Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Everybody Separates: It's Just Why and How

A major feature of the 2016 campaign was separation.  The wall separates the United States from Mexico.  The red states divide from the blue states.  Nationalists separate from globalists.  Brexit is an exit from the EU.  The Supreme Court represents a split vote.  Not everyone will be happy.

Noah got onto the ark and separated himself and his family from the whole world.  Others could have joined him, but they had separated themselves from him.  Both sides were practicing separation.

I would be known as a separatist by many, but I have noticed that everyone separates, it's just why and how. Junior high girls might alienate a classmate for her incoherent dress style.  Other children in a church might separate from the pastor's kids because they are afraid their own behavior might be reported to the pastor.  The modest female sticks out like a sore thumb on a state university campus.

Some beliefs about separation find commonality.  As it stands, I think most Americans don't want pedophiles working with small children.  Almost everyone practices that form of separation.

When I go door to door evangelizing in an urban area, I've found that very often people will self segregate.  A particular neighborhood will fill up almost entirely with one ethnicity.  Very often there are practical reasons:  they speak the same language.  However, in those neighborhoods, there will also be businesses and markets unique to the people who live there.

You've probably noticed that a Trump supporter can't show that support in certain locations across the United States without threat of violence.  You will not be allowed in a classroom in the United States if you express a certain point of view.  Educators or maybe demagogues won't allow you to stay.

Atheists would never darken the door to our church building.  Sure, I won't visit a United Methodist Church either, but both of us are practicing separation.  If atheists had a church, I wouldn't attend. What I've found very often is that I'd be glad to give a civil and reasonable explanation for my separation and the atheist screams and curses at me. We both separate though.

Scripture teaches a doctrine of separation.  It is a very defined and specific doctrine.  All sorts of separation are required.  The reasons are given and how it is to be done.  Separation keeps a person pure, a family pure, and a church pure.  Out of love, a church might separate from one of its members, for the purpose of discipline.  The discipline is meant to help.  That's how it is meant to be done.

Sometimes you aren't attempting to separate.  You shine the light and it repels those in darkness, who love the darkness.  You keep shining the light and those people will remain separate from you.  If you uphold the darkness, you'll have company.  Jesus talks about two roads too.  Those who travel down the broad road aren't taking the narrow one.  They are separating themselves from the narrow road, whether they intend to or not.

On the other hand, the Bible forbids certain types of separation, which it calls, causing division.  God doesn't want factions to develop based upon non-scriptural or even unscriptural issues or reasons.  If it is scriptural separation, it should be scriptural and the scriptural reason should be able to be stated.  If you just divide from people with no stated reason, really no helpful reason, then you are causing division.  People may quibble over what they should separate over, but when they do separate, they should show respect and love to the ones with whom they separate, so they will know why it is occurring.

Pushing the eject button is a form of separation, but it isn't a biblical form.  You don't just take off like a Judas or a Diotrephes, having loved this present world.  You should have a good reasons to separate.   

You've heard of mean girl syndrome.  My observation has been that most evangelicals separate like mean girls.  It is an effeminate form of separation, that I call "cold shoulder separation."  Have you ever been in a situation where you were getting the cold shoulder?  You didn't know what was wrong, but you knew something was wrong.  That's how mean girls separate from other girls.

A courageous and loving form of separation will at least state and at least briefly prove why they are separating.  When I talk to many various evangelicals and fundamentalists, they won't even answer me.  They will not allow me to comment on their blogs, which is their right, but they don't explain why.  I could respect them if they explained why and then were consistent with the practice.  I have to guess what the problem is.  My guess is that it is for one of three or four reasons.  These same people can comment on this blog any time.  They know it.  They might not come here, and that is also a form of separation, one which they will not explain.

Some people are so afraid to be identified with this blog, that they comment anonymously.  More than half of those who comment here won't state their name.  They don't want anyone to know that they even read me or even think that they read me, even if they don't.  This is not biblical separation. It isn't biblical behavior.  I understand that some people can't be allowed to comment at a blog. However, a biblical way of handling that is explaining why.  I think someone should even be given multiple opportunities to change.

I have to admit that it is humorous to me when evangelicals treat other evangelicals like mean girls, and they don't like it when they receive the same treatment.  At The Gospel Coalition blog, conservative evangelicals will criticize in the comment section and often their comments will go unpublished without explanation.  I've seen those excluded make a huge show over it, even operate their own twitter campaign against it.  I agree that it is an unbiblical way of dealing with someone, but it is how almost all evangelicals do separate (when they separate).  They seem incapable of practicing separation in a biblical way.

Much more could be said than what I've written above, but I wanted you to consider this thought that everyone really does separate.  Everyone is some kind of separatist.  The truth is that you are either a scriptural separatist or an unscriptural one.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

why not visit a United Methodist church? Surely some are ok to visit? I would think that some actually have true believers attend, no?

Paul

Craig Kuha said...

The greatest commandment is to love God. Some people may feel talking about separation is a distraction. I dont think its a distraction here, but I have known people to be militant about separation. When I think of this topic its kind of like an athelete that separates himself from friends, drugs,and junk food so he can focus totally on training. Its no fun especially when everyone else is out and about having a good time.

Kent Brandenburg said...

George Calvas regularly leaves me comments. Recently he's left some in different ways than just giving his name outright. Anonymous ones may have slipped through. However, he just left me four of them, that I'm not going to publish, but he says I'm a hypocrite because I don't publish his comments. He says I don't want to face up to the biblical basis of his beliefs, to deal with them from scripture, because I'm a coward.

I want everyone to know that George so far is the only person we've banned from the blog, but out of love. At a certain point, we can't publish certain comments here. There are many times that people comment with content I don't like, even making personal attacks. Sometimes I allow anonymous attack comments to go through. I don't have to do that, but I have.

A blog comment isn't fellowship, but not publishing one is a form of separation. I admit that. However, in the case of George I believe I've gone way past what was necessary for me scripturally. We gave him more than enough opportunities, way past three steps. If someone besides George doesn't think we've given him ample opportunity, let us know and we'll take into consideration. I can say with utmost certainty, as certain as I can be, that it's not because we wouldn't want to deal with his arguments. Those are not difficult. It's that he doesn't listen and we don't want to keep dealing with him for many various scriptural reasons.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Paul,

Do you know what the United Methodists believe? Do you know what the Bible says about separation?

Thanks for dropping by.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Craig,

Jesus said you love Him if you do whatever He tells you. He tells us to separate, so separation is loving God.

Ken Lengel said...

Kent,

Do you think a close corollary to this is that we all discriminate as well? (not in the negative connotation of the word, but in the practice of discerning what is truth) I see our culture does not understand discrimination in the same way as separation. Thoughts??

Ken

Anonymous said...

I think UM believe in justification by faith, the trinity, the bible to be inspired by God, they follow baptism and holy communion.

I guess I don't understand what the big issue is with attending a service. I'm sure you could find some very liberal UM, but there should also be some very conservative ones, no?

Paul

Kent Brandenburg said...

Paul,

I've talked to many United Methodists and never met a converted one, and almost every one I've talked to, 90+% are liberal, which means they deny fundamental doctrine of scripture, but to saved time, I'm cutting and pasting David Cloud's writing on them.

"United Methodist pastors participate in ecumenical clergy associations, joining hands at the local level with Roman Catholics, Unitarians, other Modernists, and non-Christians. An example is the Piedmont Interfaith Council which includes United Methodist churches in its membership. Its 1990 “Ecumenical Celebration of Thanksgiving” featured such “faith communities” as “the Franciscans, the Sikhs, the Japanese Community, Bahai, the Russian Jewish Emigres, Islam, Buddhist, the Native Americas and the Jewish and Christian faith traditions.” Another example is the Salem, Massachusetts, clergy association, which, in September 1993, welcomed a high priest from a witch’s coven into its membership. United Methodist pastor Ken Steigler was happy with this move, and said the group should become even more ecumenical by inviting Mormons, Buddhists, and Muslims to participate. UMC ecumenism and worldliness on the local level was illustrated when the Lafayette Park United Methodist Church in St. Louis co-sponsored in 1980 a cocktail party and house tour to raise funds for the restoration of a local Catholic shrine."

"The prevailing theological climate in the UMC was stated by Bishop James Thomas at the UMC Quadrennial General Conference in 1976: “We do not believe ... in rigid doctrinal concepts to hold us steady in a wavering world.” This is an understatement; the fact is that most UMC pastors don’t believe the Bible. Polls have shown that at least 30 percent of UMC ministers do not believe Jesus Christ is God, and 82% say they do not believe the Bible is the perfect Word of God. As early as 1968 a widely publicized scientific survey by Jeffrey Hadden which was published by the Washington University showed that about 60% of the Methodist clergy did not believe in the virgin birth and at least 50% did not believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ. A Gallup survey in 1982 revealed that 34% of Methodists believe community service is more important than proclaiming the Gospel. In The Battle for the Bible, evangelical leader Harold Lindsell stated, “It is not unfair to allege that among denominations like Episcopal, United Methodist, United Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, the Lutheran Church in America, and the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. there is not a single theological seminary that takes a stand in favor of biblical infallibility. And there is not a single seminary where there are not faculty members who disavow one or more of the major teachings of the Christian faith.”

Kent Brandenburg said...

Furthermore from Cloud:

"Modernism is not new in the UMC. It began to take root in the late 1800s, as Methodist pastors were indoctrinated in higher criticism in Germany and returned to spread this poison. Robert Chiles has documented this shift from historic orthodoxy to liberalism in his book Theological Transition in American Methodists: 1790-1935. A book entitled The Christlike God, published in the early 1940s by Methodist Bishop Francis McConnell of the New York area, denied the deity of Jesus Christ. McConnell said, “Is not this tendency to deify Jesus more heathen than Christian?” On the west coast, Methodist Bishop Gerald Kennedy in Los Angeles was spouting every sort of unbelief and heresy prior to 1950. He denied the Inspiration of Scripture, the Trinity, the Atonement, the Deity of Christ, the Second Coming. Kennedy said, “I believe the testimony of the New Testament taken as a whole is against the deity of Jesus.” Apostasy among Methodist missionaries is illustrated by E. Stanley Jones, missionary to India. In his book Christ and the Round Table Jones stated, “If verbal infallibility is insisted upon, then the certainty is very precarious” (p. 257). In his Song of Accounts Jones says, “We do not believe that the New Testament is the revelation of God--that would be the Word become printer’s ink” (p. 377). In his book Mahatma Gandhi: An Interpretation, Jones testified that he went to India to convert the heathen, but in the end the heathen conquered him and he became an idolizer of Gandhi and a promoter of pacifism. In 1943 Jones delineated his concept of a World Church Union. By this plan there would be a World Assembly of the Church of Christ and each nation would have a national expression of this world body. The World Assembly would be made up of delegates from the national assemblies; and, “interpreting the mind of Christendom on world affairs, ... would be listened to by the nations.” This sounds more like the harlot of Revelation than the apostolic church of the first century. Jones denounced capitalism and praised Russian communism. In his book The Choice Before Us Jones argued for the establishment of a “new economic order” on earth which would redistribute wealth along communist lines. Jones identified this communist world order with the kingdom of God. In Song of Accounts, Jones says, “I had to go outside my native land to make a discovery of the kingdom of God. I found it ... in Russia” (pp. 148,149).

At its 1972 Quadrennial Conference, the UMC formally approved a policy of doctrinal pluralism founded upon the four-fold authority of Scripture, Tradition, Experience, and Reason. United Methodist “scholars” participated in the Jesus Seminar which determined that Jesus did not believe that He was God, was not born of a virgin, did not perform miracles, did not give prophecies of the future, did not die for man’s sins, and did not rise from the dead. Speaking at a meeting connected with the 1972 UMC Quadrennial Conference, Cecil Williams, pastor of the Glide Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco, Calif., said, “I don’t want to go to no heaven ... I don’t believe in that stuff. I think it’s a lot of - - - -.” (Here he used a curse word.) William’s church replaced the choir with a rock band, and its “celebrations” have included dancing and even nudity. A Jewish rabbi is on William’s staff. After attending a service at Glide Memorial, a newspaper editor wrote, “The service, in my opinion, was an insult to every Christian attending and was the most disgusting display of vulgarity and sensuousness I have ever seen anywhere.” In spite of William’s apostasy and immorality, his bishop has continued to support him."

Kent Brandenburg said...

And even furthermore from Cloud:

"One UMC pastor with wide experience who wrote on the conditions within his denomination said, “The pluralism of theology in United Methodism is bewildering. In my last year of denominational seminary, one classmate wanted a Methodist pastorate so he could help people get rid of the superstitious notion that there was a Higher Power who restricts their freedom to be authentically human. Yet in the same class were other seminarians who were eager to preach Jesus as Savior and Lord. Under pluralism, United Methodist clergy can hold almost any view--unless (and here’s the rub) it is too strongly and explicitly orthodox-evangelical. One student pastor in Ohio heard a professor at a United Methodist seminary deny the necessity of the Resurrection. The student, in his parish newsletter, then stated that, without the authenticity of the Resurrection, there could be no Christianity. A very much dissatisfied superintendent called him to warn that if he expected to be ordained into a pluralistic church, he could not be so rigid and dogmatic over specific doctrines, including the Resurrection. Yet few such restrictions seem to apply in the [modernistic] direction. ... A pastor who supports the UMC system can be anything from quietly conservative to universalist, agnostic, or even father Left. ... For many reasons, the United Methodist climate is alien and inhospitable to forthright evangelical faith” (Pastor Charles Keysor, Christianity Today, Nov. 9, 1984)."

Kent Brandenburg said...

And lastly, even though Cloud has written much more:

"THE UMC AND HOMOSEXUALITY. The UMC formally states that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, and in 1984 voted to prohibit ordination of self-avowed, practicing homosexuals. In practice these statements mean very little. As soon as the prohibition against homosexual ordinations went into effect UMC bishops ordained sodomites in Colorado and California. The New York UMC Conference passed a resolution which said, “We deeply regret our denomination’s continued oppression of homosexual persons ... We look forward to the day when the church will accept gay and lesbian persons into full fellowship.” Retiring UMC bishop Melvin Wheatley spoke to a body of the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) in Sacramento, California, in 1985, and said the MCC is “wonderful because you are mixing the gay and Christian experience.” The MCC is a homosexual denomination. Wheatly said in 1983, “I clearly do not believe that homosexuality is a sin. ... Homosexuality, quite like heterosexuality, is neither a virtue nor an accomplishment. It is a mysterious gift of God’s grace ... His or her homosexuality is a gift--neither a virtue nor a sin.” Many United Methodist churches have performed wedding ceremonies for homosexuals, and a number of homosexuals have been ordained to the ministry in the UMC. James Conn, pastor of a UMC congregation in Ocean Park, Calif., said, “The gospel as I understand it is about the quality of the relationship, whether it is a homosexual or heterosexual one.” Ignacio Castuera of Hollywood First Methodist Church said the church is under a moral obligation to bless gay requests for marriage ceremonies. When Melvin Talbert was ordained head bishop for Northern California and Nevada in 1988, he stated: “I do not believe we know enough about homosexuality to make hard and fast rules. I would have hoped we could be more open and compassionate to people of different sexual orientations. I come with no prejudgments.” Also in 1988 the California Methodist Conference sponsored an “enrichment weekend” for homosexual couples. (Homosexuality is not the only moral perversion condoned in UMC circles, by the way. The UMC communications agency in 1988 issued a statement on “erotica” which approved of sexually explicit pornography as long as it was not violent or coercive!) In 1992 the UMC Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns declared itself open to the full participation of all people, including gays and lesbians, and the top judicial body of the UMC ruled that the agency was within its rights to make such a declaration. In May 2000, the United Methodist Quadrennial Assembly voted to retain its ban on “holy union’’ services and homosexual clergy, but in practice there are many such things within the denomination. Only four months early, in January 2000, 14 United Methodist leaders joined more than 800 other liberal “clergy” in signing “a declaration on morality” that calls upon all faiths to bless homosexual couples and allow homosexual ministers. Signers included United Methodist Bishop Roy Sano of Pasadena, California, and professors from United Methodist seminaries in Dallas; Denver; Washington D.C.; Claremont, California; and Evanston, Illinois."

And that's before we get to the false doctrines in Methodism itself, that are doctrinal darkness, including corrupting the gospel.

Anonymous said...

Concerning the last post about homosexuality, does it seem like this issue may not be so cut and dried as some may think? (I'm not making a proclamation one way or the other, simply questioning). Doesn't the KJV seem to be a little ambiguous and almost seem transgender at times? For example, in Isaiah 49:23 there is talk of "nursing fathers" and Job 21:24 talks about how "HIS breasts are full of milk..." I really don't understand why these interpretations or in the KJV. Can anyone give more insight on these types of verses?