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Open or Closed

Open or closed

To all believers who desire to gather together according to the teaching of the Scriptures, especially in connection with manner in which they are presented on the subject of the Church as: the Body of Christ, the House of God and the Family of God. Even if there are those who do not agree with all the details of this particular teaching.

It is a fact, unfortunately, that what for someone is a mere detail, is considered by another to be of fundamental importance. What for someone is merely a question of tolerance, is for another a matter of great weight. Is it possible then to still have an exchange of thoughts?

I would like to begin by stating that I love you all heartily in the Lord, no matter what position you are taking amid all the confusion, a position which I myself also occupy, and which I confess is to the dishonour of the Lord. I do this and thereby confess that in the Netherlands I have also made mistakes in my way of acting. However, with regard the contents of my personal writings - and in one particular case jointly with four others, I maintain that I still uphold what I have written.

Incidentally, I would like to point out that verse 3 of the Letter to the Ephesians, chapter five, is preceded by verse 2 which tells us that we must correct even those who oppose us with gentleness (see also 2 Timothy 2:24,25). How much more then ought we to act like that toward brothers and sisters who all desire to do the will of the Lord.

Because in several letters connected with the Wayne conference mention is made of: serious wrong doctrine, and acceptance of the words of two or three witnesses, 'The Dutch FiveŪ' and Holland (in whatever context this took place), it seems appropriate to me to bring to your notice several things in a series of E-mails.

In the correspondence with Holland the question of 'open' and 'closed' plays a very large role. These expressions are not biblical concepts when we discuss the Church and therefore using such terms leads to confusion. We ought not indeed to be 'open' OR 'closed', but rather 'open' AND 'closed'. We must be open for what is good and closed to that which is evil, whether personally of collectively. As to the reception at the Lord's supper, we must receive those whom the Lord would receive, and refuse those whom the Lord would refuse.
In a word, the question is not whether we are open or closed, but whether we are not TOO open or TOO closed? Ought we not to put these matters less black and white? This would definitely help any rapprochement. I will just leave this one point with you for now, and may I on a later occasion try to shed some light on the question of fellowship?