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Advice to Members

The things contained in the Advice to Members are put there to help us guard against the enemy of our souls and lead us into living a consecrated life. The overall message or spirit of the Advice to Members seems to point us back to Bible holiness. Hebrews 12:14 tells us, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Holiness is necessary for anyone who expects to win a crown of life and the end of life's journey. Nor only are we called into a life of holiness, but we are also instructed to be blameless. The beloved apostle Paul taught us that we must be blameless at Christ's appearing. "Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:8). The apostle Peter confirmed the same thing when he said, "Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless" (2 Peter 3:14). Jesus said, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13, 14).

If the Advice to Members are part of the hedgerow that hedges us in and keeps us from wandering from the narrow way that leads to the strait gate, so be it. Every child of God should purpose in their hearts to walk the narrow way of holiness, staying away from the thorns and thistles of the world that would injure us, making us weak and unable to continue on our journey to Heaven.

The Advice to Members

These kindly instructions and advices are given by those who are watching for your soul as they must give an account (Hebrews 13:17), and it is hoped that they will be received with the same meek, gentle spirit in which they are given.

The following portion of the Advice was adopted at the 83rd General Assembly in 1988:

Rationale: In the 74th Annual Assembly, the General Overseer addressed an on-going problem relative to "Advice to Members", and in a section devoted to that subject said, "For many years our Assembly Minutes have contained a section entitled Advice to Members. These instructions were prepared for the purpose of providing counsel to the members of the Church to aid them in fighting the good fight of faith. From time to time we hear of those who assume a legalistic attitude with regards to the Advice to Members, as though they would make commandments of the things mentioned in the advice. The display of such attitudes usually does more harm than good. A gentle spirit of teaching will be much more effective than attempts to enforce as laws those things which have been set forth as advice... Perhaps we should take a closer look at the section of our Assembly Minutes, and at the spirit in which it is given." (74th AM 1979, p. 41).

In spite of the General Overseer's admonition, many continue to take a harsh and judgmental approach in presenting the Advice to Members. Holiness cannot be characterized as living in conformity with a list of prohibitions. True holiness manifests a Christlike nature in word and deed, and controls every area of one's life, external and internal.

For those who follow a holy God, the New Testament principles of holiness clearly reject such conduct as viewing pornographic films, reading sexually explicit literature, gambling, slanderous gossip, child abuse, spouse battering, and every other wrong conduct. On the positive side, a holy people are also diligent in perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

In the Advice to Members it is almost impossible to list everything which should be approach and/or disapproved for all people, in all cultures, under all conditions, for all time. Clearly, the New Testament principles of holiness are in every way superior to and more demanding than any list the General Assembly could possibly devise.

Resolution: The Advice to Members has its foundations in the New Testament. There the guidelines for proper Christian conduct in every situation are clearly given. All matters of personal Christian ethics are to be governed by the following principles: (1) In everything we are to "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called" (Ephesians 4:1), not permitting any conduct in ourselves which would bring reproach on the name of Jesus. (2) We are to "abstain from all appearance of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:22; Romans 12:9; 1 Timothy 5:14; 1 Peter 3:11). (3) In word or deed, "neither give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:27). (4) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). (5) In matters of conscience, we are to avoid offending others who might stumble over our conduct (Matthew 18:7; Mark 9:42; Romans 14:21; 1 Corinthians 8:13; 10:32; 2 Corinthians 6:3). (6) We must ourselves keep a clean conscience before God, and not violate our own convictions regarding any matter (Romans 13:5; 14:22, 23; 1 Corinthians 8:7). (7) We must not judge one another in nonessential matters of personal convictions (Romans 14:1-5, 19). (8) We must maintain a moderate lifestyle which will reflect the inner character of a meek and quiet spirit (Romans 12:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 9:25; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Timothy 2:9-10; 1 Peter 3:3-4; 1 John 2:15-16). (9) By our conduct we must adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things (Titus 2:1-10). (10) We must continue to perfect holiness in the fear of God by cleansing ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit (2 Corinthians 7:1).