Friday, September 14, 2007

IF IT'S NOT CONSISTENT, IT'S NOT THE TRUTH (Part Four)

Fundamentalists and evangelicals say that we don't separate over everything in God's Word. Evangelicals hardly to never teach separation. Fundamentalists argue about what doctrines and practices are worth separating over. Conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists become angry if you say that they don't want to practice all of God's Word.

Think about it this way. Does God want us to do everything that He said? Of course. He repeats that dozens of times. Here are a few, just to remind you:

Exodus 15:26, "And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee."

Exodus 24:3, "And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do."

Matthew 4:4, "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Matthew 28:20, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

There isn't anything that God told us to do that He doesn't want us to do or that He will allow us not to do. So if we don't do something that God wants, what is that? It is sin. Do we have liberty to sin? Again, of course not. When we sin and will not repent, we are to be disciplined out of the church. We are to be separated from.

So, fundamentalists and evangelicals say that certain sins are not worth separating over. Based on what they say and write, we understand that we must rank the teachings to determine which ones are worth separating over. Some say that it is only the gospel. Others add other Scriptural teachings that necessitate separation---a few more than the gospel, perhaps the "fundamentals." With this being their practice, is their anger justified when they say that they really do believe that every doctrine and practice in Scripture is important? I don't think so. Until they are ready to separate over everthing that God says, they should stop showing their faux indications of anger when we say that they don't want to believe and practice all of God's Word.


The Consequences of Contradicting the Doctrines of Separation and Unity

The inconsistency in the belief and practice of separation and unity, due to the wrong ecclesiology, is bad enough, but what are other consequences of these contradictions?

More Rampant Sinning

"Evil communications corrupt good manners" (1 Cor. 15:33), that is, evil companions corrupt good behavior. When we do not separate over those "less important" doctrines and practices, we become the companions of the violations of those doctrines. Churches will become more sinful and more worldly when they won't separate over sin and worldliness

Corruption of the Gospel

We are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone. However, we must have the proper understanding of grace and of faith and of Christ. We know we can have a fraudulent grace, faith, and Christ. God's grace saves from sin. Faith is not merely intellectual acknowledgement of facts. Jesus is holy. All the doctrines and practices of the Bible are consistent with the gospel, so also with the right view of grace, faith, and the Lord Jesus Christ. A grace that doesn't change someone is a fraud, perhaps mere license. A faith that doesn't work is dead. The Jesus that Heads the church wants His church kept pure. The Lordship of Christ and repentance have us turn from something to follow someone. We turn to His way, which is represented by all His Words. He is Lord, which means we follow everything that He said. The gospel connects to all of this. Corruption of these also corrupts it.

Devaluation of Doctrine

Ephesians 4:5 says our unity is based on faith. When faith is not the basis of unity or for separation, then the doctrines that God told us to believe and practice are devalued. Something else will take the place of doctrine---politics, feelings, and experiences are three common new priorities.

Misrepresentation of God

God is pure. His doctrine and practice is pure. God does not deny Himself. His doctrines and practices will not deny each other. When we are not pure and our doctrines deny themselves, that reflects on God. Israel was God's glory. Churches are also His glory. When they won't align with Him, He is tainted by their belief and practice.

Elevation of Unscriptural Institutions

When we take separation and unity away from their place of Scriptural practice, the church, we elevate unscriptural institutions. They begin to wag the church. Churches have taken a back seat in deciding why and how we separate and unify. The unscriptural institutions (colleges, boards, publishers, seminaries, conferences, associations, schools) wield more influence than churches. The Head of the Church, I'm sure, is jealous. You know what happens when He's jealous.

Disobedience to the Great Commission

Matthew 28:20 tells us to teach to observe all things that Christ commanded. The new unity says "observe the important things." We can't fulfill the Great Commission with that alteration, so we don't make disciples, true ones anyway.

Loss of True Separation and Unity

True unity and separation can be had in a church if the wrong view would quit interfering. God wants that purity and that togetherness, that holiness and one accord. The contradiction results in something entirely different. I like to say that the unity looks more like what we see at most family reunions. The separation would probably look like what happens on a plate when the gravy escapes the mashed potatoes and invades the jello.

These consequences should get someone's attention. We are living, as many have noticed, in a narcissistic culture and age. Men are less interested unfortunately in obedience to Scripture as having a niche in some peer group. I'm hoping that this will help some to reconsider and others to be strengthened by God's truth.

4 comments:

Fresh Dirt said...

wow... separation... over every disagreement of thought and action. You stake this on your "interpretation" of the "clear" meaning of scripture. However, if it is so clear, then there would not be so much debate, even on this blog. I do think separation is needed, though, when it comes to the gospel. I find very few people who are true followers of the gospel. Usually their allegiance is in something else... sports, job, country, family, etc. The issue of immigration can usually bring this idolatry out. Christians who are outraged by "foreigners" being in "our" land. Hello! We are the foreigners. We don't have a land. We shouldn't give a rip about such things. We should being loving all of the people around us whether they are here legally or not-- that is the way of Christ. Any other opinion reveals your idolatrous allegiances to nation/government-- i.e. Rome and its anti-Christ spirit. Thus, gospel-- who is my Lord-- is the chief issue of separation. What does our lives reveal about us? Are there Christians in this place called American? Very few for most of us are following after an idol. Thus, most "churches" need to separate because they are not "church" at all, instead they are an assembly of idolaters.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I would be interested in your verses that teach separation over only the gospel. I deal with that in this series if you read carefully.

Fresh Dirt said...

First, let me comment regarding 1 Corinthians 12:25. Schism here refers to division in the body. It is most likely a reference to the divisions that were in the Corinthian church (Apollos, Paul, Peter, etc.) and to the divisions that were occurring at the Lord's table/Love feast. This is why the second part of the verse refers to a mutual/same caring for one another. The church is to be a mutually caring community in spite of the differences between these various groups (good chance that these groups had doctrinal differences!). Next, 2 Thess. 3:6-15 is talking about un-gospel like conduct. Such behavior is opposite of the the good news that Christ is Lord, thus stay away from people who advocate such laziness. Third, Romans 16:17 is also in reference to the gospel. Verse 18 directly states that these people are not serving Lord Christ but their own appetites. Finally, 1 Corinthians 5 is definitely about a gospel formed life. Paul starts the chapter stating that such immorality is hard to find even among the pagan way of living. Such behavior is gospel denying and corrupts the community of saints.
Jesus is Lord! As such, when brothers are not willing to repent and turn from their anti-gospel ways, they must be separated from the communion table and even our tables at home. In this way, I agree with many of your thoughts. However, I think someone's view of the nature church is probably not anti-gospel/anti-christ. Their view on predestination is probably not anti-gospel/anti-christ. Their view on end times is probably not anti-gospel/anti-christ. Someone who does believe in a so-called "universal church" should not eat with a Christian brother living in anti-gospel ways. That is how he would probably live such a thing out. Nevertheless, I think the thrust of scripture implores us to ask who we need to eat with and connect ourselves to rather separate from... the prostitutes and tax collectors, the Pharisees, etc.

Fresh Dirt said...

Also, i wanted to express my appreciation for your conversation. I can come off a little "jerk-ish". Sorry for that. Scripture just seems pretty simple to me and everyone tries to make it so complicated.

I have an extensive background in biblical backgrounds and biblical history so I always turn to these thoughts first. I tend to hate it when people use the original languages because of the way people dice and splice scripture to bend it to their soapbox.

Regarding the issue of the universal/local church, it has always been an issue that independent baptists make a big deal about, and yet their churches seem hardly different than the Methodist or American Baptist church down the street (I excluded the southern baptist because their churches look more and more like Willow Creek every day).

Also, I find it ironic that indie-baptists, among other groups, all have church service structures, styles, and even soapboxes that became very popular in the 1940s. This is very evident in the way stewardship/finances are handled. It hints at the idea that your group really hasn't been around as long as you all think you have been.

Sociologists often group baptists, second-wave charismatics, and Mormons in a group together known as American-born religious groups because their is very little in the structure, beliefs, and practices that can be found elsewhere (except for the missionary work done by your group in the last century) or earlier in history. History backs up this too. For all of your exegesis on the nature of the church, your tribe has not been around that long. However, I am glad that your tribe is big on exegesis and a literal approach to scripture... I just wish you all were bigger on social justice issues, since much of the OT prophets focused on this and Jesus was big on this too.