Do two walk together,
unless they have agreed to meet?

— Amos 3:3

Christians who affirm the normative, traditional, historical, orthodox view of the Bible’s teaching on various sins are always accused of being divisive when in sticking to their affirmations they must disassociate with those who don’t.

It’s a disingenuous claim, however, since unity could have been preserved so long as the agreement did. But when one changes a mind on such matters the division has begun with them (1 Corinthians 1:10), not the one who says, “Ah, you’ve changed the rules; you’ve changed the agreement.” It would be like the adulterer calling after his wife as she’s walking out the door in anger and shame that she’s being divisive.

The person who objects is often told they are “singling out” this particular sin as over-important, as more important than unity! But it is not those who protest who are singling out particular sins. It is those bringing the revision, the ones asking, “Did God really say…?”, the ones who suggest it should now be normal what we previously agreed was objectionable who are singling it out, elevating it above the agreement. They are the ones making it the sticking point.

We think of the historical development of credal truth. Many of the historic creeds that so many professing Christians affirm as litmus tests for doctrinal orthodoxy began as responses to introduced heresies. As unbiblical ideas took seed in church communities, those who affirmed orthodoxy thought it best to formulate and codify what had been previously assumed. But it wasn’t the crafters of the creeds who were being divisive. It was the heterodox.

And it isn’t those who believe the Bible when it says sin is sin that are being divisive; it is those who are introducing the idea that some sins aren’t. If you push a decision on something that innovates on the Bible’s testimony, you’re creating the division. Division begins with that first departure. The first step away from the agreement is the original divide. It is simply necessary, then, for Christians to walk away from a divisive person (Titus 3:10). Perhaps they may even say, “Farewell.”

They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.
Jude 18-19

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11 thoughts on “Division Begins with The Departure from the Truth”

  1. Steve Bezner says:

    Thanks, Jared. Good reminder and affirmation.

  2. Alex Osbourne says:

    Throw in a few thees and thous, and this could just as easily be directed at Martin Luther by the Catholic church.

    “That old wheel is gonna roll around once more…”

    1. Josh says:

      Alex,

      You wrote: “Throw in a few thees and thous, and this could just as easily be directed at Martin Luther by the Catholic church.”

      It could also have been directed at the Catholic Church by Martin Luther. On the eve of the Reformation, there is no serious question that the bulk of the Church had strayed far from the truth of the Gospel. If division begins with departure from the truth, the Roman church precipitated division by failing miserably in its faithfulness to the Gospel and to orthodoxy.

      I’d suggest that the homosexual issue today, and the host of ethical and moral issues associated with it, is the most egregious departure from the truth most of us have seen in our lifetime. Those who embark on so clear a departure from the truth must be called back to faithfulness. And those of us who still stand for truth must, in humility, persevere in faithfulness by the grace of God.

  3. Bryan Spurgeon says:

    Amen, it’s time to break rank for those liberal Christians (Rachel Held Evens, for example) who constantly straw-man the argument and so-called “debate” over same-sex marriage and the homosexual lifestyle. People like her are enemies of the Gospel and we need to start treating them as such. These are the ones who cause divisions in the church, worldly people, DEVOID of the Spirit as God Word tells us. Unregenerate voices in the American mainstream evangelical movement are poisoning the masses as many are being deceived. We need to be more aggressive with wolves in sheep’s clothing and stop giving them a “voice” at the debate table when there is no debate. If we continue to give them a voice, it only allows their toxic teachings to spread like gangrene.

    1. Outstanding Bryan!

      I have been begging for exactly what you are calling for. Which is nothing more than simple biblical boundaries, but we can’t even get that anymore. RHE is just one specimen. I could spend the next hour naming more and many far worse than even her.

  4. Steve says:

    Excellent article!

  5. Angela Hogan says:

    Jared, I love this. Reading blogs like Jen Hatmaker’s and others who try to walk the line between orthodoxy and nonorthodoxy and try to justify anything they do by saying “There’s always been disagreement in the church over important issues” are just playing with red herrings. It’s times like these I’m proud to know ya, friend.

  6. george canady says:

    Is there proof that American church segregation has been and is the normative, traditional, historical, orthodox view?

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Jared C. Wilson


Jared C. Wilson is the pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church in Middletown Springs, Vermont. You can follow him on Twitter.

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