There is an ugly side to separation. While a Scriptural mandate for separation in particular instances exists, it becomes a club in the hands of those who misuse and abuse it. Some run separation over its boundary walls and flood the plains of Christian unity. In our Independent Baptist world ( and in some other places too), some get flogged and run away with clear instructions to never come back. Usually, they never do. In too many sad cases, they run away from Christianity altogether. Wouldn’t you hate to be the cause of such a crime? Some wear it like a badge!
Perhaps some are misguided. Perhaps they think they are doing God a favor. Perhaps they have no discernment and think all errors are equal, and of course, to them disagreement is error. They enjoy a legal system that treats a speeding violation and murder as worthy of quite different punishments while never thinking that denying the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and holding a looser standard on some issue are quite different too. To them no compromise means separating from every person who holds a different point of view at every juncture. They are vigilant to make sure everyone crosses every “t” and dots every “i”. Perhaps they just need help to see they have some T-crossing and I-dotting to do themselves in that they had better make sure they are practicing separation as the Lord has told us.
But there is an uglier side still and it is diabolical. Some use it to control the masses. It is, for them, a cattle-herding technique. Someone at the head of a prominent clique sends an edict down that Bro. So-and-so must be separated from. Not only must he be separated from, but we must tell our people and friends to do likewise. Mention it, talk about it, Facebook about it–it often becomes a greater push than we give to things like fighting abortion, etc.
Why do I say it is diabolical? Because if you trace it back, you find despite the feigned indignation for God’s glory, nothing more than a hideous case of politics. Someone wouldn’t stay in line, or some big dog felt threatened, or too many listen to the guy instead of them, or that we grow our kingdom by overthrowing other kingdoms; yes, just politics. Jesus’ name is thrown around, but what has He to do with any of it? Need I answer that question?
In these cases I am thinking of great “doctrinal” issues came up. Strangely, no one had ever thought of them before, but now they are one of the fundamentals of the faith! Are you seeing something wrong with this picture? Could it be that you and I have been used in a political game?
I think now of a few prominent cases that sent tremors through the entire Independent Baptist world. I can’t mention them because many would take the issue, run and pick a side, and probably throw in a quote by one of the aforementioned leaders. We would forget the issue that we are actually talking about. See what I mean about being herded cattle? That is exactly what some want us to do.
We can’t make anyone do anything, but we can:
1. Determine that we will see ourselves as individually accountable to God and will practice separation ONLY as God’s Word has specifically stated.
2. Determine we will allow no leader, no matter how respectable, to dictate our consciences for us. We have God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
3. Dedicate ourselves to remember that we have a duty to every fellow believer that includes loving treatment.
4. Dedicate ourselves to never treating anyone as a pawn in a political game, nor being a party to others who do.
I would be remiss if I didn’t warn you that if you do right, you might find yourself on the wrong side of this separation. The cost of disloyalty to men can be high, but the cost of disloyalty to Christ might cost you more.
Find all articles in the series here.
11 thoughts on “The Cost Of Disloyalty (Independent Baptist Truth Revolution #14)”
so true. and so sad. I have appreciated this whole series you have been writing.
Thanks T. P.! It is true and sad!
I think that part of the problem is that what we call separation isn’t really biblical separation, but segregation–think the South, think white flight in the 50s and 60s, which, incidentally, coincides with the rise of the modern fundamentalist movement (and, I am convinced, is intrinsically intertwined). If you start thinking of it in these terms, the whole phenomenon suddenly starts to look a whole lot more ugly, and a whole lot of what has happened, and what is happening today begins to make sense. When I saw this phenomenon in this light, I realized I could never see “separation” in the same way again. I still believe and want to be biblically separated, but what we have today is nothing like it, but rather something ugly. I also believe that it is what is destroying fundamentalism from within. It’s a cancer.
You comments are worthy of deep thought! Thanks for commenting!
Fundamentalism was built on solid biblical foundations. I believe with all my heart it was hijacked by men, turning the spotlight from Jesus, and the Word of God (KJB 1611 I might add) to themselves, their traditions and regulations. Christians started to, and still do worship these men, and hold them in too high esteem. When they fall, fail, die, these christians lose their bearing, because the foundation they were laying, was wood, hay, stubble, and most importantly, the “flesh”. Put NO confidence in the flesh, yours, or anyone else’s.
When these men insist on you following them, it is time to leave. We are warned against such activity when we are told to beware against those “from among us!” seeking to gather disciples unto themselves…and we all have been there.
This whole debate, and article, goes back to the very sin that started it all, and gets us all….Pride.
Humility folks….humility…if we strive every day for humility, we will not only avoid a boatload of junk, and sin, as well as contentions (pride brings these about too) but we will most assuredly be able to spot a prideful spirit when they cross our paths. It is part of being sober, and vigilant, for our adversary, the devil, walketh about as a roaring lion (prideful chest beating, so the rest of the “pride can hear him…) seeking whom he may devour”….Don’t the the lion pride get you!
You have gotten to the heart of the matter! Thanks for commenting!
Agree with Scott Tipton that fundamentalism was hijacked. Originally, fundamentalism was a defense of the fundamentals of the faith. Today, as a way of drawing a distinction, those who claim to be ‘fundamentalists’ are ‘IFB’. They are two separate belief systems. The IFB crowd is made up of man-worship. I would extend Scott’s argument by pointing out that IFB followers do not lose their bearings when their leaders are exposed (notice I did not say ‘fall’ or ‘fail’ – but that’s another day). Instead, their followers simply deny that there is any wrongdoing. To them, it is impossible that their gods should fail. Therefore, they invent a new reality, where it never happened.
I am an Independent Baptist, but your charge is to often true!
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It is sad that so many pastors demand “loyalty” – that word doesn’t seem to come up in the Scriptures much. What is meant by “loyalty”? Overlooking sin?
I’ve (sadly) been there when a pastor took things told him in confidence, and air them in church to smear someone who had left the church and was being critical of the way he does things.