David Lipscomb: “The Majority Seem to Be Going Away”

David Lipscomb: "The Majority Seem to Be Going Away"

Before the “official” division between the Disciples of Christ and the churches of Christ, David Lipscomb worked hard in doing what he could to prevent the need for division. But eventually he realized that division was inevitable. This deeply saddened him. He had opposed innovations like the missionary society and instrumental music in worship to God. But he lamented the fact that many would not stand with him, thus making division necessary.

Nothing in life has given me more pain in heart than the separation from those I have heretofore worked with and loved. The majority seem to be going away and leaving those who stand firm for the old ways. I love to be with the majority, and would certainly go with them, if I were not afraid of offending God in doing so” (Torn Asunder, p. 111).

It is natural to want to be with the majority of our friends and brethren. Besides the fact that humans are social creatures, there is also the advantage of having strength in numbers. Lipscomb wanted to maintain fellowship with the majority of his brethren. Yet because of their departure from the truth, he understood that fellowship with them could not be maintained without jeopardizing his own fellowship with God.

At times it may seem as though a majority of our brethren are going off into the ways of liberalism and compromise. It may be tempting to follow with them in order to maintain unity with our friends. But like Lipscomb, we must recognize that as sad as it may be to have division between friends and brethren, it is far worse to offend God.

Our fellowship with God must come first before fellowship with our brethren. While unity with brethren is “good” and “pleasant” (Psalm 133:1), fellowship with the Lord makes it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins (1 John 1:7). When brethren go “too far” and do not “abide in the teaching of Christ,” they lose their fellowship with God (2 John 9). If we maintain fellowship with these brethren, we participatein [their] evil deeds” (2 John 11).

We must remain faithful to the Lord, no matter what others might do. Even if brethren with whom we have previously worked and worshipped depart from the truth by compromising the Scriptures, adopting unauthorized innovations, or condoning sin and error, we must not follow them. Though it may not be pleasant for earthly ties to be severed, it is far worse for our bond with the God of heaven to be broken.

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  1. Thanks for sharing. This is going on in the church big time now days. Getting very hard to find a sound church anymore.