In his little-known book, 18 Words: The Most Important Words You Will Ever Know, J.I. Packer asks the question, What hinders fellowship? His answer? At least, four things:
- Self-Sufficiency – There can be no fellowship where individuals do not see that they depend on each other for spiritual help.
- Formality – Some see their involvement in correct procedures in public worship… as the whole of Christian fellowship, and shrink from anything more intimate.
- Bitterness – In true fellowship, where the goal is to make the other person greater for God, there is a proper place for criticism, but it will be constructive not destructive… Where bitterness motivates, however, criticism will be made in an arrogant, unbridled way that negates fellowship rather than furthers it.
- Elitism – The superior attitude that produces cliques based on exclusiveness. When “super-keen” groups hive off on their own into associations in which minor peculiarities of belief, or the magnetic attraction of a leader, function as the bond, pride lives and fellowship dies.