Monday, June 02, 2008

Exclusiveness in fellowship

Following on from my latest post, I recently received this message from a sister who has been through a painful experience. She has discovered that she is welcome to join a particular Christadelphian ecclesia but if she does the ecclesia will demand that she can no longer break bread with the people who taught her the Gospel and who baptised her, even though they believe the same things as she does! This attitude adopted by some Christadelphians to 'fellowship' is simply crazy, but the following letter from Lucy demonstrates this plainly enough. The names of the ecclesias and individuals involved have been deleted.

My dear beloved brothers and sisters!

On Thursday May 15th, I met with two members of the XYZ Ecclesia, who were sent to identify if my beliefs met with their standards. After two and a half hours of conversation, I was invited to their service, which I gladly accepted and attended May 18th. I was very pleased by the way I was welcomed, almost like well known sister, who you haven’t seen in a while. We studied the Word of God, and broke bread together. I was a very satisfied and happy by my visit, and that is what I, have expressed in my e-mail. On May 20th, I attended an invitation for dinner and Bible study. Every one called me their sister, and again I felt welcomed.

On Monday May 26th I was very surprised when I received a phone call, from a board member informing me of a meeting that was to take place with me to become a member of XYZ Ecclesia. What was surprising is that I have attended several meetings where we broke bread and as to my awareness I assumed that I was already welcomed as a sister in Christ. I was born in former Soviet Union, a Communist regime, where you were called in for a meeting when you were suspected of being an enemy to society and will be immediately sent to Siberia or if you prefer to retain your privileges you were to submit too and join the Communist party. Anyways I felt stressed, wondering why this meeting has been scheduled, and if I have done something wrong?
On Thursday May 29th, I attended the meeting where I was informed of whom I can, and can’t break bread with. I can honestly tell you that I fell in love with every brother and sister I met in XYZ Ecclesia however I could not understand the reasoning of this practice.

Anyways, I was given “The Ecclesia Guide” to check if we have same beliefs, which we did prior to this meeting. I was also given an address list of W Ecclesia with whom I am allowed to “Break Bread” with and was told I must have an answer by Sunday.

By the way, they did tell me that I am allowed to be in fellowship with everyone except, I have to follow the rules with whom I can “Break Bread”.

Last night, I couldn’t go to sleep at all, thinking what had happened earlier this evening! I looked into the Bible and I could not find a law stating with whom we can or can’t break bread with in Christ.

But I found, that Jesus Christ broke bread with 3000 and 5000 people and did not ask them if they even believed He was Messiah. And that at the Last Supper when He was giving instructions about "Breaking Bread" to every disciple HE actually broke bread with Judah Iscariot who betrayed Him several hours later.

I looked at "The Ecclesial Guide and Constitution of the ABC Christadelphians," and I read about all their beliefs, which are exactly like mine. But again, I did not see anything saying about with whom I am allowed to break bread. Except, in the section of "The commandments of Christ” number 12 says – “Grudge not; judge not; complain not; condemn not,” (James 5:9, Matt 7:1). And by choosing with whom we break bread with, we are JUDGING our brothers and sisters; we are breaking our own law.

It is very sad to know that we have become similar to the Pharisees, who have two laws; one is written and one is oral.

In Matt 23 says, "Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. 3. So you must obey Moses and do everything he tells you. But do not do what they (Pharisees) do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 13. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. 15. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are."

And in Deut.6:4 Yahweh said to Moses "1 Hear now, O Israel, the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 2. Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you. 8. And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today"

I have come to the conclusion that by choosing brothers and sisters whom you can or can’t “Break bread” with and who’s beliefs are exactly the same like yours and mine, has become an “obsessive tradition” or “religious idolatry”.

I am not willing to follow MAN'S rules, when I will be present on judgment day facing God, I want to no shame and excuses on this subject. One day all, of us will be there. Please remember that.

I do not judge anyone, I am speaking truth saying do not follow MAN’s rule, it is against God. I have no problem breaking bread with anyone in XYZ Ecclesia or any of my brothers and sisters around the world.

I love Yahweh, and I want to walk in His Will and no one MAN’s law or rules could stop me. It is sad, but I am coming to the conclusion that XYZ Ecclesia don't want to break bread with me unless I agree not to break bread with my brothers and sisters like **, ***, T ecclesia . I won't agree to such man made rule.

I still love all my brothers and sisters in Christadelphians Ecclesia around world. My prayers are with them. I'm happy many of them accept me still. May Yahweh open their hearts and their minds to see The Truth, as they preach; and ignore MAN'S LAW or ANY RULES.

I will continue to do what I was called to do, which is Preach the Gospel

Yahweh blesses you!

Sister Lucy


Gerry said...

Hi Steve, I guess that I should address dear Sister Lucy as it has been a rough ride for her.

The Gospel and Grace are simple. It is only that men seek to control others that they devise documents saying what you should and shouldn't believe. In doing this they are running a great risk of defeating the good work that was done through the death and resurrection of Christ. They say that faith in Christ is not enough - that is anti-Christian and so very wrong.

Christ died to give us freedom from such people who seek to control what do, say and think.

Fortunately there are others who feel the same way and many who have left the Christadelphian Sect and who have found the true freedom of Christ elsewhere. It is important to understand that Christ didn't ask us to become Pharisees, but that is what has happened.

My encouragement is to surround yourself with Christians (even Christadelphians) who are non-judgemental and who do not seek to control who you can associate with.

As for those who wish to be Pharisees, leave them to their own future, for they will have to answer to Christ for all that they have done.

Praise God, Come Lord Jesus Come.

By Grace

Unknown said...

The older I get, and the more distance I put between myself and mainstream CDia, the more bizarre and cultish our fellowship practises seem to me.

Disfellowship is very, very, very serious matter, an extreme measure to deal with extreme unrepentant disobedience. It is to be used when we believe someone is spiritually dead.

And yet we use it as casually as a napkin. Block disfellowship is nowhere mentioned or supported in the Bible, yet this is a standard "tool" used by many if not most CD congregations. Block disfellowship seems like a sort of "spiritual genocide" to me.

Jesus said "if you do it to the least of these, you have done it unto me". These words are frightening in their application to this issue. If you disfellowship someone whom you believe may still be a brother or sister of Christ, then you have disfellowshipped Christ. Who wants that on their slate at the Judgement Seat??

If you disfellowship someone you better be VERY sure that they fit the Biblical criteria for disfellowship.