Question: I cannot find a group of Christians in my area who believe as I do. May I meet with Christians who have differing beliefs than mine?
Answer: Yes. The Bible instructs us whom to fellowship with as “brethren.” This would include only believers who are seeking to walk after the spirit, not after the flesh. Not believers of any and every thing, but believers of the Gospel record – that mankind is fallen into sin and its penalty, death, and that only in Christ is there salvation, “through faith in His blood” “shed for the remission of sin,” as a “ransom [corresponding price] for all.” The Scriptures teach that we should meet with other Christians – to hear the Scriptures expounded, to study them, and for praise and worship of God, and for fellowship (Matthew 18: 20) (Hebrews 10: 25).
We should meet, however, with those we recognize as having the most clear and logical understanding of the Plan of God as revealed in the Scriptures, and the least error. Yet some brethren do, on occasion, meet with and fellowship with other Christians who do not believe as we do, if the spirit of Christian love is present. However, if any cling to the Dark Age or modern errors, and are not willing to listen, discuss and respond to our efforts to enlighten them with the truth of God’s Word, it may be better not to assemble with them – even if it forces us to meet with a far smaller group who are Bible-Truth-believing, or even to stand alone with the Lord and His precious Truth message as due.
Starting Meetings an Opportunity of Service
If such brethren do not have a class in their vicinity, they should consider starting such meetings. They may begin as two or three individuals (Matthew 18: 20), which may then establish regular meetings with additional ones taking part. These meetings may be attended also by those not in the Truth; for this has often served as a means of helping them into an understanding and appreciation of the Truth.
The Lord desires us to witness to, and seek to assist or make Christian disciples of, others. This means that we should, if possible, have contact with believers who want to learn more about God and His Plan, or unbelievers who may be amenable to the true Gospel. Sometimes a brother or sister may start these meetings by explaining the chart of the ages (or other features of the Truth) to one or more believers. It would be good to have these charts in one’s home and to become proficient in explaining them.
These meetings should have certain objects in view:
(1.) Worship, praise and prayer – in prayer meetings, testimony meetings, hymn singing etc.
(2.) Mutual helpfulness in waging victorious warfare against the world, the flesh and the devil (within and without, as to all three), and developing a positive Christlike character.
(3.) And to these ends, meet for the study of God’s Word.
Thus seen, a knowledge of doctrines is not our ultimate object in meeting, but rather the building up of a Christlike character. Hence, after worship, praise and prayer, Bible study should be recognized in its two parts:
(1.) The study of God’s Plan – what He tells us He is doing for us and for the world; what He has done; and what He will yet do.
(2.) The study of our duties and privileges in God’s service, toward each other, and toward those that are without.
The six volumes of Studies in the Scriptures and Tabernacle Shadows are perhaps the best Bible-related study materials available, and when they have been read and absorbed, basic Epiphany articles may be considered for study.