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Why Does Unity Matter?

One day Jesus was busy ministering unto the multitudes when a demon-possessed man was brought to him.  The man was bound by the demon so tightly that he could neither see nor speak.  But the moment he met Jesus Christ he was healed of his infirmities and freed from the demon’s control.  The crowd was amazed and began to connect Jesus to the Messiah figure that had long been promised.  Meanwhile, the religious leaders of the day saw Jesus as a threat and attempted to discredit Him by insinuating that he cast devils out through the power of THE DEVIL!  To this ridiculous claim Jesus responded with a logical question in Matthew 12:25-26:

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?”

Clearly, we learn that it is a dangerous thing to attribute to Satan the glorious works of Christ.  But there is another fascinating lesson that must be seen.  A lesson that was eloquently expressed by a fervent young politician from Illinois named Abraham Lincoln.  He was deeply troubled over the increasingly divided country and declared soundly, A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Unfortunately, kingdoms do rise and fall.  Tragically, families do the same.  Corporations, political parties, denominations, small businesses, and even loosely associated movements can fall prey to the natural result of disunity.

My concern today is for the future of Independent Baptist Movement.  It appears to be extremely divided due to the rise of hyper-separatism which, if we understand the words of Jesus, is leading to its eventual demise.

There will be several reactions to the above statement.  Some will immediately question the veracity of the statement believing the IB movement to be stronger, more powerful, and more influential than it ever has been.  Others will say, “good riddance” pointing to the sins of our past and the seemingly insurmountable problems of our present.  Still others will point to this reality as “the signs of the times”, reasoning that the steady decline in church attendance, church planting, and revival is a theological necessity prior to the return of Christ.

But most of us will simply respond with apathy.  Trust me, I get it!  The typical IFB pastor will think the same way I’ve thought for years.  “Who cares if churches don’t get along?  We are “Independent” Baptists!  Focus on your local church and I will focus on mine.  Unity among dozens, hundreds, or thousands of churches is unimportant and unnecessary!”

Yet, I’m slowly becoming convinced that unity in the family of God is absolutely necessary.  I propose that the Independent Baptist Movement is suffering from a lack of unity and unless we address this issue and confront it as problematic there will not be a “movement” to pass on to the next generation.[1]

Why does unity matter?

 1.  The Bible Says So

In a recent article I published, Six Degrees of Separation, [2] I was rightly critiqued for not including enough Scripture to support my thesis.  I will not make the same mistake here for the Word of God is packed with Scripture that teaches the family of God is to be unified.

  • Unity among the brethren is a Command of Scripture[3]

Okay!  Full transparency here!  When I’m reading through a book and I come to a section like this, full of Scripture, I tend to skim through attempting to “get the gist” of where the author is going and the point he is trying to make.  I’M THE WORST!  But please, resist the temptation to skim through these verses.  They are the very Words of God on the matter of brotherly unity and deserve our full attention.

Brotherly Unity is Good and Pleasant:

Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Loving Unity is an Indication of Regeneration:

I John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

Loving Unity is an Apostolic Command:

I Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Romans 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. 

Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 

Brotherly Unity is the Prayer of Jesus:

John 17:20-23 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Ecclesiastical Unity reflects the Spirit of the Gospel:

Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ…that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.

Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

Ecclesiastical Unity reflects the Unity of the Godhead:

Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Brotherly Unity is begged for by Paul:

Philippians 2:1-3 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Loving Unity will be Blessed by God:

I Peter 3:8-12 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

Loving Unity is the Catalyst for Evangelism:

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Ecclesiastical Unity reflects the Power of the Early Church:

Acts 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

Ecclesiastical Unity is the Work of Spiritual Men:

II Timothy 2:23-26 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, lpatient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Ecclesiastical Division is the Work of Carnal Men:

I Corinthians 3:3-4 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and hstrife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

Alright!  Let’s be honest.  If you didn’t have the time to read each of the passages listed and spend a moment considering their inspired content, I want to encourage you to stop reading this blog immediately.  Nothing I have to say in the paragraphs to come will matter in the slightest in comparison to the Scripture.  Nothing I have to say in the paragraphs to come will matter at all without the context of these Scriptures.  So, please, go back and read, study, and contemplate the meaning of these inspired words of God.

Now, not only do we see that Unity among the brethren is a Command of Scripture, we also see that…

  • Unity is not the Antithesis of Biblical Separation

Okay, Josh!  What about separation?  Don’t you believe in ecclesiastical separation? Aren’t the people of God supposed to be separate?

My friend, PLEASE HEAR ME!

YES!  We are to be separate!  I believe this to be Biblical.  This is why I refer to myself as a separatist.  It is not a matter of if we are to be separate but from whom and what we are to separate?  To understand Biblical Separation let us look once again to the Bible.

Separate from Heretics:

Titus 3:9-11 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

Galatians 1:9 If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 

I Timothy 6:3-5 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 

Separate from Unbelievers:

II Corinthians 6:14-17 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you

Separate from Sin:

I Peter 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

I Corinthians 5:11 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.

Separate from those who Deny the Resurrection:

II Timothy 2:16-18 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

Separate from those who Deny the Deity of Christ:

II John 1:9-10 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ…If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed

Separate from Divisive & Heretical Men:

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.

II Thessalonians 3:6 Withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

The family of God can only experience true unity AFTER we have separated from sin, unbelievers, and heretics (historical theological liberals).  Therefore, not only do I believe separation is important, I believe it is essential if true unity is ever to occur.

The disagreement does not lie in whether we should separate from heretical persons, but in how to identify a heretical person.  For me, a person is heretical if they have denied the faith through perverting fundamental doctrine or attempted to change salvific theology. Heretics surely exist.  But not everyone with whom I disagree is a heretic.  Charles Spurgeon is not a heretic, though a Calvinist.  Charles Swindoll is not a heretic, though he preaches from the NIV.  Someone is not a heretic because they misspeak once on a doctrinal matter in a ministry that spans decades.[4]  Someone is not heretical simply because they have a different church polity, music style, or dress differently.  Yes, we must separate from the heretic – but we must also determine to what degree are we Biblically commanded to separate.[5]

Again, the disagreement does not lie in whether we should separate from heretical persons, but in how to identify a heretical person.

  • But what of Amos 3:3 and subjective separation?

Amos, a humble faming prophet from Tekoa, spoke in homespun metaphor and down-to-earth similes.  When speaking to his audience he asks a simple question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”  Is it possible for two individuals to go for a walk unless they agree upon the time and the place?  This is a rhetorical question for the answer is obvious.  No!

The question then is, upon what must two parties agree if they are to continue to walk together?  Must they agree on everything?  Must they have the same preferences in color?  Should they both enjoy the same food?  If one likes guacamole and the other does not – should the part ways?  Do they have to agree upon preferences in airline companies?  Here is the answer!  They must agree on everything they demand as essential for fellowship.

My wife is from Alabama.  When you are born in Alabama you have 6 months to decide if you are an Alabama fan or Auburn fan.  Your first words, legislated by the state authorities, must be either “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle”.  So, can two Christian brothers still walk in unity though they disagree on which football team is better?  It depends.  It depends on whether those two brothers make this preference a matter of separation.  They both know the Bible says nothing in regard to the SEC and football in general.  But the question remains, will these two men allow a preferential belief to keep them from walking together in unity?  Will they ignore the incredible amount of Scripture that demands unity out of a deep sense cultural loyalty?

Why does unity matter?  Because the Bible clearly teaches that the Kingdom of Christ ought strive for unity.  But there are two other reasons unity matters so much.

2. The Kingdom Must Advance

So many of us have been praying for revival for decades!  We desire more than anything to see the Kingdom of Christ advance in our generation.  Yes, we are seeing a few people saved, a few churches planted, and a few missionaries sent out.  Yes, mercy drops ‘round us are falling, but for the showers we plead.  Could it be that one reason revival tarries is due to our inability to get along?  Let us look at the words of Jesus in His prayer for us:

John 17:20-23 Neither pray I for these alone (the 12), but for them also which shall believe on me through their word (us); That they all may be one (unity); as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us (unified): that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one (unified): I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Jesus seems to be praying for the coming family of God.  He seems to be praying that we be unified.  Certainly, He is not praying for one particular local church but for all those who call upon Him, that they be ONE in Christ.  He saw how the twelve continually fought for dominance and argued about nonsensical matters, and this motivated Him to pray for the disciples of the disciples.  He prayed that we would be unified: that the world may know and believe.

  • We Can Do More Together

I’ve heard it time and again, “We are Independent Baptists!  Focus on your local church and I will focus on mine.”  I want to challenge this statement.  I want to challenge it on two levels.  First, the statement may not be entirely true.  Second, the statement may not be entirely effective.

First, we are not independent Baptist churches as much as we are interdependent Baptist churches.  We are not ruled by an ecclesiastical board or hierarchy but we are reliant upon one another for fellowship, international evangelism, national church planting, and the founding and maintaining of advanced educational institutions.  There are some things that are beyond the scope of any individual local church.  I’m not saying that a single local church can’t send out a missionary without the support of other local churches.  It is possible.  I’m not saying that a single local church can’t plant another church without the support of other local churches.  It is possible.  I’m not saying that a single local church can’t establish post-high-school Bible institutes without the support of other local churches.  It is possible.  What I am saying is, we can do more together than we can all alone.

Second, I don’t see isolationism as the most effective way to accommodate international revival.  Citywide revival campaigns, summer camps, Bible conferences, mission boards, Bible colleges, and seminaries are a sampling of parachurch organizations that require a policy of cooperation and collaboration.  However, a movement defined by hyper-separatism rather than unity will dramatically feel the effects of their solitary predilections.

  • Thousands of Missionaries

There are thousands of missionaries around the world who are counting on strong and thriving IB churches for spiritual and financial support.  However, if we continue to splinter and divide over minor issues and preferential methodologies we will steadily see our international reach diminish and die.  Furthermore, if we express an unbiblical spirit of hyper-separatism we will watch our brightest young preachers and ministerial students leave our ranks attempting to find fellowship and cooperation elsewhere.  This is not something that might eventually happen.  This is something that is currently happening now.

My concern is for the thousands of missionaries on the field and the many churches, schools, hospitals, orphanages, radio stations, and missions that will experience rapid decline in support in the next two decades.  I propose that if we continue to demand complete adherence in every area of methodology and choose to use separation and the punishment of isolation we will see mass closer of many good ministries we have spent decades building.  This is a terrible thing for the kingdom of God.

Now, I am not under the naïve assumption that the Independent Baptist movement is the church of God.  The family of God is far larger than any particular movement/convention/denomination.  However, the Independent Baptist movement is a movement of God; and it is terribly sad to see any movement of God become less effectual, heading toward decline and extinction.  The Kingdom of God will continue!  The Gates of Hell will never hold back the church of God.  But this doesn’t mean that our foolishness won’t bring the death of an individual church, camp, college, missionary organization, or even an entire movement of churches. We must be unified if we are to see the Kingdom advance as Jesus desires.

Why does unity matter?  The first reason is Biblical – because the Bible clearly teaches that the Kingdom of Christ ought strive for unity.  The second reason is practical – because the Kingdom of Christ must advance through a unified family of God.  But there is one final reason unity matters so much – and this reason is spiritual.

3. This is the Heart of Jesus

What Would Jesus Want?

This question has been haunting me as of late.  We must not ask what our mentors, members, or detractors would want. Instead, we are compelled to seek the heart of Jesus on the matter of separation and seek to please Him, regardless of the cost.  Here we have recorded by John an intimate moment between the eternal Son of God with the Eternal Father of Heaven.  Imagine the insight we might receive by eavesdropping into a conversation among the Trinity.

John 17:20-23 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

What does Jesus want of his disciples?  It seems to be unity.  In the same way the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father – so he desires that we be intimately unified with Him and each other.  Like a mother begging her children to stop fighting.  Like a pastor beseeching his church to get along.  Here we see the True Head of the church asking the Father that His followers be ONE.

What might we do to help bring unity to the family of God?

  • Love One Another

The Pharisees were consumed with the law and spent their time debating which law was the most important.  So, they decided to seek the heart of Jesus on the matter:

 Matthew 22:36-40 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Showing actionable love to a Christian brother is NOT always easy.  But it is necessary if we are to maintain unity.  When a brother challenges our theology, philosophy, or methodology we should respond with grace as we answer each question.  When you interpret a response as a personal attack, do everything you can to respond with gracious kindness.  Turn the other cheek!  Take the wrong!  Love the brethren, even when they don’t seem to show love to you!

  • Patiently Help People

Whatever you do, FIGHT the urge to FIGHT back!

II Timothy 2:24-26 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Paul told Timothy that meekness, gentleness, and patient teaching might bring the doubter to truth.  The ones who are trapped by the Devil can be freed if you patiently help them – even while they attack you.  This is the heart of Christ.  Even if you feel the whole world hates you – don’t hate them back!

  • Let them See Christ in You

This is only possible if we seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit daily.  You cannot “fake” Christ-likeness.  Practical holiness demands that we spend time with the Lord each day – so much so that the world (and the brethren) see Him when they see us.

“Hey!  Wait one minute Josh Teis!  I know you.  I’ve seen your life, church, ministry, family, Facebook wall, and twitter feed.  When I see you I see a worldly, arrogant, prideful, sarcastic, pragmatic punk.”  To this I cannot provide a rebuttal.  I know myself better than you know me.  And I agree.  I am full of pride.  I battle having an arrogant spirit every day.  I am not being sarcastic here.  I am a deeply flawed man, yes.  My ministry is also flawed and we are attempting to learn from the many mistakes we have made over the years.

I am fully aware that I have not yet arrived at completion.  However, I do pursue it.  I look to Jesus as the example of our faith.  And the more I look to Christ, the more I find my actions, reactions, and daily spirit reflecting the quiet confidence of our Lord and Savior.  When your detractors sense the Spirit of Christ in you, and many times they will sense it for they too have the same Spirit dwelling in them, they will begin to show love, compassion, and acceptance.  THIS will begin the process of healing and bring unity back into our movement.  For this I pray!  For this I long!  For this I hope!  For this I work!

Final thoughts:  One day we will stand at the Judgement Seat of Christ.  Our sin will not be the subject of this hearing for sin was paid for upon the cross.  Our sonship will not be in question for our adoption is secure.  It will be our service that is the focus of this inquiry.  My prayer is that we will be able to stand before our Master having worked together in the harvest field.  That we would not be ashamed of unnecessary separation or brotherly bickering.  This article is written in hopes that we might come together as never before and thereby accomplish more for our King than we could on our own.  If we are to fight – let us fight to retain unity – for it is the biblical, practical, and spiritual thing to do.  Remember, a house divided against itself shall not stand.

Where have I gone wrong?  What did I get right?  Do you feel unity in the Independent Baptist Movement is possible?  Do you feel unity in the Independent Baptist Movement is necessary?  

Comment Below:


[1] This is statement is not only the thesis for this article, it is also the reasoning for this article.  Inevitably someone will say, “People like you are the problem!  Stop writing articles about separation and unity, then everything will be okay.”  However, I propose that pointing out the elephant in the room does not make it appear.  It simply draws attention to that which we’ve all grown accustomed.


[3] Shout out to the Ministry Connection Community Facebook Group for compiling a list of verses on unity and separation.  These are my boys – though we don’t always.

[4] Let us point out truth, but do so in love.  Showing grace is necessary for those of us who have also made mistakes.  Lord knows I’ve said some strange things in sermons and blogs over the years. 🙂

[5] This is the context of the article I recently wrote:

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  • Reply
    December 27, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Biblical! Practical! Spiritual! 3 statements that stuck out in my mind:
    1. “Not everyone whom I disagree with is a heretic.” Most verses people provide about separation have nothing to do with the brethren, but worldliness and heresy, which you aptly pointed out.
    2. “If we continue to splinter and divide over minor issues and preferential methodologies we will steadily see our international reach diminish and die.” As you indicate, this is already happening at an alarming rate. We know not what we do!
    3. “We are compelled to seek the heart of Jesus on the matter of separation and seek to please Him, regardless of the cost.” All through the New Testament, the disciples were constantly caught up in bickering and postering, which led to their disunity. Jesus patiently reinforced love and unity. This seems to be the unfortunate dividing line for many-whether they listen to Jesus, or not.

    Tremendous article Josh! I hope pastors will give it great consideration, and truly seek the heart of Jesus alone, regardless of the cost.

  • Reply
    Rivas Rossiter
    December 27, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    I don’t disagree with the concept; the problem is there are so many unanswered implications. Granted it would be difficult to answer all those implications in a blog, but it does leave a lot of people guessing. For example, is the implication an “all in or all out” mentality – that I must cooperate with all independent Baptists in order to be in unity? Is unity the same thing as cooperation, or can I love and be thankful for another church, but not cooperate with them because of temperament issues or cultural differences? Also, does the fact that I choose not to cooperate with all independent Baptist churches have to mean that I’m an isolationist? Are the only two choices cooperate with all, or cooperate with none? Is confrontation over ministry choices the same thing as disunity? What if our confrontation does not lead to agreement? Can I have a Christlike attitude towards someone and still choose to not cooperate with them because of our doctrinal, temperamental, or cultural difference? If I draw some institutional lines for cooperation, is that disunity? I totally agree that caustic or superior attitudes often lead some to spend way too much time tearing each other down instead of pursuing to build up the kingdom. So my question is, what is the call to action? Is it that in order to be unified we must cooperate, or is it more about us having Christlike attitudes towards each other even when we choose to not cooperate?
    In a nutshell, I believe some independent Baptists are complete self-righteous door knobs. Although I am thankful for anyone they might reach with the gospel, I would never cooperate with them because I believe they would have a deleterious effect on my ministry. Am I practicing good judgment, or disunity?

  • Reply
    Richard Rossiter
    December 27, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    I don’t know why my name came out like that. I am Richard Rossiter

  • Reply
    Kyle Bailey
    December 27, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Thank you Pastor Teis. It has been a shame that we have let small things destroy the unity that we could have with one another. The Corinthian church and Jerusalem church worked together in unity and both had problems. It is hard to watch people fight over insignificant preferences. Im thankful you are willing to put those preferences aside and not judge those who are different. Thank you for standing up and taking some heat on this issue.

  • Reply
    Eric Davis
    December 27, 2017 at 10:15 pm


    To answer the question of where we draw lines etc. I think Albert Mohler has been very helpful with his article on Theological Triage.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      December 28, 2017 at 12:44 am

      That is a brilliant article – thank you for posting it Eric.

  • Reply
    Ryan Hodges
    December 28, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Pastor Teis, spot on. I used to be heavily involved in the IFB movement. Although I never attended a mainstream institution, I tried to follow many. After many years I realized my dogmatic view of separation and how it turned me into a modern day Pharisee. Worse than that my influence on others was impacted. Who wants to convert to the Amish or become a Mennonite? I now pastor a Missionary Baptist church with light associations to Independent, Missionary and conservative SBC Christians and ministries. I havent changed my enthusiasm in ministry but it has changed my love. Folks are being saved and discipled. This article was insightful and needed!

  • Reply
    Josh Miller
    December 28, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Where is the line? The old-Timey fuddie duddies like everyone reading this likely used to be would have separated from other believers especially concerning the kjv, major doctrine, and to a smaller degree music. All the verses given teach unity in the local church or Israel as a people. I don’t see anything in Paul’s epistles that tell the church at Phillipi to get together with the church in Ephesus, etc. Though they did get together via men being sent there when others strayed from sound doctrine.

    I cor 1:10 was a verse used that said we should speak the same thing so there aren’t divisions among us. How does unification with Charles Swindoll, Jerry Falwell, and many others bring a unified message? It only comes when we fall in line with their teaching. These men, though they have done some great things, do not believe in the inerrancy of scripture (outside of the originals). Many like him support and encourage interdenominational unity through their music and other outlets all at the expense of doctrine. We cannot unite with people that do not believe the book they preach from to be God’s word.

    What is the fruit of this movement? We have not seen it yet at best, but it certainly won’t be the same thing fruit that produced you and many of the people reading. So far the message of unity is producing a Biblically ignorant generation of Christians that care more about the music than what is preached. Current pastors, leaders, and others that grew up under different ideology will be less effected because of the Biblical foundation they have, but the next generation will do nothing. Different doctrine especially regarding the Bible’s preservation has a dangerous effect and does not produce the fruit we desire from our ministries. Nearly all of the national figures from this movement were largely produced in churches that are being called hyper-seperatist now.

    I appreciate the article, I worry that encouraging others to place themselves under the influence of people that differ doctrinally is dangerous. Preference should not divide believers, but doctrine should. So few have the discernment to differentiate where those men are scriptural and ignore their teaching where they have ventured into liberal theology. From what I am seeing everyone that I know that has put themselves under those men has less faith in scripture, more confusion over doctrine, and less fruit that remains. The more unity we find among churches and denominations will cause more of God’s people to be corrupted as these movements become more corrupted. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

    Why should we not focus on our local church first? What benefit does unity between random churches have for the average church member. I am not advocating and have never been to a church where the preacher gets up and criticizes the pastor across town. The lack of unity among churches that is described does not exist in great majority of churches. It seems like a straw-man created so he can be torn down by those looking for error in fundamental baptist churches. The only hope for a greater international reach is a stronger reach locally to allow the support of more like-minded missionaries.

    • Reply
      February 14, 2018 at 6:47 am

      Couldn’t agree much more!

  • Reply
    David Bousquet
    December 28, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    I would like to add two additional thoughts here. First, before unity can be advanced between churches there must be true unity within each church. To strive for the first without the second is foolishness. The tendency that many have is to neglect the cultivation of transparency and confession within the church. We often are guilty of turning our churches into professional churches instead of confessional ones. A confessional church is one that fosters an attitude of sanctuary for those within it which in turn helps them to openly share their deep sinful struggles with each other. This brings about real unity and is the foundational concept between Iron sharpening iron.

    The second thought is that pastors need to come to the realization that they are not placed over a flock of sheep but instead over a portion of God’s flock. Each church (assume biblical church, let’s not hen peck right now) is only a portion of God’s church, and each pastor is called to edify and improve the health of that portion. At times, it may be necessary for God to move portions of a flock from place to another for the benefit of the whole flock. A pastor should look for opportunities to send mature believers to other churches to aid the growth of those churches. Too often we tend to jealously guard each attendee as if we are God’s final plan for them. This is lunacy. My ways are not God’s ways, and there are plenty of churches that may need some people from my church to help them. Paul stressed that he planted and Apollos watered. Different men have different gifts, and at times the church needs both. Not a thousand individual flocks, but one broken up to provide what is necessary for each group at that moment.

  • Reply
    Stuart Harvey
    December 30, 2017 at 12:34 am

    Proverbs 22:24 make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go.

    I believe that scripture is clearly teaching us to seperate ourselves from those who are controlled by anger.
    Now, just to throw a spanner in the works, as the 32 year old son of an IB pastor, I have met a LOT of IB pastors in my time who clearly had uncontrollable anger issues.

    I would like to know what your thought are on this particular verse, Josh.

  • Reply
    Rebekah Tastet
    January 2, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    Well-written article – enjoyed the Scripture you included. I read this article after I read a FB message sent to me by a missionary friend…it read…
    “This may seem random to you, but it’s something I was thanking God for today. I wanted to thank you and Eric for being genuine…for being what you think God wants you to be and caring about His work the way you do. It shows in your everyday life, and I value that in friends. Even if there are a few things where we are different, I love it that we can still strive together, on opposite sides of the world, as good friends, for HIS cause. Thanks for being that kind of Christian and friend. I pray for you often! Love you!”
    Unity. Your message is needed and appreciated, Pastor Josh – thank you!

  • Reply
    February 13, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    Those who are “separating” are those who are breaking AWAY from tradition IFB churches. Those who are CHANGING the music, CHANGING the Bible translations, and CHANGING their views on attire and tattoos.

    You cannot break from tradition and accuse those who adhere to them of separating. YOU are the divider if YOU are the one changing.

  • Reply
    February 14, 2018 at 6:58 am

    We are to be separate from the world. The problem with liberalism creeping into IFB churches is not so much separation from other churches, but the lack of separation from the world.

    Too many churches are moving away from the very traditions that worked for US to be saved under, because pastors believe that the music and Bibles that were good enough for us are no longer good for those in our churches.

    The effect is clear. Look around us. The Church is dying because churches have become entertainment venues, and those of us who desire sticking with what worked for the last couple hundred years and worked for me 30 years ago, and worked for SHBC two years ago are called “hyper-separatists” or “legalists” (by the way, labeling is generally a bad thing…right?)

    As IFB churches lose separation from the world, they increase separation from each other. It’s an easily measured correlation.

    There is a fundamental misunderstanding of unity and separation here.

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