Of the Church.
Chapter 26, Paragraph 14.
“As each Church, and all the Members of it are bound to pray continually, for the good and prosperity of all the Churches of Christ, in all places; and upon all occasions to further it (every one within the bounds of their places, and callings, in the Exercise of their Gifts and Graces) so the Churches (when planted by the providence of God so as they may enjoy opportunity and advantage for it) ought to hold communion amongst themselves for their peace, increase of love, and mutual edification.”
Romans 16:1,2; 3
No church is an island. The local church is not meant to be an isolated compound interacting with no one. The head of the Church is Christ, and while the local body is answers only to Him, it does not mean it is the only church that belongs to Christ. Remember, the saints are called out by Jesus from all times and places. We pray that those saints are encouraged, that they may increase, and that they will be strengthened in the faith.
It is encouraging to know that as a church you are not alone. When possible, meeting with other churches is an uplifting occasion. You are with fellow believers who “get it”: they share your love for Christ, they understand the struggle against sin, and they know the need for the fellowship of the saints. When you hear how the Lord is working in other churches, it refreshes you, spurring you onward in the faith.
Holding communion with other churches also ensures that your church is not erring in some way. When issues arise, there is prudence in seeking advice from sister churches. “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22) The church is strengthened in her doctrine by the wisdom of fellow churches. Evidence for this is seen in the very Confession we are reading! Its very existence is a result of churches meeting together for mutual edification.
Christ’s command to love one another extends beyond the scope of the local church. Through intentional interaction with fellow churches, the local body as a whole is encouraged and edified. The local church ought to seek fellowship with like-minded churches.
Questions to Consider
- What are the advantages to churches holding communion together? Are there any disadvantages?