Monday, July 07, 2008

How to Separate

Scripture teaches separation everywhere. We also learn from the Bible how to separate. Here is a sermon I preached on June 29, Sunday evening, this year, entitled How To Separate (click on link to listen or download). Much of the bad reputation of separation and of separatists comes from how separation is practiced. This message will consider what God's Word says about it. Tell me if you agree or disagree. Perhaps if men knew how to separate, they might obey the Lord in this matter.

6 comments:

Bill Hardecker said...

I have about 10 min. of listening to do before I finish listening to your message on separation. Very insightful. I downloaded a number of your expositions of Isaiah onto my MP3 player, and was listening to it before I went to bed. When you got into the "Ying vegtables, into my yang stomach," I was laughing so hard, I woke up my wife. Anyway, keep on preaching.

Don Johnson said...

Hi Kent

Listened to this one the other day. I think a good many of those principles are correct, but I think that there are some problems with what you are saying.

You are making the same mistake as Dever and the young fundamentalists in conflating church discipline with separation. They are two distinctly different things.

Here is where the distinction is: in discipline, the end result is that we consider the one disciplined (under the nuclear option of excommunication) as a heathen and a tax-collector. [This can only occur in a local church setting.]

But ecclesiastical separation [at its minimum] occurs when two ecclesiastical bodies (i.e., local churches) choose to not participate together in some cooperative effort. They don't enter into partnership together - they don't fellowship together. And one of them might be so exercised as to warn its members about what is wrong with the other.

That is separation, walking down separate paths. You are not declaring them to be heathens and tax-collectors, you are just not walking together.

But the principles you espoused are generally the methods you should use, especially if we are dealing entirely within the local church context.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Don Johnson said...

Please note that CJ commenting above is a heretic. No joke.

A comment from his doctrinal statement reveals this:

Does your pastor confess that Yeshua (or Jesus) came in the flesh, or does he believe that God came in the flesh? I say Yeshua came to earth, not God, and I believe that Yeshua has a God and Father. He is our Brother, and God is our Father.

From such turn away.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Kent Brandenburg said...

I am deleting CJ's comment, mainly because I don't want to promote a false Christ or a false gospel, which is ALL his comment will do, that is, send you to his blog.

Don,

Perhaps we will talk sometime about this point on separation that I have heard you mention before elsewhere and really don't understand. I understand that our church has no authority over other churches or people not in our church, so we can't practice church discipline on them, but the purpose of church discipline would dovetail with the purpose of separation. And we should follow Scriptural principles in the way they are done.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Bill!

I'm glad that you can listen. I'm glad the sermons are up and available.

Don Johnson said...

Hi Kent

I have been thinking of writing more on this for some time. Ironically, it is some of the battles I had on SI that got me thinking about this. Some there were using Mt 18 and 1 Cor 5 as separation passages. I had never heard of such a thing - it wasn't what we were taught at BJU in the 70s-early 80s.

Church discipline is one thing (and local) and separation is another thing, which can be local or much wider.

Anyway, the conversation isn't over, there is a good deal more to be said. I'll be posting on these themes at oxgoad over the next while.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3