to him, these brethren sought to make it a test of fellowship . . Today there is virtually no fellowship between the Anillennial and the pre-millennial brethren. The pre-mil brethren have always sought fellowship and have offered fellowship. We must not be willing to make opinions tests of fellowship” (April 1980, pg. 112). If premillennial views are no more than opinions, why do they hold and press them to the dividing of the body of Christ? If human institutionalism (church support of such) is nothing more than human opinion, why do these brethren press their opinions to the dividing of the church? They are the ones who have split the body of the Lord!

John wrote, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3; cf. Acts 4:20). This is the only basis for fellowship. Read what the apostles declared! They wrote what they saw and heard. They had fellowship with God on that basis, and so can we.

Truth Magazine XXIV: 48, p. 777
December 4, 1980