Sunday, February 05, 2006

Means of Protection

Think about this scenario and a question. Someone drives his car up over the curb into your yard to hit one of your children. Will that affect your relationship with the driver? Will this tend towards closeness with him? Cutting off associations with people is the God-ordained means to protect you, your family, your present associates, and what you believe. If their behavior dishonors God, you will honor God through the separation as well. Honoring God also alligns us with God's protection. When people do not separate, normally this occurs because they don't take the matter too seriously. It's easy to disassociate from someone who runs over children, because that bothers us personally. However, are we willing to trust God enough to separate over something that He said? When we treat someone who continues to disobey God's Word as if he has done nothing wrong, this tells God something about what we think of Him.

Truth by nature is antithetical. You can't love truth and error simultaneously. Loving truth requires rejecting error. Loving health mandates hating disease. Loving right doctrine means hating false doctrine. We can't both love and hate false doctrine at the same time. To get rid of false doctrine and practice, we must treat them like they matter to someone, at least to God, and hopefully us. Consider these words from David in Psalm 139:21, 22, "Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies." David had a loyalty to God that necessitated hating them which hated God. David also wrote in Psalm 101:3, "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me." People today behave as if they are more loving because they tolerate all sorts of behavior. They surely do not love God more, and if they love God less, they surely cannot love people more.

Truth is distorted by error. The only way to protect truth is to keep it separated from falsehood. We must separate over wrong doctrine and practice. If we don't separate, we will not properly represent the truth. We will make the error as if it did not matter. We will be an accessory to the destruction of the truth.


Jeff Voegtlin said...

I like the fact that you're bringing this up in this medium. Hopefully, you don't misconstrue my comments. I also get the feeling, right or wrong, that some of these later posts are your way of answering some questions from an earlier comment I made -- that's good.

I think that this idea is one that needs "fleshing" out some:

We generally agree on doctrine and practice: but since I said "generally," it is admitted that we differ on some areas of doctrine (possibly) and practice (definitely). Therefore, one or both of us must be wrong. We can't differ and both be right. Yet, we still enjoy fellowship. And I might say that I believe "rightly so."

So the question is not who we should separate from (because we're right and they're wrong), but what level of difference (wrongness) will we tolerate and what level demands separation.

I'm not trying to muddy the waters, just saying the water's already at least a little muddy to me. And I'd rather have biblical than arbitrary clarification.

What do you think? Am I "going liberal"?

Kent Brandenburg said...

I can honestly say that I did not have you in mind at all in particular when I wrote this. I think I might be getting a readership that is not as keen on separation and I want them to think about it. I'll talk to you about that sometime. I'm not sure that you and I do disagree on doctrine. Perhaps we don't practice exactly the same, but I don't think it is necessarily because you disagree with what I think about practice. I'm the senior pastor and you're not, so I have a lot more influence on what we do than you. I told my wife I would write on separation every blog for a little while from many different angles, to help people think about it Scripturally.

I do want to talk about this, and maybe some of what I write will help us on this. I don't think you're going liberal. I do see you thinking through things to a further extent than I even knew. I wouldn't mind being a help, especially since I want you to consider what I'm saying before you think about what the new-evangelicals are saying. You aren't muddying the waters at all. I think we should practice Scripturally. You want to know what that should be, and I will talk about it. It is a big, big subject. Maybe we could talk on the phone. You let me know the best time. I do have a two hour time difference and that might be a benefit overall. I think I understand this issue. I do know what I believe, and like talking about it. I wanted you to know I wasn't avoiding it.

Caleb said...

Im just a little concerned about using Psalm 139 here. Do believers that have false doctrine hate God? Are we supposed to hate people that have what we believe is false doctrine. For instance, I attend a church that will read from the NKJV on occassion. I know Im probably really getting myself in trouble here, but from what I can see our church leaders are godly people who just believe differently than the KJVr's. I truly believe that they are in the word on a consistent basis and really want God's best for their lives and the lives of us in the church. I have a real hard time believing that these people hate God. Isn't there room for disagreement without seperation. Thoughts?

Kent Brandenburg said...

To start, if God says it, we do it, even if it doesn't "feel" right to us. Lots of things don't feel right to us that are actually right. I didn't really make any specific applications in what I wrote, but I will do some of that in up coming posts on the doctrine of separation. No specific application actually came to mind as I was writing it. I do ask for you to take it with an open mind. Hate isn't too strong a word for something God is against, if it is true that He's against it. Jesus used the word in Matthew 10. Thanks for commenting.