What Is Independency?

 •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 9
A question troubling some believers and should be troubling more.
Every sincere and pure-hearted believer in our Lord Jesus Christ should desire to know the teaching of Scripture as to the answer to this question. The great danger in us all is to reject the Scripture with which we do not personally agree, while substituting our opinion.
Is it Possible to Maintain One Unity?
It is commonly heard that the Church of God is now in such ruin that it is no longer possible to maintain the scriptural order of the unity of the body of Christ, (which body is composed of every true believer in our Lord Jesus Christ). If this be true then it would follow that. (1) It is impossible at all to break bread according to the Scriptures, and... (2) The order in which believers carry this out is unscriptural.
Scripture Speaks Clearly
Two scriptures speak plainly on this point. (1) "We, being many are one body, for we are all partakers of that one bread (loaf)" 1 Cor. 10:1717For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. (1 Corinthians 10:17)... (2) For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come. 1 Cor. 11:2626For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. (1 Corinthians 11:26). The first scripture states that when we break the bread, there is the professing that we are one body." Scripture knows no other unity. The second scripture quoted above is saying that a condition capable of its being carried out will exist until the Lord returns for His own.
Either it Is Reasoning or Disobedience
Is Scripture too strong for us? Either it is our reasoning mind or disobedience to a known scripture which causes His Word to be unheeded. Ignorance of the truth is one thing (in this we all fail, we must confess)... opposition to it is quite another.
"Go it Alone”
Surely one of the most successful snares into which the believer may fall, is to reason that the way out of the dilemma is to "go it alone" with a group of godly believers-an independent circle of fellowship or communion. This separated group of believers meeting in a voluntary way may appear to be a safeguard against the argument that Scripture has provided a pattern for one circle of fellowship today for the Church of God. But is it not narrowing the Holy Spirit's unity?
Can There Be One Scriptural Testimony?
No truth is more tirelessly attacked today than this: that there can be one scriptural testimony (fellowship) to the Lord's name. It lies at the very foundation of the glory of Christ on earth today; the object nearest and dearest to the heart of Christ is the object which Satan above all else seeks to destroy.
An Old Testament Pattern
Moses was instructed, and repeatedly warned by God, to see that he made the Tabernacle exactly according to the pattern shown him by God Himself-Ex. 25:9,40; 26:30; 27:89According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it. (Exodus 25:9)
40And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount. (Exodus 25:40)
30And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was showed thee in the mount. (Exodus 26:30)
8Hollow with boards shalt thou make it: as it was showed thee in the mount, so shall they make it. (Exodus 27:8)
. Could it be supposed that that which brings glory and honor to Christ in and by His body on earth, the Church, would be left to man's choice as to a pattern of how God is to be worshiped today? Is the proliferation of patterns of God or of man?
A Babe and a Cross
Satan, for the unsaved world, has cleverly devised two views of Christ... (1) Keeping Him still a babe in the virgin Mary's arms to be idolized, or...(2) Keeping Him still on the cross, with an incompleted salvation without resurrection. (1 Cor. 15:1717And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17).)
Likewise has he devised, for believers, two positions. (1) Keeping us in an immature state, thus stifling our desires for maturity in the truth (1 Cor. 3:1-31And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? (1 Corinthians 3:1‑3)) or... (2) Saddening and discouraging us into a hopeless, morbid state of thinking that there is no true, happy, peaceful, positive testimony to the name of, and for the glory of Christ. Through God's grace we can rejoice in our salvation, and testify to the peace and joy of worshiping God in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ according to His Word.
A Sect Is a Heresy
The English word "sect" expresses the Greek word "heiresses" (heresy), which is an opinion contrary to generally accepted doctrines. Its meaning became much changed when the greater part of the professing Christian "church" took on the name of universal. Every religious group which did not belong to this "universal" church, was termed "a sect" a word of disapproval. These groups, or sects, have, as a uniting force, particular doctrines which are usually stressed. Nor is this way of looking at it entirely false. The application may be false, but not the idea itself.
But what should be important for us all, is to discover that which the Spirit of God acknowledges, where the Lord Jesus is the Center, where the true unity of the body of Christ is upheld, and where HIS authority is absolute. (John 17:20, 2120Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:20‑21).) That which is not based on this principle is really a sect in the proper sense of the word. They may take the name of Christ, as some in Corinth did (1 Cor. 1:12, 1312Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Corinthians 1:12‑13)), but are forming a union less than the Holy Spirit's expressed desire of unity.
The First Question
Is the heart ready to lay aside human reasoning and prepared to accept the will of God? "God... who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Tim. 2:3, 43For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3‑4). These verses reveal to us God's nature. He desires only blessing for all people-all to be saved-all to come to the knowledge of the truth. These are two great steps in a person's life.
Must we stop preaching the gospel because the majority is not saved? Must we stop declaring the glorious truth that all believers are "one body," and that therefore there is one Head who is the one and only gathering Center-Christ Himself? Must we stop both because of the rejection of the first by unbelievers, and the rationalizing of the second by believers? Do we say we must not offend those who are lost?
The Second Question
What is the authority governing a voluntary, independent group? Independency, of necessity, means that authority rests within the circle itself, therefore scriptural authority is given second place; human rules are primary. It is abundantly seen that every independent group readily sees the faults of other independent fellowships. Where is the unity of the Spirit? (Eph. 4:33Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)), the unity of opinion? (1 Cor. 1:1010Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10)), or the unity of the body displayed? (Eph. 4:44There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (Ephesians 4:4)).
Independency Is a Denial of These Unities
A denomination of believers may have considerable oneness of mind, opinion and judgment, yet it is not keeping the Spirit's unity, for it is making these opinions the ground of its unity.
We are not told to make a unity but to endeavor to maintain it (Eph. 4:33Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)). Endeavoring to make a union proves that the Spirit's unity is not being kept. Union is man's making, unity is of the Holy Spirit's.
The Holy Spirit's Dwelling on Earth
The Holy Spirit dwells and acts in the body, the Church all over the world. All believers, however failing, careless or disobedient they may be, are forever in living unity with Christ, the Head in heaven, and also with every other member of His body on earth. Though, we must add, they are unhappy if in this state of soul.
Original Testimony to One Unity Shone Brightly
It is a self-evident fact that the one testimony to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, which shone so brightly in the pristine days of Acts 2:4242And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42), has become dimmed. Over 600 groups or denominations of Christians exist today, all claiming to be on scriptural ground, all claiming to be gathered to the same Name. Instead of feeling the dishonor brought to the Lord's name through these divisions, there is a willful determination for their continuance. Are controversies and contentions so engrossing our mind that the main point, the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, is lost?
Let's Bury the Hatchet?
Another suggestion of the enemy of Christ is to forget all our differences, "bury the hatchet," join the Ecumenical movement, form one federation. "After all," Satan would say, "the Bible teaches there should be one happy family.”
His Body and Church Are Synonymous
It is of such a spiritual nature that the Spirit's unity can only be kept "with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love." Eph. 4:22With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; (Ephesians 4:2). When this unity is truly kept, it will be, as it says, "in the [uniting] bond of peace." v. 3.
It is a holy unity, for the Spirit is holy (2 Tim. 2:1919Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Timothy 2:19)); the path and power of keeping it is by one Spirit operative all over the world. It therefore cannot be sectarian or denominational, though the living out of this unity may appear separative.
A member of a Church?
The Word of God does not recognize any such thing as being a member "of a church"; it always speaks of the members of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:2727Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. (1 Corinthians 12:27)).
"Purge Out," "Purge From”
A Holy Unity
Walking in communion with the Lord and seeking His exaltation alone gives discernment as to what to separate from down here. Then, and only then, the Holy Spirit is unhindered to draw that soul into His unity.
Can Two Walk Together Except They Be Agreed?
It is impossible therefore, for two or more companies, fellowships, to be in any one area and not be in fellowship according to the truth, for there is one body (Eph. 4:44There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (Ephesians 4:4)), or to admit that there are different ways of dealing with the same matters in discipline, for there is "one Spirit." Eph. 4:44There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (Ephesians 4:4); 1 Cor. 12:1313For 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. (1 Corinthians 12:13).
May it be so for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
N. Berry