blessed fellowship, fearful responsibility

I am enjoying the fellowship of a group of friends at the Northwest regional Fundamental Baptist Fellowship meeting. Our featured speaker is Dr. Chuck Phelps, president of Maranatha Baptist Bible College. Chuck has been great, we had him going three times today. [He was delayed by the airlines who thought there was a blizzard out here yesterday … there are lots of flakes around, but they all walk on two legs.]

But my thought for you today is from Pastor Tom Nieman, longtime pastor of Galilee Baptist Church in Kent, WA, now retired and serving in pulpit supply and Bible conference ministry. He was rejoicing in the meeting tonight about the joy of fellowship with so many pastors from five states and two provinces. He reminded us of the days when he led his church out of a denominational association because of compromises he couldn’t countenance. Some of his people were reluctant because they would have no one to fellowship with.

Dr. Nieman said, ‘You know, they were right. If we left, there was no one else to fellowship with in those days.’ His joy tonight was in the wide fellowship that God has given as other men followed his lead and still others have moved into the area to pastor or plant and pastor like-minded churches.

Galilee Baptist withdrew from its association with a 94% vote. It cost them friends.

Here is what anyone who is willing to take a separatistic stance must realize. Separation means you will lose friends. It might mean you will have to rebuke friends.

I wonder if those who are coming up into the ministry, or are early in their ministry realize yet the cost of fundamentalism.

I don’t advocate separation for the sake of separation, or contention for the joy of contending. I hate conflict. I would rather just get along. But I learned a long time ago that if I am going to be faithful to the word, I am going to have to be willing to stand up and rebuke friends.

I have observed interactions between some young pastors and their friends who are clearly espousing errors of varying degrees. I wonder when these young pastors will rebuke the errors. I wonder if they ever will.

They might not agree, and they might be willing to debate, even to argue, but when will they come to the place where they will place loyalty to the Lord and His truth over friendship?

Sometimes a friend of a younger pastor will espouse worldliness and raise severe criticisms of fundamentalism or fundamentalists. When will a rebuke come? Sometimes the friend of a young pastor will advocate the writings of some heretic. [Really. I can prove it, but I’ll not do it now.] When will a rebuke come? Sometimes the friend of a young pastor will advocate a non-literal hermeneutic and espouse serious doctrinal errors as a result. When will a rebuke come?

Being a fundamentalist means opportunities for blessed fellowship. But being a fundamentalist also means that I might have to rebuke my friends. In public.

And it might mean that I will lose friends.

I don’t have any desire to lose friends. But I especially have no desire to lose the friendship of the One who bought me.

How about you?



  1. Still catching up on some older posts from the Spring. This was a good post. Many will not face the cost of being faithful to the Lord. That is sad. Who do they want to please ultimately? Better to lose some friends because you took a solid stand than to keep those friends and have their leaven affect you down the road.