On page 6 you state “Further we were concerned that the conclusions presented on the study of fellowship did not reflect the proper emphasis and balance that the scriptures teach on this subject” (a reference to Class 4 of the Book Road study day). In the first talk of the Book Road study day the speaker emphasized the need to “say what we mean and mean what we say”. The 4th speaker at the Book Road study day identified Central practice as Ecclesially-based, noting that this basis was clearly outlined by the Tidings Committee in the 2008 magazine (see bullet no.9 of the speakers summary in the Book Road study notes and slide no.74 of his presentation).
Your comment raises serious concerns on our part because it challenges the scriptural basis of fellowship practiced by the Central community. It also highlights that you understand the term Ecclesially-based fellowship differently to those in the Central community even though you agreed to “respect and practice ecclesially-based fellowship” in the UA08 agreement (bullet no.6).
One of your comments which lacks clarity is, “we wish to clearly state our belief that there are no doctrinal differences which should stand in the way of full unity and fellowship amongst all brethren in this area” (page 6). In essence it appears that you are not claiming that differences do not exist, but rather that that those that may exist are not considered by yourselves as barriers to fellowship; please be clear on this? One such issue is that of Resurrectional Responsibility as it is defined in Clause 24 of the BASF. Historically most in the Unamended community have never viewed this subject as a barrier to fellowship, but rather have supported the teaching of Thomas Williams who taught that covenant relationship makes a person responsible to the judgment seat of Christ and in addition it is God.s prerogative to raise whom He will.
On page 7, bullet 1b you quote from your presentation of January 23, 2010, which says, “the concern being addressed apparently is related to the term or expression: ‘inherited legal condemnation’ – a term we neither use nor teach”. While this may be true the phrase “inherited alienation” or “legal defilement”, which constitute the same idea, are terms which are used by the Unamended community (1) to describe the condition of the human race prior to entering into covenant relationship. These terms are used in addition to describing mankind as physically and morally defiled; for example: “the race is in a state of alienation from Divine favor, consisting of a legal defilement as well as a physical and moral defilement (i.e. proneness to sin)” (2). It may also be true that these terms are not used or taught from your platform, nevertheless the fact remains that this view of racial alienation is not dealt with in the NASU document.
We might add that attempts have been made to argue that racial alienation is covered in the NASU document under Adamic Condemnation – Guilt for Personal Transgression however this section is concerned with personal guilt, a view which is rejected in the same Advocate Magazine article.
With regards to your comments on the subject of Resurrectional Responsibility we must once again stress that we do not question your claim that “no false doctrine has been taught from our platforms”; our concern is that the NASU document does not adequately deal with this subject. We are however pleased to see that you offer the two Final Clarifications in the Unity Agreement of 2008 as evidence of your views on this subject. Notwithstanding you will recall in your January 2010 presentation that it was clearly pointed out that the two Final Clarifications were not considered part of the doctrinal section of the document: “the extra clarifications in the UA08, along with other practical details, such as the effective date of the agreement, the continuance of the BASF, the posting of the announcement, etc. are not “scriptural principles” per se, and are not part of the doctrinal basis of the UA08, but are practical considerations the three Unamended ecclesias also agree to” (Unamended presentation, January 23, 2010, page 7).
If this earlier statement is no longer applicable then it would be helpful if some form of retraction could be published making this absolutely clear because we believe that the two Final Clarifications are essential doctrinal statements which contribute towards validating the agreement.
(1) Quoted in the Advocate magazine of March 2006 in two articles entitled Summary at a Glance and Adamic Condemnation.
(2) Quoted from Summary at a Glance, Advocate Magazine 2006.