By Neal Griffin

Several have asked, "Where do you draw the line?". And since I believe the question to be sincere, I shall try to sincerely answer it. It should be understood, however, that this question is really asking, "Who am I willing to accept as fellow believers-brethren?". That is to say, "With whom am I willing to jointly participate in ‘church' matters?". It generally means, "Where do I draw the line of rejection?".

For more than forty years I thought that I was duty bound to scrutinize any who would assemble with me to be sure that they were in agreement with me on several brotherhood issues. I thought that I should not accept anyone who disagreed with me on the instrumental music issue, the Bible class issue, the women teachers issue, and the marriage and divorce issue. There were other issues on which I demanded conformity. For me to accept brethren with different understandings was to participate in error. I was so intent upon speaking where the Bible speaks and remaining silent where it is silent that I missed a major theme of it. The theme that I am referring to puts major emphasis on acceptance, tolerance, and putting up with one another. It is a theme of enduring one another in love and keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. It is not a theme of interrogation, judging, and rejecting. It is a beautiful theme of peaceful co-existence with brethren. >From cover to cover it is a theme of brotherly love and acceptance. It does not teach brotherly rejection, and those paid, pulpit ministers who are preaching such should be admonished to stop their divisive disturbing of God's family. Those divisive ones should try to be like the brother who summed it up so beautifully when he said, "I shall from henceforth be a ‘peace' maker and not a ‘piece' maker".

I hope that these thoughts will help you to live out your remaining days in peace with your brethren. I hope that you will be looking for reasons to love and accept your brethren instead of looking for excuses to judge and reject them. May God open our eyes to the marvelous acceptance of His grace that is so generously expressed in the Bible. May God bless us with the love of Jesus.

Where do I draw the line? First John 4 explains that if one believes that Jesus is the Son of God and that He came to earth as a man, I should accept him as being from God. With deference to the scriptural exceptions of moral turpitude, denial of the Deity of Jesus, and divisiveness, I shall draw the line where the apostle recommended. No other lines need be drawn. There are no other scriptural lines. The so-called issues that men have used as excuses to reject one another are nothing but commandments of men being taught as doctrine. Divisiveness is a work of the Devil. See Galatians 5:l9-2l. It would be a terrible thing to reject what God has accepted. Acts l0:l5. It would be a terrible thing to deny a brother or sister whom God has accepted. "Accept one another, as Christ accepted you, to the glory of God". Romans l5:7.

Please think on these things. I believe them to be true to the Word.

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