Josh Teis, a pastor in Las Vegas, has just published a post, "Six Degrees of Separation," where he mocks biblical separation, a teaching by Almighty God in His Word, and then is joined by many others, doing the same. I've noticed two categories of people who dislike separation and ridicule it: one, people who've been separated from, and, two, people who don't want to separate and are criticized for their lack of separation. The mockery is to make space for them not to separate or to justify themselves for why someone has separated from them. They want approval in their lack of separation or for whatever reason they've been separated from. Teis communicates both categories in his hit piece.
The Teis article is a horrific caricature of the doctrine of separation, Salvador Dali like. It's basically a rant against stuff that ticks him off about separation, and so he sets up a goofy strawman in the likeness of a clown. It won't help you learn what the bible teaches about it or even the history of it.
I keep up with what's happening in revivalist fundamentalism, the mainly southern independent Baptist fundamentalism. It is in a stage of apostasy. It will be seen as a blip in history, due to its perverted foundation, and Teis is a manifestation of it. He is of the new hipster branch, that is a spin off of Paul Chappell and those like him, their pragmatism run amok.
No doubt fundamentalism does not equal biblical separation, which I've written about a lot here. Fundamentalism does not get separation right, but it at least attempts to practice separation, a teaching in the Bible, including in every New Testament epistle. Separation in fundamentalism can and should be criticized, applying scripture to its presentation. Teis mentions one prominent book on separation by Ernest Pickering, Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church. He offers very little analysis of the book except to say that Pickering taught, what has been termed, "secondary separation." The main point of the Teis article is to scoff at outlandish examples of this and morph this into what fundamentalists, including Pickering, have said and taught about separation. Teis exaggerates to the extent that his article is a total lie.
From his article, I don't know what Teis thinks about unity or separation. What problems does separation create for someone, that it is such a concern for him? Teis tries a new method and someone out there calls it worldly. He'll never have Teis preach for him. Maybe the separatist says, in addition I won't have anyone preach for me, who preaches with or for Teis. Less people are encouraged to have Teis preach. I believe that's the kind of separation Teis is talking about. It has zero effect on his church. No one is stopping Teis from using his new method. If what Teis were doing was scriptural, it's not going to stop his fundamental Baptists from bowling everyone over with the great power that he wants there to be. He will miss some conferences of the losers who don't like his method. Who cares? Teis exaggerates the effects of this separation that he decries. He'll pick up people from the left who use even more worldly things than Teis can stomach. Obviously Teis has found more "friends" in the Southern Baptists and even the Charismatics.
I think the biggest concern here is hurt feelings. Teis had in David Ring, whoever David is, and people complained about it, and Josh had his feelings hurt. He wants approval. It stung enough that he writes a whole blog post about how horrible are the secondary separationers. David had been hurt too. He spoke at the Crystal Cathedral and every single IFB except for Josh Teis bailed on him -- what a bunch of schmucks. What would be attractive about David Ring to Robert Schuller to have him in the first place? What kind of man does Robert Schuller want to preach with and for him? How did David Ring get past Robert Schuller? You already have major problems if Schuller wants you to preach, if you're not clear enough in your belief and practice to be attractive to Robert Schuller. It doesn't take very much curiosity to wonder this, so there is more to this than "secondary separation." David Ring wanted to do what he wanted to do and resents all the people who rejected it. David Ring is right (to himself) and now since he was a childhood hero of Teis, everyone has to tolerate Teis too. If not, his feelings are hurt.
Teis himself is anchored in the revivalistic success of church growth methodology. To expose all the error in his article would require an answer at least five times its size. He gives credit to men who popularized a false gospel, such as Jack Hyles. He glorifies an era when a large amount of the mess of revivalist fundamentalism began in the 1960s and 1970s. He leaves out especially one important event in the history, the downfall of Hyles by means of the Robert Sumner, Biblical Evangelist article in 1989, and the factions that spun off of that one occurrence. Disunity prevailed. Many had to rethink their associations and what they believed and practiced.
Despite everything wrong with the Teis article, he is writing or speaking a popular message for this age, due to the attraction and the lie of not separating. Not separating is attractive. The more you tolerate, the bigger your tent and the more people who will associate. This was the issue for Billy Graham back in his era. He started including Roman Catholics and other liberals in his crusades until he reached a point where he approved of universalism, asserting that someone could be an unrepentant Buddhist and be saved. In the end, the doctrine of a literal hell was too unpopular for Billy Graham to include in his doctrine or message.
I've known for a long time that its easier to let false doctrine and practice go. The more open you are about it, the more popular and bigger you will be. This is the spirit of the age, a type of reductionism, which shrinks the important doctrines to just a very few. Does God approve of this? We don't see anything in scripture that says He would. We see a lot, everything actually, that says He would not. Sure, men have liberty in non-scriptural matters, but not scriptural ones. If you don't tell people they are wrong and just stay mostly positive, you'll have more and more followers. It will be easy.
For instance, someone brings up same-sex marriage, and asks your opinion about it. Everyone knows you'll do better in most places if you agree, just stay silent, or say something that comes down right in the middle, where whatever someone thinks or believes on it is acceptable. I would say that's an extreme example, except that it isn't.
When you separate, many might call you unloving. You aren't loving when you separate. This isn't love, actual love, biblical love, that they speak of. It is sentimentalism. It is a feeling. They feel rejected, that is, unloved. The new love, which isn't love, you won't have if you separate. To be in the fake love club, you've got to tolerate. It makes people feel good, and that feeling, they say, is love. Start loving, meaning, don't separate. The fake love club is attractive, because it puts you in the category of a loving person, which is important, even if it isn't love. This is the lie of not separating. You are loving when you don't separate, but you aren't really loving, just fake loving. It's a lie that you are loving. It's not the only lie -- it's one of many -- but it is a crucial lie.
People think they are fine not separating. That is also a lie. They think God approves. He doesn't. That is a lie. They think they should only separate over major doctrines. That too is a lie. That is not how the Bible, the truth, reads. There are a lot of lies that must be accepted to continue not separating.
Josh Teis wants to continue on his merry way without rebuke or censure. He wants to keep trying new and more things, and be accepted when he does. He and his ilk keep trying more and more. They have distorted what church is. He'll probably succeed for a period of time, but he'll have to keep moving left to do that. The old methods get old and he'll need new ones, which will get old, and so newer ones will be needed. He wants to do them all without criticism, without separation in any way.