Binding "non-cooperation" on institutionally minded brethren

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what do you mean by "non-cooperation"?

Post by email » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:05 am

First, what do you mean by "non-cooperation"? Do you mean that churches should not cooperate with one another in the work of the church? Tell me a little bit more details. Second, would you try to bind this doctrine upon me? I don't mind giving second thoughts to other things. Believe me I am always trying to do the right thing for the Lord. Thanks.
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additional reading and drawing lines of fellowship

Post by m273p15c » Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:28 am

Actually, I'm trying to use your terminology (my assumption) based on finding it ("non-cooperation brother") on your web-site. My current understanding of the NT pattern is that churches can send money directly to other churches that are in benevolent need (Acts 11:27-30), and churches may support preachers in evangelism (II Corinthians 11:8; Philippians 4:14-18), and churches may spend funds for their own edification, but otherwise, there is no Bible authority for churches cooperating directly in evangelism. Neither, can I find Bible authority for the use of missionary societies, orphan homes, colleges, or any other institution fulfilling its charter. The articles I sent might answer many of your questions (see below).
I'll leave the Bible study up to you. Please let me know, when you want to pursue it. I realize the links I sent contain a lot of material, but I think you could spend one evening on it and get a good handle on the main ideas, concepts, and terminology - as seen from someone on the other side. Please give it a look, and let me know what you think. I'll be glad to discuss it with you as much as you like, because unity is critically needed among brethren: ... html#unity

About "binding", I assume you are asking if I would draw lines of fellowship on this matter? If that's what you mean, then let me draw this parallel: Assume you met someone who believed everything you do, except he permitted instrumental music in worship. Now, let me present a few different scenarios, in which this guy's level of conviction varies. What would your relationship be with him, if:
  1. He demanded a piano be brought into worship and used in the singing?
  2. Or, he was willing to forgo its addition to the collective worship, but he routinely used it in his private worship and taught people to do the same?
  3. Or, he was willing to forgo both the teaching and practice of instrumental music in both the collective and individual settings, but he quietly maintained a personal belief?
  4. Or, he just wasn't sure about instrumental music, and he wanted a few questions answered?
I am assuming that you would not accept instrumental music. (If you do accept it, then I will have to come up with another example. ;-) Assuming you would reject instrumental music in worship, what would your reaction be to the person above? Would you "bind" acapella music upon him? Maybe it would depend on his attitude?

Just for reference, I understand from Scripture that we should use our voices to praise God, not mechanical instruments:
However, I could not fellowship with a person whose conviction rose to the levels of #1 and #2, because as I currently understand God's Word on this point, he would be forcing me to sin with him (II John 1:10-11), and because he would be a divisive false teacher (II John 1:9-11; Romans 16:17-18; Titus 3:10). However, I could fellowship person whose conviction stayed at levels #3 or #4, because he is not teaching or practicing, what I understand to be sinful, although he has some doubts. Admittedly, fellowship is a complex question. It is complicated by the fact that we are constantly changing - growing or dying, so relationships and fellowship also are potentially changing too. In other words, someone I fellowship today, I may not be able to fellowship tomorrow, and vice versa.

In many ways, I would view a brother who participated in unauthorized forms of cooperation in the same way. I would not doubt his sincerity or intentions, but I would question the authority and acceptance of this one practice. I hope this helps you better understand my concern. ... Incidentally, we must be careful not to "place the cart before the horse". Honesty and integrity should never decide truthfulness based on the consequences. Hopefully, we can discuss institutionalism (orphan homes, colleges, missionary societies) and church organization without being distracted or swayed by the ramifications in fellowship.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. I realize the "cooperation" issue may be new to you. Maybe I am the first person that you have met, who holds a differing belief. I look forward to a kind and friendly discussions regarding the Bible's teaching on such matters.

May God help us to have a sincere love of truth,

May God help us to love truth sincerely and supremely (II Thessalonians 2:11-12)

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