God’s clear command to Christians in II Corinthians 6:14-18 is to not be yoked together with unbelievers in doing or supporting the Lord’s work under any circumstance. We are to minister to unbelievers and preach the Gospel to them; but we are not to seek unbeliever’s help in carrying out or helping to support a Christian ministry, even though it seems the logical and reasonable thing to do. This doctrine of separation is repeatedly taught in Scriptures, such as Romans 16:17-18, Galatians 1:6-9, II Peter 2, and II John 7-11. To ignore and disobey this doctrine of separation is the sin of Balaamism, which the Bible repeatedly warns us of and of which I will deal with in the next message in this series.
From the time of Adam and Eve, Satan’s lures and temptations have always appeared to be pious and right. II Corinthians 11:13-14 teaches us that often Satan appears and appeals to us in dreams and visions as an angel of light. We are tempted to disobey God because it seems to us that we are spiritually strong and that we can accomplish more good through our disobedience. In fact, Satan convinces us that we are not disobeying God.
Early in my ministry I pastored a small rural denominational church associated with the liberal National Council of Churches. Within that church were some solid Bible believing Christians who knew and loved the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. They appreciated my biblical preaching. During the four years I was there as their pastor, many opportunities opened for me to be of blessing beyond my church doors. As a young preacher, still in my twenties, I had the opportunity to be the pastor/advisor for the denominational youth activities of the more than ten denominational churches within that Association. Furthermore, I directed the denominational camp for the Junior High youth for two summers.
One night I had a clear vision of how God could use me if I would continue within that liberal denomination for the rest of my life. It was a convincing vision which made me feel good about my unbiblical yoke with that liberal denomination. At the time I felt it was a vision from God assuring me that I was on the right track and that I should continue my course of action. Later I realized that it was Satan who had given me that vision, even though God in His wisdom and sovereignty used me to accomplish His will.
After four years with that church, I was called to a larger church in that same denomination; a church close enough to one of their denominational seminaries where I could continue graduate work and earn a graduate degree, thereby opening up more doors for my advancement to larger churches and greater opportunities.
I accepted that call and began my seminary training. It wasn’t long until I realized I was being fed the Neo Orthodoxy of Karl Barth and Emil Brunner and other theologians of that dangerous persuasion. I deal with Neo Orthodoxy a little later in this SEPARATION series of messages.
I continued with this church for about four and a half more years, preaching the Gospel and warning of the dangers I was being taught.
When I left this second church, they called a new faithful Bible preaching pastor who offered to come if they would vote themselves out of that liberal denomination. They did and he began a long fruitful pastorate of about forty years there.
Incidentally, the Christians of that earlier rural church I pastored, after vainly trying to separate from the liberal denomination; eventually separated from their church and established a solid, thriving Bible based church and Christian school for their children.
Since that time, I have enjoyed long fruitful ministries in two more Bible churches, concluding fifty-five years of pastoral ministry in 2011 at the age of 78. .
As you continue your study of this series of messages on Separation, may God open your spiritual eye-sight to the dangers of attempting to serve the Lord by compromising with those who question and deny the infallibility of the Bible. Don’t trust your visions. Trust and obey God’s Word. At the same time don’t judge Bible believing pastors serving in liberal denominations. Romans 14:1-13 They are God’s servants; not yours.
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