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Dancing with Those Who Dance with Wolves -- Second Degree Separation

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Case #2: I was once told by a reader that they would never have anything to do with me because I had an article published in a Christian magazine that also ran an article (in the same issue) from a man the reader considered to be a "heretic." The other man (an older Southern Baptist gentleman"that I never met), said, "We should be still in prayer and Bible reading and contemplate and meditate on the Word." The reader insisted to me, on the basis of that statement alone that the man must be caught up in a contemporary mystical fad called, "Contemplative Prayer" (a movement that incorporates Eastern New Age practices into spiritual disciplines), since he used those words. This reader considered Contemplative Prayer to be a heresy, and therefore the older man (who had probably never even heard of that fad), must also be a heretic since he used buzzwords associated with it. Since the magazine published the "heretic," the reader was canceling her subscription, and she wanted me to know that she would warn people against my "ministry" as well.

Case #3: One young-earth creation (YEC) ministry (Ministry A) refused to carry the products of another (YEC) Christian author/speaker (Ministry B) (whose products they like and agree with), simply because that author carries a book by a third (YEC) (Ministry C), who disagrees with Ministry A on a scientific theory about how the earth shifts under the ground. Ministry B's materials don't have anything to do with that topic, and that is CLEARLY NOT a salvation (or even doctrinal!) issue, but it's enough for Ministry A to not work with Ministry B, even though they agree on everything in his product line." -- Israel Wayne

If the only issue is speaking at a conference that has female speakers I agree that is not a deal breaker. When Francis Chan speaks at "The Send" with Todd White and Lou Engle however, that is unacceptable. Case number two is a bit murkier. I am unsure if one appearance in a magazine with someone else who extolls the heresy of contemplative prayer is enough but if you consistently write for Charisma News for example, that is again unacceptable. I used to have my material posted on a very popular discernment ministry. Once they started espousing unchristlike behaviors and NAR dominionist tendencies I stopped despite the loss in viewership. Who I lead people to matters. Case three sounds way too nuanced.

'Straining Gnats and Swallowing Camels. These petty separations harm sound Christian leaders and ministries when they are maligned, or when Christians refuse to support them or even fellowship with them over the slightest nuances of doctrinal disagreement. When they do this, "discernment ministries" (churches and individuals), ARE committing the sin of being divisive. We are warned in Romans 16:17 that we are to directly avoid (first-degree separation) people who do this. I think that means, we should stop reading their blogs and sharing their posts on social media! Spiritual Pride - I truly believe much of this mentality is based in spiritual pride. Rather than having a heart that longs to see healing and reconciliation, many people want to tear down, cast out and shun. That isn't the heart of Christ. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for contending for sound doctrine! Both the Core Doctrines AND the Lower-Level doctrines need to be addressed. I have had many spirited discussions with my brethren over issues on which we don't agree. But I always seek to leave that conversation with a desire to understand them better and love them more deeply. I know I don't always walk this out perfectly and I'm sure people will find examples of me being a hypocrite on these issues. But if we don't watch it, we risk being like the Galatians church: Galatians 5:14-15 -- "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 15But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another."' -- Israel Wayne

Again, the division comes from false doctrine, not those who point it out. Wayne seems to be complaining about problems that do not really exist. The true discernment ministries are not concerned with third party book sales of creationists. The remedy Wayne offers here indicates his true end game which is to end discernment. He has tried to sound reasonable but in the end he remedies these made up problems by broad-brushing every discernment ministry. Discernment ministries do desire to see healing and reconciliation but only of the wounded sheep. We wish to see them healed of the false teaching and reconciled to the body of Christ. What Israel Wayne advocates for is healing of wolves and reconciling them back to the sheepfold and to that I say let them be accursed. If he is truly only speaking about petty issues than it should not have taken six pages to say so and the end conclusion would not be to avoid discernment.

"Third-Degree Separation. If we carry the mindset of second-degree separation far enough, we will get to where we can't support a Christian bookstore because they carry a book that isn't doctrinally pure. Or we can't attend a church because they sing songs (even if the songs are good) from a worship band whose church is in error. Or we won't attend a good conference because one of the twenty speakers believe differently than we do about speaking in tongues. It's ridiculous"and unscriptural. Ephesians 4:2-6 -- "With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; 3Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Truth is vital. I'm all about truth. But truth without love is like a resounding gong, or a clanging symbol (see 1 Corinthians 13:1). We shouldn't abandon truth for the sake of Christian unity, but we should always strive for Christian unity because the truth of the Bible tells us to. Over the years, I have always been impressed when someone comes to me directly with a concern about something I have said, or something they've been told that I teach. Oftentimes, they have received bad information, or sometimes we can discuss the matter and find that we are truly on the same page after all. It was a mere misunderstanding. Going to direct to the person or ministry with whom you have questions is not only Biblical, it is wise. That is not always practical or feasible, and sometimes what is being taught publicly is abundantly clear from hearing an entire sermon or reading a complete book. But our posture should always be to believe the best (1 Corinthians 13:7), and to seek unity and restoration from error to truth. Ephesians 4:13-16 -- "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."' -- Israel Wayne

Unreal. The scriptures he cites do not support his cause at all. True unity is only found in doctrine. Supporting worldwide heretical ministries such as Hillsong and Bethel works against the cause of Christ. It is almost as if he is ok with light heresy. Minor disagreement seems acceptable to him. I am not saying we leave church over the slightest small differences but these things still matter. A church that sings "Oh How He Loves Us" or "Friend of God" is probably not preaching the solid Gospel or else they would be convicted. If I saw a conference with 20 good speakers and one raving heretic -- I would not go! Of what fellowship does light have with darkness? None! The Christian bookstore example is silly. I am not getting the vibe that Israel Wayne is really all about the truth. It seems like only on glaring issues is he so. The bible says to not allow even a little leaven because it goes through the entire batch. The verses he cites from Ephesians are the key verses today. We strive to achieve doctrinal unity so that we might not be thrown here and from by every wind of false doctrine. This was quite a long piece to essentially say that we do not need to separate from leaders or teachers who refuse to dissociate themselves ravenous wolves. Despite what Israel Wayne says, the bible says we absolutely must.

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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