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One Christadelphian Fellowship?

Should Christadelphians Be In One All-Inclusive Fellowship ?


An argument for this proposition may go something like this:

“In New Testament times all believers stayed together even with error in their midst and as late as AD 96 when the book of Revelations was written the seven Ecclesias of Chapters 2 and 3 continued to have errors.  Therefore Christadelphians today should not withdraw their fellowship from a brother who is in error and so separate the body of Christ but rather they should work cooperatively together in one all-inclusive cooperative Christadelphian community attempting to work from within to direct the erring members aright.” 


            Let us begin by considering some scriptures.

Matt 18:15  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

            The word “trespass” in this passage is simply referring to “sin,” and the words “against thee” should not be included; see for example Strong’s Concordance, the Diaglott, or the 26 translations of the NT.  Since “against thee” is not part of the original translation it shows that any sin that we see in a brother must be addressed according to Matthew 18, not just sins against us.  Thus if we see our brother sinning we must speak directly and personally to him concerning his sin in an attempt to turn him away from it.  This is done in love to him and for his ultimate salvation.  If he refuses to turn away from his sin we must follow the other steps in Matthew 18 systematically, and finally, if the sin continues, we must withdraw our fellowship from him. 

            In harmony with this is, Titus 3:10  A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject.

            The word “heretick” as used here is referring to someone who has a “false doctrine” and “chooses” to keep this false doctrine (See Strong’s Concordance).  Notice how this fits in with Matthew 18 above.  Here in Titus we see that if someone with a false doctrine is admonished and still “chooses” to hold onto this false doctrine he must be rejected. 

Other scriptures showing this:

1 Cor 5:7 “purge out”…13 “put away from among yourselves”

2 Thes 3:6 “withdraw yourselves”

Eph 5:11 “Have no fellowship with”


            These quotes, and others like them, show that if a brother is sinning, and if after he is scripturally approached according to Matthew 18 and choses to continue in his sin we must withdraw our fellowship from him.  Since this cannot be gain-sayed we must work out our understanding of the matter from this foundation.   

            Furthermore if we do not withdraw our fellowship from the sinners, there will be, over time, be a gradual acceptance of the sin within the fellowship since the fellowship has demonstrated that they are not going to withdraw from it.  Over time, as more and more sins are not withdrawn from, the entire fellowship will become increasingly like the world.

            But what of the many sins that were shown to be present in New Testament times?   We must remember that the New Testament times was a time of transition from the Mosaic Covenant to the New Covenant.  The greatest flexibility was shown as God gradually educated mankind to the New Covenant.  Peter needed a specific revelation regarding the Gentile Cornelius.  Paul, although a minister to the Gentiles spent much time educating the Jews of the changing constitution and of their incorrect attempt to Judaize the New Covenant.

            However to say that withdrawals did not occur is inaccurate.  In 1 Cor 5:1 the Corinthian Ecclesia was instructed by Paul to withdraw their fellowship from an immoral brother.  They did so and it seems that he ceased his immorality after being withdrawn from and was then accepted back into the body of believers (2 Cor 2:4).  In this instance Matthew 18:15-17 worked exactly as it should.  The unfaithful brother after due process was withdrawn from, was shamed by his unfaithfulness, repented from his error, and was then accepted back into the Ecclesial fold.

            Previous to Paul’s instruction, the brethren of Corinth had apparently taken a view of fellowship similar to that shown in the introductory argument.  They needed to be confronted by Paul before they insisted on faithfulness within their fellowship.  Their relaxed “loving” all inclusive fellowship was the very thing that was destroying the brother whom they loved.  And it would have also destroyed the Ecclesia of Corinth if they had not acted as they did and withdrawn fellowship from him.  What was the result?  He was “ashamed” and repented, that is, he put away his sin.  God’s method, although seemingly harsh to the flesh, showed itself to be exactly what was needed.

But what of the seven Ecclesias in Revelations Chapters 2 and 3?  Here we are in AD 96, about a generation removed from the Corinthian Ecclesia of Paul and we still see error in their midst.  An example of this is the Ecclesia at Pergamos.

Rev 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write… 14  But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam… 15  So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16  Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Although there were errors Christ specifically condemned them for not withdrawing from those with the errors.  Christ furthermore stated that if they did not withdraw from the Balaamites and the Nicolaitans, he would withdraw the candlestick from them (Rev 2:5).   They should have withdrawn from these unfaithful brethren.  That’s the point.  And if they refused to do so Christ warned them that he would fight against them with the sword of his mouth.

We do not know what these brethren in Pergamos did, but we do know that there was a general decline from the truth so that in AD 312 when Constantine, the man of sin was born, only a few true believers remained faithful and were scattered into the “wings” of the Roman Empire.  Thus in this instance also we see that withdrawal from unfaithful brethren was required.  Those who did not do so were unfaithful and would be judged accordingly.

            And what of the argument that we should not withdraw from error since “the body of Christ should not be divided.”  

            This also is inaccurate.  The body of Christ has not yet been formed.  It is now in a developing state and sadly some “brethren” will be found by Christ to be unacceptable and so will never be part of that body.  The “body of Christ” will only be formed after the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Until then we are in an imperfect state.  That perfected “body,” that “perfect man,” is still future as shown in, Ephesians 4:13: “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”

            Brother Thomas also comments on our present imperfect state.  He says, “Job was one of the sons of God along with some others from the East.  The sons of the Deity consisted of two classes, the nominal and the true” (Eureka Vol. 3 Part 1).

We must also remember that virtually all of so-called Christendom falsely, and ignorantly, claims to be part of the body of Christ.  This claim however does not make them so, nor does it make it so with Christadelphians.  Following the false logic of our introductory statement will lead us into a fellowship with uncorrected error in our midst.  It could also, and in some cases has, even led some “Christadelphians” to join with the churches of Satan (i.e. Christendom, so called) since they also falsely claim to be the body of Christ. 

Matthew 18 and the other scriptures shown above require the faithful to withdraw their fellowship from those who are unfaithful.  This is indisputable.  In fact, all we need to do is accept and follow these Scriptures and fellowship will take care of itself.  We all have a desire for “oneness”, “unity” and “fellowship” but the fullness of this will only come to those who attain to that future body of Christ 

Each one of us is personally responsible for maintaining the purity of the Truth in our own Ecclesia and Fellowship.  We must individually have the courage to insist on this.  If they refuse correction we must find another Fellowship where the Truth is fully upheld, or lacking this, stand alone. 

Brother Roberts says,

“The apostolic rule is to withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and from those who teach heresy – without reference to the question of what the Lord may finally think of them.  The time for withdrawal is when men drift into unscriptural attitudes of faith or practice.  Unless we observe this apostolically prescribed scrupulosity, the Truth would soon be suffocated and disappear.”



Calvin Yutzy