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

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Fraternizing With The Enemy
(Fraternize - To associate on friendly terms with an enemy or opposing group, often in violation of orders.)

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)

Carol Brooks

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
Biblically Ignorant Believers
Unity... At All Costs?

When Your 'Church' No Longer Holds To Biblical Truths
Realize The Seriousness of The Problem
Beware The Leaven Of The Pharisees

The ONLY Way To Recognize Heresy, or False Teachings in the Church

The Biblical Method of Dealing With Heresy is a Two Step Process
1) Heresy Has To Be Actively Confronted
2) Heresy Has to Be Shunned

Some Common Arguments Against
Jesus Was Inclusive, So Why Shouldn't We Be More Accepting
How Can I leave My Church?
We Should Wait and See
We Should Stay and Fight

  Finally

Footnote I - Questionable And Potentially Dangerous Beliefs


Introduction
Please note that that this article is not concerned with minor differences in the church about which the Bible says little or nothing and pose no danger to anyone's eternal destiny. For example, issues such as whether the Lord's supper should be observed weekly or monthly need to be resolved with as much charity and grace as possible. 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 sentence one to death.

To be noted however, is that somewhere in between the above two categories lies one other - teachings/beliefs that are not Biblical but do not necessarily affect one's standing before God. The danger lies in the fact that these bad doctrines could at some point become some peoples Achilles heel. See Two examples In Footnote I

Heresy
But perhaps it would be well-advised to first define 'heresy', an English rendering of the Greek hairesis defined as "a self-chosen opinion". It is used in the NT hairesis of individual parties or sects that operated within Judaism.

Thus heresy is any doctrine, belief or practice in the church that deviates significantly from the faith delivered once and for all to the saints and which constitutes the benchmark or standard by which all our beliefs are to be measured and judged.  In today's world A 'heretic' is someone whose opinions contradict Biblical teachings.

And tragically heresy has become all too common.

For two reasons - 1) The level of Biblical ignorance displayed by professing Christians making them easily duped by anyone who sounds like they know what they are talking about. 2) The false teachings on 'unity' so prevalent in the church today.


Biblically Ignorant Believers
Unfortunately all too many church-goer's theology is limited to a few easily remembered, Biblical sounding catch-phrases such as What would Jesus do?, Let go and let God, Do your best and God will do the rest, Know God, know peace, and God has a great plan for your life

They also tend to believe that they themselves (or at least their church leadership) cannot be fooled thus often swallow almost anything that comes down from the pulpit or from the pages of their favorite author's book (more so if the false teaching are liberally sprinkled with 'proof texts" - completely out of context in most cases. See Footnote II) Sadly, although bad teachings are not the sole purview of the Evangelical church although they, more than most, have been overrun by an unending stream of slick persuasive frauds. 

Nor have believers taken seriously the very many warnings in Scriptures about deception - a words that occurs over and over again in Scripture. Thanks to preachers like Rick Warren, too many people have absolutely no idea how to discern truth from error, but have swallowed the idea that they have to be united at all costs. In fact he puts unity front and center with little care for what the Scriptures teach. See The Purpose Driven Life. Part V -  Unity At All Costs?

    Please note that while there is no question that the elders of the church are supposed to be the ones who protect the flock and deal with error (2 Timothy 4:1-5). Tragically, it doesn't always happen that way because all too often they themselves are the problem. In the final analysis your eternal destiny is your responsibility.

    Also note the warning were not directed to the leadership of the church, but to ordinary, every day, rank and file believers.

    However, this does not mean that Christians have to jump up and get in the face of the pastor if he occasionally or 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.

Do we not at least have the sense to look around and wonder how it it is possible in a world in which Christianity is apparently booming with the vast majority of Christians in church on a regular bases, dozens of Mega-churches strewn all over the country, endless 'Christian' TV programs and 'conferences', and literally thousands of "Christian" books being published every year Jesus said only a few will find the way? (Matthew 7:13-14)

EITHER HE WAS WRONG .... OR WE ARE BLIND BEYOND BELIEF

And since we can safely assume that the Savior knew what He was talking about, the vast majority of professed believers are apparently happily traipsing down the broad path to destruction.


Unity... At All Costs?
It is often argued that as Christians, we are supposed to be one - to be united. There is little question that the Bible clearly shows that the Father desires unity among believers however, you could scour the Scriptures for the next ten years without finding a single word about being united at the expense of truth. In fact, the idea of unity that many Christian leaders preach and teach is not true unity but compromise. It assumes that there is no truth that people are required to stand on and defend and how we interpret Biblical precepts is our "opinion" and it is wrong to let our "opinions" divide us.

In which case, God has given us a useless book and we can with impunity, chuck our Bibles into the trash.

    True Christian unity is grounded in the Word of God.. nothing more, nothing less.

    False unity is grounded in conformity to man made doctrine, which amounts to little but a tacit endorsement of "another gospel"

I would love to know which of the early apostles put wrong teachings into the area of "opinion" and let it go. Much to the contrary, they fought tooth and nail  to defend the truth. Paul had this to say.

    But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8).

If an angel from heaven is to be accursed for preaching a different gospel, how much more so the person up on a stage preaching a message that the Bible never heard of, much less endorsed. See True and False Unity

It is far better to be divided by truth than united in error.

The question then becomes...


When Your 'Church' No Longer Holds To Biblical Truths
In the spirit of our overly tolerant, anything goes society we tend to look on confrontation as something to be avoided no matter what. All too many of us seem to believe that it is more "spiritual" - more 'Christian' to avoid judging any one. See Judge Not?

In reality what we have done is reject the instructions of the Bible in favor of our own opinions and emotions. We have elevated modern society's idea of 'tolerance' that rejects all moral absolutes to well above the Bible's unqualified standards.

Quite simply, we cannot agree to disagree when it comes to serious error. Every born again believer has the right, nay, the responsibility, to stand up for the truth. Thus a true believer who finds himself among men who profess to be Christians but whose teaching are in contention or conflict with the Word of the Lord has to abide by a two step process. Below

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.

This is in large part due to the fact that churches are turning in ever increasing numbers to mystical practices such as Walking Labyrinths (Labyrinths were 'discovered' in a Catholic church but have their roots in pagan practices)  and Contemplative Prayer (based squarely on ideas borrowed heavily from Hindu and Buddhist traditions)

Many are part of the Word of Faith/Prosperity Doctrine Movements and/or encourage their congregations to be "Slain In The Spirit" or speak in ' Tongues'. Other churches promote "courses" such as the Alpha Course and the Purpose Driven Program - the first case is occult driven, the second offers a shallow incomplete gospel that is woefully inadequate to save, all the while introducing believers to a wide variety of potentially very dangerous people, ideas, and practices etc.

More "liberal" churches that have begun to question or even openly deny the Bible being God's inerrant and absolutely infallible word to mankind now condone homosexuality or same-sex unions.

The list is a long one.

Some of the congregation may be uncomfortably aware that something is wrong but cannot quite put their finger on what that 'something' is. Others may have learned over time that the doctrines and practices their church that has assured them (possibly for years) are completely Scriptural, are anything but.

Regardless of how it came about, a small percentage of believers have begun to realize that there is a disconnect between what the Bible and their church teaches. This has often brought up difficult and sometimes painful situations as they wrestle with the problem of what to do.

The first step is to


Realize The Seriousness of The Problem
The only reason that Jesus, Paul and Peter issued such severe warnings against false teachings is because they endanger people's eternal future. 

    "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)

Also note what two of the apostles said about the fate of false teachers (All emphasis added)

    But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3 NASB)

    I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But 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! 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! (Galatians 1:6-9 NASB)

What makes it worse is how insidiously deception spreads it's poison. Believers were warned to...


Beware The Leaven of The Pharisees
The feast of Unleavened bread began on the 15th of Nisan (the day following Passover) and continued for seven days until the 21st of Nisan. During this festival the Israelites were commanded to avoid eating any leavened foods (that contained anything that enables fermentation - yeast or baking powder etc.). This reflected the fact that the Israelites had no time to allow their bread to rise before their hasty departure from Egypt. See The Feasts of Israel

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 swept up. This because leaven always symbolized an evil influence of one kind or another in the Bible. Both Jesus and Paul warned about leaven...

    Jesus said to them, "Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." (Matthew 16:6 NASB Also Mark 8:15 and Luke 12:1)

Paul asked the Corinthians whether they did were unaware "that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? He then instructed them to

    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)

And said this to the Galatians

    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)

One might wonder why leaven was used as a symbol of evil. This is due to the character and process of leavening. Given a little time leavening agents like yeast ferment carbohydrates releasing thousands of tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide throughout the dough or batter. This process biologically changes the chemistry of the dough as it works and gives bread it's texture, color and aroma.

However, while leaven is easily added it is virtually impossible to remove. It is no wonder that Paul told Timothy that Hymenaeus and Philetus'  talk would spread like "gangrene" -  the decay and death of body tissue.

But first one has to be able to distinguish between right and wrong teachings and practices.


The ONLY Way To Recognize Heresy, or False Teachings in the Church
There is only one way to protect Christians from being deceived by false teachers. The infallible guide or measuring rod by which Christians can and must test all doctrine, teaching, or practice, is God's word. Note what Paul told Timothy while encouraging him to continue in what he has learned...

    But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:13-17 NASB)

Paul warned Timothy to abide in the Scriptures because they alone are able to fully equip the man of God to carry out every good work. Timothy's work or reproving, correcting and instructing was to be based not on personal testimonies, signs and wonders, or any "word of knowledge", but on the Scriptures.

    See The Second Most Dangerous Mistake Any Christian Can Make Is To Attribute Every
    Personal Testimony and Sign To Being From God HERE

In Acts 17:11, Paul commended the Bereans whom he said were

    "... more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. (Acts 17:11 NASB)

In other words, they "examined the Scriptures daily" to see if what they were being taught, was true. However, there is a little more to it as all too many false teachers can and do quote Bible verses in support of what they are teaching.  See Context is Crucial

There is little question that the correct teaching CAN BE KNOWN. God has given us all the knowledge needed for salvation, and to live our lives in a manner pleasing to Him while we are yet on earth. If we can not know what God has said then He has given us a completely useless book, which certainly does not provide a 'lamp for our feet'.


The Biblical Method of Dealing With Heresy is a Two Step Process


Heresy Has To Be Actively Confronted
Once we have confirmed that what we are hearing is contrary to what the Scriptures teach we should, as said at the beginning of this article, actively confront those teaching it. Because everyone has to be given the opportunity to repent and abandon their course two warnings were to be issued -  not with the intention of proving oneself right or superior in any way but in a genuine caring for the the other person's soul.

    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)

Unfortunately, even after being shown that their doctrine is in error many will not so much as listen or heed any warning or rebuke in which case the Bible is unambiguous in its instructions regarding the next step. If it is not repented of and corrected, the believer has but one option i.e 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 holiness without which none of us will see God. [See What is Holiness?

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

As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1.

    Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. "therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the lord. "and do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. "And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty.  (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NASB)

Verse 17 (which I have underlined) is a paraphrase of Isaiah 52:11, that says

    Depart, depart, go out from there, Touch nothing unclean; Go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves, you who carry the vessels of the Lord.  (Isaiah 52:11 NASB)

Isaiah was speaking in the context of the end of Israel's Babylonian exile . The prophet was calling on the people to leave Babylon and to return to their own land completely separating themselves from an idolatrous nation. Note that in Scripture Babylon is symbolic of everything that is impure and opposed to God. See From Babel to Babylon

Paul was using Isaiah's words to emphasize what believers in the New Testament were to do. And there is an abundance of verses that support the command to separate oneself.


Heresy Has To Be Shunned
The Bible is certainly not short of unambiguous instructions on what believers are to do if the false teacher will not heed any warning or rebuke.

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)

    Note: Paul made it very clear that these instructions did not apply to non-believers with whom we have to interact on a daily basis. They will be judged by the Lord.

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)

Expose Them: Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; (Ephesians 5:11 NASB)

Do Not Receive Them: If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your * house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. (2 John 1:10-11 NASB)

    Note Publicly greeting a false teacher could be construed by bystanders as an endorsement of their teaching and views. Also the word "your" (in bold) was not in the original manuscripts, therefore it is possible that the "house" in question referred 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. 

I realize that none of this is easy, especially because it does happen that those who have had the courage to raise their voices and protest are called divisive, troublemakers, judgmental, or Pharisees.  The question is - 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?


Some Common Arguments Against
Jesus Was Inclusive, So Why Shouldn't We Be More Accepting
If you think Jesus simply accepted people just as they were, you would be very wrong. 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....

If you read with a discerning eye you will see that Jesus' inclusion of people ostracized by society was not as Dr. Mark Roberts puts it, the "Come as you are and stay as you are" variety. Much to the contrary, they first had to change whatever wasn't right with them.

For example, Matthew, the tax collector didn't continue in his despised occupation but became one of Jesus' entourage - later writing the Gospel that bears his name. Jesus did not include Mary Magdalene among His followers until after she was freed from demonic possession.

 [See Jesus's Inclusiveness]

How Can I leave My Church?
It is impossible for any believing Christian to leave 'the church' because in the New Testament the Greek word translated "church" refers to believers who make up the body of Christ not a building or a denomination. See What is "The Church"?

However, 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.  It has become a quasi-social organization masquerading as a church and cannot possibly help, edify, or encourage believers. It may in fact, be doing them considerable harm..

There is no question that following the Bible's instructions and leaving one home church/Bible study group etc. may mean walking away from people we have known and even loved for what may be a long time. For some this will rank among one of the most difficult things they have ever had to do. But remember that Jesus warned that the truth will divide families and households. How much more friends and acquaintances?

    "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 very necessary rift between truth and lies.

Also remember that if your 'friends' are part of the problem, you need to reconsider these friendships in light of James' clear stand on this issue....  friendship with the world is hostility toward God?

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 if, for them, the 'right time' ever comes.

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?

We Should Stay and Fight
Odds are that most people who use the 'stay and fight' argument, spend far less time 'fighting' than they do fellowshipping - with apostate men.


Finally
I am not sure if we take Paul's words about the armour of God in Ephesians seriously enough. Let's read the passage again with particular attention to verse 12.

    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:10-13 NASB)

Our struggle is against evil and powerful spiritual forces it is only logical that those forces would set their sights on bringing down the bastion of the Christian faith which is the church or body of believers.

And, as the situation currently stands.. they are winning. [See Doctrines Directly Derived From The Occult]

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


Footnote I - Questionable And Potentially Dangerous Beliefs

There are issues that do not necessarily affect one's standing before God in the here and now but are potentially very dangerous.

The Pre-Tribulation Rapture: Whether the Rapture will take place before or after the Great Tribulation is not currently an issue that will affect salvation, it is very entirely possible that that will matter very greatly. If the Pre-Tribulation view is correct and believers will be raptured away to heaven before all hell breaks loose, then the Great Tribulation is purely of academic interest to the Christian - of little consequence. If, however, the Post-Tribulation view is correct, it means the Church has yet to experience a period of intense persecution and tribulation. As said by pastor Tim Warner...

    "Some say it really doesn't matter if Jesus is coming before or after the tribulation, as long as we are "ready." They think we should all just agree to disagree, and love one another. But, "ready" is a relative term! It begs the question, "ready for what?" There is a huge difference between being ready to be gently whisked away to heaven on a pillow, and being ready to become a martyr at the hands of Antichrist! Is surface harmony worth the risk of huge numbers of believers being caught totally unprepared spiritually, emotionally, and physically? [See The End Of The Age Part V... The Rapture]

Eternal Security or Once Saved Always Saved is preached as Biblical truth even in many conservative churches. Proponents believe that once a person has made the once and for all decision to "accept" Christ as savior, they are in the enviable position of being eternally secure in their salvation since there is not the slightest chance of slipping from His hand. Some carry this doctrine to ridiculous lengths even teaching that since they cannot be 'unforgiven'. In other words, believers can live the rest of their lives just as they please and still remain saved. There will be no repercussions other than possibly losing a reward or two. (Charles Stanley used to preach this perverted Gospel) See Rewards in Heaven

There is no question that many (if not most) of those who teach eternal security also preach that only those who continue living holy lives will enter the Lord's presence. Unfortunately, there are all too many people that do not take this warning seriously. Human nature is human nature and if a person can see their way to eating their cake and having it too... they will.  In other words, they figure that if eternal security is true and there is no fear of serious eternal consequences then why should they not live their lives on earth just as they please? 

See Once Saved, Always Saved. Part I - Eternal Life: Promise or Possession?

When the Gospel Becomes a Lie - Part III of Calvinism

And There are Plenty Of Related Articles here - A Question Of Salvation

Baptism While it is certain that baptism is not necessary for salvation this doctrine is hardly likely to affect a person's salvation one way or the other. However, the question "Is baptism necessary for salvation?", is not the right one. What we should be asking is "If you are saved, you know what baptism means and that it was commanded by Christ, why would you not be baptized?" One does not become baptized to be saved; one is saved and is therefore baptized. Faith that does manifest itself in obedience is very questionable. Also, some very perilous situations can and do arise if indeed, as some people believe, baptism is a requirement for being saved. [See Baptism]

 

Footnote II - Context, Context, Context
A very important point has to be made here... examining the Scriptures to see if what is being taught is true involves FAR more than just reading the particular verse referred to.

In fact, one of the most dangerous mistakes any Christian can make is to take Bible verses out of context simply because

No Biblical author strung together a number of lofty sounding phrases disconnected from one another. Because each verse is an integral part of a particular point the author was trying to make no one should read, much less base their beliefs on stand alone verses. The reader can only be accurately informed by God's Word the way it is written - in its context.

Understanding what the author meant comes not only from the words he wrote, but also by what the overall message of the chapter is intended to convey. But, since this takes a little more time, study, and effort, most Christians are content with allowing a verse to be wrested from it's context and used to convey whatever meaning the speaker/author wishes it to convey, that all too often is nothing but a corruption of the truth.

Whether intentionally or unintentionally this perversion of Scriptures is done in order to persuade men that everything the false teacher says is based on Biblical truth. ... See Context is CRUCIAL

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