Should the Assemblies Work with “Other” Church Groups?
“Now John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.” (Luke 9:49-50)
“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters”
In chapter 9, it refers to supporting those those whose aim is the same as ours, honoring Christ. (Luke 11:23)
The person cast out demons in Christ’s name, having glorified the name of Christ. If anyone, even outside our company, by the name of Jesus casts out demons, let them! There is not too much of this power today. We should cultivate charity towards those that do in Christ’s name and by His power perform miracles.
No group, however holy, would be able to claim divine powers without a true and faithful use of His Name.
With whom do you labor?
In Luke chapter 11, the Lord is saying, whatever is done in religion, outside of Christ will come to nothing. Christ had made no agreement with the powers of darkness. It was absurd to think that he had. He was fighting and victoriously casting them out by his own divine, omnipotent power.
First let’s establish that any real work of the Lord is just that, of the Lord. It is a demonstration of divine power on a soul, done in the name and for the glory of the Son of God, Jesus. There is power in the name. It gathers the redeemed to Him, to glory in His Name.
Ecumenicalism vs. fellowship
What’s ecumenicalism? It is defined as a movement that promotes cooperation and better understanding among different religions or denominations, it is aimed at unity. In short it is unity taking prescience over doctrine. There are times when this could be agreeable.
What is fellowship? There are at least two Hebrew and two Greek words translated as fellowship, meaning: unite, join, make an ally of, or association.
Know the difference
Knowing the difference is critical. It is one thing to help someone to complete a task or mission, and another thing to join a group for unity over doctrine.
As an example, we might disagree on the implementation of the priesthood of all believers, or worship and we can still have unity around the deity of Christ and His completed work at Calvary. Conversely, I may not join myself to an effort because the organizers promote humanism. At the same time, I might participate if I can see a clear means to proclaim the truth despite the heresy.
I have had wonderful seasons of prayer with brothers of different denominations. Together we loved each other, the Word and the Lord. I have seen fruit with other believers proclaiming the gospel.
There are others whose theology denigrates the Lord and; I cannot join in their labors, I cannot have fellowship in their work.
Our little meeting has partnered with others from different churches to sing carols, labor at assisted living centers, hand out tracts, witness to the lost on the streets and minister to missionaries.
It wasn’t a clear cut every opportunity to work with, “x” denomination was agreeable and every, “y” denomination disagreeable. So, in either my personal life or for our meeting, how was the decision made?
Some questions before pledging help
What is the scope of the work?
What is the goal of the work?
Is any specific denomination/church/theology being promoted?
Is Christ central to the message?
Why am I being asked to participate?
Is this within my gift?
Is this something I would or could do in my home assembly?
Did I speak to my local oversight about it and what did they say?
Do I have the peace of God to labor in this way?
None of these will be conclusive in every case, but they will help you prayerfully seek the Lord’s direction about your fellowship with others. Prayer is the keystone act to bridging the gap. When presented with an opportunity to labor with another denomination, pray about it with the other person or group.
Even immature believers can speak to God with what is on their heart. When I’ve invited other brothers or sisters to help in a work, I’ve begun praying with them on the spot. I try to ask for the Lord to direct them with clarity, and ideally from His Word. I ask for divinely orchestrating schedules or circumstances and if there is a doubt or conflict that He will give peace about the decision.
Why does it matter?
It’s not only that we live in a fast-paced world, and we’re all busy. We all have limited time and limited resources. But more importantly, we don’t want to waste the Lord’s breath. And we don’t want to engage in fruitless labor. We don’t want our labors to be burnt up as wood, hay or stubble (1 Corinthians 3:12).