November 14, 2013

Secondary Separation: When to Stand Apart, and Those Who Won’t

Dr. Peter Masters, pastor MetropolitanTabernacle (1970- present), recently published, Secondary Separation: When to Stand Apart.1 This was a well-defined explanation of a biblical principle, namely secondary separation and necessary application of it.

Dr. Masters gives understanding to and several practical applications of the principle.  The section, Dr Lloyd-Jones and Billy Graham, has a direct bearing on how one current day so-called “conservative” evangelical ignored applicable scriptural mandates under the very same circumstance.
Dr Lloyd-Jones and Billy Graham  
The question arises – how should evangelicals who obey God’s call to stand apart treat fellow-evangelicals who refuse to do so? Should they maintain full fellowship, or stand apart from those who disobey? The latter is called secondary separation.” 
To prove the point we remember the way in which Dr Lloyd-Jones refused to work with Billy Graham, and this is a significant example of secondary separation. In 1963 the evangelist asked Dr Lloyd-Jones to chair the first World Congress on Evangelism (eventually held in Berlin in 1966; predecessor to Lausanne). Dr Lloyd-Jones told Billy Graham that if he would stop having liberals and Roman Catholics on his platform and drop the invitation system he would support and chair the Congress. 
Billy Graham would not change his views, and Dr Lloyd-Jones declined to endorse or commend or work with him. No doubt the meeting between them was courteously conducted (it lasted three hours) but the outcome was a firm application of secondary separation. 
Dr Lloyd-Jones adopted the same attitude to Billy Graham’s London crusades. He took the view, and stated it publicly, that to have visible unity with those who are opposed to essential matters of salvation was sinful. (He also believed the invitation system was a source of mass-delusion and harm to churches.) 
Despite Billy Graham’s high standing with most British evangelicals, the enthusiastic support he received from the secular media, the fact that his name was a household word, and despite the significant place in world evangelicalism that he was offering to Dr Lloyd-Jones, the latter stood by his biblical principle, and declined all the overtures. He would not commend or work with Dr Billy Graham. This is true loyalty to God’s Word, and protectiveness of one’s congregation. 
For what it’s worth, as far as the present writer is aware he goes no further in his view of secondary separation than Dr Lloyd-Jones (although he does not share the great man’s latter day enthusiasm for a new evangelical denomination). [Bold added]

In 2001 Dr. R. Albert Mohler shared no such principled conviction, such as Lloyd Jones in 1963, when he (Mohler) agreed to chair the Billy Graham crusade in Louisville, Ky. Where Lloyd-Jones determined to obey the scriptural mandates for “secondary separation,” Mohler simply brushed them aside. From the Graham crusade, through numerous ecumenical compromises since,2 Al Mohler has routinely and irrefutably ignored the Lord’s Word on biblical secondary separation.

Dr. Masters begins to wind down his article with this challenge,

May I say to pastors, elders and deacons – we have a choice. We either show unreserved kindness, protection and solidarity toward the offender, or we show it to the Gospel and our congregations. We either commend one or the other. Which will we embrace? No pastor or church officer can be truly loyal to the Word and protective to the flock of God without the practice of biblical secondary separation, applied with all the sensitive discretion of charity.”

In spite of Al Mohler’s long time, consistent pattern of egregious ecumenical compromises Dr. Kevin Bauder has been relentless in “lavish praise” for, tolerating, ignoring or excusing Dr. Mohler.  By this I think we can know the measure of Kevin’s loyalty to the “Word” in “the practice of biblical secondary separation.”


See thread comment #1 for Dr. Masters on the Texts for Biblical Separation & References to Separation from Worldliness and Harmful Practices.

1) Secondary Separation: When to Stand ApartSword & Trowel 2013: Issue 2, pp. 23-32.

2) Examples include: 

We also learned, “Richard Mouw was a featured speaker at the celebration of the life of Carl F.H. Henry [one of the architects and high priests of New Evangelicalism] held at SBTS in September, in conjunction with Fuller Theological Seminary.”

Related Reading:
“The new Calvinism with the new Calvinists constantly extol the Puritans, but they do not want to worship or live as they did. One of the vaunted new conferences is called Resolved, after Jonathan Edwards’ famous youthful Resolutions (seventy searching undertakings). But the culture of this conference would unquestionably have met with the outright condemnation of that great theologian.”

November 11, 2013

Al Mohler Joins Hands With the Mormon Church

Pastor Brian Ernsberger recently published a new article titled, [Al] Mohler Joins Hands with Mormons.

Now some who call themselves fundamentalists have chimed in to say that there’s nothing really wrong with this picture, that Mohler at BYU to speak on marriage is just perfectly fine… 
So, were Al Mohler and the Mormons actually talking about the same thing when talking about “marriage?” Like so many other common words used by Christians and Mormons, they don’t mean the same thing to both groups. Believers, or more specifically the Bible has one meaning for words and Mormons, using those same words, have a completely different meaning. Mohler and the Mormons were not even on the same page in the conversation that they had. Which ultimately begs the question, Why DID Al Mohler accept the invitation to speak at BYU?
Continue to The Parsings of a Preacher to read Pastor Ernsberger’s article in its entirety.

Site Publisher Commentary:
When I first read Dr. Kevin Bauder defending Al Mohler, Mohler, Mormons, and Militancy, my initial reaction was, There He Goes Again: More Lavish Praise for Al Mohler. This is a continuation of a long time pattern just as he (Kevin) and Dr. Dave Doran gave Mohler a pass (and still do) for Al Mohler signing the Manhattan Declaration (MD). An action that Al Mohler have never genuinely, biblically repented of.*

Kevin Bauder’s pattern has been to relentlessly allow for, tolerate and defend the ecumenical compromises, cultural relativism, aberrant doctrine and worldliness of Mohler and his fellow so-called “conservative” evangelicals. Last week at, the pseudo-fundamentalist site, Sharper Iron, Dr. Mike Harding noted the trend with Mohler and the Mormon Church.
As Mohler said we will likely being going to jail together with people of whom we will not go to heaven. True enough. The bigger picture is that Mohler is planning a return trip to BYU. Richard Land et. al. are also building bridges to the LDS. There is a disturbing trend here. Mormonism wants to be considered as Mormon Christianity as opposed to a cult. This is where the real danger lies.
Dr. Harding continued here with additional concerns with the SBC leadership joining hands with the Mormon church.
Mormons stand to benefit greatly from this dialogue, as they have been working tirelessly in recent years to be seen as a Christian denomination rather than an aberrant American-made, cult founded by a 19th century soothsayer.
There is, however, more to come from this pattern with Al Mohler and one of his chief apologists Kevin Bauder. Kevin will no doubt continue to ignore, excuse or dismiss the on-going ecumenical compromises of Mohler. He, for example, has never critically addressed the ramifications of Al Mohler sitting as chairman for the Billy Graham crusade in 2001.

Earlier this year Al Mohler joined with Rick Warren in cooperative ministry. Furthermore, “Richard Mouw was a featured speaker at the celebration of the life of Carl F.H. Henry [one of the architects and high priests of New Evangelicalism] held at SBTS in September, in conjunction with Fuller Theological Seminary.” What did we read or hear from Kevin Bauder about these events with Al Mohler? Nothing!

Signing the MD was not Mohler’s first time foray into ecumenical compromise. I said, at the time, that it would not be his last. Kevin Bauder would, furthermore, continue the pattern of tolerating, allowing for, ignoring or excusing new ecumenical events as they would surely, and have unfolded since the Manhattan Declaration.


*See, Critical Review of Kevin Bauder’s Open Letter: The Manhattan Declaration

November 5, 2013

Remembering Revival by Dr. Rick Flanders

 “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.  Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.  Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.”

(2 Peter 1:12-15)

The Bible book we call Second Peter was written as the final inspired statement of Simon Peter to Christians before his death.  From the beginning of the letter, he lets the reader know that the purpose of his writing it is to remind us of important things so that we will remember them after he is gone.  It is not hard to forget important things, but such forgetfulness is harmful.  Many of the truths about real New Testament Christianity are easily and soon forgotten by Christians who once knew them, both by study and by experience.  And the first step in reviving the abundant life is to remember what it is, and the truths upon which it is based.

In the first chapter of Second Peter, the apostle lists faith, grace, peace, as well as “all things that pertain unto life and godliness,” as precious things that men can get “through the knowledge of God.”  He also warns us that we lose ground as we forget such knowledge.  That’s why he is reminding us.

What truths in particular are we in danger of forgetting?  He says that divinely-revealed knowledge gave us “exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (1:4).  The right response to this knowledge will “make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,” but lack of it will cause a believer to become “blind,” and bring him to the place where he has “forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (1:8-9).  Have you forgotten that Christ has freed you from bondage to sin (John 8:35), that He enables you to partake of God’s very nature (including His holiness—Hebrews 12:10), that abiding in Him will make you fruitful (John 15:1-14), and that you have been purged from your old sins (Romans 6)?  This high and happy level of living is the experience of life “more abundantly” that Jesus told us about (John 4:13-14, 6:35, 7:37-39, 8:12, 10:9-10, and 15:7) and came to bring to us, and we associate it with revival.  Revived people can live this way (see First Thessalonians 5:15-24) but it is easy for those who were once revived to go back to fleshly living, fruitless service, regular defeat, and domination by sin, because we forget.  This is why we need to be reminded of revival.

The young preacher that the apostle Paul adopted as his spiritual “son” was almost overcome with anxiety and sorrow in the days when his mentor was approaching violent death.  Timothy received the final inspired message of Paul (we call it Second Timothy), personally addressed to him, and found that it was filled with messages of “remembrance” (such as Second Timothy 1:6-7).  As in Second Peter, in Second Timothy the Lord calls on us all to remember the truths that kept us on higher ground in the past.  The “beloved son” in the faith is reminded of his spiritual gift, of the Holy Spirit, of the afflictions that come with preaching the gospel, of the faithfulness of Christ, of the form of sound words he has been taught, of the faithfulness of good Onesiphorus, of the things he should be as a minister of God (a son who passes truth on to the next generation, a soldier who endures “hardness,” an athlete who keeps the rules, a farmer who is first partaker of the fruits of his labor, a workman who must cut straight like a tentmaker as he teaches God’s Word, a vessel of honor fit for the master’s use, and a gentle servant who doesn’t strive), and of the example of selfless dedication he has seen in his mentor.  Virtually the whole book is a reminder.  Timothy, and each of us, must remember the truths of the revived life to be prepared for an uncertain future.

Much of what preachers and their hearers need in our time amounts to reminders of our high calling.  Almost imperceptibly good people can slip back into walking by sight instead of faith.  People who have partnered with the Spirit tend to go back to living according to their flesh.  Love of the world so easily replaces love for God in the hearts of once-useful servants of the Lord.  We do need to be reminded.

Although we are “established in the present truth,” let us remind ourselves of what we know by asking ourselves important questions:

1.    Do I believe that I can live the Christian life in the energy of the flesh, by natural means, through dedicated effort, or do I remember that it must be lived by faith in Christ, in the power of the Spirit, day by day?
2.    Do I believe that growth in grace is inevitable, or do I remember that I must continue to take steps of faith to keep me victorious?
3.    Do I believe that evangelistic work is for somebody else, or do I remember that every believer is called to be a witness for Christ?
4.    Do I maintain the form of godliness without the power of God in my life?
5.    Do I think that God has given me challenges that I just cannot meet successfully, or do I remember that I can do all things through the strength that Christ gives me?
6.    Do I think that the day of revival has passed, or do I still believe that God’s promises in Acts 1:8 have no expiration date except for the second coming?
7.    Do I forget that Christ actually lives in me, or do I need a reminder?
Our times call for Christians to be all that Jesus meant for us to be.  If we have forgotten the truth about the abundant Christ-life, let us be reminded.
“Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance…”

(2 Peter 1:13)

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God…”

(2 Timothy 1:6)

May we be stirred to revival by remember the truths that bring it.  May we remember that the One Who saves men from the penalty of sin also saves them from the power of their sins.  May we return to the God of revival and experience anew the fire that once burned inside us.

Dr. Rick Flanders