The Arranged Platform
Dear brother R.,
I wish to add more to what was said in the last issue of Food for the Flock regarding the arranging of speakers for conference platforms. If elders in an assembly want to leave the platform open, as it is called, that is their right, but they must in so doing assume the responsibility of seeing that the saints are not distressed by unprofitable ministry or by undignified behaviour on the part of men who do not know their own limitations. To assume that everyone who gives his whole time to the work of the Lord has the right to the platform, is to manifest an ignorance of Church truth. When elder brethren are not prepared to discharge their duty in this respect, then, for the protection of the saints, men should be selected who are able to feed the people of God. In so doing there is no disparagement of divine principles, but, rather, a simple acknowledgement of the gifts which the Risen Head of the Church has fitted for the edification of the Body of Christ.
I promised you the opinion of J. N. Darby on this subject. We know that he was only a humble servant of Christ, yet, he was one of the pioneers of the simplicity toward Christ we seek to practise. Moreover, he paid a price for coming out to the name of the Lord Jesus.
In his letters, Vol. 2, page 109, he asserts his complete independence to act under the Lord, and, if for the glory of God, to enter into an arrangement for ministry. His statements are as follows:
“When I go to teach I go individually to exercise my gift… if this be denied, the authority of Christ and the liberty of the Spirit (are denied), to substitute for them the authority of the assembly.
“The Lordship of Christ is denied by those who hold these ideas. They want to make the assembly or themselves lords. If I am Christ’s servant let me serve Him in the liberty of the Spirit. They want to make the servants of Christ the servants of the assembly and deny individual service as responsibility to Christ…
“There is full liberty. Paul takes Timothy; Apollos will not go where Paul wishes; and Barnabas gets Paul to come (to Antioch); and if they were preaching or teaching, why should not those gifted, now? And if Paul and Barnabas were guided by the Spirit, why may not, in their measure, teachers be guided now? Who sent Titus to Crete or left Timothy in Ephesus? They will say it was apostolic authority. Be it so; but do not let them pretend it is contrary to the liberty of the Spirit in those who serve. Paul went into the synagogue as his manner was; it was an arrangement. He separated the disciples and discoursed daily in the school of one Tyrannus. This was arranged, and a lecture. Did this destroy the liberty of the Spirit? I am perfectly clear that all this is an attempt of the enemy to destroy the liberty of the Spirit, and the authority of Christ over His servants, and introduce another authority into the Church of God.”
Sincerely in Christ,
Men may misjudge your aim,
Think they have cause to blame,
And say that you are wrong.
Keep on thy quiet way;
Christ is the Judge, not they.
Be not afraid, be strong!