by Mike Ratliff
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. (2 John 9-11 ESV)
The Doctrine of Separation has become a very great point of contention in our time. I honestly have been very surprised by the reaction of some as Biblical principles have been declared and called for to be applied to relationships between Christian leaders and those who profess to Christian leaders, but whose testimony makes them actually false. Perhaps the issue is really that those who desire to compromise in this do not take the obedience to the Word of God seriously. The other issue comes from the the misunderstanding that this call of separation is not a call for believers to separate from unbelievers for how else could we share the Gospel (1 Corinthians 5:9-10) , but is a call for us to remove ourselves from fellowship from religious leaders who profess to be Christians, but who are obviously false in their theology as is commanded in the passage I placed at the top of this post.
I wrote An Open Letter to Frank Turk on Saturday and its like the whole thing has taken on a life of its own. There is a lot of misunderstanding to be sure, but for the most part the point of contention in this is the Doctrine of Separation. I fully understand the reluctance of some to appear mean or rude or “unchristian” in this separation, but this is not something that is optional for us. As the professing, visible church continues in disobeying God’s commands like this they will soon find themselves in the midst of a 1 Peter 4:17 judgment.
In any case, the Church is to be all about sharing the Gospel, to be obeying the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). To be able to do this then we must be in the world, not locked away in ivory towers or behind castle walls. No, we must go into the world as ordered. On the other hand, when our enemy attempts to pervert the Gospel we preach we must not associate with those who do this except in rebuking them.
I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. (2 John 4-11 ESV)
In our day, if you applied this teaching literally to you how you lived, you would be called divisive and a lot of other not so nice things. However, isn’t that what our Lord said would happen if we lived our lives obediently under His Lordship?
Soli Deo Gloria!