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“Separation From Apostasy”
by A Sadlier   
March 1st, 2008

When our Lord returned to heaven He instituted the church on earth. The church is comprised of “called out ones”, those who are called out of the world to be Heaven’s representatives on earth. The church, corporately, and through each individual believer, is to reflect the holy character of Christ the head of the church and to declare the truth of God’s Word.

The Prince of Darkness has other plans. He sought from the beginning to hinder the church by contaminating it with unholy people and unholy doctrine.

Very early, even in the first century, the Devil was successful in his attacks on the church. His goal was, and still is, to cause the believer and the church to become apostate. Apostasy is a falling away, a departure from the truth of God’s Word. It involves wrong beliefs (doctrine) and as a result, wrong practices.

Three of the representaive first century churches of Asia Minor fell away and became apostate (Rev 2 & 3). As a result of that apostasy, those churches lost their testimonies and were terminated from the earth by our Lord. Apostasy ultimately brings about the termination of a church.

Apostasy was the primary issue of the first century church, apostasy has always been the primary issue of the church. Apostasy is the primary issue of the church today.

Theoretically, if the churches of the first four or five centuries had not become apostate, the world may well have been evangelized 1,500 years ago.

If a church does not become apostate, it will be blessed of God. It will grow strong and souls will be saved. Its love for Christ will grow, and God will be glorified in the church. John 14:21, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."   

The mission of the church is evangelism, to bring the gospel to a lost world. However, the priority of the church is not evangelism. The priority of the church is the Apostles Doctrine, to know it, to believe it to practice it. Out of obedience to the priority of sound doctrine, the mission of the church (and the individual) will be accomplished, souls will be saved and effective evangelism will take place.

New Evangelicals have seriously erred here. The issue is not Evangelism, not church growth, not methods and programs, not nickels and noses. The issue is sound doctrine. Out of sound doctrine will come an understanding of what the church is to be, what it is to be doing and how it is to be done.

In the environment of sound doctrine, God will move by His Spirit, souls will be saved, the church will be blessed and Christ will be glorified.

There has always been a remnant of believers who have sought to maintain purity of doctrine, purity of life and separation from Apostasy.

In the first 50 years of the 20th century the lines were clearly drawn. There were two sides, Liberals and Fundamentalists. There was no deception and no compromise and the true church was never stronger.

The Liberals denied the fundamentals of the faith. The Fundamentalists held firmly to them. In the 1950’s something happened which totally changed the whole situation. Ecumenical Evangelism began and turned black and white into gray. As the two sides rubbed shoulders, the clear lines of distinction were smudged.

Out of that situation there arose New Evangelicalism. This group wished to disassociate themselves from the Fundamentalists. They ceased to contend and battle for sound doctrine. The earnest contending for sound doctrine by the Fundamentalists was an embarrassment to the New Evangelicals.

Instead of confronting Liberals, they began to dialogue with them. From that point forward, the Evangelical church compromised an inch at a time. Today, the Evangelical church is a mile from where it ought to be. Almost everyone decries the mile but few are willing to contend for the inch. We have had 50 years of small compromises, each one seemingly too small to contend.

Jude said we are to “earnestly contend for the faith." We have failed to do this and sadly, many who call themselves Fundamentalists have compromised.

We need to understand that what we believe determines how we act and live and how we serve the Lord. Out of the loss of a clear understanding of what the Scriptures teach regarding what the church is to be and what the church is to do, has arisen the apostasy of the Church Growth Movement, the Seeker Friendly Church, The Purpose Driven Church and the Emergent Church.

These churches have turned away from what the Lord of the church has clearly taught regarding what the church is to be, to do and how it is to be done. These movements are the natural product of New Evangelicalism.

This turning away is absolute apostasy and God’s people need to recognize and reject this apostasy for the error it is and separate from it.

The issue is not whether those involved in apostasy are actually brothers and sisters in Christ. The Scripture teaches we are to separate from disobedient believers. The following texts show this principle. Matthew 18:15-17, "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."   

1 Corinthians 5:11, "But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat."   The issues may vary but the principle of separation is clearly set forth in these and other Scriptures.

One of the reasons for separation from brothers or sisters in Christ is their failure to hold to sound doctrine. 2 Thessalonians 3:6, "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."

Romans 16:17, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."

False doctrine and wrong practice will destroy the church and must be isolated in order to preserve the church. “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” Galatians 5:9. “Beware of the leaven (false doctrine) of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."

Matthew 16:6, "Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven (false doctrine) of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."

In order to preserve the church it is necessary to separate from those who are involved in apostasy even if they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we get to heaven, if those we separate from are truly believers, wrongs will be made right and we will be restored to fellowship with them. Nevertheless, in order to be obedient to the Lord and His Word, we need to separate from apostasy.

New Evangelicalism has been the single most important factor in the compromise of sound doctrine in the church for the last 50 years. It is important to separate from New Evangelicalism.

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