on Fellowship

“Every cult of personality that emphasizes the distinguished qualities, virtues, and talents of another person, even though these be of an altogether spiritual nature, is worldly and has no place in the Christian community; indeed, it poisons the Christianity community.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. Don’t insist on your rights, don’t blame each other, don’t judge or condemn each other, don’t find fault with each other, but accept each other as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts…”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

“A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community

“Confession is a difficult Discipline for us because we all too often view the believing community as a fellowship of saints before we see it as a fellowship of sinners. We feel that everyone else has advanced so far into holiness that we are isolated and alone in our sin. We cannot bear to reveal our failures and shortcomings to others. We imagine that we are the only ones who have not stepped onto the high road to heaven. Therefore, we hide ourselves from one another and live in veiled lies and hypocrisy.

But if we know that the people of God are first a fellowship of sinners, we are freed to hear the unconditional call of God’s love and to confess our needs openly before our brothers and sisters. We know we are not alone in our sin. The fear and pride that cling to us like barnacles cling to others also. We are sinners together. In acts of mutual confession we release the power that heals. Our humanity is no longer denied, but transformed.”
― Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth

“We are summoned from the outset to combine as creatures with our Creator, as mortals with immortal, as redeemed sinners with sinless Redeemer. His presence, the interaction between Him and us, must always be the overwhelmingly dominant factor in the life we are to lead within the Body, and any conception of Christian fellowship which does not mean primarily fellowship with Him is out of court.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

“believe in God the Father, Almighty, Creator, infinitely holy and loving, who has a plan for the world, a plan for my life, and some daily work for me to do. I believe in Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, as Example, Lord, and Saviour. I believe in the Holy Spirit who is able to guide my life so that I may know God’s will; and I am prepared to allow him to guide and control my life. I believe in God’s law that I should love the Lord my God with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind, and with all my strength; and my neighbour as myself. I believe it is God’s will that the whole world should be without any barriers of race, colour, class, or anything else that breaks the spirit of fellowship. To believe means to believe with the mind and heart, to accept, and to act accordingly on that basis.”
― Eric Liddell, The Disciplines of the Christian Life

“[W]e live in interwoven networks of terminally casual relationships. We live with the delusion that we know one another, but we really don’t. We call our easygoing, self-protective, and often theologically platitudinous conversations ‘fellowship,’ but they seldom ever reach the threshold of true fellowship. We know cold demographic details about one another (married or single, type of job, number of kids, general location of housing, etc.), but we know little about the struggle of faith that is waged every day behind well-maintained personal boundaries. One of the things that still shocks me in counselling, even after all these years, is how little I often know about people I have counted as true friends. I can’t tell you how many times, in talking with friends who have come to me for help, that I have been hit with details of difficulty and struggle far beyond anything I would have predicted. Privatism is not just practiced by the lonely unbeliever; it is rampant in the church as well.”
― Vaughan Roberts, True Friendship

“Fellowship is a place of grace, where mistakes aren’t rubbed in but rubbed out. Fellowship happens when mercy wins over justice.”
― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

“The church exists primarily for two closely correlated purposes: to worship God and to work for his kingdom in the world … The church also exists for a third purpose, which serves the other two: to encourage one another, to build one another up in faith, to pray with and for one another, to learn from one another and teach one another, and to set one another examples to follow, challenges to take up, and urgent tasks to perform. This is all part of what is known loosely as fellowship.”
― N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense

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