“That they may be one as we are. . . . That they also may be one in us. . . . That they may be made perfect in one,” John 17:11,21,23. That they may be made one in the Father and the Son. “Men shall be blest in him, and blest all nations shall him call,” Ps. 72. These and many other passages of Scripture teach the doctrine of the unity of the church of Christ, in terms so plain, so pointed, and unequivocal, that nothing but unbelief itself would undertake to controvert the matter. In another place it is said, “My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother; she is the choice one of her that bare her,” Song 6:9. Then such passages teach us that there is but one bride, the Lamb’s wife; that there is but one true ecclesiastical organization or church fellowship; and of course, that all other organizations are mere factions, and exist without a divine warrant, and contrary to the express requirements of the divine law; for it is said, “I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together, in the same mind and in the same judgment,” 1 Cor. 1:10. And of course, that all other organizations, except this one, are divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which the true church has learned, Rom. 16:17; that all others, instead of being Christ’s dove, and his undefiled, are ecclesiastical harlots; and that, therefore, Christ will have no fellowship with such harlots, nor allow his people to have fellowship with such; for he says, “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I take the members of Christ and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid.” And if I may not take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot, shall I take the members of a harlot and make them the members of Christ? “For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” Manifestly none. “What! know ye not that he that is joined to a harlot is one body?” (is one organic body); he has incorporated with a harlot, “for two,” saith he, “shall be one flesh.” But he cannot at the same time become one flesh with a harlot, and one spirit with the Lord. But on the other hand, it is said, “he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit,” 1 Cor. 6:15-17. That is, he that is “joined to the Lord in a perpetual covenant not to be forgotten,” Jer. 50:5, does also incorporate with that spiritual body of which Christ is the head; and is anointed with the same Holy Spirit, with which that spiritual body is anointed. 1. If we are unconnected with any of these sectarian organizations, or ecclesiastical harlots, that have never been united to Christ by a marriage covenant, we are commanded to avoid them. “Mark them that cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them; for they that are such, serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” 2. If we are connected with any of these anti-scriptural organizations or sects, Christ commands to withdraw from them. He says, “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing; but doting about questions, and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself,” 1 Tim. 6:3-5. 3. He says, “Come out from among them, and be separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean (harlots are unclean); and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty,” 2 Cor. 6:17,18. But if ye will not come out from among them (unbelievers, who have crept into the church, and corrupted it—made it unclean); and if ye will not be separate, and will still continue to touch the unclean (unbelievers), 2 Cor. 6:14; then I will not be your God, and ye shall not be my people; then I will not receive you as my covenant people; then I will not be a Father unto you, and ye shall not be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty, 2 Cor. 6:14-18. It is manifest that there never can be any but one true church organization, and all separatists and sectarians are “grievous revolters, walking with slanders; they are brass and iron; they are all corrupters. The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire, the founder melteth in vain; for the wicked are not plucked away. Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them,” Jer. 6:28-30. And Jude says, “Beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how they told you that there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts; these be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the spirit,” vs. 17-19. Now, we contend that all sectarian organizations—as such—are in the fullest sense of the word reprobate silver; and that they are all just as truly harlots as the mother of harlots herself; and we are fully persuaded, that before the kingdom of Christ can come, all these, like the tares of the field, must be gathered in bundles to be burned, that there may be nothing to hurt or destroy in all God’s holy mountain; and we are fully persuaded, that until all these anti-christian organizations are done away, the time can never come when Christ’s dove, his undefiled, “shall look forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners,” Song 6:10.
And we know that, until these are all taken away, the time can never come when “the watchmen on the walls of Zion shall lift up the voice, and with the voice sing together; and when God will give to his people one heart and one way, that they may fear him forever, for the good of them and their children after them; and when the righteous shall shine as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father.” Yet, though we know that these are some of the leading barriers in the way of the coming of Christ’s kingdom; we admit that individuals, in these anti-christian organizations, may be christians. But they are not christians with which the true church can warrantably have church fellowship; because they cannot agree with the true church, nor the true church with them. And it is said, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”
And if they cannot walk together, they must walk contrary to each other. The true church cannot have fellowship with such christians, while they have fellowship with divisions and offenses, which are contrary to the doctrine which the true church has learned; because those who are joined to the Lord in the one, the true ecclesiastical organization, and are one spirit with the Lord, cannot have fellowship with such christians as are joined to a harlot in a corrupt church organization, and are one body with a harlot; for, in so doing, they would defile the temple of God. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you? And if any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are,” 1 Cor. 3:16,17.—written in 1877.