From Frank Viola:
When I was in my early 20s, I had wonderful fellowship with an older brother in Christ who was part of the Plymouth Brethren.
We disagreed on a few doctrines (I didn’t buy into the pretibulational rapture theory, and I believed that God still healed people supernaturally). That aside, we both held to the orthodox creeds of the faith (The Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, etc.) as I still do today.
Never having stepped foot in a Plymouth Brethren chapel, I was interested in visiting his church. So I did. But I was shocked when he told me that I couldn’t partake of the Lord’s Table.
This both surprised and saddened me greatly.
He received me as a brother in Christ, but because I didn’t toe the line on PB doctrine, I wasn’t allowed to partake of the bread and wine with the others in his church.When I shared my feelings with him — that this action was a flat-out denial that I was part of the Body of Christ — he retracted his position and said I could partake of the Table.
However, his initial sectarian decision left its wound.
I wish I could say that I’ve never met this same sectarian attitude since, but I’d be lying if I did.
I’ve met it a number of times.
The fact is, every devoted Christian will be tested on whether they really believe in the oneness of the Body of Christ or whether they deny it deep in their hearts . . . especially when there is pressure from others to embrace a sectarian spirit and exclude other members of the Body.
Religious pressure is a powerful thing. And it is most often contrary to Jesus Christ.