Vol.VI No.VII Pg.7
September 1969

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Do you regard Rom. 14: and 1 Cor. 8: and 10: as teaching we should fellowship the liberals today? DT


Both fellowship and liberals are used so differently today that I hesitate to answer categorically. The passages cited do not allow participation, support, or encour- agement of important deviations from N. T. authority or detrimental trends which gnaw at the vitals of N.T. ways and means — to use Bill Wallaces words.

These passages deal with problems arising over differences in conscience relative to lawful matters. It was not wrong, per se, to eat meat that had been offered in sacrifice to idols. (1 Cor. 8:8) Paul said, Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake. It was lawful although it may not be expedient. (1 Cor. 10:23- 25) Paul considered a brother weak who had scruples about eating meat. (Rom. 14:2) (There are differences in the meat situations of these passages, but in no case does Paul suggest compromise with error.)

Even these things lawful within themselves were forbidden when made a test. If a man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not —. (1 Cor. 10:28) UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ONE EAT OR ACT AS TO HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH THE ERROR. (1 Cor. 10:20)

Fellowship means sharing, being a partner in, or partaker of something, joint participation. (It is by Extension — metonymy — that the word is applied to that which is the outcome of fellowship, as contribution — Rom. 15: 26.)

Diversities in understandings and concepts are common in all congregations. I will not sever all relationships with a brother who believes the church treasury should be used to support a benevolent institution. But I will not jointly participate with him in such error. I will not put my money into a treasury that is used for such, nor will I give encouragement to those who do. If he would not seek to force joint participation upon me — by putting such institutions in the budget, where my money would be used to support — or by making such public avowal and association of the congregation with these institutions, that my very presence indicated approval and encouragement of the error — then we could worship together.

I would regard him as being in error on the point — and he would regard me as being in error on the same point — but neither of us would have fellowship (jointly participate) in that which we believed to be error. I am firmly convinced that God has made it possible for brethren who have the proper respect for His word, and the proper regard for one-another, to be at peace, united in His truth. (See God Wants Unity Too, page 5)

It takes a perverted heart indeed to see fellowship with error in the efforts of brethren to study their differences together, and measure their practices by the word of God.