March 31, 2011

Pastor Marc Monte: Preserving the Separatist Impulse, 2 Thess. 3:6-15

In the previous article, Dr. Clay Nuttall: Platform Sharing & Identification Pastor Steve Rogers posted the following comment.

“I just returned from a great week at [Ambassador Baptist College] ABC’s Spring Bible Conference. I spoke to several of the professors and speakers about the current redefining of separation to be that of Gospel-Driven separation only, as opposed to Biblical separation, which includes separation from a brother that is walking disorderly to the revealed truth of Bible doctrine. There was overwhelming agreement that these men are ignoring the teaching they received by separatists of the past like Pickering and Clearwaters. Pastor Marc Monte preached a tremendous message which renders indefensible the current excuses being proposed by Dave Doran, Tim Jordan, Kevin Bauder, Matt Olson, etc. justifying their move toward the conservative evangelicals like Mark Dever. I hope it will be a help to some.”
The message by Pastor Marc Monte “Preserving the Separatist Impulse” was well received at the Ambassador Baptist College Bible Conference. Upon my request Pastor Monte sent me the outline of his message. For the details, beyond the main points, with brief excerpts, that appear below you will need to listen to the :45 minute audio. In his introduction Pastor Monte said,
“We are living in a day and time when real truths, scriptural separatism has come under attack and questioned. In fact some of the most severe change we are seeing in the fundamental movement today deals with the issue of fellowship, separatism and significant doctrine. In our way of thinking because we have become so careless in some senses about biblical teaching we wouldn’t really think of this issue of some people not working, appealing to the benevolence fund, slumming off of the church, so to speak, we would not think that is such a big deal because see so much of it in our society. Paul said, It is a big deal. If something like that, a particular practice was enough to warrant and illustration and numerous verses, how much more how much more are key doctrinal issues, which are currently being swept under the rug in some circles in order to promote a broader fellowship?”
The complete conference series of messages appears on ABC’s Resources page. Scroll down to March 22 for Brother Monte’s message under the title, Biblical Separatism.

Preserving the Separatist Impulse, 2 Thess. 3:6-15
I. The Principles
A. Separation is not optional (6) “command
B. Separation is not vague (6) “withdraw
Proximity and fellowship imply endorsement.”
C. Separation is not limited to apostates (6) “brother
We struggle sometimes with Christian brethren who want to be disobedient… Separation says I love Christ more than popularity.”
D. Separation is not restricted to theological issues (6)
1. “walketh disorderly”—practical matters
2. “traditions”—includes theological issues (1 Cor. 5:9-11)
E. Separation does not mean animosity (14, 15)
There is a breaking of fellowship that can be painful, but it never has to be done in an ugly, unchristian or unkind fashion…. We separate with a broken heart.”
F. Separation does not function in silence (15) “admonish
II. The Paradigm Shift
A. Discussing “Gospel Centric” Separatism
B. Argument that “other doctrines” frustrate evangelism
III. The Problems
A. Paradigm shift implies a subtle de-emphasis on the Bible (c/f Acts 20:27)
B. Gospel-driven separatism is more inclusive—less separatist (Vol. I The Biblical Faith of Baptists, pp. 35-36)
C. Gospel –driven separatism ignores sound, literalist (dispensational) theology—quoted Clearwaters (The Biblical Faith of Baptists, Vol. 1, p. 216)
D. Gospel-driven separatism is overwhelmingly non-Baptistic
E. Gospel-driven separatism undermines Biblical standards for the sake of evangelism.
1. Music and dress are no longer legitimate issues
2. Standards are a “roadblock” to the winning souls.
Pastor Marc Monte
Faith Baptist Church, Avon

Excerpt from II. The Paradigm Shift
“Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians that we are to conform to apostolic tradition; that is all revealed truth of the New Testament, it is all important. When someone takes a serious deviation from the revealed truth of the Bible it is our duty to admonish that person. If they continue to take that pathway it is our duty to separate…. There is some subjectivity to the approach, but we still have to follow the command.”

“For years Bible believing Fundamental Baptist people have declared that the Word of God, as the whole counsel of God, is our standard for faith and practice…. The New Testament is our charter, and our marching orders for our movement. We have said if it does not conform to the pages of the New Testament we must reject it as error…!”

“There is today a very subtle shift that, on the surface, is very persuasive. I am hearing this in places today that I would not have believed two years ago that I would hear such a message. The idea is essentially this: Rather than base separatism on the Bible, the whole counsel of God, we should use as our test the Gospel. There is a plea that says the only doctrines for which we should contend are those doctrines that impinge directly upon the Gospel…. I do not have the right to pick and choose among clearly revealed truths which ones I will contend for and which ones I will not…. The issue I have is this: That [Gospel-Centric separatism] broadens our fellowship incredibly to include organizations and individuals who are patently disobedient to the plain teaching of Scripture and yet are somehow tolerated, vindicated and even honored in some of our circles.”
Previous articles at IDOTG by Ps. Marc Monte include:
Kevin Bauder, It Won’t Fly With Those of Us Who Know
and Muddying the Clearwaters


  1. Lou,

    Thank you for the post. Excellent outline by Pastor Monte detailing separation from disobedient brethren. How easy it is for "educated men" to reject the clear teaching of the Word of God.

    Thank you!

    Tod Brainard

  2. Ps. Brainard:

    Thanks for stopping by and the comment. Glad you find this as helpful as I have. Too bad the "educated" seem to be ignoring or possibly outgrown the God-given mandates. Be sure to listen to the audio in its entirety, many gems worth hearing and repeating.


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  4. Tod: Thanks for the kind thoughts! I think the Bible is really clear about this. It is time that we stopped tolerating error for the sake of some kind of fellowship. By the way, fellowship is not ultimately the goal. Many times the goal is constituency and popularity or scholarly acclaim.

    Lou: thanks for your policy about requiring full names. It has ALWAYS been my policy to use my full name in blog posts--both here and when I used to participate at SI. I have never understood the cowardice that refuses to own its own opinions!

  5. Ps Monte,

    Greatly appreciate the article. It is a sad day indeed when the intelligentsia within fundamentalist circles are AWOL when it comes to expositing the Scripture passages on separation. Instead, they are pushing for toleration based on things apart from the Scriptures. It seems that they are enamored by certain personalities, yet condemn that very idea when they have seen it practiced within the history of fundamentalism. They are quick to note the mote in fundamentalism's eye but play down the beam.

  6. Brian:

    We have been witnessing a pattern of selective application of the timeless principles. We see intolerance and tolerance. Intolerance for the excesses among some sects that identify with Fundamentalism. Tolerance for the doctrinal aberrations, worldliness in ministry and ecumenical compromises of the evangelicals.

    Selective application of the mandates for dealing with the disobedient among us for the sake of whom they want and are trying to forge greater fellowship and expanded cooperative efforts.

    What we have witnessed thus far is only the beginning. Bauder, Doran, Olson, Ollila, Jordan, et. al., are past the crawling stage. They now walk in and will soon be running with compromise to have their convergence with so-called “conservative” evangelicals.

    The greater tragedy of their compromises and tolerance is the younger, less discerning generation who are being drawn, enticed and encouraged by the men above to follow them.


  7. With a recommendation to read the article in its entirety please consider this excerpt.

    If Kevin [Bauder] desires to take Dr. Clearwaters’s venerable institution a different direction from the founder, he should do so without pretending to be guardian of the legacy. I knew Doc well enough to know that he would not be at all happy with the direction of Central Seminary under Bauder’s leading. It’s bad enough that his school is headed in a decidedly leftward direction. Please, Dr. Bauder, don’t make it any worse by pretending some affinity with one of the greatest separatist Christians of the last century.

    From Pastor Marc Monte’s article Kevin Bauder: It Won’t Fly With Those of Use Who Know, October, 2010.