Would You Withdraw?
Would You Withdraw?
"Would you withdraw from a brother who differs with you on this matter?" This is a question that seems to be arising with increasing frequency whenever brethren disagree.
It is a question that must be considered seriously by sincere Christians, for there are false teachers who must be marked and avoided. "Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (Romans 16:17-18). "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds” (2John 9-11). There comes the point when we can no longer extend the right hand of fellowship, for we are convinced that there are men among us who are leading the church into apostasy. What we would build up, they would tear down. What we would tear down, they would try to build up. How can we lend our encouragement and endorsement to such men?
Sometimes the question of fellowship is used, however, to try to discredit a man before he is given a fair hearing. A man presents his convictions concerning the celebration of Christmas, or the woman’s head covering, or a Christian’s participation in carnal warfare, or the right of a woman to raise questions in a mixed Bible class, or concerning any number of other matters that pertain to personal, individual conduct, and the first question raised in reply might be, "Would you withdraw from a brother who differs with you on this matter?" The raising of such a question doesn’t answer a single argument, but it surely does put the teacher on the spot. If he answers "yes" to the question, he is marked as a divider of the church over his opinions. If he answers "no," his sincerity in really believing what he has presented is questioned. The poor man is caught either way. He is discredited and embarrassed, but his position, whether it is true or false, is not answered!!! Sometimes it is easier to discredit a man and prejudice an audience against him than it is to answer his arguments.
We cannot fellowship those who are leading the church into apostasy. Nor can we fellowship those who are causing divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine of Christ. But must we break fellowship with one another over every difference that might arise, even those pertaining to personal, individual conduct? We hope not, for such action would split the church into a hundred splinters. Surely there is room for longsuffering in such matters. And surely we can develop a sense of fairness in our discussions of such differences. Prejudicial questions and unfair tactics have no place in discussions between sincere Christians. — Bill Hall