Last Updated on : November 23, 2014

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Short Treatise On Standards For Christadelphians

In The World, But Not Of It


While we are in the world, we must not be of the world. "Bad company ruins good manners" (1 Cor. 15:33 R.S.V.). Thus Paul's advice is: "from such turn away". It is inevitable that we should be influenced by the world, but if we are not alert to its dangers, eternal tragedy could be the result. The world exerts its pressure upon us to conform to its will and uses its media to do so - papers, magazines, radio, television and its education system. It is sad to say that the effects of these degrading influences are being seen more and more in the Brotherhood. Too few are aware of the perils and even less are prepared to speak out against them. Good shepherds care for the flock of God, watching over their souls as those who must give an account. Like Isaiah, they will "cry aloud, spare not . . . and show God's people their transgression" (Isaiah 58:1). To do this they must be "scribes instructed unto the kingdom", knowing accurately the Scriptures and the holy and sober living they enjoin.

The young are most affected by the tide of evil now prevalent in the world. They are more impressionable than older people, not having passed through the experiences of life which confirm what is wholesome and profitable. But many older brethren too, whose example over past years has served to strengthen the weak, have yielded and let their own standards fall away. Perhaps they have not wanted to appear 'narrow-minded'. But in so doing they have failed to "strengthen the things which remain" and have given others licence to follow the "fashion of the world which passeth away" (1 Cor. 7:31).

As we await the glorious appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, we are to "deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world" (Titus 2:12-13). We have not, therefore, the licence to imitate the world in its tastes and pleasures. "Pure religion" entails keeping oneself "unspotted from the world" (James 1:27). Friendship with the societies of this world, however congenial and harmless they might appear, is declared to be "enmity with God" (James 4:4). The true Christadelphian will feel strange in the company of the alien and will seek instead the company of those of "like precious faith". He will not be found at the world's entertainments, its sports, its cinemas etc. Rather he will lend his support to the activities of the ecclesia "which is the house of God ... the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15). He will find pleasure in the company of those who are likeminded and will not forsake the assembling of himself with his brethren, but will do so more earnestly as he saees the day approaching (Heb. 10:24-25).

If we have no desire for ecclesial associations apart from the memorial meeting, then we should subject our values to a very close scrutiny. If this is so, the love Christ enjoined as the sign of discipleship cannot be in us: "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35). Repeated absence from the midweek Bible Class shows disinterest and apathy. If we say we have not sufficient time, what we really mean is that we are not sufficiently in love with the Lord's work! Have we ever read of Jesus saying, when asked to help, to heal, to explain, or to teach: "I have not time", or "I am too busy"?