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How About an Island in Scotland?
Did you ever get to the place where you said, “I guess I just don’t belong anywhere! I don’t agree with this, I don’t believe in that. Either I’m a downright misfit or a very difficult person to please!” Well, I am happy to tell you you’re not the only one who says such things. I’ve found myself uttering such statements from time to time, and I’ve heard others (even people who seem most easy to get along with) say the same as well. I guess we all reach that point at some time or other if we have any convictions at all.
What can you do about it? Recognize that there are others who have not bowed the knee to Baal. And then go on. You must stand for matters of principle and compromise only on matters of expediency. You must fellowship with all genuine Christians, but you cannot assent to their errors or cooperate in enterprises that you believe to be unbiblical. You must learn to walk the razor’s edge that keeps you from becoming sectarian while firmly maintaining your stance. That’s not easy, and it takes effort and skill to do it well.
One of the saddest books I have ever read is the biography of A. W. Pink who, it seems, withdrew more and more from the fellowship of others and eventually ended his life on an isolated island in Scotland, where he fellowshipped only with his wife and by mail with a few other devoted followers in various parts of the world. His story exhibits the ultimate degree of the problem. Read Pink’s biography. While you’ll grieve, it probably will do you good, serving as a warning to keep you from drifting too far down the road to isolation.
The tendency about which I am writing is a kind of monasticism. I guess that there is a bit of the monk in all of us. You begin to see it when you reach that point where you just want to turn your back on it all and walk off the edge of civilization.
Well, perhaps you don’t have any idea about what I’m talking. You’ve never experienced the phenomenon. So much the better for you—I guess. But can one who has many convictions about many things have never felt himself out of kilter not only with the world but also with the church? I doubt it. So I‘m not sure that it is “so much the better for you.”
At any rate, we look forward to the time when our great God shall make all things new. It will be a time when “we all attain to the unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:13). That is our hope. And in the light of present confusion, error and problems of almost every description, it is a wonderful hope that should sustain us. Indeed, those present problems should make us appreciate God’s promise all the more. Take heart! We’re all in this together—with Christ. He knows us and all our errors and problems and He still puts up with us (even with you and me) and fellowships with us. Thank God He hasn’t gone off to an island in Scotland!
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