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Section 10A .. The Contemporary Church
Fraternizing With The Enemy

 

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Fraternizing With The Enemy

Carol Brooks

Christians are Commanded To Separate Themselves From Those Who Teach and Practice False Doctrine.

Also See

Why Christians Are Deceived
That deception is so rampant in the church can be primarily attributed to just one underlying fact - the vast majority of Christians today are Biblically illiterate.

The Four Most Dangerous Mistakes Any Christian Can Make
1) Believe that we, or our pastor/denomination/spiritual leader cannot be fooled, 2) Attribute every personal testimony and “sign” as being of or from God, 3) Take Bible verses out of context and 4) believe that we, as Christians, are not to judge anything or any one. Not necessarily in that order.

True and False Unity
Although doctrine has often been allowed to divide people in disgraceful ways, division is not something that can be avoided. You could scour the Scriptures for the next ten years without finding a single word about being united at the expense of truth. Ignoring important areas in which we differ is simply a papering over of the rot in the walls
 

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ON THIS PAGE
Introduction

When Your 'Church' No Longer Holds To Biblical Truths

Realize The Seriousness of The Problem - The Leaven Of The Pharisees

The Biblical Method of Dealing With Heresy is a Two Step Process
Is Confrontation To Be Avoided At All Cost? - What The Bible Says
It is OUR Responsibility
How Can We Leave "The Church"

Common Excuses To Avoid Dealing With Heresy
Jesus Was Inclusive, So Why Shouldn't We Be More Accepting?
Unity... At All Costs
We Should Wait and See
We Should Stay and Fight

The Instruction to Separate Oneself Is Nothing New

Spiritual Titanics

Conclusion

 


Introduction
In the spirit of our overly tolerant, anything goes society, we tend to look on confrontation as something to be avoided at all cost., but the Bible's instructions on how to deal with those who teach and practice false doctrine in the church are very explicit.

It is a two step process. The heresy has to be actively confronted and, if not repented of, has to be shunned. The bounden duty of a true believer towards men who profess to be Christians, and yet deny the Word of the Lord, is to come out from among them. Leaving, or separating oneself from apostasy and heresy is not optional, but commanded. It is an integral part of the holiness without which none of us will see God. [See What is Holiness?]

Please note that that this article is not concerned with minor differences in the church, about which the Bible says little or nothing, and therefore may be a matter of opinion. Issues such as whether the Lord's supper should be observed weekly or monthly do not pose any danger to the spiritual life of the members of that church, and need to be resolved with as much charity and grace as possible. There are other bad teaching that do not necessarily affect one's standing before God in the here and now, and therefore are a matter of individual conscience and prayer, (noting that some of these teachings could, at some point, and for some people, become very dangerous).

The concern is with the HUGE number of doctrines and practices taught by the so called church that, unless repented of and forsaken, have the ability to immediately damn one's soul to hell... See What and Where is Hell?


When Your 'Church' No Longer Holds To Biblical Truths
Many, many Christians today are increasingly being faced with some very tough decisions as they begin to realize that the church they may have long considered home, no longer holds to Biblical truths.

However this rarely happens overnight. The descent into full blown apostasy often takes months, if not years to come about. Compromise usually begins as a small hole in the dam which, if not immediately dealt with, gradually grows ever larger. As the sheer weight of the water behind the wall expands the crack, the trickle eventually becomes a flood, sweeping many away to their doom.

Churches are turning in ever increasing numbers to mystical practices such as Contemplative Prayer and Walking Labyrinths, etc. The first is based squarely on ideas borrowed heavily from Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Labyrinths were 'discovered' in a Catholic church but have their roots in pagan practices. Other churches have allowed modern day "courses" such as the Alpha course and Purpose Driven precepts, etc., to usurp the place of authority the Scriptures once held.  More "liberal" churches that have begun to question, or even openly deny the Bible as being God's inerrant and absolutely infallible word to mankind now condone homosexuality or same-sex unions.

Like the frog who does not feel the heat of the water that is gradually brought to the boil, many of the members of these churches often initially fail to recognize the subtle changes that are taking place. They may be uncomfortably aware that something is wrong, but cannot quite put their finger on what that 'something' is. Others are uneasy about the fact that their church and congregation are being led step by step away from being a 'traditional church'. (which in no way constitutes a defense of how most traditional churches function). Often those that have had the courage to raise their voices and protest the changes are called divisive, troublemakers, judgmental, or Pharisees. In some cases they have even been informed that they must embrace the new methods and teachings - or leave.

However it may not be the church that has changed. Some Christians have learned over time that the doctrines and practices their church has assured them (possibly for years) are completely Scriptural, are anything but.

Regardless of how it came about, the fact is, that a small percentage, or remnant of believers have begun to realize that there is a disconnect between what the Bible teaches, and what their church teaches. This has, in many cases, brought up an extremely difficult situation as these people wrestle with the problem of what to do.

However, the path Christians are to take under these circumstances is very clearly outlined by the Scriptures.


Realize The Seriousness of The Problem
When believers who have been deceived are describes as being carried away by the error of the wicked, falling from steadfastness, and departing from the faith, it is no wonder that Jesus, and virtually all the apostles warned the fledgling church to beware of false teachers. Paul did so repeatedly.

    "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:29-30 NASB)

    But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, (1 Timothy 4:1 NASB)

    You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, (2 Peter 3:17 NASB)

What makes it worse is how this deception spreads it's poison.


Beware The Leaven Of The Pharisees:
In the Bible, leaven always symbolized evil - sin and/or false doctrine because of how it works. Leavening agents such as yeast ferments carbohydrates releasing thousands of tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide throughout the dough or batter, biologically changing the chemistry of the dough as it works. This process gives bread it's texture, color and aroma.

Sin, like leaven, has a polluting quality. It doesn't stay small or contained for very long, but is best described by the word "insidious", which means 'working or spreading harmfully in a subtle or stealthy manner'. As both Jesus and Paul pointed out, a little "leaven" was a very dangerous thing. Jesus warned us to "beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." several times

    Jesus said to them, "Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." (Matthew 16:6 NASB)

    "Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." (Mark 8:15 NASB)

    Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. (Luke 12:1 NASB)

    Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. (1 Corinthians 5:6-7 NASB)

    You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. (Galatians 5:7-9 NASB)

Note: On the feast of Unleavened bread that began on the 15th of Nisan (the day following Passover), and continued for seven days until the 21st of Nisan, God commanded the Israelites to avoid eating any leavened food that contained any fermenting product such as yeast or baking powder. Even modern day Jews who observe the traditional feasts go through a comprehensive, and exhaustive search of their houses for any form of leavened food (chametz), every last crumb of which is then removed. The symbolism of the feast of Unleavened Bread is that God's people can not continue in the same old patterns, but have to search out and remove every speck of sin in their lives... only possible after putting faith in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. [See The Feasts of Israel]

In recognition of the fact that serious error enslaves and damns and is a matter of life and death, the Bible is unambiguous in it's instructions on how to deal with heresy.


The Biblical Method of Dealing With Heresy is a Two Step Process
Heresy has to be actively confronted and, if not repented of, has to be shunned. Both steps are well summarized in the verses below.

    "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17 NASB)

Note that, at the most, there were two warnings to be issued.

    Reject a factious man (a heretic) after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned. (Titus 3:10-11 NASB)

While I am sure that the number is not necessarily set in stone, the principle is that one warns then, after a relatively short period of time, walks away. (This is a far cry from innumerable forums where months and even years are spent debating and arguing with the same people, about the same issues, without the slightest indication of a change of heart or belief)

Everyone has to be given the opportunity to repent and abandon their course. However, in the whole spirit of Christianity, this warning must be given, not with the intention of proving oneself right, or superior in any way, but in a genuine caring for the soul and fate of the other person. However, should the person ignore the warnings and persist in the false beliefs and practices, the Bible is unequivocal in it's instructions to refuse or reject that person.

Is Confrontation To Be Avoided At All Cost? - What The Bible Says
In the spirit of our overly tolerant, anything goes society, we tend to look on confrontation as something to be avoided at all cost. All too many of us seem to believe that it is more "spiritual" or more 'Christian' to be non-confrontational and avoid judging any one. Much to the contrary, what we have done is completely reject the instructions of the Bible in favor of our own opinions and emotions. We have elevated modern society's postmodern ideas of " tolerance" that rejects all moral absolutes, above the Bible's unqualified standards.

Even after being shown that their doctrine is in error,  it is often very difficult, if not impossible to get them to re-consider their position on the matter. Many will not so much as listen to any admonitions and warnings and even if they do, will not heed them - in which case the Bible is unambiguous in its instructions regarding the path Christians are to take.

     Mark Them And Avoid Them: Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. (Romans 16:17 NASB)

     Do Not Associate Or Even Eat With A Fallen Brother.. Remove The Wicked Man From Among Yourselves: I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler-- not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? (1 Corinthians 5:9-12 NASB)


ote: Paul made it very clear that these instructions did not apply to non-believers with whom we have to interact on a daily basis. These people will be judged by the Lord. His instructions were to completely avoid sinners and those who persist in error in the church, regardless of whether or not they happen to be leaders, or hold titles and degrees from this institution or that. They are still considered "wicked" men that we are not to even eat with.

     Separate Yourself From Them: "Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the lord. "and do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. (2 Corinthians 6:17 NASB)

     Rebuke Them: ..."... reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, (Titus 1:13 NASB)

     Reject Them: Reject a factious man (heretic) after a first and second warning, (Titus 3:10 NASB)

     Turn Away From Them: holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. (2 Timothy 3:5 NASB)

     Withdraw From Them: Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. (2 Thessalonians 3:6 NASB)

     Have No Company With Them: If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. (2 Thessalonians 3:14 NASB)

     Reprove Them: And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. (Ephesians 5:11)

     Receive Them Not: If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 John 1:10-11) *

Note: 2 John 1:10 immediately above says entertaining these people or offer them even a word of greeting is to share in their evil deeds. Publicly greeting a false teacher could be construed by bystanders as an endorsement of their teaching and views. Also Note: the word "your" (in bold) was not in the original manuscripts, therefore it is possible that the "house" in question refers to the local house church. In which case John is possibly saying that the itinerant teachers should not be given the opportunity to speak to the church and spread their false teachings.

It is OUR Responsibility
Contrary to what many people think, it is not exclusively the church leadership, or those with a degree from some religious seminary, that have the right, or the ability, to distinguish right doctrine and practice from wrong doctrine and practice.

While there is no question that the elders of the church have a special responsibility to protect the flock and deal Biblically with error (See 2 Timothy 4:1-5), in the final analysis your eternal destiny is your responsibility. However, this does not mean that Christians have to jump up and get in the face of the pastor if he occasionally (or even inadvertently) says something that is slightly at variance with the Word. Pastors and church leaders are human and do make mistakes, which can be peacefully and privately, dealt with.

Every born again believer has the right, nay, the responsibility, to stand up for the truth. Quite simply, we cannot agree to disagree when it comes to serious error.

How Can We Leave "The Church"
Please realize that the church is not a building or a denomination, but the believers who make up the body of Christ. Therefore, it is not possible for any believing Christian to leave 'the church'. But, if the particular group you are referring to as 'the church' has not only failed to recognize false teachers and deal with them in accordance with Biblical instructions but, has even gone so far as to allow these men to be in charge, then that group is not part of the church, and has absolutely no valid reason to exist.

 It has become a meaningless organization that cannot possibly help, edify, or encourage believers. It is a quasi-social organization masquerading as a church, which, instead of protecting the faith, actually becomes an instrument of the destruction of it's members.

There is no question that following the Bible's instructions and leaving one home church/Bible study group etc. means possibly walking away from people we have known and even loved for, possibly, a long period of time. For some this will rank among one of the most difficult things they have ever had to do. But if Jesus warned that making a stand for the truth will divide families and households, what then of friends and congregations?

    "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. "For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. (Matthew 10:34-37 NASB)

Leaving does not cause a rift or rupture in the body of Christ. It causes a needed and necessary rift between truth and lies, light and darkness, life and death...


Common Excuses To Avoid Dealing With Heresy

Jesus Was Inclusive, So Why Shouldn't We Be More Accepting?
In the words of Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts

Without a doubt, the inclusiveness of Jesus was exceptional. But, it wasn't "absolute" in the sense that Jesus invited all people to join him without qualification or condition. Jesus offered, not just inclusion in God’s kingdom, but healing, wholeness, and transformation. He reached out widely to sinners, but didn't simply accept them as they were. Rather, he invited them to be forgiven and to turn around their lives as they responded to the good news of the kingdom of God. See The Inclusiveness of Jesus

Unity... At All Costs
It is often argued that as Christians, we are supposed to be one... to be united.  The problem is that we are sadly misunderstanding the word unity. True Christian unity is grounded in the Word of God.. nothing more, nothing less. How in the world can we call it unity when we set aside or ignore important areas in which we differ. Doing this is simply a papering over of the rot that is building up in the walls

2 Corinthians 6:17 says " come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord. "and do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you." Paul was probably  paraphrasing Isaiah 52:11 which was a direct address to the exiles in the Babylonian captivity, the concept is the same. We cannot touch anything that is unclea lest we be tainted with the same brush.

The fact of the matter is that God never intended us to be unified with everyone. Unity is an agreement of sorts - a oneness of mind and purpose. As Amos once wrote "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" See True and False Unity


We Should Wait and See
Often people who adopt this attitude seem to believe that separation is always premature. In fact, I am not sure whether the 'right time' ever comes for them.

To which, one has to ask the question... how bad is bad enough? Are you waiting for them to break out some long black robes and sacrifice a virgin on the altar? Or, will you take an honest look around you and realize that any church that has not dealt with the evil in its midst, is no longer a true church of Christ, and that fellowship with false teachers and their followers is not true Christian fellowship?

If you have no stomach for this relatively small battle, what will you do when the times get really rough, and the decisions much harder?  Or, are you one of those people that have falsely been taught that you will be 'raptured' away to heaven before all hell breaks loose. If so, you are in for the shock of your life. [See The Rapture]

Quite honestly, all of the above are only excuses for disobeying God.  Are you secretly, or subconsciously, hoping that before you have to actively take a stand for something you will be rescued? Look through your Bible... when did this ever happen to any of God's people? Your inaction and compromise place you squarely among the members of the church in Laodicea, who were neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm, and who will ultimately be spewed out of the Lord's mouth.

We Should Stay and Fight
The problem is, that it is virtually impossible to gain any ground in a church run by men who are enemies of God. When the leaders are apostate then the roots of the tree are rotten and the entire tree needs to be cut down.

Recognizing, or coming to terms with this fact should make us realize that leaving does NOT constitute defeat. Some battles are never going to be won, and others may not be ours to win. Besides which, I am willing to bet that most people who use the 'stay and fight' argument, spend far less time 'fighting' than they do fellowshipping - with apostate men.


The Instruction to Separate Oneself Is Nothing New
The Old Testament is replete with instructions and warnings about not consorting with the pagan nations. Before bringing the nation of Israel into the land of Canaan, the Lord warned the people not to make any covenant with the Canaanites, nor to show them any mercy, but to utterly destroy them. One reason given is that these nations could very well turn the sons of Israel away from following the one true God, causing them to serve other gods.

    and when the Lord your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. "Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. "For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. (Deuteronomy 7:2-4 NASB)

 The Lord told Moses and Aaron to instruct the people get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, lest they be destroyed along with them (Numbers 16). When they did so, the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them up and they, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into Sheol.

In fact, "holiness" does not mean good, but "set apart" - and therefore, good. [See What Is Holiness] As Paul said,

    Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement hath a temple of God with idols? for we are a temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.Wherefore come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, And touch no unclean thing; And I will receive you, And will be to you a Father, And ye shall be to me sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Think... while you may be very secure in your own beliefs, are you needlessly exposing the younger and/or more vulnerable members of your family to extreme danger? And if they are led astray by your actions, the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you.


Spiritual Titanics
The analogy that Dr. Paul M. Elliott draws in his article Is Your Church a Spiritual Titanic? is an apt one. As he points out

    On the night of April 14, 1912, the Titanic, the largest ship afloat — of which it was said, "Even God could not sink this ship” — struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Within a few hours she sank in 12,000 feet of water, taking 1,507 people to their deaths. There were not enough lifeboats to carry all the people on board, but most of the boats that were provided pulled away from the sinking ship only partially loaded.

    Why was this? It was because many of the people who perished believed it was safer to remain on the large but mortally wounded ship, rather than trust their lives to the safety of a small but sound lifeboat. [01]

And, in this day of great apostasy, this small lifeboat may very well be a house church, which is far more the Biblical model than an institutional church. In fact, The New Testament knows nothing of an inert, believer-priesthood whose only function is to passively absorb sermons and pass the offering plate.

Do we not have the sense to wonder how in a world in which Christianity is apparently booming with dozens of Mega-churches, 24 hour “Christian” TV programs, countless Christian conferences and institutions, and literally thousands of "Christian"" books being published ever year... In a world in which the vast majority of Christians are churchgoers, who regularly watch "Christian" TV and tithe to one or the other (or even both), why it is that only a few that find the way? The truth is that one of the four most dangerous mistakes any Christian can make is to believe that we, or our pastor, or our denomination as a whole cannot be fooled. (DETAILS)


Conclusion
If your church teaches, practices or even condones any of the following... Tongues, Word of Faith, Walking Labyrinths, Contemplative Prayer, Slain In The Spirit, Visualization, Yoga etc.... don't walk, but run to the nearest exit. Because, whether they know it or not, whether they believe it or not, that church has departed from the faith first entrusted to the saints. Satan has taken over as lord. See Doctrines Directly Derived From The Occult

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. It is only logical that those spiritual forces would set their sights on bringing down the bastion of the Christian faith.. the church, or body of believers.

And, as the situation currently stands - they are winning.

Which side do you want to be on? If Christ's, then stop fraternizing with the enemy

 

End Notes

[01] Dr. Paul M. Elliott. Is Your Church a Spiritual Titanic? http://www.teachingtheword.org/articles_view.asp?articleid=61948

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