Part One, Yesterday
Those reading yesterday's post didn't answer in the comment section, but I'm guessing that it's partly because of how easy the answer is. It seems kind of like an insult to the intelligence. I understand. Some may say, "Well, no one answered, because no one is reading your blog." Fair enough, except that I get more hits on average than I have ever had here. Ever. Just wanted to preemptively pop that balloon.
OK, back to the question(s). "What does it in fact say? What does God tell us to do?"
It tells us to mark and avoid. I don't want anyone to make this a personal thing about John Piper or any other evangelical. When I talk about these things, I use real names because this should be applied in the real world.
Alright, so Charismatic doctrine is unbiblical. I run into Charismatics all the time going door-to-door (I've written a very helpful tract to give them too, that we hand them), and they are not only contradictory to the doctrine of our church, but also the doctrine of the church period. The young evangelical I referenced chose to call it an "odd ball view." Odd ball view? It's false doctrine. It contradicts scripture. That's bad enough. We could stop there, but it does far more damage then that, and John MacArthur himself, this young man's pastor, has written a scathing book against the odd ball views. It was one of MacArthur's early books, that went into a second printing, and he makes it look very bad and dangerous and hurtful. He's correct on all fronts. Bravo John MacArthur in your true exposure of these false doctrines!
Writing a book is fine. But what does Romans 16:17 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6 tell us to do? It says "mark and avoid" and "withdraw ourselves" from these. I'm not nitpicking. I'm talking about applying what God commanded us to do. Talk to God about it. He's the one that said it. Are we nitpicking if we report what God said? If so, well, then I guess I'll be nitpicking. And then he implies that we lack discernment, and that's why we can't have guys like Piper preach for us. If he came, we'd get all confused and not know what we believe. Right. No, it really is wanting to obey passages of Scripture---that black stuff on white paper, those words. That's how we're sanctified, is by the truth. It's in those pages we see the face of Jesus, which changes us into His glory. Are we changed into His glory when we don't do what He said? No.
Association is important in the Bible. Paul talked about association in 1 Corinthians 10. He said that when you ate of the food offered to the idols, you were making an association like you did when you ate of the Lord's Supper. Associations are made and they are serious. But that isn't a main argument against not having Piper preach for you.
At this point, I want to consider though, why it is an evangelical would say that he doesn't obey Romans 16:17 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6? He's got excuses. What's ironic to me, is that they definitely take stands on things that come out of left field. Kevin Bauder has just recently written well about this in an article at SharperIron about The Gospel Coalition doctrinal statement. (Wow. I've been linking to people I don't fellowship with. Isn't that risky? We don't have discernment, after all. Oh, that was a straw man argument. Thank you.) Almost everyone today wants nothing to do with someone who exclusively uses the King James Version as his English translation. That's the kind of doctrine that men really bow up their backs and take their stand.
The problem for the evangelical and really for the fundamentalist too, as we've talked about again and again here, is their view of unity. When they separate they cause disunity. Follow me here, OK? You are not causing disunity when you separate over doctrine. The one causing disunity is the one with the different doctrine. You, by dealing with him, are the one trying to get unity. Unity is not some free floating, amoeba-like idea out there. Unity is based on the truth. It is based on God. Jesus had unity with the Father. Look through the book of John. He believed and practiced everything that the Father did. That's how He sanctified Himself (another evidence of the deity of Christ, because only God can sanctify Himself). We, on the other hand, are sanctified by the truth. Our unity with each other is dependent on the truth. We don't have unity when we disregard doctrine (see 1, 2, and 3 John on this too, lots is written on this in our book, A Pure Church). That is a fake unity, the kind like you might have at the family reunion, where you must keep the subjects to the weather or the weather.
So evangelicals and fundamentalists keep up the facade of unity. They take a cannister of something that isn't unity and put a unity label on it. In the real world, that doesn't work. Unity must actually be unity. If I had John Piper preach for me, I would get to unity by disregarding lots of doctrines (or as Fred Butler calls them, odd ball views. Why would you, incidentally, have a guy preach for you that has odd ball views? He says because they were college students. There we go. Your young people need people with odd ball views. They are the ones with the most discernment in the church, so it's no problem for them. Yes. But you have C. J. Mahaney for your adults. They can sort through more.). But Romans 16:17 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6 isn't obeyed.
The above really does get us to the next point, and that is, you start saying, will-nilly, that certain doctrines aren't that important. Romans 16:17 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6 don't say anything about that. And the latter actually sort of blows it away, because the specific example of its practice is a guy that wouldn't work. Bodily resurrection. Virgin birth. Blood Atonement. Guys gotta work. Fundamentals. No, that idea of unity and that idea of separation isn't in the Bible. You don't get to treat anything that God said like the tomatoes falling out the back of a produce truck.
And so the incessant argument is "what's important," "what's essential," "what's worth separating over"? Except for the evangelicals. They don't talk about separating over anything. God is separate, but they aren't. There is a sad irony there. But this is a regular argument, and different guys move their thing into the essential category. This argument originated with the Pharisees, who argued over the greatest commandments, because they had reduced the law to something they could keep. They kept unity by determining the essentials. This disrespects God, His Word, the perspecuity of His Word, the authority of His Word.
Evangelicals and fundamentalists deal with someone who takes more than a short list of stuff seriously as a hyper-this or a hyper-that---the family reunion equivalent of the uncle who wants to talk about something more than the weather, so he rocks the boat. He's persnickety. He's a hand wringer. And then they go into conspiracy theories, a type of paranoia, like the young evangelical. These men are dictators. They draw unscriptural boundaries. They put you on a guilt trip. They're the ones who send respectable believers over to the emergents. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Deal with the verses! Stop the red herrings and the straw men! Please. They're just excuses for disobedience to what God said.