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Chapter 29 - Advanced Christian fellowship
The Christian who begins to make progress on his own path to maturity will begin to discover that he has less relational connection to those he is leaving behind. If one is leaving a denomination, some may see him as apostate. It can be hard and even hurtful to move on in relationships. Since so few do it, it can be quite lonely as well.
At a denominational level, fellowship is usually defined by what role one performs in the organizational hierarchy. At the individual level one encounters other Christians but there is usually no opportunity for connection often because that is reserved only for other members of the denomination.
Since so few are seeking, it is rare to encounter those who are also open to inquiry and sharing what one has been discovering. However, the joy of growing in wisdom and truth is such that what is left behind is seldom lamented.
The bible instructs Christians to admonish and exhort one another. This is not often practiced in denominations because the system is usually set up to allow only a pastor to do “religious things”. The Christian on an independent path towards maturity might be able to suggest something to another Christian for consideration, but anything stronger is often viewed as arrogant, intrusive, and otherwise unwelcome.
As difficult as it is to find other Christians for deeper fellowship, finding one more advanced than yourself from whom you can receive useful instruction is even more difficult. The Internet has been a help in that easy access to thousands of Christian teachers is almost instantly available. However, one has to be prepared to sift through a lot of dross to find an occasional “nugget”.
One bible teacher had great language skill of Hebrew and could illuminate Old Testament passages clearly. However, he was immature and would use his wife for humor purposes in his presentations. Another teacher would mock and ridicule those who held less advanced views. Another reverently clung to the King James Version as if it were a sacred relic. For all these personality characteristics, there were still things that could be learned.
The closer one comes to Jesus, the more one shares his perspective of humanity, with sadness, compassion, and hope that some would find their way to draw closer to him.
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