TWO OBJECTIONS ANSWERED
There are those who object to what has been said above by pointing to Heb. 10:24,25: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
This Scripture is often appealed to by those who say that the believer must “go somewhere”, even if the only place he is able to attend is not biblically sound. This is great error! This Scripture means that true Christians must not forsake the genuine assemblies of the Lord’s people. Note the wording: “the assembling of ourselves together” – i.e. real Christians. It is not commanding us to remain in fellowship with false churches, contrary to all the Scriptures we have already examined.
If at all possible, Christians must come together as local churches of saints. But where this is not possible, it is always sinful to fellowship with false churches.
In addition, true churches of Christ should enjoy communion with other true churches, wherever possible. We see this in the New Testament. Yes, churches are to be independent, and no denominations should be formed. But wherever possible Christian churches should maintain happy and precious fellowship together, in different ways. They may even maintain fellowship with sound churches which are not precisely one with them in every doctrine, as long as they are one with them in all doctrines essential to be known and believed for salvation, and in holy and separated living.
But we are never to have fellowship with those religious institutions which hold to heresy, or let their members live ungodly lives.
Another objection, widely popular, is made by pointing to Jn. 17:20,21, which multitudes use to justify fellowship with all kinds of wicked religious institutions: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one”.
The Ecumenical Movement is a worldwide, satanically-directed movement, its purpose being to unite all institutions which call themselves churches of Christ into one giant conglomeration. The Roman Catholic religion is the largest of all, and it desires to take control of all other so-called churches, by getting them to submit to its authority. And among “Protestant” churches (which are Protestant in name only), the World Council of Churches is at the forefront of this drive for a One-World Church. They are well on the way towards achieving this objective.
Those who desire to unite all kinds of institutions together and calling them the Church of Christ, justify this by referring to the prayer of Jesus in Jn. 17:20,21, saying that we must all do whatever we can to fulfil it.
However, this prayer of the Lord has already been answered! For the Father always heard the Son: in prayer to the Father, Jesus said, “And I knew that thou hearest me always” (Jn. 11:42). When He prayed, therefore, for all His followers to be one, this prayer was answered. All true Christians are spiritually one in the Father and the Son. They form the one true Church of Jesus Christ.
And note for whom Jesus prayed in Jn. 17: those who believe on Him through the Word. True believers in Christ! Not all that “mixed multitude” who profess to truly believe on Him. Only genuine Christians, to whom the Lord has given the gift of faith, and who have called upon His name and been saved from their sins.
Believers are already one with all other true believers. But they are not one with men of Belial, and never will be – even if they call themselves Christians!
Let us consider the specific false churches from which the Lord’s people must separate. Many would object to being specific at this point, and actually naming these false “churches”. But the Lord’s people need to know. This is not a time for generalities; for beating about the bush. We must be specific! Just as the Bible names names when it comes to individual enemies of the Gospel, so we must name names when it comes to religious institutions calling themselves churches, yet utterly unworthy of the name. These are false churches, from which the Lord’s people must separate.