The Forum

The Forum

This department is provided for the free and courteous discussion of biblical and spiritual problems which may be considered edifying to the people of God. Letters concerning such matters are requested.

Dear A. G. E .

I read with interest your appraisal of the assemblies of Christians, sometimes called “Brethren.” I noted too your choice of the non-de-plume “One who - has - seriously - considered -going - elsewhere.”

With due deference to brother D. K., I likewise wish to comply with your request for help. Although I agree with him in substance, I feel that I should attempt to put myself in your position,

Perhaps if I were to sign myself “One - who - has - been- elsewhere” or “One - who - has - been - helped,” you would understand just why I wish to assist if possible.

There is a Scripture that reveals a principle which greatly has helped the writer, as well as others, to be settled in heart and mind, and to stay.

It is not found in any of the Church Epistles, not even in the New Testament, rather, it is in the Song of Solomon chapter three. In verse one of that passage there is a woman in her bed at night, exactly where she should be. Her position is right, notwithstanding, something is wrong for she is out of communion with her beloved; her condition is wrong.

In verses two to four the picture is changed; this same woman is in the city streets at night. Her position is wrong, but her condition is right for she seeks and finds the one whom her soul loves.

Now, Dear A. G. E., let the question be asked, which is the more desirable, to be in the right position and in the wrong condition, or to be in the wrong position and in the right condition? Let me be perfectly frank: even in those holy moments reserved for the remembrance of Christ, the writer has, far too often, not only grieved the Holy Spirit but grieved God’s people as well by being in the wrong condition.

As a young believer the writer was thrown by the convulsions of war half-way across the world. Between here and the Chinese border he met with many saints using different ecclesiastical designations, and believe me, their positions could not be substantiated by the Word of God; nevertheless, the fragrance of Christ in their lives was such that the writer would have counted it a privilege to shine their shoes. There was no doubt about it, their condition was right.

I believe that positionally those who gather simply in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ as assemblies of Christians occupy the place where God intended every saint to be. However, it is sadly evident that the condition that prevails among them is very far from what it ought to be. In spite of all this, and in spite of many things which grieve us. I believe that the assembly gathered according to New Testament principles in the only place where both the right position and the proper condition can be enjoyed. Stay! Do not “go elsewhere.” Let us, each one, get down before God about our condition. Let us throw our weight into building up that which we believe to be right. Perhaps through personal godliness thus produced, some day there may be enough of the beauty of Christ about us to attract others to Him, and to refresh His weary people on their way home to glory.

In Christ,
J. B. N