C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Guilty By Association

I have a missionary friend of mine in Heidelberg, Germany that has been on the mission field for quite some time now. He originally was helping a missionary in Nuremberg, Germany, which eventually moved to Vilseck, Germany. This missionary was led to start a mission in Heidelberg, Germany, therefore started deputation back in the United States to raise support. He and his wife made it to the mission field and have been there ever since. Once he made it to the field he wrote/printed a book entitled “The Deputation Manual” in 2001.

On page 28, he titles the chapter “Who’s Your Crowd?” He talks about a phone call he had with a pastor of a church that he was requesting to set up a meeting with. Everything went well and he was able to preach, and the pastor said, “Brother, we are going to support you. Tell me one more time what your mission board is?” The missionary told him again [for they had spoken on the phone before] the information. The pastor then asked who the local pastor of the church was the mission board was associated with. The missionary told him, and the pastor responded with, “With your connection to that name, brother, I’m sorry, we won’t be able to support you”. This missionary became “Guilty By Association”.

How often do you hear of one being associated with the Church of Christ? Are we afraid of the name because two completely different denominations have chosen to use it? We have the Church of Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Do we not remember that God’s chosen people, the bride of Christ, the sheep, are indeed the only true Church of Christ – which is not a denomination?

Have we come no further than the days of Paul?

1 Corinthians 1: 12, 13: Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

1 Corinthians 3:4-5: For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

Why are we still judging and being judged by association? “Calvinists are snakes in the grass”. “Armenians are heretics.” When we do hear of someone that says, “I am just a Christian”, we want to believe they are just afraid to pick sides.

I completely understand that names associate beliefs. I am a Baptist because they believe certain doctrines, theology, etc. which set them apart from the Church of Christ, Pentecostals, Roman Catholics, etc. But my example is of two men which are both associated with the Independent Baptist Church.

Is it fair to make one “Guilty By Association” for the mere fact that they went to a certain school or because they were under a certain pastor? Does being a Baptist make one right or wrong? Does one’s association with this school or that school, with this pastor and group or that pastor and group make them right or wrong? I don’t believe so – so why do we judge by entirety? How many actually attend a school, sit under a pastor, read material and come away 100% following every idle thought?

Attacks of Calvinism lash out at the acts of John Calvin, Augustine, etc. The acts of the men do not make the theology true or lie. Shall we then lay out our sin and see who then wants to be associated with us? I don’t. The KJV-Only issue usually receives attacks directed to Dr. so and so. Does Dr. so and so make the issue true or lie? This is just two examples of how we setup association. Once we create this association then once we come in contact with an individually that falls into a category we have created, we then judge and condemn them accordingly - solely based on others and not a single thing about them – but association.

Why can’t we associate and test individuals next to Christ and the scriptures? Ask each individual personally and consider their convictions, theology, and doctrine. Test them as Paul spoke of those of Thessalonica?

Acts 17:11: These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Let each man which claims to be a child of God be judged by the things which are contained in the very Book which they believe to be the Word of God, and not just “Guilty By Association”? Why can’t we associate and disassociate with individuals by how they line up with Christ and scripture, instead of an –ism and mere man?

By being a Christian, I am associated with Christ, how judgeth thou me? Am I “Guilty By Association”?



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7 comments:

Bobby Cohoon said...

I like it; good thoughts

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

Thanks Bobby. Hope you are doing alright.

Sista Cala said...

When I am asked, 'What denomination are you?' I say, a 100. The response is usually of ,"WHat?". I go on to explain that I am 100 percent Christian. Eventually, I may tell them, just depends on what I think their motivation is.

Good post. Keep up the good work.

RC said...

I don't by it. You lie down with dogs, you get fleas. That saying has been passed down in different forms in many different cultures so one might expect there to be some truth to it.

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

RC,

So if your pastor believes in tithing, you must also right? You both go to the same "kennel" (to keep with your terminology - lol) right?

rc said...

Anything in which there is disagreement is cause for disassociation. You too believe this, else you wouldn't adhere to only one denomination. You discriminate and that's not an evil thing. We all do it.

For example, marriage between one man and one woman is a discrimination against all others who might wish to join in the marriage. Only in the US has such an idea been made evil.

My beliefs would leave me without a church home if I allowed it. However, I would rather lie down with dogs and enjoy the camaraderie, then wallow is my individuality.

However, I'm not asking anyone for support. If I was, then I would definitely need to move away from the fellowship.

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

RC cola,

Actually I do not agree with your statement, “Anything in which there is disagreement is cause for disassociation.”

I once attended a church that believe women could not wear pants, I disagree, yet I did not leave for that reason nor would I disassociate with one if they merely believe such.

Doctrinal disagreements separate denominations, not “white page” Christianity.

If you follow my context, I don’t see how you can say one is right to disassociate with someone on the basis of who they may have dealt with in the past. Would it help any for me to inform you that this missionary neither sat under nor studied under the pastor he was associated with. The only common ground was that pastor was over the mission board the missionary was accepted through.

So I stand by my question, “Why can’t we associate and disassociate with individuals by how they line up with Christ and scripture, instead of an –ism and mere man?”

We should associate and disassociate because of scripture and truth, not because of who someone associates with.

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.