Some Plain Words to Brethren - An Extract
by R. Elliott
There are two things we must jealously guard against. One is, adopting principles and practices contrary to what God showed to His people a century ago,while professing to maintain the same ground; the other, leaving the ground altogether. As was said by one, used more than any other to promote the movement of which we speak, "If Brethren fall in with the current Christianity inside the camp, they would be just another sect with certain truths." There is nothing more serious than to become indifferent to truth once known and acted upon.
But the difficulty does not lie there. Today, a number of groups exist, all professing to occupy the original ground and to act upon scriptural principles, yet who are entirely segregated as regards one another. Alas, it suits poor human nature to suppose that the "us," which includes ourselves, is the only right "us." Nothing is more subtle or deceptive than to lay the flattering unction to our souls that "we are the people," to delude ourselves with the thought that the honor of the Lord is our special charge and no one else is seeking it as we are. Yet although the most pretentious claims are put forth—not in so many words, perhaps, but it is seen in action, and this is worse—we are unable to distinguish, as we have said, any party as the one, above all others, to which the Lord gives preference, or upon which He bestows His presence in any special way.
All parties must be wrong, for the simple reason that they do not comprehend the whole Church, but have a fellowship of their own. The original movement was not a party, consequently all parties are necessarily a departure from it.
Our relation then to parties should be that we decline to recognize such circles, as being contrary to, and destructive of, the one fellowship which God Himself has established, and which it is the privilege of all who own Christ as Lord to enjoy; it being supposed, without proof to the contrary, that both walk and beliefs are in consonance with that confession.