SOME THOUGHTS ON “FELLOWSHIP” IN THE WRF
By Paul R. Gilchrist
In the Preamble to the Bylaws of the WRF, we state:
“The World Reformed Fellowship recognizes that barriers of distance, culture and language often make it difficult for a church to develop and maintain binding ties with a church or churches of another country, which is essential to the conciliar model. A fellowship provides the context in which churches, ministries and institutions may become acquainted with each other, and where their leaders may develop friendships and trusting relationships leading to closer, mutually beneficial cooperation. Members of a fellowship are not obligated formally to be responsible for one another’s positions or actions, but in an atmosphere of free association, may lovingly influence each other toward greater consistency in Biblical faith and witness.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon in Morning and Evening for November 23 gives a further perspective that applies so marvelously as he describes “fellowship with Him” in 1 John 1:6. He writes:
“When we were united by faith to Christ, we were brought into such complete fellowship with him, that we were made one with him, and his interests and ours became mutual and identical. We have fellowship with Christ in his love. What he loves we love. He loves the saints—so do we. He loves sinners—so do we. He loves the poor perishing race of man, and pants to see earth’s deserts transformed into the garden of the Lord—so do we. We have fellowship with him in his desires. He desires the glory of God—we also labour for the same. He desires that the saints may be with him where he is—we desire to be with him there too. He desires to drive out sin—behold we fight under his banner. He desires that his Father’s name may be loved and adored by all his creatures—we pray daily, “Let thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven.” We have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. We are not nailed to the cross, nor do we die a cruel death, but when he is reproached, we are reproached; and a very sweet thing it is to be blamed for his sake, to be despised for following the Master, to have the world against us. The disciple should not be above his Lord. In our measure we commune with him in his labours, ministering to men by the word of truth and by deeds of love. Our meat and our drink, like his, is to do the will of him who hath sent us and to finish his work. We have also fellowship with Christ in his joys. We are happy in his happiness, we rejoice in his exaltation. Have you ever tasted that joy, believer? There is no purer or more thrilling delight to be known this side heaven than that of having Christ’s joy fulfilled in us, that our joy may be full. His glory awaits us to complete our fellowship, for his Church shall sit with him upon his throne, as his well-beloved bride and queen.” (underlinings added).
In the immediate context, the Apostle John mentions “fellowship with the Father and with his son Jesus Christ,” and “fellowship with one another.” Here and elsewhere in the New Testament the word translates. koinonia. Both the word and the concept are excellent expressions of what we envision the WRF to be. May the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Head and King of the Church, apply these expositions to the WRF and may they abound to the glory of our Triune God.
Dr. Gilchrist may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .