David Lipscomb on Fellowship
When questioned why he would fellowship those who participated in civil elections while David Lipscomb thought it sinful, he replied:
“While saying this much, we are yet unwilling to say that we think a church ought as yet, to withdraw themselves from one for voting. .The reason for this is, the brethren have not been sufficiently taught upon the subject, The Scriptural means for correcting an evil has not been sufficiently used to resort to this extreme measure. We have spoken upon the subject, written upon the subject, talked publicly and privately upon the subject, having come as near making a hobby of the subject as any one, (expect to do it more in the future and have no dread of being called a hobbyist), yet we have never to a single individual taken the pains to present the subject in such fullness and with such earnestness, as to be ready to give him over to Satan for rejecting it.
“Now is others have made such efforts to patiently instruct and persuade their brethren the truth on this subject, have exhausted all patience, forbearance and long suffering in teaching them the way of the Lord, publicly and from house to house, and they wickedly refuse to hear that law, then it may be right to withdraw yourselves from such. But no Christian, observant of the laws of the Lord, can properly withdraw from a brother, aiming to do right, but ignorant of the truth of God.
“So long as a man really desires to do right, to serve the Lord, obey His commands, we cannot withdraw from him. We are willing to accept him as a brother, no matter how ignorant he may be, or how far short of the perfect standard his life may fall, due to this ignorance. We will maintain the truth, press it on him, compromises not one word or iota of that truth, yet forbear with the ignorance or weakness, of our brother who is anxious but not yet able to see the truth. Why should I not when I fall so far short of the perfect knowledge Myself?”
“How do I know the line beyond which ignorance damns is behind and not before me? If I have no forbearance with his ignorance, how can I expect God to forbear with mine?”
“So long as man exhibits a teachable disposition, is willing to hear, learn and obey God's truth, I care not how far he may, or how ignorant, I am willing to recognize him as a brother.” (Gospel Advocate, April 22, 1875)
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