The first Christians set us a tremendous example. “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers … Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common” (Acts 2: 42-44). The next verses tell us that this continued in simplicity and gladness of heart. God was praised, their reputation among the people was good, and God added to their number, non-Christians not daring to join them (Acts 5:13).
Times have changed. The decline that began in New Testament times has intensified over the years. Paul pleaded with the Corinthians to all speak the same thing, and that there would be no divisions among them (1 Cor. 1:10). The divisions of heart that were already beginning then, as Christians picked their favorites among the servants of God, have developed into full-fledged denominations today. While denominations may cooperate in some measure, they are organized as entities smaller than the body of Christ, and often contain a mixture of believers and unbelievers.
Christians can involve themselves in Bible studies and other Christian activities with fellow-Christians as long as they do so in obedience to God’s Word without compromise. Any demand that they give up or soft-pedal any portion of the truth of God or compromise their convictions should be a red flag to them. Bible study should be just that – Bible study, a sincere searching of God’s Word to see what it says, what it means and how it applies to our lives. Christian activities, hopefully, should in some way foster Christ’s cause and be more than simply social activities in which Christians are engaged.
Psalm 119:63 tells us: “I am a companion of all who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts.” As Christians we should enjoy the company of other Christians and true fellowship, while avoiding both the pitfalls of a legal sectarianism and of careless unconcern.
By Eugene P. Vedder, Jr.
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org