The only way to draw another complete circle is to draw one smaller or larger than the one first drawn. Manifesting fellowship is trying to include others who are not within our spiritual realms. In other words, we do not have to agree in doctrine to enter into brotherly fellowship. When Brother Branham was confronted by those who taught error on the important subject of the Godhead, his response was “you can’t draw me out. If you draw me out, I’ll draw you back in. I said, …When you make one circle, God, by His grace, will let me draw another one and pull you right back in.” Our responsibility is to stand in God’s grace (Word) and keep drawing the circle around others who do not accept what we have received. Knowing that fellowship is God’s way of spreading the gospel message, we would like to share some of the humanistic views that hinder fellowship.
Many clergy and laity fear that their expression of fellowship will be viewed as compromise. Knowing that pressure will come from folks who do not understand our intentions, we draw a small circle around our most trusted friends. Unless we are ready to accept the misunderstandings like Jesus did, our fellowship circle will be ever so small. Reaching out to the disagreeable will be worth the reproach. Saint Paul was willing to give up his salvation if it meant the saving of his brethren. Showing a Christ-like spirit toward someone will not go unrewarded or even unprotected by the Lord.
There is a perception in controversies that fellowshipping with certain ones is to take sides. That same spirit declares drawing a bigger fellowship will hurt friendships. This is the sign of immaturity. We must remember, our first responsibility is to the Lord. Next, to the entire Body of Christ and then, to the local Body, and so on. Controversies or close friendships does not give us a reason to vacate a greater fellowship.
Special gifts and callings place the burden upon a few to do more for the cause of Brotherly Love. Yet, often those who could do the most, do the least (exception is Brother Branham). The reason is, there are important accountabilities with each vocation that helps gifts have their affect. However, there is no greater calling as important as setting an example of a kindred spirit. When all is said and done, it will not be gifts nor callings, but rather the spirit we project that will be the greatest and lasting ministry or witness.
Maybe one of the most used excuses of our time is “we must protect the Word.” Certainly God has ordained various individuals to draw lines, but we must be sure. If excommunication carries any adverse personal feelings, it is probably still just an excuse.
Brother Branham made the following statement in regards to the General Constantine, and his efforts to unite the church and state, “…And when they did, the church lost more grounds in ten years than it had gained all through the persecution.” Three hundred years of working together was lost in ten years when the persecution was lifted off the Christians. Persecution will be the answer, for the prophet said: “…How are we going to lose this great race? It’s because we’re divided. How we going to do it? We got to stay together. We’re all believers in God. The Holy Ghost takes us all in. It’ll be a paradox if God ever gets us together. But He will; just trust Him. He knows how to send the persecution. It’ll run us together
Constantine turned his cross experience into a political move to counter-act against the Christians evangelizing of Rome. The Christian’s love for their tormentors and executors was winning the worse of men to God. Rome immediately instituted another (same) one religious system. The World Council of Churches is also building the same ecumenical prison. The reason why the revival is not in America, is because of the fences that only include the predetermined agreeable.
Brother Branham taught us that persecution will come against our basic evangelical teachings. Yet, the folk who hate the important Bible doctrines including “the oneness of the Godhead” are not our enemy. We should all be trying to create fellowship. Of course, the church systems will not have a real Holy Ghost filled individual around. But to all, especially to those of our Message, our plans, prayers and our hopes is to continue like our Lord, even if it is to the same Calvary end.
Brother James Tidwell
(Reprinted from The Eagle’s View Issue Number 0031 entitled “Unity and Fellowship”)