A Journey Toward Jesus: 1st Letter

bridge2November 9, 1973

Dear Edward,

I am sure that the last thing you need right now is another letter asking questions, beliefs, etc. I am sure that you have had enough of your share by now. Anyway, I thought I would go ahead and write and then when you have time you could write back.

I used to get the bulletin you edited, and my question concerns what appears to me to be your fundamental point concerning Leviticus 10 and the sins of Aaron’s four sons: God is the final judge, so although we can recognize things as being out of harmony with His will, hence sinful, we cannot “relegate practitioners to hell,” i.e., not “pronounce sentence,” since God is the judge. Is that the point you are trying to make? Thus, we can preach against unauthorized acts, even deem them sinful and possibly soul-destroying; we cannot say “you will go to hell, if you practice them.” That is my understanding of what you tried to say in those articles.

The problem I have is reconciling this idea with “fellowship.” Does the fact God is final judge in any way permit us to “loosen” our relationship with those whom we deem worshipping or living in sin? I guess what I am trying to say is, should we, do you “recommend” that Christians have fellowship freely in all things which one can conscientiously participate? That may sound like an absurd statement, but is there no “sinfulness” involved in participation with those who otherwise commit sinful acts? For instance, I consider fornication sinful. I would not willingly or knowingly associate with one who practiced it. On the other hand I consider the sponsoring church arrangement sinful, and thus I would say that those brethren who participate in it, give their allegiance to it, are sinning when doing so. Is there a difference in the way I should react to the fornicator or the “institutional brother?” Both are sinners; both are (in my judgment) destructive to the Lord’s body; should I extend the hand of fellowship to the institutional brother and yet withhold it from the fornicating brother?

Thus, you see the problem I have. Is one sin greater than another? Can not all sin send one away from God for eternity. I have been battling these questions in my mind the past year, and admit that at times I am confused, perplexed and uncertain on some points.

I wish you success in every endeavor that pleases the Lord. I will understand if you do not have time to reply soon. Please include me in your prayers. Take care.

Love in Christ,

Bruce Edwards, Jr.