But first, Contending for the Faith. This week’s question: A frequent reaction to The Seduction of Christianity is that it causes division within the body. What is your response to this criticism?
Dave: Well, it depends on what you mean by division. If you mean that we are dividing over non-essentials because we don’t like someone or we feel differently about something, that shouldn’t be. Jesus caused division everywhere he went. He was accused of causing division three times in the Book of John. He’s accused of causing division. In Luke 12 Jesus says in fact, “I came not to bring peace, but a sword. I came to cause division between husbands and wives, and parents and children....” What Jesus is talking about there is the truth cuts like a sword and it does divide. And I must make a clear stand for truth, because as we’ve tried to explain—we’re not saying it, Jesus said it. This is the issue. It’s the truth that sets you free. Jude said we must earnestly contend for the faith once for all delivered unto the saints, because false doctrine or false gospel will send people to hell not to heaven. So therefore that is something that I should divide over. The news item that we just had, he got involved in dialogue. Jesus didn’t say go into all the world and dialogue. Dialogue is, well for instance, I just in the last couple of weeks on trips, I’ve had a limo driver who was a Sikh; I had a limo driver that was a Muslim and I had some very fruitful discussions with them. In fact, to such an extent that just a few days ago the Muslim driver wouldn’t take a tip from me. He said I had already given him a wonderful gift, because he came to understand the gospel. I didn’t dialogue with them. Dialogue is you try to come to some meeting of the minds. Oh I’ll give up a little and you give up a little and so forth.
Tom: It’s a consensus. We’re moving from Christian, from absolute to a consensus which is compromise. Right?
Dave: Right. Paul disputed in the marketplace. He proved that Jesus was the Christ. He confounded the Jews and the Greeks as well. And I’m to go into all the world and preach the gospel. And I must—you don’t dialogue about truth. I don’t dialogue about whether two plus two is four. That’s one of the problems in our public schools, as most people know. It’s not facts any more, but how do you feel about it? How do you feel about two plus two is four? You know? So that’s dialogue, but that’s not going to get anybody to heaven. So there will inevitably be division. You know, I’ve had and I’m sure you’ve had quoted at us, Romans 16: 17. “Mark those which cause division among you and avoid them.” And I say wait a minute, that’s not what it says. You better go back and read it again. It says, “Mark them that cause division among you contrary to the doctrine you have received and avoid them.” You don’t cause division by standing for sound doctrine. We are united in the truth. We cause—division is caused by introducing false doctrine and refusing to be corrected on it.
Tom: Right. It’s the truth that unites us. I mean we can try to do whatever we think we can do to come together in unity, but if it’s without truth, biblically there is no unity. You know, it’s interesting how these ideas of division, just as you’ve mentioned the misquoting of Romans:16:17. We’re told that doctrine divides and it does.
Dave: It does.
Tom: But, the idea is that it has a negative connotation. We don’t want to get into doctrine. Don’t talk to me about doctrine brother, just tell me you love Jesus. And we’ve been through this before. Jesus who? Without doctrine, without biblical teaching, we don’t know who this Jesus is that we are talking about and that we’re supposed to unite around. But it’s truth.
Dave: The reason why doctrine divides and truth divides is because it does unite you if you believe it. And those who don’t believe it, who reject it, are outside. They are not part of this. So if we read the prayer of Christ in John 17 for unity, then I believe the prayer was answered. We are united. It’s a unity in the truth, it’s a unity in God’s Word and it’s a unity in [that] Jesus says “Thou art in me and I and thee, that they may be one in us.” So it is a family unity. We are only united in the family of God because we’ve been born of the Spirit of God, in the family of God and believe the truth of God. We’re following him. So the Bible never says to make unity. But it says, “Keep the unity of the Spirit.” And this is the Spirit of truth who leads us into all truth. So yes, there will be division because there are many who reject the truth, but we’re not going to compromise with them for the sake of coming up with some false unity. To be unified around error; around heresy is only going to destroy peoples’ lives. It’s not going to help.