The Duty Of Mutual Submission

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Rippon, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    I have a book by Maurice Roberts called : " Great God Of Wonders " . It is a compilation of some of his Banner Of Truth editorials . There is a wonderful chapter which is the title of this thread . I think he states some valuable things that should come in handy , especially on the BB .

    There are churches and fellowships which become so exclusive that they will have no fellowship with any but those of their own group . This is a regrettable and an unscriptural attitude to adopt . It is justified entirely to refuse to treat other churches as churches if they do not accept the sole authority of Scripture . But where other churches seek honestly to walk by the rule of Christ's Word , we are obliged to treat them as brethren and to have , at least , cordial and fraternal association . ' Salute every saint in Christ Jesus ' ( Phil.4:21 ) . 'Whereto we have already attained , let us walk by the same rule , let us mind the same thing ; ( Phil.3;16 ) .
    The sad effect of having fellowship with none but our own group is that we unconsciously become convinced that 'we are the people and wisdom shall die with us ' (Job 12:2) . It is good to be made self-critical , lest we suppose ourselves above criticism . To mix only with those Christians who share our identical practice is to run the risk of not noticing that God gives excellent gifts also to those not of our group -- and sometimes God gives more grace and usefulness to them . This is not to say that we should give up our good practice because gifted and good men do not share it . But it should send us back to God's Word to 'prove all things' ( 1 Thess. 5:21 ) . Our best practice may , in some cases , be built on nothing more substantial than the venerable opinions of respected leaders and nothing more .
    Hard as it is for our over-confident minds , it is good for us to meet with faithful men who are not of our group . It is good for us to be forced to test our beliefs and our practices . Where we are right we shall be the stronger ; where wrong , we shall be obliged to reform. ' As iron sharpeneth iron' , so brethren whose rule is Scripture will correct and refute one another by mutual converse and religious discussion . Even where we cannot adopt a brother's views or opinions as our own , we can submit ourselves to him to the extent that , respecting his sincerity , we permit ourselves to be influenced by him for good whenever possible .
    If we are to submit to one another in the Lord , we shall have to learn to listen to one another in conversation . Fellowship is sharing and , in conversation , that means give and take . The art of conversation is to ask a few questions now and then , and to wait for an answer .
     
  2. Rippon

    Rippon
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    Dealing With Our Differences

    Some more words from Maurice Roberts' book on the same theme .

    It should be a rule among God's people to be ready to recognize excellence wherever we find it and to be prepared to learn from one another even when , in some secondary matters , we may have to differ from one another ... Those whose views on some matters we may disagree with may nonetheless have much to teach us on some other Christian virtue .

    ... It would be a healthy exercise for ministers and elders who are in 'dogmatic' denominations to attend conferences where they can regularly meet faithful men who are not of their own group . There are several advantages to this . In small denominations especially , good people are apt to fall into bad habits of thought and speech . It is a snare to suppose that 'our group is the best in the world' or that 'our way of doing it is the right way and all others need to learn from us' . Such attitudes may not always be put into words but they often secretly exist in good men's minds . To go to conferences where other excellent men meet and debate areas of truth can be humbling for us . In the context of a wider fellowship we are to examine our own cherished opinions and compelled to recognize that God gives outstanding gifts to men in circles other than our own . Truth does not begin and end with any one church or denomination , however good .
    It is wise in our estimation of doctrines , ministers and churches to leave room for surprises . The strange truth is that those with whom we are in vigorous agreement today may be those with whom we shall strenuously disagree tomorrow . In the life of all churches it frequently happens that men alter their position and change their ground .
    Today's apostle for the 'signs and wonders' movement may prove to be tomorrow's staunchest preacher of 'orthodoxy' , and today's pulpit hero may be tomorrow's traitor to Christ's cause . Those who come new to the doctrines of grace may be those who in the end will have loved and promoted them best ; and those who were brought up in orthodox manses and in orthodox families may end up , like Esau , despising their spiritual birthright . If we know these things we shall not make too much of 'our party' or of 'our circle' but be ready to value sincere love of truth even if presently tinged with some immaturity and ignorance .
     

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