Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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A Principle of Fellowship

J.W. McGarvey once made a statement to Jesse Sewell, on the subject of Fellowship, which is very interesting.

“You are on the right road, and whatever you do, don’t ever let anybody persuade you that you can successfully combat error by fellowshipping it and going along with it. I have tried. I believed at the start that was the only way to do it. I’ve never held membership in a congregation that used instrumental music. I have, however, accepted invitations to preach without distinction between churches that used it and churches that didn’t. I’ve gone along with papers and magazines and things of that sort. During these years I have taught the truth as the New Testament teaches it to every young preacher who has passed through the College of the Bible. Yet, I do not know of more than six of those men who are preaching the truth today. It won’t work.”

As told to Jesse Sewell in 1902 or 1903.
1950 Harding College Lectures

In the late 1800’s, as the dispute over the instrument and Missionary Societies raged, many sought to maintain that fellowship as McGarvey did. It didn’t work then, and the victory of truth was not because of a tolerance of error, but rather because men spoke against it. Lines had to be drawn because some had departed from the truth of God’s word.

In the mid 1900’s, as the dispute over the church support of Human institutions raged, many sought to maintain that fellowship as McGarvey did. Instead of taking a stand for truth, they sat the fence, and many were taken away into error. In the face of this tide of digression, again there were militant Christians who drew a line they would not cross. As such, again many were saved from the digression that enveloped others of their generation.

Now, again there are winds of digression that are blowing. There are those who “don’t agree” with what “brother so-and-so” is preaching, but are loathe to expose the error. There are those who are scathing in their condemnation of men who are drawing a line and are unwilling to countenance a departure of truth. Again the sympathy is with the false teacher, instead of the warrior of the cross. It seems that we are unable to learn the lessons of history. But, brethren, if we do not learn, then we are doomed to repeat our history of division and digression.

Remember the words of Paul, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” Ephesians 5:11.

And, remember the words of J.W. McGarvey, “It won’t work!”