Fellowship With Sister Churches and Their Members
There are several passages in the Bible that teach fellowship between churches. There are enough to know that, first, fellowship did occur between true churches. “Fellowship” is a technical word. It is used in the world in a certain sense, but it is technical in that there is a distinct, biblical understanding of fellowship. A good place to start on “fellowship” is 2 Corinthians 6:14, which says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?” Obviously not everyone is to fellowship according to this verse, but I draw your attention to its meaning, enlightened by the words “yoked together.” Fellowship involves being yoked together, which means doing work together, and in the context work of a spiritual nature. Fellowship is not just being in the same room and talking. It is associating together in a common endeavor. Scriptural doctrine and practice is the biggest factor to determine who a church should work with. Light can’t fellowship with darkness. However, churches that believe and practice the same should fellowship, and this is seen among references in 3 John, it’s one chapter. The church there was to receive “fellowhelpers to the truth,” who are on a journey “after a godly sort.” “The truth” and godliness are part of the criteria. In Romans 12:13, Paul said churches should be “given to hospitality” and Peter said (1 Pet 4:9), “Use hospitality.” Churches of the same truth and godliness should welcome and receive one another, enter into common work, which is to be fellowhelpers to each other.