We are Christians, living where the Lord has placed us. We desire to be obedient to what Jesus has told us to do.

In one sense, we agree, as stated earlier, that the struggle for abolition must occur within and flow from the church of Jesus. The only organisation, or institution, that Jesus set in place during His earthly ministry, was the church, so clearly it was pretty important to Him. The biblical teaching is that all the redeemed believers in the Lord Jesus are members of the big-C Church, the invisible universal Church. Yet the clear teaching of the New Testament is that members of the invisible big-C Church are to be members of a visible local expression of the Church, that is, a visible local little-c church.

While it is true that the New Testament does not say anything about “parachurch ministries” or abolitionist societies, as we’ve seen, both Old and New Testament have a lot to say about God raising up people for the ministry, both to evangelise the world and to reform, purify, and discipline His covenant people, His bride. It is often an organic thing, God having placed a burden in the hearts of one or more of His people to set up, for example, the school of the prophets alluded to in the books of Samuel and Kings. Elijah and Elisha were not part of the formal religious hierarchy of their day. Jeremiah proclaimed repentance and impending judgment from the gates of the Temple and of the city of Jerusalem though he had no official standing at the Temple. The prophet Amos was a shepherd and a farmer. Given that we are Christians and part of the population of redeemed and born again saints in this geographical locality, let us resolve to serve Jesus here where we are. If we form some sort of organised group, does that matter to our responsibilities or the applicability of the commands of Scripture that we are to obey?

It may be that some or even many of us end up in local churches that have explicitly and wholeheartedly embraced the ideology of abolition. Others may not self-identify as such but may be ideologically fairly close and tolerant of abolitionist activities, rejoicing at the diversity of gifts and interests within the Body of Christ. Still others may be less enthusiastic about abolition, which may result in more unpleasant interactions between the abolitionist and his or her church. If we truly believe that Scripture is our final infallible rule of faith, if Scripture teaches that abolition is a good thing, and if a local church displays its true colors as actually opposed to what God has revealed, the message from the Word of God to you, the believer in Jesus, may well be this: Come out from there and be separate. Embrace the very real spiritual unity you have in Christ with others of His redeemed people, for which Jesus prayed in John 17.

There is much to be done and much in which to obey the Lord of glory. If it should be that part of the price you pay in standing for Jesus is ostracism even from church people that you thought loved Jesus and the truth more than human tradition or comfort or whatever else, and a time spent forming new friendships and seeking a new church home, resolve to glorify God at every moment by the power of His Spirit, and let other abolitionists be a help and encouragement to you as we, Christians who have gathered together in a “parachurch ministry”, walk through this life trying to serve the Lord.

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