Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 30, 1959

Broken Fellowship

Judson Woodbridge, Mulvane, Kansas

The words of John should give us an understanding of the basis and kind of fellowship that exists among Christians. "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 Jno. 1:7.)

Fellowship has been broken in Mulvane, Kansas. Some few months ago it became necessary for the elders of this congregation to take action against a man who was indeed "factious". He talked to many, had meetings in his home and elsewhere making accusations against the elders and the preacher. According to him the elders were not qualified, they were going to be voted out, the preacher must leave, he had caused trouble in every church where he had preached, he runs the church here, the churches around would not fellowship this congregation because of the kind of preaching he did, his spirit wasn't right, etc. This was a sample of the type of work the factious man carried on. Being a deacon, he was asked to step out of this position. He wrote a letter to all the members, stating he would leave it up to them as to whether he got out. Because of this work and attitude, after two admonitions from the elders, the factious man was withdrawn from. A few in the congregation sympathized with him. He and his sympathizers went to other congregations in this area. Now, recently, they have come into Mulvane and started a congregation. And, as to be expected, this group is receiving help from many congregations in this vicinity. These churches are sending their preachers to preach for this group. Yet, not one of the elders of these churches have ever come to the elders here to find out the truth about the man and his group of sympathizers.

The truth of the matter is that the teaching the truth on institutional orphan homes, and sponsoring churches is underneath the dissatisfaction. Some few have talked and that is the subject of their conversation. To put this to a test let this new group in Mulvane say they are opposed to the set-up of the Maude Carpenter Children's Home and see how quickly they will be dropped by these churches who are helping them! The preacher who lives here, and the men who have held our meetings have preached against the separate human organizations through which the church is to work. They have also pointed out the unscripturalness of sponsoring churches. The preachers have been criticized, and the elders have come in for their share because that is the kind of preaching they insist upon being done.

Because of these issues we expected many of the churches close by to give assistance to this effort in Mulvane. We have known of their attitude and spirit. It is impossible to oppose their practices without having heaped upon you the most vicious abuse. One church is reported to have decided in a business meeting not to fellowship us. We, of course, have been labeled as "anti", "hobby riders", "opposed to caring for orphans", "church splitters", etc. Now, who has broken the fellowship? Who drove the wedge? Who has introduced the unscriptural practice?

We cannot fellowship this new group, nor do I see how we can fellowship those who are having a part in starting of this church. In fact, they want no fellowship — this new church and those who are helping to start it. But I am wondering about many good people in these congregations who are a party to this opposition work here in Mulvane. What should be your action? You believe we are standing for truth. Do you not have a responsibility in this battle for right? Can you "wash your hands" of this matter? This is something for members to think about who know the truth. We have made every effort possible and will continue to do so) to teach the truth; but like in the denominational world many will not have it. If people will not "walk in the light," then there can be no fellowship. It is broken.

Recently, Bro. W. Curtis Porter closed a good meeting with us. Previous to the meeting two were baptized and two restored. Yes, and we have had a few to leave and go with the opposition group. Bro. Yater Tant is to be with us for a week this fall. Pray that we may stand and do that which is right.