Let me attempt to draw a picture here.
I very much want a community, a fellowship based on shared beliefs. Not conformity and uniformity, because a primary doctrine at work here is the necessity of seeking to share what can be shared and working through the inevitable tension of holding a unique calling from God. It’s a doctrine that avoids painting God as some logical ideal, but as a real person who knows each of us as Our Maker. Our doctrine says that God never intended us to emphasize any kind of cerebral unity, because what the mind can accomplish isn’t worth much. God’s power works through the heart of conviction.
Ideally, such a community of deep moral conviction would include some meat-space communion. Indeed, a critical element in the whole thing is breathing life into the Covenant of Christ by observing the Law of Noah and all of the assumptions behind that law. We long to see a genuine covenant community of extended family based on shared spiritual DNA, never mind the variation in fleshly heritage. We want that tribal atmosphere; that’s what God reveals in His Word as the ideal for fallen humanity.
But we know that, in the foreseeable future, it won’t happen except on a small scale. And for most of us up to now, it’s only been through a virtual communion. We are burning with a longing that may never be fulfilled until we meet in Heaven, though we know with deep conviction some measure of it is quite possible here and now.
I suppose about the closest we could come to the common expectations of our age would be something of a movement, though hardly of the activist sort. But if we then begin to work toward a movement, we go off track. Get your eyes off the movement itself. The whole point is not getting people to join, but letting people discover something they already wanted, whether they knew it or not. It has to be a communion from which they can’t stay away. This thing builds itself or it doesn’t happen at all.
So it’s not for any of us, me least of all, to draw boundaries. We include people who want to include themselves. We work to make allowances and exclude only when their presence hinders something we cannot sacrifice. Again, it’s functional, not doctrinal. There is no orthodoxy, only certain obvious indicators that people belong — and only for as long as they are able to belong.
I raise two such identifiers, not as your leader, but as one setting the example of how it’s done. First is that moral affinity, that shared moral character of God by which we discover a communion that exists despite any cerebral reasons in favor of division. The Spirit of God draws people together, but He also polarizes. He draws those who are Spirit-born, whose hearts are awakened as master of the soul. The second identifier is a natural extension, for that same sense of recognizing moral kinship means we would share a sense of accountability to the Scriptures. If you cannot see past the words (in whatever translated language) to the moral depth of God’s Person, then you do not know the Scripture. If you fail to manifest either of these two identifiers, I am simply unable to take your fellowship seriously. That’s a limitation on me, a weakness I cannot shed in this life.
Nothing prevents you hanging around here and trying to be friends. That common human friendship is a step on the path to spiritual communion. There is room for a long sliding scale of acceptance on lesser levels, because we are constrained by that same Holy Spirit to demonstrate His compassion until such time as He breathes life into their souls and opens their eyes. Even when we must make some violent response to intolerable transgressions against our individual callings, we do so with an eye to compassion for the sake of God’s glory, not some obscene hatred. We don’t defend ourselves, but we do have a zeal for God’s purpose. The standard is mere pragmatic measures to preserve our domain as granted by God; He has commanded us to maintain the covenant hedge. Anyone lacking such a threat is welcome to hang around and feed off the gracious and abundant supply of God’s blessings poured into our lives.
We know that we are one with Creation. We know it as the swelling joy and peace that comes from our personal connection to God, as He wove His personal character into all things. We would like to be one with more people, too, because they are part of that Creation. They are blinded to that from birth. It’s the Curse of the Fall, but redemption is through the Flaming Sword at the gate of Eden — the revelation of God. We press forward in the covenant life that breathes in Scripture. We can’t get enough of that shared affection, so it’s natural we reach out to those we encounter, hoping they’ll see the source of that love in us.
Our agenda is moral communion; our hope is that it provokes the rise of fellowship.