Once I have decided that someone is violating biblical principles and that I must withdraw or withhold ministerial fellowship from him, does the failure of others to go along with my decision necessarily mean that I must withdraw or withhold ministerial fellowship from them too? And does the same question come up at a new level after each decision? I believe I must separate from Pastor A because of his disobedience to biblical truth, but Pastor B isn’t ready or willing to do that yet. Must I separate from Pastor B too? If you say yes, then what do I do about Pastor C who won’t separate from Pastor B (even though he might separate from Pastor A)?Many fundamentalists have incoherently and hypocritically answered these questions. I believe that's a large part of the reason so many men who grew up in fundamentalism are convinced that, regardless of what might be the most healthy set of pastoral and church associations where they might teach and apply the convictions they learned from fundamentalists, the fundamentalist movement most certainly is not it.
Doran's answer in the next paragraph of his post is that he would vehemently disagree with some of the people in that alphabet soup. Certainly A. Maybe B. Possibly even C. I can't tell. He doesn't say. And in a sense, I don't blame him, because several of the "C"s are guys who speak at his church and/or graduated from his seminary and/or invite him to preach at Bible Conference.
I appreciate the fact that he's exposing the complexity of his dilemma. I agree with his conclusion: "I need to leave room for them to differ with me on this call or else I run the risk of making my conscience the standard for everybody else." What he says there, without explicitly saying it, is that the case for secondary (tertiary, quadruciary, etc.) separation that so many fundamentalists have championed is neither biblical nor viable.
But of course, if you're reading this, you probably already knew that.
Update: Doran just posted again. Read this part, at the very least:
For instance, when well-known fundamentalists make a questionable decision, it is sometimes explained with reasons like: (1) personal friendships with the hosts; (2) assurances that the hosts do not agree with the stranger views of the other speakers; (3) explanations that while those guys do hold some strange views, they really love souls (or have some other commendable trait); (4) in spite of their errant views, we think we can help that circle move toward a more biblical position; and/or (5) lack of knowledge regarding who all was involved in the event.Of course Doran's right. And if you think the approach he critiques sounds like hypocrisy, it's because it is. And if you think you've been hearing people say that for years, it's probably because you have.
Yet, when some “non-fundamentalist” speaks alongside a person with questionable theology or ministry practices, he might offer the exact same kind of explanations and be soundly rebuked for (in corresponding order): (1) putting friendship ahead of the truth; (2) failing to realize the confusion that platform fellowship creates; (3) exalting man above God; (4) embracing an end justifies the means mindset; and/or (5) being careless about his ministry and with the Truth.