Sunday, April 15, 2018

Separation Is An Indispensable Message You Should Pick Up from the Whole Bible, But Let's Start with Genesis

After the curse, you've got two chapters in Genesis chronicling about 1700 years, chapters 4 and 5.  An explanation for the flood is the godly line adjoining with the ungodly line (6:2), producing an ungodly one.  God preserved a godly line by separating it, Noah and his family, from the ungodly one.  That's the message later in 1 Peter 3, when Peter says Noah and his family were saved by water.  Water separated Noah and his family from the world, saving them from the world by destroying the world.

Abraham was told to leave Mesopotamia in stark fashion, not knowing where he was going.   Just leave.  Go.  Separate.  Not stay and believe.  Go, separate, since you believe.  In the very next chapter, Lot got in trouble because he didn't separate, while Abraham was preserved because he did.  Not many chapters later, family members of Lot are incinerated before they find their way into Hell.

In Genesis 21 God told Abraham to separate his family from Hagar and Ishmael.  After Sarah died, Abraham kept his son Isaac home, while his servant separated himself to get a wife for him all the way back to his family back in Mesopotamia, and a straight shot from Jerusalem to Baghdad is 678 miles.  He wouldn't have taken a straight shot.  Rebekah went back to live with Isaac away from Mesopotamia, separated from her family.

Of the two sons of Rebekah, Esau and Jacob, Esau married two Hittite women.  The last verse of Genesis 26 says this was a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah.  When it came to Jacob (Gen 27:46), "Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?"  The daughters of Heth were Canaanites, going back to Genesis 10:15.  Jacob listened to his parents and went back to the same place and people that Isaac had gotten Rebekah.  Those people had changed, Jacob went about it in a very contrasting way than Abraham and Isaac, and then he stayed where it would have been better that he had not stayed.

There is a basis to say that if God had not separated Joseph and then his dad, Jacob (Israel), and the rest of the family, down to Egypt in Goshen, they would have become Canaanites and totally apostate in a very short time.  In Egypt, God kept His people separate for 400 years.  They could become a separate nation, a separate people with separate ways.  Then God separated them from Egypt.  He gave Moses a law that distinguished them as separate.  The laws were separating laws, both civil, ceremonial, and moral.  They wouldn't be like other people.

I could write much more, but the lack of teaching on separation, writing on separation, and then practice of separation in evangelicalism is destroying evangelicalism. Evangelicalism hates separation, and in that way, it hates the ways of God.  Evangelicalism mocks separation.  It mocks fundamentalism.  Fundamentalism doesn't separate as it should, but at least it does practice some form of separation.

In the end, God will separate the sheep from the goats and the tares from the wheat.  The Bible ends with separation, because the heavenly city will be minus all sorts of different people or people types, because God has separated them into the lake of fire.  Evangelicalism talks inclusion.  The world talks inclusion.  God talks separation.  The unity of the Bible is not the unity of evangelicalism, because it does not include separation.

Here's an example of tell-tale type of signs that I see in so-called fundamentalism.  There are many, but this is one of them that will explain the demise and then destruction of both evangelicalism and fundamentalism.  Mark Ward, a professing fundamentalist, writes a book about the vernacular of the King James.  Lets say that he has good motives.  He wants people to understand scripture.  Let's give him that.  Who does he look to for endorsements?  Look at the amazon page. Non separatists.  In order:  D. A. Carson, John Frame, Tom Schreiner, Andrew Naselli.  Yes, you have Kevin Bauder mixed in, one who identifies with fundamentalists.  I haven't heard a peep from fundamentalists on this.  They get their endorsements from evangelicals, the greater to their lesser.

Put aside the King James Version issue itself.  Fundamentalists don't care anymore if they have an association with evangelicals, non-separatists.  D. A. Carson was also an endorser of Mark Driscoll.  Carson is one of the founders of TGC.   TGC are indifferentists, to use Bauder terminology, borrowing from Machen.  The lack of distinction is a problem.  I have heard nothing.  Separation is going by the wayside.  Fundamentalists and evangelicals find common ground in replacing the King James Version, evangelicals and fundamentalists together.

Separation is indispensable.  It is the most distinguishing attribute of God, according to God Himself.  Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.


Bill Hardecker said...

The next installment of the Detroit Baptist Theological Journal will feature a book review of Mark's book. He is also scheduled to speak at Harding's church. So the classic fundamentalist circle is coming through for Mark's book, or so it seems.

Bill Hardecker said...

Ahem....The F in FBFI is now "Foundations" and no longer Fundamental. So, I guess, since they chose to do away with the term then they should be called foundationalists. Absurd but since that is what they say they are, I will oblige. Mark is speaking at a foundationalist meeting in June, along-side Bauder, Harding, and other foundationalists.

Lance Ketchum said...

These people absolutely hate anyone opposing Calvinism and their denial of the preservation of God's inspired Words. They view everyone and anyone that shares their OPINIONS as compatriots. Their alliances to these two departures from "the faith" have generated some strange bedfellows. They are playing theological king on the mountain with grand and noble aspirations of promotion while doing all they can to keep those who disagree with them under foot. Their lips promise milk and honey but the poison of asps is in their mouths.

Jeff Voegtlin said...

Kent, you may have seen that our preaching conference this year has the theme, Timeless Truths of Separation. We've been teaching a few lessons at our midweek service to help our congregation be prepared. A few weeks ago I taught many of the same ideas you bring up in this post. You or your readers might be interested in listening: I tried to present a very broad survey of the doctrine of separation.

In our climate of ranking doctrines, separation has lost even the status of being a doctrine. In my lesson, I tried to show how that in Biblical theology, systematic theology, practical theology, and historical theology separation is a Scriptural doctrine.

Thank you for your post.

Don Johnson said...

Here is our explanation for our name change:

You don't have to agree. I offer it in case anyone wonders what we would say about it.

I might comment further after I read through Kent's piece again.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Kent Brandenburg said...

I actually the idea of foundations better than fundamentals, but I don't think for the same reasons. The gospel is foundational, for instance. I can get why they aren't using the term fundamentalists, but I'm still using it in a historic sense.

I am wondering what Don would think of slapping an endorsement by D. A. Carson, founder of TGC and a continuationist (a if not the major 'scholarly' defense of it) on the back of one's book and why no one makes a peep. There is no difference to be made any longer.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I'll give a listen. Thanks for the heads up.

Bill Hardecker said...

A 40 year-old on and off discussion of name change is astounding, that's a long time. I get why chaplains would want a name change in light of 9/11. Thanks for sharing the link. The name change makes sense.

Pastor Brandenburg, agreed. And the more I thought of it, foundationalism is a good term as an methodology and system of apologetics. Your Carson endorsement question deserves an answer.

A new book was released at T4G. It's a "500 year-old liturgies from the past" book (called "Reformation Worship"). Their goal is to help aid worship for today's evangelicals. Talk about endorsements, they got endorsements ranging from New Calvinists (Keller, Dever, Mohler) to conservative evangelicals (Beeke, Ferguson, Duncan). The 500 year old liturgical book utilizes the ESV, oddly enough. But it's their work so I guess they can do whatever they want with it (actually New Growth Press, in Greensboro, NC). BTW, the 2018 T4G's conference had a theme: Distinct from the World - - yep, with pop-rock music promotional videos and all. Also, odd.

Don Johnson said...

First, ecclesiastical separation has to do with partnerships. Working together in such a way as to involve Christians working with non-Christians in order to achieve some allegedly Christian end. Ecumenical evangelism is the poster-child of this.

Second, it is hard to see how an endorsement on a book is a partnership. It isn't nothing, but it is hard to see that one can say an endorsement is the same thing as a co-authorship, for example. Partnership means a sharing of labors and of risks and rewards. Having an endorsement seems a bit of a stretch to call that a partnership.

The men who endorsed Mark's book are Christians, not unbelievers. Kent said in the post, "In the end, God will separate the sheep from the goats and the tares from the wheat." Are these men tares? Are they goats?

The only way you can make a case for this being compromise is to prove that it is a partnership and that it actually compromises the gospel in some way. If you can't do that, it's not a failure to separate.

I suspect what bothers you is the actual subject of the book. You don't want to change the KJV, so this is a way to attack the content of the book without really dealing with the content of the book. I know you have written some about the content elsewhere. But this particular line of criticism is without merit. It doesn't address the argument of the book. It's really sort of an ad hominem, I think.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Don,

I agree scripture teaches fellowship is cooperation in work, yoked together, have written that here a lot and this is the presentation of our book, A Pure Church. It isn't 'spending time together,' even as you have to do that to help people change. Separation though says there are in the great house vessels unto honor and some unto dishonor and you purge yourself from the ones of dishonor. What does it take to be a vessel unto dishonor: false worship? strange fire? lust? What do you think?

The point of separation isn't so technical though, and I believe you know that. You've heard of someone who is an accessory. I look to get a photo op with Louis Farakhan. I scream, we're not fellowshiping! I believe you're being soft on this, which isn't good. You're going to get more of the same, as a result. Is that what you want?

When someone puts an endorsement on the back of a book, he is approving of that endorsement, looking for that endorsement, wanting it, seeking it. He has Kevin Bauder, that's it. You say it doesn't mean nothing. What does it mean?

I don't have anything personally against Mark. His book, on face value, doesn't even bother me. I don't care about vernacular changes of the translation of the KJV. I don't. If that's what his book is about, which I actually say, say, in this post. Mark has a bigger problem with me than I do him. He won't publish my comments on his blog, the type of cold shoulder separation I see in evangelicalism and fundamentalism, a type of mean girl syndrome. They don't like hard push back, just like acceptance, agree to disagree type of stuff.

You don't even have to read my motives, Don. I'm not offended with you either, even though you're wrong. I have a hard time believing you right now, because I think you think this is wrong. If you think it's fine to fill the back of a fundamentalist's book with evangelicals, and really not that conservative, it surprises me. I would call them moderates. TGC is not a bastion of conservative evangelicalism. Even MacArthur has a problem with them. They even sort of separated recently by not having a West Coast TGC at Grace. GCC is still weak, but stronger than TGC.

I do believe TGC and the Southern Baptist Convention compromise the gospel, the actual gospel, especially the latter with Billy Graham and Rick Warren and much else. Their recent MLK50 compromised the gospel.

Your last paragraph is in error. It's not ad hominem, and I make that clear, purposefully to ward away (no pun intended) your kind of take on this.

Putting an endorsement on the back of a book is association to sell the book. There's a reason you don't put fundamentalists or separatists on it. It's not academically credible. You are a big shot if you put evangelicals, so what does separation and being a fundamentalist mean, if it is a lesser? I made zero ad hominem argument here.

Don Johnson said...

Fair enough. I am not generally in favor of getting evangelical endorsements. I agree there. It is a kind of "enlisting them in the cause" so to speak, so they are doing something together.

However, it isn't the same as ecumenical evangelism.

So I am somewhat torn. To me it is more a matter of soul liberty, although I do understand your point.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3