There is a very real danger in these perilous times in which we live that some may lose sight of or perhaps have never really appreciated what it means to be a “true Christadelphian” or “brother of Christ”. Bro Thomas once defined the matter very clearly and simply in the following terms: “The characteristic of a true Christadelphian is ʻthe obedience of faithʼ and a ʻwalk worthy of Godʼ; in other words, he first understands the things of the Kingdom of God and Name of Jesus Christ; secondly, he believes what he understands, and loves what he believes above every other thing; thirdly, his ʻfaith, working by loveʼ causes him to be immersed into the Divine Name; fourthly, he walks in the Truth, and is careful to do nothing to its injury; and fifthly, he will not fellowship those who do not so believe and do”.

Such a definition, if implemented, puts a very great difference between Christendom and the body of Christ; between us and them there is a great gulf fixed. Thus it would doubtless come as a shock to many that there appears to be a drift in some quarters towards the practice of visiting the local church to participate in their “special” activity or to socialize with the friendly, welcoming congregation there. Such behaviour has no place in the life of a true believer who understands the Scriptural position of the Apostacy.

Furthermore, there are others who use their “liberty in Christ” as “an occasion to the flesh”. Whereas the apostle Peter says that our past associates among the Gentiles “think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot” and speak evil of us; there are those who do associate freely with the unbeliever on a social, sporting and entertainment level.

As an understandable reaction to this “liberalism”, some become hardened and legalistic in their attitude and fall into the error of living by law and perhaps unwittingly attempting to impose unreasonable rules, regulations and demands on their fellows which can hinder the development of faith—“for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast”.

Our Feature in this issue of The Lampstand seeks to address these two extremes which may arise in the Brotherhood. How do believers achieve a balance without compromise? How do we reach our neighbour without participating in the “idolʼs temple”? How do we “walk in the Truth” being “careful to do nothing to its injury”? The three articles in the feature deal firstly with the danger of the “leaven” of extremes; then the effects particularly of liberalism and finally the folly of courting the harlot and her daughters in any form.

There is a need to maintain purity in doctrine and practice – in fact, it is true to say that our behaviour is the outcome of our doctrinal understanding and right conduct can only spring from right doctrine. However, in an endeavour to do this we may run to an extreme attitude which shuns association with some brethren or ecclesias; we could even mistakenly assume that this would make us pure or godly and “preserve the Truth”. Certainly there are times when such actions are necessary and the Scripture instructs us accordingly, but we would be wise to act with great caution and prayerful discretion in such matters. On the other hand we could well fall into the error of following our “instincts” in deciding what we allow or disallow. The feeling that this or that is not harmful to the Truth or “will not keep us out of the Kingdom” is not a Scriptural or Godly maxim for our walk nor is it in accordance with the example set by our Lord.

We should live so that in all things God may be glorified: that the Way of Truth may not be evil spoken of on our account and that men may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven.