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“Good Men in Bad Places and Bad Men in Good Places”
by Art Sadlier   
April 1st, 2007

In Ezekiel 44:16-18 the Lord made a fine distinction about the garments the priests were to wear, “They shall be clothed with linen garments, and no wool shall come upon them whilst they minister” God is God of fine distinctions, in this text he makes a fine distinction between linen and wool garments. We see that this fine distinction was very important to God, of course He is using physical things to teach spiritual realities.

Fine distinctions in spiritual matters are very important to God. In verse 23 it says, “and they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” That is a call to separation. Paul emphasizes this separation in 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14 “… withdraw yourself from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition (teaching) which he received from us.” That is separation on the basis of sound doctrine and disobedience to God’s Word.

A Good Man in a Bad Place can be a terrible stumbling block to others, causing them to see no harm in wrong associations. A good man who believes the right things, but is pastoring an apostate church or is in an apostate group or denomination is a stumbling block which will lead others into ecumenical compromise.

A Bad Man in a Good Place will be the little leaven (evil) that will leaven the whole loaf. Calling a pastor who is not sound in doctrine or is from an apostate denomination will ultimately corrupt and destroy the church. It matters not how pleasing a preacher he may be, God’s Word teaches that the Bride of Christ is to be separate from apostate churches and apostate pastors.

This may seem unloving, but when a doctor cuts a cancer from the body it is an act of love toward the body. Jude wrote “… it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.”

The following is a list of Biblical principles which prevent ecumenical and doctrinal compromise.

  1. Scripture forbids us to have fellowship with unbelief.
  2. Scripture commands us to reprove apostasy.
  3. Scripture teaches us that we must purge unbelief where we can.
  4. Scripture teaches that believer and unbeliever cannot by yoked together in spiritual endeavor.
  5. Scripture teaches us to separate from disobedient brethren.
  6. God’s work done in God’s way produces only good results. God’s work done in man’s way produces bad results.
  7. Do not affiliate your church with any church, mission, movement or evangelistic effort which does not fully believe the Word of God.
  8. Do not affiliate your church with any church, mission, movement or evangelistic effort which does not practice Biblical separation.
  9. When in doubt, don’t join.
  10. Separation is not the answer to every disagreement between brethren.
  11. The Spirit of God has never led one Christian contrary to one word of the Word of God.
  12. At any given time of Church history God is most severe on those whom He is using at that moment.
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