“We are called to be set-apart in truth, not unified in lies”
2 Corinthians 6:14,17
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?…Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.
Often times over the years I would here sermons preached with one or both of these verses with the reference made that the “them” as in coming out from among them and the “unbelievers” as in be not unequally yoked with them applies to the world. Calling for us to be Holy/Holier and “separate” from the world and those who would drag us to the pits to hell with them. Always mentioning a list of sins and lusts that are going to splash on us like an acid, if we mingle with the world i.e. sinners. I’ve heard them rail against hanging with those who weren’t saved. Ironic that, that’s who Jesus hung with.
Took me a while to stumble across the false teaching of these verses, as the past several years my focus has been on the horrific false teachings and all the mangled verses coming out of the Charismatic camps that I had been a part of. Not that they too wouldn’t hesitate to use these verses in the same false way if it meant their purpose. The misuse/false teachings of these verses however I attribute more to the Baptist or fundamental camps that I also had the opportunity to learn from, albeit the hard way, but learn I did. Legalism runs deep in both camps, Charismatic and Baptist; it’s just the legalism looks different.
I will include this small article (Baptist in nature) to show my point. http://www.baptistdeception.com/doctrine-of-separation/
While one could make the case that there is nothing wrong with keeping one’s self out of the fray of worldly enticements etc. and we should; but these scriptures are in fact talking about the church, false teachings and not being “yoked” (to have fellowship with one who is not an equal). It’s speaking of those within the church and also teachings of the church that are false doctrine’s and false brethren.
1 Cor. 5:9-13
I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner – not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore, put away from yourselves the evil person.
The New Testament’s use of the word ‘idolater’ does not confine the term to the worship of images, but extends it to the soul’s devotion to any object (rather it be a person or thing) which usurps the place of God. (Vincent’s Word Studies)
Ephesians 5:5 includes covetous as a form of idolatry.
When considering the context, Christians are giving more latitude to give more respect to those who are unsaved and worldly than to those who are erroring or worldly Christians. There is less danger in associating with people of the world than with carnal professors of the faith. Why? Because we already know worldly people are lost and their influence is the prince and power of the air (Satan). We can easily guard against such, but so called brethren are a different sort, they blend in posing as pious. This appears to be a paradox, yet God made provision for believers to conduct themselves in the world yet remain sanctified. However, within the Church body such provision is not provided as a little leaven leavens the whole lump (1 Cor. 5:6-7). You may have heard it said, “you are who you hang with.” This statement just happens to be true and biblical. Let’s look at what Paul said to the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 15:33-34; “Do not be deceived; Evil company corrupts good habits. Awake to righteousness and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” Our lives are influenced by what we believe and with whom we associate. In the Corinthian Church Paul was dealing with two people groups, Jews who were superstitious and Gentiles who were immoral. Not to mention, the sanctity and harmony of the Church was at risk by false teachers who were undermining the influence teachings of Paul. There is more of it to contend with today with the prevailing influence of TBN, the NAR, and an innumerable amount of false teachers across denominational lines.
There are three crippling agents prevalent in the Modern Church which we also see in the Corinthian church, spiritual pride, love of money (greed, covetousness) and Immorality. We are plagued with people calling themselves Christian who make statement like; “you have your opinion and I have mine,” or “your just being divisive when you judge other Christians,” all who consider doctrinal purity as excrement. This is not only sad, it’s pathetic! The cause? 1 Cor. 15:34 “for some do not have the knowledge of God.” Connivance of false doctrine and immorality within the Church is a big problem today. TV Evangelist are so enamored with the media and public exposer and name recognition they have given themselves over to idolatrous practices and false doctrine. They are addicted to the revenue TV coverage produces. Sadly, their influence then bleeds out to their audience then in turn is carried into the Churches. The common snare today is the rich foundations of our institutions which have produced the so called champions of the faith who are able writers, eloquent speakers, and provide aesthetic church buildings and services. Holiness preaching and spiritual growth have been placed on the back burner and let me add, the fire is out.
Whether it be false brethren or a “so called brother” as our text states, it is the nature of weeds to choke out the healthy and over run the natural. Jesus used the example of tares amongst the wheat displaying how the church would be in constant pearl until the end of the age (Matt. 13:24-30). Tares were common in Palestine and closely resemble wheat. Usually they are not distinguishable from wheat until the grain appears at harvest time. Separation and relative purity in conduct and doctrine is imperative but not practicable, ultimately it will be done by God. Until the Lord’s return we strive for personal purity and wholeness of doctrine endeavoring to discern and keep an arm’s length from those posing as brethren.
Once again believing that these verses refer to the world instead of false brethren, church’s and leadership in them; is leading us on a continual path of ignorance and deception. We lack discernment in these areas and they are critical to our spiritual growth and walk. We have been so conditioned to spoon fed sermons that even when they teach on discernment it’s meant to look at some other’s work, beliefs or behaviors instead of a steady checks and balance with the Word of God concerning what is coming from our own leadership. Any leadership worth its salt is more than willing to examine and have themselves examined by the congregants.
2 Corinthians 11: 3-5
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him.”
Note: Ran into someone from my former church that we had left several years ago. A very lovely person. Of course “church” came up. We were careful not to speak ill of the leadership but we were clear on the deception that comes from the pulpit. Here’s a few statements from the person that still goes there. “I don’t agree with everything the pastor says but I go for the fellowship.” “I go there, it’s the lesser of the evils.” (at which point I said that should really give you pause!!). “I’m not much of a logical person.” “I’m more emotional. I’m not a biblical scholar.”
Out of the four statements, three were the standard pat answers and excuses as to why one stays in a church that does not hold true to the Bible. I would like to note that we did not in any way question this individual as to why they were still there. These statements came out almost as a defensive line in case we did. I expected to hear “I don’t agree with everything the pastor says, I go for the fellowship” that is like a blanket statement that will cover almost any ill or deception within the church walls. As long as we are with other believers we’re ok, we are good and we are doing God’s will. Even though we are feed a steady diet of deception.
Of course the first part of the above statement of not agreeing with everything the Pastor says, is supposed to show us that they know the truth so everything’s ok, they’re ok they know what’s right after all……no worries. By no means do they ever address the pastor with what they don’t agree with, there is just the unspoken compliance of the masses.
“I’m not much of a logical person, I’m more emotional.” This of course translates to how much they “follow the Holy Spirit” supposedly in leading them. They feel what is right, they hear what is “right” or they see (visions) what is right. Never stopping to check with scripture to find out if it lines up with the Word of God. Which leads right into the next expected statement….” “I’m not a biblical scholar,” it really means they don’t read the Word and any scripture they see or read is given on Sunday mornings from the pulpit on the big screen most likely cherry picked out of context.
However, I have to admit that this statement “I go there, it’s the lesser of the evils” …. I was not expecting and it really floored me. Now let me put this statement into context. When the individual made this statement the conversation centered around how so many of the local area churches were of the same flavor and congregants will leave one church run to another etc. and it turns into a revolving door. We live in a very rural area, small towns etc. I’m still having trouble processing this statement. I did tell the individual ….” that should give you pause”, I was almost speechless…. So this is a full blown admission of knowing that false teachings are coming from many local church pulpits including the one they choose to listen to and then justify it by saying it’s the lesser of the evils. Isn’t that like saying it’s just a little poison, a little leaven, a little lie?
What of the verse (2 Cor. 6::17) “Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you.”? Oh I know many of us have heard sermons from the pulpit that cherry picked this verse out and made it into “saints vs. sinners” and stay away from the world and worldly people etc.
I see apathy and blindness in the people of the little church we have been recently going to. So far the pastor is the only one that we are of like mindedness when it comes to the condition of the church and deception and sees the need to correct it. They so want to punch their spiritual time card for the week, so it seems. They don’t want to be challenged, don’t want the boat rocked, want the same ole, same ole……after all they have it hard enough just living life through the rest of the week…. right? They don’t want to see the deception or prophecies unfolding almost weekly concerning the end times. They have it hard enough…. true, life is just hard at times. Scripture is clear though that it will get harder and we should “TAKE HEED” that no one deceives you.