Abbott's Hill and Principles; Majority a Human Arrangment; Unanimity in Discipline

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Thank you for your account. I cannot but think God is bringing things to light. I trust and pray that God may guide the brethren at -. Waiting upon Him, He surely will. Christ never ceases to care for the church. He may see good to try us, but He is a match for any mischief-maker. But I write properly for two points: First, that I do trust our dear brother will do nothing whatever, but cast it all on the Lord; He will take care of it: I know that. The other is, that unanimity is nonsense, a denial of the power and operation of the Spirit, and clean contrary to the word of God. First, it is nonsense; because till the case is decided the person charged is one of the assembly, and you are not going to make him agree as led by the Spirit in judging his own case. If you do not allow him, you have put him out before his case is decided. It is real nonsense. Waiting for quiet godly men who doubt is all right: unanimity is so many men agreeing. The world must go on and so judges by a majority, but for the saints nothing can be done unless all agree—this is man, not the Spirit of God. Supposing it was a flagrant case of stealing or adultery? Are you to wait till he agrees to put himself out? Again, supposing the person or persons are obstinate, self-willed, evil walkers? The assembly must, in either case,' go on with wickedness, with what God judges in its midst, till the guilty think proper to judge themselves, or break up altogether. It is denying the operation of God's Spirit in the assembly's clearing itself: better not to have any discipline at all.
It will be said that we have not the power—say of Paul. Be it so. But put out "from among yourselves" is a duty, obedience to the plain word of God, not power in the sense of an apostle. Evil is to be got rid of "that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened." The requiring unanimity is contrary to the plain word of God on the point. Paul says "Having in readiness to avenge all disobedience when your obedience is accomplished." This puts the case that after the labor of the apostle to produce obedience had produced its full effect, some might remain not subject to the word; then he would come with the rod and avenge disobedience. The case is stated of non-unanimity, and dealing with those who stood out. I quite understand that people may seek to say the power is not here. But that is not the question, but that unanimity is not supposed even when the power was there; and I am persuaded that though power is not manifested as it was, Christ is just as true to His church, and has just as much power now as then, and will show it. But unanimity is a mere human device: there is no such thought in scripture. It is merely a set of men must agree: the power of the Holy Ghost is denied. The judgment is not valid because men agree, but because God is there: and Christ being there is not supposed by the apostle necessarily to produce unanimity; he puts the contrary case. It is because it falsifies the whole ground of the church's standing and authority that I attach importance to it.
March, 1881.