“A Test of Fellowship by Doy Moyer”
When brethren begin to try to study an issue, the first question should not be, "Are you going to make this a test of fellowship?" There's a time when fellowship may need to be considered, depending on the issue at hand, but it shouldn't be the first order of business. The first order should be to lovingly work together and learn truth. That often takes time, and brethren are typically in different places of growth and understanding. As long as this process can be maintained without being ugly to each other (Eph. 4:32), brethren can generally get along pretty well. Patience, longsuffering, and love are staples of a growing relationship that fosters a better knowledge of truth and understanding (Eph. 4:1-3). My experience generally has been that fellowship issues tend to work themselves out without being forced. Yet there are questions to consider. Is one being divisive and causing strife? Is one refusing to study while dogmatically holding a view? Is one attempting to go behind the backs of others (e.g., the shepherds) in order to teach a pet idea? These are always dangers that need to be avoided and handled. In these cases, swift action is in order (Rom. 16:17; Titus 1:9). However, when an issue first arises, and brethren genuinely want to work together in love, the fellowship question is a distant second. Why bring it up first? Why not instead simply seek to study, pray, and grow together? In time, the fellowship between brethren may indeed grow much closer, and this is a wonderful outcome. Never look for excuses to divide and isolate; always pursue peace and love. Divisions happen, but let it never be because we have failed to do all within our abilities to bring others together first.
The Problem of Age Segregation in Churches David Maxson
The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair. (Proverbs 20:29) I'm concerned about segregation in churches. No, I'm not speaking of racial segregation. That is a problem and it is one we should continue to fight to change. I'm talking about age segregation. In many churches you have very well-defined age groups that sit together, converse with each other after services, and interact with each other outside of services. More troubling than this are churches which have traditional and contemporary worship services. Whether you think it is expedient to have such an arrangement to begin with, it is without question a way of segregating the church even THE EASTSIDE ENCOURAGER A publication of the Eastside church of Christ Shelbyville, TN 1803 Madison St. Shelbyville, TN 37160 www.churchateastside.com Dec,17, 2017 more by age. The most disturbing trend I have seen is for new churches started by younger people, which seem to cater more to the younger crowd. There can be legitimate reasons to have special classes for the young or aged and it is not wrong to associate more with people your own age. However, if we look around us and only see people just like us we are not functioning as the body of Christ. The body of Christ is diverse, and God has arranged it this way intentionally (see Rom 12; 1 Cor 12; Eph 4 for further study on this). My exhortation is this: embrace the unique talents of people who are not like you. It's not easy to relate to people who are different. It's easier to just work with people who are like us. But we're missing out on many blessings when we separate ourselves out. Father, thank you for the diverse Body of which we are all members. Help us to embrace differences, not run from them. Give us patience to work with and ultimately learn from each other.