Dear Guests of IDOTG:
We have reached the final in this series drawn from a thread discussion with Pastor Will Dudding at Scott Aniol’s Religious Affections Ministries blog. You may read or go back to review Part 1; Part 2 and Part 3 at your convenience.
In the previous I cited Dr. Mark Minnick.
“What is this paragraph [Romans 16:17-20] talking about? If you would look at verse 17 you will see that it is a paragraph dealing with people who are teaching contrary doctrine. . . . “If you take those terms [v. 17] and you ponder them for just a moment, what becomes apparent is this: our response in the first place is mandated. We have no subjective decision to make. The decision has already been made and the mandate is objective; it is in print! It has been in print for centuries! I exhort you, ‘mark’ them and ‘avoid’ them. . . . The response that we are given is a mandated response…. We are obligated to obey what is here!”1Furthermore, I also included:
“For the sake of the clarity of the gospel, believers and churches must separate from those who compromise the faith by granting Christian recognition and fellowship to those who have denied essential doctrines of the faith (Rom 16:17; Phil 3:17-19; 2 Thess. 3:6-15).” (Dr. Dave Doran from his series, Gospel-Driven Separation.)Among “conservative” evangelicals we have some of the nation’s most influential instigators of charismatic theology, worldly methods of ministry (especially to their youth at Resolved and Passion) and ecumenical compromise with deadly “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18). We have discussed the Charismatic theology, disgraceful speech and ecumenical compromise of certain conservative evangelicals. These things are “unbiblical, contrary” doctrine and/or practices. They are, “antithetical to the doctrines that are taught in Scripture.” I asked Brother Dudding if we agree on that point. John Piper, C. J. Mahaney, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Driscoll, et. al., have been admonished by their brethren, but steadfastly refuse to respond to correction and are unrepentant.
At the Glory & Grace blog Dr. Dave Doran posted an article (2/24/10), which in part appears to be a rehash of elements from his Gospel-Driven Separation series. This new article is titled, Separation in Academic Contexts, which includes this opening paragraph.
*DBTS is committed to perpetuating and practicing biblical separatism to guard the gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that there must be a clear line of distinction between those who embrace the gospel and those who deny it. Granting Christian recognition and fellowship to those who deny fundamental doctrines of the faith is contrary to the Scriptures, harmful to the church, and dishonoring to God. We believe that we can, therefore, extend Christian recognition and fellowship only to those who hold fast to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We further believe that compromising the gospel through fellowship with unbelief is a matter of such serious disobedience that faithfulness to the gospel requires separation from those who practice it. (bold added)2This is a clear, uncompromising biblical statement on the necessity of separation from those who deny the gospel and from those who extend to them “Christian recognition.”3 It is grounded in the Scriptures that every believer has the responsibility to obey. Yet one is left to wonder:
I, of course, speak of Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan who joined Roman Catholic priests, rank theological liberals and full-blown ecumenicals to sign the Manhattan Declaration (MD). Which is, of course, “a matter of…serious disobedience.”5 With Mohler, however, signing the MD was not his first or only **foray into ecumenical compromise.
In the coming weeks there are two prime opportunities to practice, separation from those who practice fellowship with unbelief.6 To demonstrate a genuine application of the biblical obligations of Gospel-Driven Separation; to demonstrate “our separatist commitments.”7 To, “remain committed to the practice and perpetuation of biblical separatism.”8
Those two opportunities are John MacArthur’s Shepherd’s Fellowship (Mar. 3-7) and even more so Together for the Gospel (T4G) in mid-April. Both of these conferences are lead by and/or are hosting as keynote speakers Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan. If we are serious about obeying the Scriptures that forbid fellowship with men who are among the disobedient then we would refuse to attend or encourage others to sit under the teaching/preaching ministry of those men. We would, furthermore, openly call on those within our sphere of influence to refrain from endorsing or attending these conferences.
This is a difficult decision for some who crave the fellowship they find at these conferences. But one must ask where does his first loyalty lie: To the “biblical obligations” or to my friends and their fellowships?
Tragically with the growing disinclination to “admonish” or “withdraw from” conservative evangelicalism the likelihood of becoming desensitized to the evangelicals’ aberrant doctrine, practices and worldly methods of ministry increases. IMO the day is coming when some who presently claim the label “biblical separatist” will evidence little resemblance to what they once were in the best tradition of historic Fundamentalism. Instead they will have become themselves what evangelicalism is today, which they embraced apart from heeding the biblical “ministry of warning.”
In spite of all we have considered a growing number of self-professed separatists, including men who are years into their pastorates, are becoming:
- Increasingly passionate for fellowship with the so-called conservative evangelicals, and…
- Rarely find their voice to even do so much as “admonish” them openly.
Whatever else Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan have to offer they have, through signing the Manhattan Declaration, granted “Christian recognition and fellowship to those who deny fundamental doctrines of the faith is contrary to the Scriptures, [which is] harmful to the church, and dishonoring to God.” The final question then becomes:
Closing the Series the Way it Opened:
Dr. Peter Masters wrote an article to address numerous problems in and among “new” Calvinism’s conservative evangelicals. I chose this particular excerpt in regard to the T4G conference because it convenes just a few weeks from now.
A final sad spectacle reported with enthusiasm…is the Together for the Gospel conference…. A more adult affair…this nevertheless brings together cessationists and non-cessationists, traditional and contemporary worship exponents, and while maintaining sound preaching, it conditions all who attend to relax on these controversial matters, and learn to accept every point of view. In other words, the ministry of warning is killed off, so that every error of the new scene may race ahead unchecked. These are tragic days for authentic spiritual faithfulness, worship and piety. (Dr. Peter Masters, The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness)
*DBTS- Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.
1) Dr. Mark Minnick, The Scriptural Response to Teachers of Doctrinal Error, Mid-America Conference on Preaching, Nov. 1997.
2) Dave Doran, Separation in Academic Contexts (accessed 2/24/10)
Because this article, and the series from which it is drawn, continues to attract widespread attention I am going to leave it up as the home page article for an extended period. I do have a number of new articles in various stages of production for publication, but I am going to hold them for the moment. One of the upcoming articles is an additional review and discussion of the Glory & Grace blog article, Separation in Academic Contexts.
None of what I have shared in this series, or in any related article, should be misconstrued into calls for loyalty to any movement. The sole consideration for any believer must be fidelity to the Word of God. That is our first and only consideration. All the rest must bow and/or respond to what is there. Please continue to Thread Comment #10 (posted 3/1/10), which is an important appendix entry to this Editor’s Note.