Knowing when to Separate

Discussion in 'Fundamental Baptist Forum' started by Van, May 21, 2011.

  1. Van

    Van
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    Apparently the "fundamentalists" of this forum believe in separating when what others believe differs from what they believe. This seems to give short shrift to our requirement to use our gift of peace and unity within the body.

    Many of the posts refer to others with generalizations. I do not think we should separate over things not specifically precluded by the commands of Christ.

    Next we have the problem of working with other professing Christians, who hold in some areas, beliefs we believe are clearly unbiblical. I am not sure it is wrong to work in areas of common beliefs. I am quite aware than wrong beliefs seep into neutral areas, so allowing say "speakers" from another group certainly has its hazards. But on the other hand, an earmark of a cult is to cut off information from divergent sources.

    Can anyone speak to these issues based on biblical support?
     
  2. Van

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    Divided Against Ourselves

    The body of Christ, the universal church of Christianity, made up of brothers and sisters in Christ is riddled with divisions. Yet largely these differing groups rely upon the same scriptures. So it is in our understanding of scripture where we part company, with each group sincerely believing their view while not perfect appears to be closest to the intended message of God.

    Even the approach we use to gain our understanding of scripture varies, so no wonder that what we derive differs. But even when folks use very similar rules of interpretation, hermeneutics if you will, they still come to very different conclusions. Looking at it dispassionately from outside, it is easy to conclude that largely we do not know what we are talking about.

    Yet rather than address this obvious truth, we keep issuing degrees to students of the bible, providing the impression that these students have been qualified by the process so that they can be relied upon to present God’s truth.

    If you look at some of the well-respected modern translations, the NKJV, NIV, NASB, ESV and HCSB, you see that the same Greek word is translated differently within the same version and differently from version to version. It appears that historical consistency trumps any effort at coherency, where the same word is translated in as few different ways as possible. Words such as “all” are thought to mean “everything imaginable” in one verse of an author, and then in a very limited way in another verse by the same author. In order to avoid unwarranted extrapolations, only the most limited scope of meaning should be presented. Any expansion should be placed in notes or commentary, especially where views differ.

    Only when we adopt a minimalist approach to the text will we find a wider area of mutual agreement. But this necessary action has not been taken because of our devotion to the doctrines born of non-conservative exegesis from the likes of Augustine, Luther, Calvin and so forth.
     
  3. John of Japan

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    1. We are not to be yoked with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14-18), meaning we are to separate from them. This includes, for example, those who name the name of Christ but have the doctrine of salvation wrong. I say this means the Catholics, since it seems obvious that a Catholic priest who believes he is saved through the ceremonies of the Catholic religion is thus lost.

    2. We are not to receive anyone who has the doctrine of Christ wrong (2 John 9-11). This means my church and I will separate from anyone with wrong Christology. This includes, for example, classic theological liberalism, which does not believe in the deity of Christ.

    3. Those who have the Gospel wrong, believing "another Gospel," are cursed (Gal. ch. 1). Therefore I will separate from the Church of Christ, for example, who add works to faith and thus have their soteriology all wrong.

    This should be enough to get you going--if you believe we should cooperate with such heretical groups. :type:

    But I have to say this. Please note the introductory thread to this forum. It was instituted so that we Fundamentalists could have a place on the BB to interact without liberals attacking us. Rightly speaking, you should have started this in the "General" forum. And if you do not believe in the inerrancy of Scriptures, you are not obeying the rules of this forum by posting here.
     
  4. John of Japan

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    Oh, and by the way, ecclesiastical separation does not mean we stop loving the errant one. It means my church will not cooperate in God's work with their church, and I won't have him in my pulpit to preach.

    I may even go out for coffee or out to eat with him, or have him in my home or be in his home. I've done such things with Buddhists, Shintoists, liberal Christians, etc. etc.
     
  5. DiamondLady

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    To associate fundamentalist Christians with a cult is a low blow simply because they have a strong set of beliefs and have a separate message board where they don't want to fight with every Tom, Dick, or Harry over the strength of their beliefs.

    There comes a point where you're tired of being flayed with a wet noodle over the Bible you use or the fact that your church doesn't sing CCM music, or the other myriad arguments you get because your church is a fundamental church.

    Fundamental churches come in many shapes, sizes, and even strength of fundamentalism. For instance women wear slacks in our church. That wouldn't happen in many, many fundamentalist churches. However, you won't find a preacher in our pulpit who does not preach from the King James Bible. To lump all fundamental churches and believers in a lump and call us a cult is as bad as the generalizations you stated we use.

    I don't know anyone who would cut off information, but instead choose carefully which information is reliable, and Godly. Any Christian should be that careful or soon you are a Christian without beliefs at all but are one blown about with every wind of change.
     
  6. Jim1999

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    As a fundamentalist, in the very best use of that title, John of Japan has stated it well.

    We do not cut ourselves off humanly from even atheists, for the sake of the gospel and for what we believe to be truth. We are forever to witness for Christ and His truth.

    I don't believe in the fabulous universal church, but rather the Kingdom, that Christ established, yet, I don't cut myself off from those who do believe otherwise.

    I don't think scripture forbids us from outside relationships. I even wrote sermons for a RC priest when that church first switched from Latin to English. I truly believed that priest had come to a knowledge of the true Christ and conversion; his ecclesiology was wrong.

    Even in hermeneutics there are differing viewpoints on which system we adopt. A good hermeneutic begins with the absolute inspiration and inerrancy of scripture.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  7. Van

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    Fundamental Folks, thanks for responding. I was not attacking anyone, and by my lights, I am more conservative than any of the responders. I believe in the Bible and not the traditions of men.

    1) I would not define "unbelievers" as those who do not believe as I do, but rather as those who do not (a) profess to trust and obey Christ and (b) strive to walk the talk. So I would not try to support separating from the misguided who are pouring out their life in the service of our Lord.

    2)I would not define "the teachings or doctrines of Christ" as Christology, which is the study of the person and nature of Christ, i.e. His deity, His pre-existence, His sinlessness, His authority, and His relationship to the first and third persons of the Trinity, the Father and the Holy Spirit. I believe 2 John 1:9-11 addresses learning all that Christ commanded and walking the talk, i.e. the same truth taught in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.

    3) I do not believe those who have the gospel wrong are to be considered anathema, only those who knowingly twist or pervert the gospel to suit their fancy. For example Apollos had it wrong, but was brought into fellowship and taught a more excellent way.

    4) I do not necessarily believe you should cooperate with groups that hold other views, I was seeking an understanding of the biblical basis for your actions. I did not come to bash my fellow believers, but to study God's word with those who actually study it, rather than copy and paste what other men have said about it.

    5) Yes we agree we are to be "in" the world, engaging the lost, but not "of" the world, making accommodations with the flesh.

    6) I did not say nor suggest fundamentalists are a cult. I addressed the well-known hazard of an ingrown church or group, who lose effectiveness over time as they become irrelevant to current cultural values. We are to adorn the gospel so that we might win some. For example, I do not understand "post-modernism" I think it is insane and therefore I cannot even communicate with those who accept it as their world view. I believe in reality and objective truth.

    7) I do believe in the "universal" church, the body of Christ made up of all believers who have been spiritually placed in the body of Christ, when God transferred them into the Kingdom of God. For example whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life? I think it is the membership role of the general assembly, the "universal church."

    8) Does a good hermeneutics begin with the Bible or with what others claim about the Bible, but is not found in the Bible? I believe what the Bible says about itself, it is trustworthy and reliable, and is the inspired word of God. We are to study it and live by it. We are not to pick and choose which parts to accept and which to reject because it does not fit with man-made doctrines. All scripture is profitable for study, for correction and for rebuke, even the rebuke of brothers and sisters in Christ.
     
    #7 Van, May 22, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2011
  8. Van

    Van
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    Sometimes it takes me a while to get the message. Do I have to believe the KJV sitting on my bookshelf is inerrant, i.e. does not includes errors introduced by uninspired men trying to be helpful, in order to post on this forum?
     
  9. Jim1999

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    Just a word. Whilst we must accept the Bible as the word of God, we must also organize scripture to rightly understand it. This we call systematic theology. Yes men are writing. It, however, is also the word of God in organized structure so that we may rightly understand the Bible.

    We are not following man over the Bible, we are understanding the word, rightly divided and organized.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  10. Van

    Van
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    So fundamentalist Baptists believe that the uninspired systematic theology of men is the word of God. I do not believe that, in fact I believe the so-called systematic theology of many is responsible for creating factions within the body of Christ by taking scripture too far.
     
  11. Jim1999

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    If I preach the Bible, is it not the word of God?

    No one put a systematic theology text on the same level as the Bible. Systematic theology, however, is indeed the word of God. The literal Bible is the forest of the word; systematic theology is the organized garden of the word.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  12. michael-acts17:11

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    Maybe & maybe not. Men are not inerrant & therefore cannot sermonize without error. It is interesting to note that God did not outline the Word in clear lists of doctrinal truth. He has given no instruction in areas such as dress & music other than dress modestly & praise the Lord.

    Also, two equally intelligent & meaningful persons can study salvation & come to two different conclusions on the inclusion of baptism. The Word is not worded in an unambiguous manner. If we did not believe that the Word could not contradict itself, we would say that it is incredibly contradictory in many areas. I do believe it to be the inerrant Word of God, but wish it were a little less ambiguous at times.
     
  13. John of Japan

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    You're more conservative than any of us? That's a heavy statement. How would you know that? I've never met you, never discussed doctrine with you. Not to mention the fact that nowhere here or anywhere else have I said that I believe the traditions of men and not the Bible.
    Excuse me? When did I define an unbeliever as "those who do not believe as I do?" Deal with what I said. Don't put words in my mouth. That's unethical.
    So would you or would you not separate from a liberal who denied the deity of Christ? (That was my example.)

    The context of 2 John 9-11 shows that John is talking about people who deny that "Jesus Christ is "come in the flesh" (v. 7). That indicates His deity, especially since he is called "the Son of the Father" in v. 3. It is pretty clear that John is talking about separating from those who do not confess (it doesn't say teach) that Jesus is God, in particular the Gnostics.
    In Gal. 1:7-8 it clearly states that people who have the Gospel wrong are accursed, not those who "knowingly twist" the Gospel. The case of Apollos does not wash. He immediatly accepted the true Gospel. I'd love to fellowship with someone like that who sought the truth.
    Then you made a huge mistake using this highly offensive term to describe the situation. It would be nice if you apologized.
     
  14. Bro. James

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    Cult: an interesting word.

    If that word existed in 30 A.D., Jesus and His disciples would have been so described. i.e. unorthodox to the uttermost. Those who are orthodox are defined by those religious powers that be--who are orthodox of course. Seems many times the orthodox are those who define state religion.

    In modern usage, Mormons would not be considered a cult in Salt Lake City to be sure; but certainly would be by those orthodox in Little Rock, Arkansas. The 13 million Mormons(Brigham Young variety) anyway, probably consider themselves to be Christians--another highly ambiguous term in the modern vernacular. They do have lots of money and property along with their highly dedicated membership. Maybe they do not qualify as a cult anymore. There are some LDS aspiring for the oval office. We had a cult, according to some, in the first oval office--George Washington was a mason.

    Back to basics: we have done so much higher textual criticism through the unregenerated that we have lost sight of the basic premise of life: man is depraved and therefore fallible; God and His Word are infallible.

    God is not the author of confusion. Let Him be found true and every man a liar.

    Now what:

    Even so come Lord Jesus.

    Peace,

    Bro. James
     
  15. Van

    Van
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    Hi John of Japan, thanks for responding.

    How would I know I am more conservative than any of the responders? Based on their response.

    "Please note the introductory thread to this forum. It was instituted so that we Fundamentalists could have a place on the BB to interact without liberals attacking us. Rightly speaking, you should have started this in the "General" forum.


    I took this to imply I was more liberal than the fundamentalist folks, and so I asserted the opposite. If you want to challenge my knowledge of your views, please do not challenge my right to post conservative views on this forum. It is an integrity issue, Sir.

    We are not to be yoked with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14-18), meaning we are to separate from them. This includes, for example, those who name the name of Christ but have the doctrine of salvation wrong. This is where I believe you "defined" unbelievers as those who do not believe as you do because they hold to wrong, i.e. differing, doctrine. If I drew a wrong conclusion, I did not intend to mistate your view, which would be "putting words in your mouth."

    Yes, I would separate from those you deny the Trinity, God in three persons, or deny that the Word was God and became flesh, Jesus, and therefore Jesus is God Almighty.

    I think verse 7 refers to denial that Jesus was the Messiah, rather than Jesus was God. The Messiah was going to come in the flesh, something like the son of man. But I think the subject shifts in verse 8 to walking the talk. What exactly is "the teaching" of verse 10 upon which we are to separate? I believe it is the teaching of lawlessness, where it is ok to not walk the talk. We are to follow Christ and teach others all that He commanded, including thinking of the misguided as more important than ourselves.

    I disagree with your view of Galatians 1:7-8, I think it clearly teaches that those who knowingly pervert the gospel are to be anathema. I will post my effort at a study of that issue in a followup post. Note they "want to distort" the gospel.

    Why would I apologize for the errant inference of others. Did you not challenge me for appearing to put words in your mouth. Why do the same to me. It is an integrity issue, Sir.
     
  16. Van

    Van
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    Is Galatians 1:9 Misunderstood?

    Although some of the word choices are different, pretty much every English translation of Galatians 1:9 reads the same. Here are a few examples:

    “As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (NIV)

    “As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” (ESV)

    “as we have said before, and now say again, If any one to you may proclaim good news different from what ye did receive -- anathema let him be!” (YLT)

    “As we have said before, I now say again: if anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him!” (HCSB)

    “As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” (NKJV)

    “As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (NASB)

    Collectively then, hundreds of well studied scholars with considerable knowledge both of Greek words/grammar and biblical knowledge to provide insight on the probable meaning based on the principle of contextual consistency, have all come to a similar conclusion as to what Paul was saying in Galatians 1:9.

    However, James 3:1-2 indicates it is possible that well-meaning and well-studied teachers can stumble, so it seems biblical to me that they might be wrong, not in their translation but in their understanding of the passage. Of course, it is far more likely that I am wrong, so read what comes next critically.

    If you look at the Greek text from the Nestle/Aland, here is how the transliterated Greek reads:

    hos proeirEkamen kai arti palin lego ei tis humas euaggelizetai par ho parelabete anathema esto.

    If you do a word/meaning in English direct substitution, here is how the text reads in English:

    As we said before and now again say if any to you preach beside that you received anathema let him be.

    When I look at this, and remember I am clueless as to Greek grammar construction, I do not see the idea of someone else preaching to the Galatians, all I see is Paul addressing the behavior of those to whom he is speaking. The doers of the preaching do not seem like outsiders; rather they are folks who have knowledge from Paul of the gospel of grace. Is the “different gospel” different from the one those preaching received, or different from the one those being preached to received or different from what both received? In other words should it be understood to mean, “beside that they received” or “beside that you received” or “beside that you and they received?” The question is not based on attacking the translation, you received is what it says; the question is based on contextual consistency.

    I believe “if any among you preach to you beside that you and they received, anathema let him be” is a more contextually consistent understanding of the verse than "if anybody preach to you beside that you received.” This alternate understanding of the verse is based on what the passage and other passages imply. Here is the NASB version of the passage, Galatians 1:6-9.

    “6I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
    7which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
    8But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!
    9As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”

    In verse 6, Paul is amazed because the Galatians are deserting God for a message from men. In verse 7, we see that whoever is disturbing them wants to distort the gospel, so they had to have received the gospel of grace, and now are knowingly distorting it. Whoever they are - they are trying to distort it, they are not distorting it unwittingly. In verse 8 Paul says truth is superior to personality, it is the message and not the messenger that is important. Using hyperbole, Paul says that even a messenger from heaven, who would definitely know God’s gospel of grace, should be damned if the Angel presents another gospel. Thus, I believe in verse 9, Paul is addressing the same thing (distorting the gospel on purpose) and applying it to the audience - if any of you who know the gospel of grace because you were called by the gospel of grace (verse 6) preach another gospel, let him be anathema. To point the curse at people who did not receive the true gospel and therefore are unwittingly passing on a distortion misses the point of the passage in my opinion.

    Popular understanding also misses the mark when it holds that “another gospel” only refers to legalism, rather than anything different from the pure gospel of grace. Anything “beside that you received” - the pure gospel of grace – is what Paul is saying is a different or another gospel in my opinion. So based on internal evidence from the passage, the verse should be understood to say, “As we said before and now again say if any (among you) preach to you beside that you (and they) received, let him be anathema!” The curse is reserved for only those who have received the pure gospel of grace and knowingly preach a distortion to others. Thus if an Ariminian or a Calvinist or a Catholic or anybody else preaches a distortion they received, or mistakenly derived from scripture, the curse is not applicable to them.

    In addition, I think this understanding is more consistent with other passages such as James 3:1-2; Acts 20:28-30; and 2 Thessalonians 3:6. James did not say teachers who stumble and thus present a message that is off target in some respect should be anathema. They will be judged by God, but as Jesus told Peter, if you love Me, feed my sheep, so we are to teach even though we have not reached maturity (John 21). In Acts 20:28-30 we see that Paul addresses two threats to the flock of believers, savage wolves that come in from outside the flock, and “from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.” So the second threat – perversion from within – had been addressed before and so in Galatians 1:9, Paul says it again. If you received the pure gospel and you knowingly turn it into something else, you have a corrupt perversion and then if you present what you know is a perversion to others, you should be condemned according to Paul.

    In 2 Thessalonians 3:6 Paul addresses another deviation from the message received, this time loose living instead of preaching, but the parallel provides insight.

    “But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which they received from us.”
    In summary, the accepted understanding of Galatians 1:9 seems to me to be in error because Paul directed the curse that those who knowingly pervert the gospel rather than at anyone who preaches a gospel that misses the mark in some respect. Acts 18:24-26 demonstrates the proper response to someone who unwittingly preaches a message that misses the mark. No curse is mentioned in this account of Apollos preaching a “different gospel.”
     
  17. JohnDeereFan

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    In another thread, I mentioned that our church doesn't use contemporary music in our services. I didn't say that no one else should use it or that it is bad or that anyone else was wrong for using it. Just by pointing out that we have chosen not to use it, I was called every name in the book.

    I was on a secular site about two weeks ago and made a similar comment. I just said that we have chosen to give up our TV because of all the objectionable content. I said no more and no less. I didn't judge anyone who chooses to watch TV and I didn't say that anyone else should not watch TV, only that it's a decision that we, as a family, have made.

    About half the people there just went insane, telling me how I was judging them, when the truth is that I never said a word about anybody else or what they chose to do.

    People are just addicted to media, be it TV, contemporary music, or whatever. And if you say that you chose not to engage in it, conviction sets in and they feel they have to defend themselves.
     
  18. John of Japan

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    You misunderstood. I was not challenging your "right to post conservative views on this forum." Post whatever conservative views you want to. I was challenging the fact that you are attacking Fundamentalists on a forum designed for Fundamentalists to interact with each other. Why should we have to put up with people like you coming on this forum (which is for us) and saying things like you did in your OP:
    This is offensive to us Fundamentalists (no quotes) on the BB. It is an attack, though you denied you are attacking us in a later post.
    You definitely mistated my view. I did NOT define unbelievers as "those who do not believe" as I do. In fact, I did not delineate my view of the doctrine of salvation. I believe you should apologize. The only thing I said about that was:
    Now, if you want to actually interact with this statement I made about the Catholics and tell why you do or do not agree with it, we can debate. Otherwise, if you want to imagine what I believe and not interact with my actual statements, I'm done here.
    Yes it is an integrity issue. If you will show me where I put words in your mouth, I'd be happy to apologize. By my lights I've dealt with exactly what you said, quoting you precisely.
     
  19. Van

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    1) I did not "attack" fundamentalists. You charged me with that.

    2) You did not quote me when you suggested I was attacking fundamentalists. And later you said "saying thinks like you said" again implying an attack, and then further, saying I should apologize, again implying I had done something wrong.

    3) Saying I attacked when I did not attack is putting words in my mouth, according to my lights.

    4) Saying that something I said is "offensive" lets you define an "attack" as something you do not like. I was asking a question seeking information, and was making no effort to attack my brothers and sisters in Christ.


    Now if we can put our misunderstanding behind us, lets return to the biblical basis of separation. I agree that RCC is a form of "works based" salvation and therefore many Catholics who believe they are saved may not be saved because they have not believe in Christ alone for their salvation. The problem is there are tares in every large group, i.e. I believe there are tares within the fundamentalists, folks who say "Lord, Lord" but on that day Jesus will say "I never knew you." So again I come back to what is the biblical basis of separation. One is not walking the talk. Claiming we have God yet hating our brother.

    We are certainly not to tolerate false teachers, and so those who teach works based salvation or lawless Christianity I would separate from. But on the finer points, not central to the gospel, I will work with the misguided to further the ministry of Christ. All of us may be misguided is my humble view.
     
    #19 Van, May 24, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2011
  20. Van

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    I see I was unclear, separating from means not allowing folks who believe in a works based salvation membership in my local assembly, thus members must agree with our statement of faith which asserts the Bible is our authority, Jesus is God, Yahweh is God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Salvation is by God's grace alone, through faith, and not of works.

    However, I will work with, i.e outside my church, other professing Christians, in areas of mutual agreement such as providing a home for battered women, or caring for "AIDS" babies.
     
    #20 Van, May 24, 2011
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