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Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.


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Saturday, 5 January 2013

Dr Joel Beeke's latest compromises

Please read this article written by Ralph Ovadal, pastor of Pilgrims Covenant Church, Monroe, Wisconsin. It is entitled:

[Click on the title for the link]

It makes sad reading to learn of the array of New Calvinists, Romanists, feminists, Seventh-day Adventists etc that Joel Beeke is in association with by speaking at conferences where those who hold these views are included. How is this in keeping with the Scriptural teaching on separation?

39 comments:

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Anonymous said...

The Whites' questions :

Can you explain why Joel Beeke was invited to Mount Merrion Free Presbyterian Church last September when it was clear to anyone with discernment that he is deeply compromised?
Do you not also see compromise in your own denomination,for example when Dr.Ian Paisley attended an ecumenical service?

Good questions but it is unfair to ask Rev. McLung to answer. After all he didn't invite Joel Beeke to any meeting and he certainly didn't attend ecumenical services. Also if he has criticisms of the brethren involved, an internet blog is hardly the place to air them.

Rev Brian McClung said...
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A Smith said...

Dear Rev McClung

I was wondering what your thoughts were on Free Presbyterians, including your moderator, collaborating with Joel Beeke on a new KJV study Bible (see link below)

Many thanks

http://www.joelbeeke.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/KJV-Study-Bible-ad.pdf

Rev Brian McClung said...
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Rev Brian McClung said...

A Smith

Thank you for that link. I was aware that something like this was in the pipeline but I wasn't aware of who was precisely involved.

My views remain as I have expressed them here on this Blog. I believe Joel Beeke is greatly compromised by some of those whom he continues to associate with, especially when he gave an assurance that he would break his links with some of these people six months or so ago.

Brian McClung

A Smith said...

Dear Rev McClung

Thank you kindly for your response. I have a follow up question if that is ok?

I was wondering, in your opinion, to what level or extent do we take the stand of separation to.

Do we just not associate with the apostate or do we not associate with the apostates associates, and their associates and so on.

I might not be explaining myself very well. Let me give an example.

If Joel Beeke associates with men in error, should we not associate with good men who associate with Joel Beeke. And then apply it again: should we not associate with good men who associate with good men who associate with Joel Beeke. (I don't mean this to sound ridiculous but hope you understand my example)

Many thanks for your time and response

Rev Brian McClung said...

A Smith

The subject you are raising is commonly known as 'Secondary Separation'.

It is based upon the teaching of 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14,15: 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.
And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.


These verses teach that God's people are to separate from brethren who 'walk disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us'.

One of the tenets that Paul has repeatedly taught in the New Testament is that of separation from error, cf. Rom 16:11; Eph 5:11; Titus 3:10; 2 Cor 6:14-18.

Therefore if a believer maintains fellowship with those who deny the faith and refuses to break fellowship with them, we are duty bound to break fellowship with that fellow believer until they see the error of their ways. As 2 Thess 3:15 says: we are to count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

There is an article on the Blog which enlarges upon separation: http://soundofanalarm.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/new-testament-teaching-on-apostasy.html

Brian McClung

Rev Brian McClung said...
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kd said...

II Thess 3 is talking about those who will not work and are idle. The purview here is to admonish those brothers that are lazy! You have picked out vs. 6,14 and 15 without providing the full context which is idleness and the Christian. This chapter should not be used in the larger discussion on separation as it is specific to what it is addressing

Rev Brian McClung said...

kd

Even if your reasoning is correct, and it's not, it still supports withdrawing from those who fail to practice clear scriptural commands such as that of separating from false teachers. Is idleness a greater or lesser wrong than associating with false teachers? I would suggest 'lesser'! Therefore if the command in these verses requires a believer to separate from the 'idle', which is the lesser evil, it also must include separation from those believers who fail to observe clear commands of scripture, which is the greater evil.

It is however incorrect to state that .

Paul sets the context in which these commands, from vv 6,14,15, are to be understood and the context is much wider than 'idleness'.

In verse 6, which reads: 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, the context is clear outlined:every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. This takes in much more than 'idleness'. Is this the only thing Paul ever taught? Is this the only tradition that Paul give to the New Testament Church or even to the Thessalonians? No it is not.

In verse 14 which reads: 'And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed', the context is again clearly outlined: 'And if any man obey not our word by this epistle' This epistle is about much more than 'idleness'.

Dr Peter Masters had this to say about this chapter and its application to 'Secondary Separation':
In this chapter Paul deals particularly with the problem of some church members who would not work.
But before dealing with this specific offence, Paul lays down the principle which governs all church discipline and separation.
The 'principle' is vital for this present study because it governs secondary separation; the grounds on which one must sometimes separate from those who are fellow-believers. The apostle says -
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.
The 'tradition' consisted of all the vital doctrines and duties which the inspired apostles preached and wrote down. It included, of course, the crucial commands to keep apart from false religions at all costs. (Paul uses the same word in the previous chapter [verse 15], where it is clear that he refers to all the fundamental doctrines and duties of the faith, not just the duty to work for a living.)
Anyone who was unruly and insubordinate and who flagrantly ignored these apostolic instructions was to be warned, and if unrepentant was to be 'withdrawn from'.


Brian McClung

kd said...

You are stretching the context. Though the principle may be correct, please use verses that apply to the specific area of separation. There is scriptural support for separating from evil doers and false teachers. There is very little scriptural support (unless you take it out of context) for separating over many of today's secondary issues like music, bible translations, etc. Too often passages like the on from II Thess are used when in reality they are talking about something else entirely. I appreciate your zeal to reinforce and support your separation stands, but don't misapply scripture to do it.

kd said...

Yes but if the passage is talking about laziness don't try to apply it to Joel Beeke! Joel Beeke is neither an evil doer, a false teacher or lazy! II Thess is a specific injuction toward those who are lazy! You seem to be using this chapter as a catch all for your own application of separation. If you want to criticize Joel Beeke feel free to do it. It is just more effective if you use verses that are relevant to your argument.

kc said...

One more thing....Despite your conclusion regarding idleness being worse than association with false teachers, perhaps idleness is equal to or greater than association with false teachers. I always marvel at scripture and how it is handled. It says a glutton is worse than a drunkard. Scripture says it but no one really believes that! Perhaps idleness really is a big sin. Perhaps it is the breeding ground for worse things. Is this the best chapter and verse to condemn those who have "wrong associations?" Are you going to separate from folk in your church who are lazy?

Rev Brian McClung said...

Kd or Kc

If I am stretching the context or misapplying these verses then I am in the company good men and happy to be there! There is more than me who understand these words to apply to secondary separation. I give you the opinion of Dr Peter Masters in my previous comment.

If you do a simple search on the web, you will find many writers basing secondary separation upon this passage. There may indeed be a discussion about how far the principle of secondary separation applies but it is not easily denied that these verses deal with this subject.

I suppose one way of not having to face up to the issues you mention is to deny that the Bible requires separation from these things!

If you read the wider context of the epistle you will find that Paul is dealing with more than just 'laziness' per se. The 'disorderly conduct' mentioned by Paul includes spreading all manner of exciting gossip about the Lord's return, ch 2:2; troubling the Church, ch 2:2; meddling in other people's business, ch 3:11; scrounging of fellow believers, ch 3:12, to name a few.

Insisting upon such a narrow definition of what ch 3 is speaking about leads to all manner of distortions.

I never said that Joel Beeke was any of those things you mention. I have said that he give his word to break links with these people 6 months ago and has failed to do so. Why would he do that if there was no command in Scripture to do so and why has he not kept his word?

Brian McClung

KD said...

You said idleness is a "lesser" sin than association with false teachers. However the passage does not say that. The passage focuses on idleness. Whatever else it may say, it is stressing the sin of idleness. It may include more but the point of the passage is that Christians must not be lazy. We should take the scripture for what it is and not make it fit whatever argument we are using. Those who use this for secondary separation are misguided. Scripture says much about idleness - II Thess 3:10 "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." I Tim 5:8 "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." Idleness is a grievous sin. God was not pleased with it. To say it is a "lesser" sin is not be correct. A passage can encompass more than what it says on the surface but what it says on the surface is the meaning of the passage. If I employ your methodology I can make any passage say anything I want to fit into my box. You cannot do that with scripture!



KD said...

I am in full support of breaking off fellowship with evil and false teachers. I am not an advocate of breaking off with good men who may be friends of someone I dont like. To practice second degree separation correctly you would eventually have to leave the planet! It becomes absurd to keep up with who is friends with who; if my separation list is different from your list should you and I separate from each other? Second degree separation is a crazy notion. If you have a good passage that supports second degree separation please let me know. I would love to see it!

Rev Brian McClung said...

KD

The principles of second degree separation is the teaching of 2 Thess 3:6,14,15. I have previously sought to demonstrate that this is a widely held view of the passage. Paul then applies this to subject of 'idleness' which I have sought to show to you takes in a number of other matters as outlined in this epistle.

All Paul's instructions to this church in 2 Thess 3 are predicated upon the existence of the concept of secondary separation. If there is no such thing as secondary degree separation, as you have claimed, you have just destroyed the whole argument of the passage and the whole basis for Paul's command to this church.

Paul is not commanding these believers to separate from false teachers, which is primary separation. Rather he is commanding them to separate from a fellow believer who is not walking according to the 'tradition' received.

This is what secondary degree separate is - ie. separation from a fellow believer who is not walking correctly. As I said above, if secondary separation is not to be found in this portion then there is no logic to Paul's argument and no basis for him to command these believers to act in the way he has. The passage then is meaningless - Paul is teaching secondary separation but secondary separation is not to be found in the passage!

You have said: Second degree separation is a crazy notion. Your reasoning would then require us to repudiate Paul's instructions to this church.

There may indeed be a discussion about how far secondary separation ought to go but none can deny that it is taught in this portion of scripture.

It would seem to me that you are not prepared to accept what the Word of God here teaches.

Brian McClung

kd said...

This passage teaches how you are to respond to those in your church who are disorderly. Specifically those who will not work. You could say this passage deals with church discipline but not secondary separation. Our dispensational fundamentalist brethern have twisted passages like these to become their proof texts for any and all kinds of separation. Lazy people in an assembly need to be addressed. Idleness is a real problem. It looks to me like some sort of church discipline/excommunication was being practiced by separating from these folk in the church who were walking disorderly by their idleness. This was posted under the heading of "Joel Beeke's latest compromises." I am trying to see how this passage applies to Joel Beeke? I believe in separation. Perhaps our application of it differs and that is the rub. Can you apply the text II Thess 3 to Joel Beeke? If not it is not an appropriate proof text in this case - That is all I am saying here.

Rev Brian McClung said...

KD

You are closing your eyes to the issue. You can't say that this passage is dealing with church discipline and that this discipline involves separating from a disorderly brother and then deny that this is secondary separation, when secondary separation is exactly that ie. separation from a disorderly brother. This is verbal gymnastics and it ill behoves a Christian to try and explain away a portion of scripture in this fashion. [I am assuming that you are a born again believer]

I repeat the statement from a previous reply that I believe you have failed to address: In verse 6, which reads: 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, the context is clear outlined: every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. This takes in much more than 'idleness'. Is this the only thing Paul ever taught? Is this the only tradition that Paul give to the New Testament Church or even to the Thessalonians? No it is not.

In verse 14 which reads: 'And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed', the context is again clearly outlined: 'And if any man obey not our word by this epistle' This epistle is about much more than 'idleness'.


From your replies you only seem to believe in primary separation, although you are condoning Joel Beeke associating with people the scriptures say he shouldn't be near, which would call primary separation into question.

These verses outline the principles of secondary separation. We are not talking about any other kind of separation other than 'secondary separation'. Let the dispensational fundamentalists argue what they like.

I certainly believe that secondary separation needs to be applied to Joel Beeke. If he has been challenged about his association and he has been; if he acknowledged, as he has, that these are wrong and gave an assurance, as he has, that he would break links with these people and has not done so then the teaching of 2 Thess 3 most certainly applies to him.

Brian McClung

Anonymous said...

On this issue of separation, does it only apply to the living? I note Mr McClung that you quote Bishop Ryle quite frequently. Given that he was a good minister in an apostate denomination I'm sure you would not associate with him if he were alive today. So is it ok to associate with his writings? I have been blessed by The writings by the writings of Bishop Ryle AND Joel Beeke, despite the associations of both these great men.

kd said...

I won't belabor my point here. It is suffice to say that primary separation is based on the literal and contextual meaning of the passage. A case can also be made that secondary separation is based on a literal and contextual meaning of the passage; however, secondary separation derives principles from the text which may not be specifically stated in the text. In my opinion too many add things to scripture that just are not there. Secondary separation is based on these general principles which can be defined by anyone in any way. Secondary separation is the defining doctrine of many Fundamentalist denominations such as the Free Church. It is almost idolatry! Within the Free Church I believe there are those who want nothing to do with anyone outside the Free Church. Anyone outside that is reformed is automatically tagged as a "New Calvinist" I understand your point regarding secondary separation. Still don't really believe that is what the text in II Thess 3 is saying. Nonetheless we should be able to agree to disagree and move on as friends. This topic is something that should be discussed and debated often to make sure men are not adding to or subtracting from scripture.

Rev Brian McClung said...

Anonymous

I personally don't see a parallel between Joel Beeke and J C Ryle.

I was not aware of J C Ryle 'fellowshipping' with 'Romanists', 'Feminists', 'New Calvinists' & 'Seventh-day adventists' as Joel Beeke has. If you have any evidence of J C Ryle doing this I would be glad to read it and if correct then I would change my opinion of J C Ryle.

Please can you also give your name to continue the discussion. See left hand column of front page of Blog about policy on commenting.

Brian McClung

Rev Brian McClung said...

KD

I welcome you now acknowledging at the start of your latest comment that 'secondary separation' is indeed in this portion of Scripture, although by the end you seem to repent of that view and state: 'Still don't really believe that is what the text in II Thess 3 is saying'.

I acknowledge that there is indeed a discussion always ongoing as to how far this ought to be applied. But when Joel Beeke speaks of 'fellowshipping' with individuals are 'Romanists', 'New Calvinists', 'Feminists' & 'Seventh-day Adventists' then I believe that secondary separation should apply to him.

The FPC over the years has had fellowship with 'Fundamentalists' but it is wrong to call us a Fundamentalist denomination. A Fundamentalist denomination is by definition these days a dispensationalist denomination!

I have preached on what a New Calvinist is so I don't think that comment you make about branding everyone a 'New Calvinist' is fair.

Brian McClung

Rev Brian McClung said...

Mr & Mrs White

I explained to you sometime ago under what circumstances I would mount any future comments from yourselves on the Blog.

I took the other comments down after receiving an email from someone unknown to myself who expressed the opinion that the exchange between ourselves was neither edifying or enlightening. In reading back over the comments I agreed with that assessment and therefore removed them.

I would have made this known to you in a private email, rather than posting it now as a comment, if I had an email address for yourselves, but I don't.

I trust that this is a satisfactory answer.

Brian McClung

kd said...

The Free Church is a "Presbyterian" denomination that is Fundamentalist. There is no one who would disagree with that statement within or without the denomination. Free Presbyterianism has historically allied itself with others who are Fundamentalist. To say the Free Church is not Fundamentalist and is not driven by Fundamentalist principles is absurd and not even honest.

Rev Brian McClung said...

KD

The point that I was making is that 'Fundamentalism' is today extremely closely associated with 'Dispensationalism'. In many circles you cannot be accepted as a Fundamentalist unless you are a dispensationalist. The FPC is not a dispensational church.

I don't deny that we associate with Fundamentalists and hold to many fundamentalist principles. But then I associate with Baptists & Independents but I am none of these.

Brian McClung

Hughuenot said...

6 months out, and things are no better. Dr Beeke just this month participated in a Refo500 Reformation Tour in Europe.

Baptist Pastor Ralph Ovadal and the Rev. Ivan Foster (FPCNA, ret.) spoke at length on this: www.pccmonroe.org/2013/07.08.htm

Hughuenot said...

Correction: The Rev. Ivan Foster (ret.) is a minister in the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, not North America.

Dr Beeke's very latest compromise was this month. Excerpt of transcript of Pastor Ovadal's message:

"This July, the 11th through the 19th, Dr. Jason Van Vliet, Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary, and Dr. Joel Beeke, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, will be leading an official Refo500 tour through historic sites in Germany and the Netherlands. Of those speakers, Dr. Beeke seems to be the one most heavily, very heavily, promoting this tour-- on his personal blog, on his seminary web site, and then also on his church denomination web site.

"The tour is titled 'The Legacy of the Reformation.' In addition to the tour guide leaders and speakers, the two I mentioned --that is, Dr. Jason Van Vliet and Dr. Joel Beeke-- Dr. Herman Selderhuis is going to come around on the Lord's Day morning of the tour, July 14, and preach; and then Dr. Beeke is going to lead the evening service, we're told.

"This particular Refo500 event, 'The Legacy of the Reformation,' appears to be Protestant in nature. Some Refo500 events are Romanist; some are grossly ecumenical, mixing Romanists and Protestants and others; and some are Protestant. But all are part and parcel of the one corrupt whole. Of course, this is the seductive, Vatican II nature of Refo500. It is an absolute desensitizing, devil's brew of truth and error, of Romanism and Protestantism. It is a your truth is truth, and my truth is truth; it is a smorgasbord of doctrine and ideologies. It is an eclectic religious, spiritual egalitarianism in action; it is a dialogue between supposed theological equals, per the Vatican II strategy..."

Found at www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=523132214375

Rev Brian McClung said...

Anonymous

Your comment will be posted when you give your name.

Brian McClung