To Mr P
It seems to me that, if somebody who does not break the bread speaks in the assembly where the bread is broken, it is a very serious disorder. A man who separates himself wrongfully from the assembly of God is not in the position to instruct it as to its being reunited. That does not hindering his doing so outside of the meeting. I recognise what he has as a member of the body, but this position is disavowed to him if, when the body is reunited, as far as it can be reunited, he does not want to take his place in it.
I find no difficulty in 1 Tim 1:13. Firstly this passage does not weaken a load of statements, and even of principles relative to the exercise of gift, more it makes the exercise of the gift a duty to the one who has it. Then, in no way was Timothy a local minister, what you would call an established minister: he accompanied the apostle and succeeded him in the necessary services being someone who was imbued with the spirit of the apostle and fully informed as to his ways. Prophecy, it would appear, had predesignated Timothy (See 1 Tim 1:18) . Paul had placed his hands on him (2 Tim 1:6) , afterwards the body of the elders had put their own hands on him, to commend him to God. The apostle reminds him, with reason, both of these things: prophecy by which God had designated him, and the sanction of the elders, who knowing him, commended him to God. Paul himself was predesignated according to prophecy, and those who were at Antioch laid their hands on him, to commend him to the grace of God for the work for which he had been called: that is the expression in the word . But Timothy was never an established minister over a flock. I believer for my part that there can be (and there are) persons consecrated to the work and who exercise their ministry constantly applying themselves to the work. If someone were designated by prophecy for this task, I would have no objection to the laying on of hands by the elders, if there are any. It is probable that if the Spirit acted in this way that the elders would soon be found. I do not have any difficulty about that which in practice the older brothers do – disregarded by the clergy who establish ministers, which is the work of the enemy. I see nothing which hinders the commending of a labourer to the grace of God in laying on of hands with a view to the particular work to which he has been called. This could be repeated each time he had to undertake a new work; but if one has made a consecration to impede the free action of the Holy Spirit, then it is an abomination and a rebellion against God.
I do not agree at all with the Messager about 2 Cor 5:3, but that is a matter of interpretation, so that does not trouble me. According to what you say, the author did not understand the passage; that’s all. The force of the passage is very clear to me. The word xxxx(Greek word in text) puts a condition into relief, and the word xxx adds strength to it – we enjoy what we have spoken about, provided that, of course we suppose that in the state itself in which we are reclothed (the body) we are not found naked (as regards Christ), for otherwise that would be something other than glory.
In this country the work of the Lord pursues a remarkable course. In Dublin the number of brethren has increased a lot, there are a number of nice young men, lively and happy, some of them renting rooms in the bad parts of the city (There are 300,000 inhabitants) and there are continual conversions. The evening before last, five listeners out of about twenty received peace. I often have two meetings a day: quite a number of people – ladies and gentlemen -are very attentive. In the country some of the nobility and well-to-do have been converted and often have left the Church of Ireland. It is a remarkable movement of the Spirit of God. This is outside of the brethren, but everywhere the principles that the brethren have upheld are being reproduced, and in large gatherings where souls are being converted, things are being organised in the actual way the brethren do it, at least by persons who are embued with their principles – maybe a bit loose to be admitted amongst us, but they follow in some way the same principles whilst going anywhere. They read the brethren’s books. One perceives at lest that there is that which is sure and solid, but the energy of the truth is nonetheless penetrating and it is as light as day.
May God keep us close to Himself dear brother, happy that Christ is preached everywhere, and firm in the principles and walk in the way that Christ teaches. We must know what it is to be small – it is worth it – but He is always great.
Greet D and all the brethren
Yours most affectionately
Letter originally written in French, translated by Sosthenes, 2013
Click here for original – If you have any comments on the translation, feel free to let me know.