Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Broken Fellowship

Breaking fellowship is a very sensitive topic. Breaking fellowship can be the spiritual equivalent of ripping off your own arm. I know that sounds dramatic, but it's true. You have gotten used to your arm. It is a part of your body. You have many uses for it. If you lost your arm, you would miss it. Worse yet, you are the one that is going to have to remove it. Breaking fellowship is not something that should ever be taken lightly. In fact, for the new believer, I was not even sure that this was an appropriate topic. However, somewhere along the walk, you may encounter a situation for which this knowledge will be needed.

[As for] a man who is factious [a heretical sectarian and cause of divisions], after admonishing him a first and second time, reject [him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him], Well aware that such a person has utterly changed (is perverted and corrupted); he goes on sinning [though he] is convicted of guilt and self-condemned.
Titus 3:10-11 AMP

I appeal to you, brethren, to be on your guard concerning those who create dissensions and difficulties and cause divisions, in opposition to the doctrine (the teaching) which you have been taught. [I warn you to turn aside from them, to] avoid them.
Romans 16:17 AMP

Again, breaking of fellowship requires very careful consideration. This is something may never be required of someone in their walk with God. You may never encounter a situation where you need to break fellowship with a person or body of believers. However, the Word is very clear on what to do in such situations. We are not to be in fellowship with those who carry out heretical teachings and practices.

Heresy is defined by Webster as: Dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice. An opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards.

So, truly, breaking fellowship for this reason would not be in the best interest of a new believer, since that believer really has not had the chance to have a 'dominant practice' or 'generally accepted beliefs'. As a new believer, stick with the one who evangelized you and is discipling you, whenever possible, until you establish a relationship, on a pastoral level, with your church leader. Even if the one you are with is a bit off the charts, God will honor your faithfulness.

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 KJV

We should break fellowship with any believer who is walking out of the Will of God. This is not to say that someone who sins is automatically cut off. If that were to happen, churches would need revolving doors! But someone who continually is out of order, (see previous post), should be cut off. Always leave room for reconciliation and redemption.

Read Ephesians 4: 1-13
Differences in doctrine are not reasons for breaking fellowship unless it deters or attacks the basic foundation of redemption being found in Christ Jesus.

No one should be received into the fellowship of a church without having received Christ. This is not to say that non-believers are not welcome. Indeed, non-believers need the gospel. But fellowship is more intimate and only intended for those who are in the body already.

I can not emphasize enough that this is a very serious matter if ever undertaken. Leaving a church because you didn't like what the preacher said is not breaking fellowship, it's just disobedience. Leaving because someone looked at you wrong or didn't greet you one day is not breaking fellowship, it's the spirit of offense. My wife and I had to break fellowship because of a denominational change which put our local body in fellowship with a national organization which acknowledged the ordination of homosexuals. It was clear cut for us. It was terribly difficult, nonetheless. Breaking fellowship is a major issue, a major decision, a major change. Do not let it takes minor amounts of consideration.

Look for 'Weekend Worship' -> coming up next!