Fellowship Matters

This page focuses on some of the attitudes toward each other in our Community, the ideals, and some of the problems and hurdles:

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

(Col. 3:14,15 )

Thoughts on Sheep and Goats

The following are a collection of writings on the recurring theme of either Sheep or Sheep and Goats within Scripture, and the lessons we can draw from them:

    • Straying Sheep by Phillip MacKinnon, from The Carribean Pioneer, Exhortation, June 2002

"There are so many references to lost sheep in scripture that their very familiarity may dull our senses to their impact and meaning. The plan this morning is to re-examine some of these passages and apply them, not only to selected biblical characters, but also to ourselves."

Guilt by Association

The concept and practice of Guilt by Association is live and well within our Community. Basically the idea is that in fellowshipping with someone 'following the Way of the World' we are partakers in their sin. Is this a Biblical concept? The following articles give arguments both in favour of guilt by association and against. Read, examine and judge in your own mind:

    • Guilt by Association - The Scriptural Arguments in Favour - this article is a modified version of that found on the St Lutheran Church Online website (non- Christadelphian)

    • Guilt by Association? - by Don Styles, from The Carribean Pioneer, Editorial, November 2002.

    • The Emergence of Error by the Dawn Christadelphians. Looks at the emergence of doctrinal error in the Early Church and our present position with regard to those that err. The concept of 'Guilt by Association' is found about half-way down the page under the heading of A Need for Unity not Disharmony.


Further Resources

In the following I have collected together a number of resources, articles and links which approach Fellowship Matters. They cover a whole range of different perceptions and understandings, may agree or disagree with each other in points. Some deal with the subject of Fellowship directly, others look at some of the underlying concepts and Scriptural ideals.

It is my belief that we need to look at all angles of an argument, prayerfully and conscientiously examine the matter for ourselves, and each draw our own conclusions.


Articles and Poems:


Online Books & Articles by Christadelphians dealing with fellowship issues:

    • Biblical Fellowship by George Booker, the following is extracted from the Preface:

      "This writer, with the uninhibited zeal of youth, felt for a number of years that he knew all that was worth knowing about “fellowship”. But changing circumstances provoked a serious and prolonged re-examination of the foundations of his “pure fellowship” position, and he was led at last to conclude that there is a “better way” consistent with the commandments of Christ. He now holds a different understanding of “fellowship”, with not quite the certainty of earlier times, but rather what he believes is a more realistic awareness of the imperfection of all things human (including this book!).

      Some of the results of those studies are now offered to the brotherhood, with the prayer that they might somehow encourage brethren of all “fellowships” to embrace the true “purity” that is never distinct from “peace”. May the Lord when he returns find his disciples endeavoring, in all humility, to keep the “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3)."

    • Cases of Sin and Withdrawal by Robert Roberts, part of the The Ecclesial Guide (1883 ed.)

      "Withdrawal is a serious step, and ought not to be lightly taken against any brother. It erects a barrier and inflicts a stain not easily removed. It ought never to be taken until all the resources of the Scriptural rule of procedure have been exhausted."

    • Individual Offences by Robert Roberts, part of The Ecclesial Guide (1883 ed.)

      "Christ has laid down the law very plainly for the curing of these; and it is the duty of the brethren everywhere to see it obeyed."

    • Principals of Ecclesial Life by Don Styles

      "The ecclesial community is not man's idea; it is not a Christadelphian idea; it is God's idea. Baptism is more than the individual being baptized into fellowship with the Father and the Son; it is inclusion into a community of believers established by God; we are all baptized into one body."

    • Bond of Perfectness by G.V. Growcott

      "For acceptable walk in the Truth, and for ecclesial health and harmony and a state of true mutual spiritual joyfulness to which we as the sons and daughters of God are freely invited, it is necessary that the Spirit's teachings on the subject of love be continually and repeatedly presented before the mind. ... Any aim short of perfection is not unifying, but dividing and breaking up. No group can have true unity unless it is wholly and wholeheartedly dedicated to the pursuit of divine perfection."

    • The Judgment And The Quality Of Our Brethren by Duncan Heaster, part of James and Other Studies

      "There are a number of passages which indicate that our reward at the judgment will take into account the spiritual quality of those with whom we have had close association. An appreciation of this will have numerous, sobering practical outworkings."

    • Attitude To Others by Duncan Heaster, part of Judgement To Come - a Biblical Discussion

      "One of the themes of the parables of judgment is that our attitude to our brethren will have an impact on the outcome of the judgment. Those who will be in the Kingdom will therefore be powerfully taught at the judgment the utter supremacy of love. This will be the basis upon which we enter the Kingdom. Mt. 25:45 seems to suggest that our attitude to the weak ones of the ecclesia will especially be considered by the Lord."

    • It's Not Leprosy by Don Styles, from The Carribean Pioneer, Editorial, April 1999

      "There are some symptoms which are unmistakably leprosy (Lev. 13:3). One careful examination by the priest would be enough to determine the individual was infected and declare him unclean. In like manner, there are some teachings which are unmistakably major departures from the gospel and teachers of them, after careful examination, must be set apart from the community."

    • Lest I Make My Brother to Offend by David Edwards, from The Carribean Pioneer, Exhortation, November 2001

      "The fact that the scriptures give emphasis to the subject of giving offence should alert us to its importance. "It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones" (Lk. 17:1-2). According to our Lord, offending our brothers and sisters has dire consequences, making it imperative that we examine his statement and modify our behavior accordingly."

    • FELLOWSHIP - Principles by the Dawn Christadelphians, see also the following link to the Practicalities of Fellowship.

      "The concept of fellowship is one of the fundamental doctrines of Scripture. Primarily, fellowship is with the Almighty Creator, who created man with the object of extending to him eternal fellowship. God's holiness and purity are at present a barrier for sinful man, but through the work of Jesus Christ that perfect fellowship can eventually be gained. Meanwhile those who have been called to the truth have the additional privilege of joyful fellowship with each other. They continue "steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." Acts 2v42. But this sharing of a God given hope means that individual believers, and communities of believers, must repudiate all fellowship with anything abhorrent to Him. This is one of the basic principles of divine revelation, and is the basis of repeated exhortations in the scriptures."

    • FELLOWSHIP - Practice by the Dawn Christadelphians, see also the previous link to the Principles of Fellowship.

      "Having established the principles, we go on to consider the practical effect these should have in ecclesial life, and the specific New Testament teaching on this topic."



For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

For the body is not one member, but many.

If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
And if they were all one member, where were the body?
But now are they many members, yet but one body.

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

(I Cor. 12:12-26)

This page was last updated November 2003