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The Clarion Herald
    A few months ago there crossed my desk the "mission report" of one who complained: "I believe that my missionary activities are of such qualities that they deserve better consideration than they are receiving". The gist of that letter-report was an attempt to prove that a church-sent missionary may rightfully (like Paul and Barnabas) take the initiative and call churches together to hear the message they want to deliver. (Yet, Paul and Barnabas never extolled their own greatness or appealed for funds; nor is it said that they "called together" any church other than the one that had sent them forth -- and where they were probably members.)
    Let this pastor-editor go on record as believing that it is not only PROPER for a church-sent missionary to report to the church that sent him; IT IS HIS RESPONSIBILITY TO DO SO! Far too often missionaries have sought the sponsorship of a local church, as a necessary step to the mission field, and have thereafter ignored their sponsors -- seeking no counsel and giving no report comparable to that of Paul and Barnabas.

    But for any missionary to assume that ANY OTHER CHURCH is obliged to honor him, and receive the uninvited benefit of his wisdom in the handling of their own affairs, is to foolishly and presumptuously intrude himself into a role for which he is ill-fitted. And even missionaries sometimes have difficulty in discerning PRINCIPLES from personal prejudices, and GODLINESS from deep-rooted grudges.
    To write such words is difficult. But, having pledged myself to oppose whatever tended toward the disintegration of peace and unity in the brotherhood, I HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE!
    The cause of scriptural missions has suffered an alarming set-back in recent years through the injudicious action of a few who obviously have rejected the biblical route to true greatness, (Matt. 2O:25-28).
    When a missionary (no matter how "successful" his labors may have been regarded in the past):
    (1) Imagines that he possesses such "apostolic authority" as requires New Testament churches to bow to his "convictions"; (2) Is less than honest with regard to

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The Clarion Herald The Clarion Herald

significant changes in his doctrinal position; (3) Sows suspicions, discord & division among brethren, (4) Manifests open unbelief, in expressions of fearfulness with regard to the good sense and spiritual integrity of supporting brethren;(5) Gossips his way from church to church -- actually perverting the doctrinal views of some pastors; (6) Blatantly brands as "heretical every brother and church that does not wail to his minor tune or march to his strange cadence; and (7) Poses as one who is merely zealous for truth and righteousness; IS IT ANY WONDER THAT THE CAUSE OF MISSIONS SUFFERS ??
    Is it surprising that one brother is utterly deceived by such a pretentious facade - - zealously disfellowshipping another who dares question the validity of such a "holy crusade"? Can anyone possibly imagine that such boisterous carnality is anything less than sickening to Him Whom we all call "Lord"? and

by Whose precious blood we have been purchased? Is it reasonable that, while untold millions perish, those who have been commissioned to disciple them to Jesus are torn asunder by senseless schism and sinful pride?
    Rather than attempt to vindicate ourselves, and assess blame, would it not be far better that ALL acknowledge a part in the hindering sin of strife? Is any one of us more righteous than Daniel, or Nehemiah, who associated themselves with, and confessed, the sins of the covenant nation? Any attempt to coerce one's brethren into conformity with one's own views -- however long or conscientiously held -- is to violate the law of love and the divine order of Christian behavior.
    With hearts, minds and affections set on Jesus, true Christian hearts will be joyfully UNITED -- knowing that it is only through His grace that we have come this far toward "knowing Him". Loving Him, we will walk in paths of faith-obedience. Thus, His name will be exalted and perishing souls will be rescued from the ruin of sin. TOGETHER we may rejoice in what God has done! And faithful missionaries will be adequately supported by beloved brethren who seek -- NOT a consensus, but the "furtherance of the Gospel". NO MISSIONARY need be forced into retirement by lack of support. And, in the sufficiency of divine grace, others will be sent forth with the "good news" of the crucified, buried, risen, ascended and soon-coming-in-triumph Saviour and King! AMEN!!
-- Eugene L. Garner


    The biblical idea of fellowship is a bit different than that seemingly held by many in our day. It involves a joint-participation, or sharing of things in common. Nor is there anything in the Scriptures which indicate that true fellowship requires conformity to some humanly-devised standard or creed.
    CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP involves a commonness in the experience of salvation through repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ Who paid the full price for our redemption. This is foundational and essential.
    CHURCH FELLOWSHIP involves a far more intimate relationship experienced by scripturally baptized believers who are functioning members of a local "body of Christ". In such a relationship fellow-body-members have commonly surrendered their individual preferences (for the common good) to accept the yoke of Christ, their Head -- becoming His joyful bondservants, for the edification of the body and the glorification of the Master. This is a voluntary relationship of love -- rooted in the consciousness that it is the Master's will for such as would truly follow Him. Though this relationship requires a basic agreement on fundamental doctrinal issues, it does NOT demand conformity to any human creed or even to any individual interpretation of the Scriptures.
    INTER-CHURCH FELLOWSHIP involves the relationship of those who hold membership in scriptural churches in various geographical areas. It

may involve the sharing of common beliefs or cooperation in the furtherance of the Gospel through the support of a common objective. Too shamefully often cooperation in the worthwhile objective is jeopardized by a stubborn, legalistic, unbrotherly insistence on doctrinal uniformity.
    To advocate "peace-at-any-price" is to propose something that is far too costly for one with the slightest concern for Christian principle. But one must not forget that there is ANOTHER EXTREME. Contentious insistence that one's brethren accept HIS doctrinal views, as a pre-requisite to fellowship: raises deep suspicion of self-righteousness, evaluates one's own wisdom so highly as to violate the principle of humility, insulates against any further spiritual illumination and progress, and too often leads to such division as makes impossible any real cooperation in what ALL AGREE is a worthwhile objective.
    This editor feels that there MUST BE A MINIMUM of doctrinal agreement before there can be any really practical INTER-CHURCH fellowship. He is willing to join hands and heart, in any worthwhile and scriptural endeavor, with such as acknowledge that:
    1. Salvation, for alien sinners, is: by grace, through faith in the Son of God Who offered Himself as a substitutionary sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. The believer IS SAVED without the works of the law or the ordinances of the church.
    2. The divine order for such as would please God, and experience the fulness of blessing in His coming

Kingdom, requires that saved men identify themselves with Jesus Christ as members of His body, the church, which requires that they be baptized (immersed) on the authority of a scriptural assembly -- wherein they profess to have died with Christ; pledge themselves to a walk of faith-obedience before him, in love; and press the hope of being raised in His glorious likeness at His appearing and Kingdom.
    3. That the Lord's Supper is to be observed as a local church ordinance -- in remembrance of Christ's death, until He comes. It involves an act of true worship wherein
fellow-body-members -- beholding their head -- declare themselves to be ONE LOAF; the reality of that declaration being manifested in a true "unity of the spirit, in the bonds of peace".
    4. That the proper objective of the New Testament church is to make, baptize and instruct true disciples in the way of God's New Testament order; that the spiritual dynamic which places this within the realm of possibility was given to the Lord's church on the first Pentecost following His ascension.
    This is not all that is important. But, AS A MINIMUM BASIS FOR FELLOWSHIP, brethren, I offer my hand, my heart and my cooperation in any endeavor that will magnify the name of my Saviour!
-- Eugene L. Garner
Blessed fountain, full of grace!
Grace for sinners, grace for me,
To this source alone I trace
What I am; and hope to be.
What I am, as one redeemed,
Saved and rescued by the Lord;
Hating what I once esteemed,
Loving what I once abhorred.
What I hope to be ere long,
When I take my place above;
When I join the heavenly throng;
When I see the God of love.
Then I hope like Him to be,
Who redeemed His saints from sin,
Whom I now obscurely see,
Through a vail that stands between.
Blessed fountain, full of grace!
Grace for sinners, grace for me;
To this source alone I trace
What I am, and hope to be.