Church Obedience

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 8
To apply the ruin of the assembly to sanction disobedience is a principle wholly unallowable. I cannot appoint elders: it is not a question of obedience, but authority, and I have not the authority. The assembly had it not when Paul was alive, nor can they assume it now. They had not power to deliver to Satan then, they have not now; but they were bound to obey the command to put out then, and they are so now. Wherever two or three are really gathered together unto the Lord's name, He is in the midst; and there is the “within” and the “without.” It is a clearing of the conscience of the assembly: “ye have proved yourselves clear in this matter” (2 Cor. 7). Otherwise the assembly would be positive sanction (and by Christ's presence) of the association of Christ and sin; and it would be far better there should be no assembly at all than that. 2 Tim. 2 gives us the general principle of every one who calls himself a Christian separating from iniquity, purging himself from false teachers, and walking with those who call upon the Lord's name out of a pure heart. It is individual duty when evil has come in.
In bestowing power God is sovereign. When the word has spoken, I am bound to obey. To refuse obedience to it is to disobey—to assume on my own will authority not to act till God chooses to do that which rests on His own will. J.N.D.