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The Basis of Separation- Application of Doctrine

March 8, 2011

Since the gospel is the boundary of our fellowship, and since we must place a premium on fellowship with those who hold to the gospel, then the matter of what actions or doctrines deny the gospel becomes of utmost of importance. We have already considered that the clarity of Scriptures on a particular topic helps us determine the extent of separation from a person over doctrinal disagreement. A second element that we will now briefly consider is what impact a particular doctrine has on our communication of the gospel. By that I do not just mean what it does to the message that we communicate, but also to our manner and ability to effectively communicate the gospel. Some doctrines will hinder ones ability to communicate the gospel effectively or boldly. Some doctrines are carried to such an extent by some individuals that it changes or interferes with their fulfilling the great commission. I personally see no reason to separate from someone only on the basis of their belief that God will so work in the elect that they must be saved. However, if that doctrine becomes the excuse for disobedience to the great commission then I find a clear barrier dividing them from the truth of God and as such I must separate myself from them. If one does not draw as a clear a line between the church and Israel as I do, I might not separate from them. However, if their understanding of the church and Israel causes them to proclaim the gospel as a promise of abundance and prosperity in this life, then there is a clear difference that cannot be overcome and I must separate. This is not suggest that a certain belief always equals a certain response. A belief that the elect will certainly be saved may lead some to refuse to witness, it may have the opposite result in others. As ones application of a particular belief to their life diverges from clear Biblical commands creates reason to separate from a professing believer. I do not want anyone to misunderstand what I am trying to communicate here. Two points are of primary importance at this juncture in this series of articles. First, harmonious fellowship has to be the priority for all who profess to believe the gospel. Secondly, we are commanded to radically separate from those who preach a false gospel or those who by their actions oppose the gospel. We cannot not refuse fellowship with a fellow believer for trivial reasons and we must refuse fellowship with a fellow believer who has denied the gospel. The problem as I see it within latter generations of fundamentalism is we have failed to place the priority on fellowship and have separated from everyone who disagrees with my opinions. We need to get back to the Biblical practice of separating from one who diverges from truth and obedience.

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