This is our last sermon on the doctrine of the Trinity. And since we are tying up loose ends, it will perhaps be the least organized. People tend to think of doctrine as abstract, boring and irrelevant to life. But we have been emphasizing over the past four weeks that how we think affects everything. I think it has been highly unfortunate that so many books on Systematic Theology have given no effort to providing the practical ramifications of doctrine. There have been some wonderful exceptions, like Bruce Ware's short book on the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance. But by now, I hope that this series of sermons has convinced you that the doctrine of the Trinity has enormous ramifications for life.
Most of our applications have been restricted to family, church and business. But a book that I would highly recommend for further reading is a book by R.J. Rushdoony titled, The Foundations of Social Order: Studies in the Creeds and Councils of the Early Church. This is a brilliantly written book. It's not easy reading, but it is very rewarding reading. And in this book, Rushdoony shows how the early creeds of the church were at war with pagan culture and eventually transformed pagan culture. Another author, Gary North said, "Trinitarianism is the only creed which offers liberty to man. It is the foundation of the West's social order, and therefore the foundation of Western liberty." It's not by accident that Hindu countries, or Muslim countries do not have the liberties that the West used to have, and it's not by accident that as Christianity has been on the wane in America, so too has liberty.
There are many other authors who have come to the same conclusion. The historian Philip Schaff said this about the Council of Nicea. This was the first council that carefully crafted the doctrines we have been looking at. So he said:
The Council of Nicea is the most important event of the fourth century, and its bloodless intellectual victory over a dangerous error is of far greater consequence to the progress of true civilization, than all the bloody victories of Constantine and his successors. (History of the Christian Church, vol. 3, p. 631)
That may seem like gross exaggeration, but once you start studying the implications of the doctrine of the Trinity, you begin to realize that the West could not be what it is today apart from the formative shaping that Christianity gave to it.
Let me give a brief review of the three main points of Trinitarianism and give pointers on why this is so.
Trinitarianism vs. Polytheism
We have already seen that the first essential feature of Trinitarian doctrine is that there is only one God. We do not believe in three Gods. We are monotheistic. Deuteronomy 6:4 says Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Deuteronomy 32:39 says there is no god besides Me. John 17:3 speaks of the only true God. And we gave a ton of other Scriptures defending the fact that God is One God, not three Gods. There are enormous implications of that doctrine that we have not even remotely begun to explore.
Just think about what happens to a culture that is dominated by the view that there are many gods. (We call this polytheism.) In the thinking of such a culture there is no unifying center of existence or of thought since all things did not derive from one God. Right? Well, if that were true, it would destroy any motivation to find ultimate meaning in life because you would intuitively recognize that there can be no unified meaning. And without a unifying center, almost all disciplines in a university are challenged. Instead of a university you would have a di-versity or a polyversity. It is not by accident that universities flourished in monotheistic countries, not polytheistic ones. Now it's true, that things are changing in America. Our present universities do not even pretend to believe in a unified view of things, but we still have a hunger for higher knowledge because we still have vestiges of Christian heritage that have not been able to be shaken from our culture just like our culture has not yet been able to shake the phrase "one nation under God" off our dollar bills. But the pervasive religion of a culture affects that culture's quest for knowledge.
Polytheism destroys any vision for science because there is no one God who gives laws of physics, laws of morality or any other laws, such as laws of logic. Instead, you have many gods who compete with each other, but are themselves subject to the limitations of matter, chance and their own limited powers. In volume 2 of The Meaning of Science, Stanley White says, "Some have pondered why the ancients never created a formal science. The answer lies in the fact that polytheism is not compatible with science. The ancients, such as Aristotle viewed the world as a series of unrelated events. They did not see an overall pattern in nature or the universe." They could not, because for them there was no one God from whom all things came into existence. I know of no polytheistic culture that believes in a creation ex nihilo, so matter is just as eternal, if not more eternal than the gods themselves. And so rather than creation, you have various forms of evolution. You can immediately think of huge implications for human thought.
Here's another example. In polytheism, the gods are vying with each other for your affection and attention, which immediately means that there are no absolutes for morality in such a pagan culture. A person would have to ask, "Which god's morality do I follow?" Such a culture tends toward pluralism where this is right for you and something opposite is right for me. By the way, you may wonder why our culture has become so pluralistic in the last 50 years. I believe the reason is clear: Where formerly we were committed to a Christian worldview as a nation – and politicians did not dare to overtly oppose Christianity (even if they weren't Christians themselves), now we have explicitly rejected the one true God of Christianity and put all religions on the same footing. Our present official policy is to honor polytheism and to dishonor or if things are going well, to tolerate with a bemused smile Cretans like ourselves who think there is only one true way. The Scripture holds to the philosophy of dogmatism – that there is only one true God and only one true way, and only one source of truth, and that is anathema to today's intellectuals. So it doesn't amaze me at all that we are pluralistic and deny absolutes.
Polytheism affects your view of history. Since polytheism does not believe that one God predestinates the future or controls history, polytheists are skeptical that history can have any meaning. Obviously I can't outline all of the implications of denying monotheism, but over time, it is pervasive. Psalm 50 begins by saying, The Mighty One, God the LORD has spoken and called the earth from the rising of the sun to its going down. (v. 1). And then He gives the implications of the fact that all things owe their existence to this one God. This alone could guarantee consistent sanctions in history. This alone can guarantee the final judgment and righting of wrongs that the Psalm speaks about. This alone can guarantee an ethics for all peoples and all times that the Psalm speaks about. Read the Psalm in light of the implications of doctrine, and it will come alive to you.
Trinitarianism vs. Unitarianism
So the first important part of the definition of the Trinity is that there is only one God. The second part of this definition is that this one God is three Persons (or three Self-Consciousnesses): the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We looked at quite a number of Scriptures that speak of this plurality of Persons within the Godhead. I like the one in Isaiah 48:16. The speaker in verse 16 has already been identified as God, the Creator of all things, and as being the first and the last. But in verse 16 this divine being says:
Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, I was there. (Isa. 48:16a)
So He is saying that in any beginning to have been begun, the Son was already there. But look at what God the Son says in the next phrase:
And now the Lord GOD [that's Adonai Yahweh] and His Spirit have sent Me. (isa. 48:16b)
There are three Persons, all of whom are called God, relating to each other. We also looked at passages that show them talking with each other, planning, ministering and deferring to each other. So there are three distinct Persons in the Godhead. Yet we saw that there are not three Gods, but one God; not three Lord's but one Lord.
And again, there are enormous implications of this doctrine. It transforms our idea of a simple thing like love. 1 John 4:8 says, He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. He is saying that our love comes from knowing God's love. How does God love? On a Unitarian system where there was only one Person in eternity past, if God is love, and if there was no creation, who would this God love? The only being He could love would be Himself. And if you look at Unitarian cultures, you see self-love as being the dominating force. But in polytheism, since there is no unity, you have fierce competition among the gods for love. Imitating their love leads to conflict and competition.
But the true God is One God, yet three Persons. The fact that He is One makes Him the source and the standard that we look to not only for love, but for ethics and for all things. But because God is three Persons, God's love is not seen as self-love at all, but as love flowing outward constantly to each other. God's love is always self-giving and self-sacrificing love. God so loved the world that He gave. (John 3:16). Verse 13 of the same chapter says, The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. It's a self-giving love, and the Father delights to see that the Son has the same self-giving character of love. John 10:17 says, "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life…
There are other implications. Because Christians see the equal ultimacy of unity and diversity within the Godhead (n other words, the fact that God is one is just as important as the fact that God is three Persons), there is a corresponding tendency to see balance of unity and diversity in culture. Unitarian countries have tended to err strongly in the direction of imposing unity, and polytheistic cultures have tended to err in the direction of imposing diversity. And both Muslims and Hindus agree with that assessment. I have read essays by both Unitarians and Polytheists who see their own position of either monolithic sameness or pluralism as being the ideal. In contrast, the most free countries in the world have been Calvinistic, but any Christian country has elevated the number of freedoms people could experience. Christian nations have historically been the least racist, the least class conscious and the most prosperous.
One strongly Unitarian writer, and no friend of Christianity, said that Unitarianism:
…leads to a desire to control both public behaviour and private thoughts while polytheism, when resorting to violence, seeks control over the public sphere only. (Tom Harpur)
And I think generally that is a correct assessment. Another author says:
Whereas in polytheism the rivalry between the gods makes the ascendancy of one god impossible, monotheism leads to an inescapable logic of universal power. While polytheism resists the idea of unifying truth thereby producing social fragmentation, monotheism will tend to totalitarianism unless it is modified as it is in the Judeo/Christian tradition. (Peter Selick)
If you want a good contrast of cultures, think of the difference between Unitarian Saudi Arabia, which is about as pure Muslim as you can get, and polytheistic India, which is predominantly Hindu. Saudi Arabia (like other Muslim countries) tends toward a monolithic sameness in the culture where both public and private life is controlled and everyone is made to conform to one standard. In contrast, India tends to the other extreme and tends toward a rigid diversity.
The polytheistic religion of Hinduism has created a diversity of classes, but insisted that people cannot leave one class to join another. The higher classes have dominated the lower classes in a caste system that has been repressive of any form of advance for over a thousand years, and this has robbed people of any incentive to advance themselves economically, educationally or socially. The people have tended to be extremely passive, and some would say lazy.
Islam on the other hand is a Unitarian religion, and it tends to impose a zealous conformity on the people on every detail. Islam has rules on how to bathe, how to cut your toe nails, how to do virtually everything. Again, there is little incentive to self-initiative, but there is enormous motivation to proselytize and to impose their views on culture.
Ironically both extremes rob people of their freedoms. Both extremes are intolerant of Christianity. Only Christianity has tended to give a balance between unity and diversity. In the church we see that just as God values the diversity between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so too, He values the diversity that exists among the members of the church. Each member has his important role and place. 1 Corinthians 12 says that we shouldn't be trying to force every Christian to fit a cookie cutter mold. The ear and the eye and the foot are all needed. Yet there is also a unity. All are united in Christ. All have the same laws; the same Savior, are part of the same bride, yet all are quite different.
Extrapolate that out to a culture and you can understand why Christian cultures have valued the free market, competition, different ideas, different ways of doing things.
Trinitarianism vs. Subordinationism
The third part of the definition of the Trinity that we looked at in the first sermon is that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are each fully God and are equal in power, glory and all the attributes of Godhead. The Spirit is just as omniscient and all powerful as the Father and the Son. Even though the Father has begotten the Son, the Son is not younger than the Father. An eternal Son and an Eternal Father logically eternally require each other; neither can be younger or older than the other. The Spirit too is called eternal (Heb. 9:14). And we saw that on every level, they were equally and fully God. Yet the Father is not one third of God, and the Son another third. No, each is fully God. There is no subordination of nature.
In the early church there were many heresies that came in that tried to subordinate the Son and the Spirit in various ways to the Father. And most of Rushdoony's book focuses on those various heresies, so I'm not going to repeat what he has to say. I really think every person in this church needs to own and read that book.
Principles for Opposing Heresies
Instead, what I want to do in closing is to summarize a few principles that we can learn relative to heresies. You might wonder why people would argue these doctrines when they are so clearly stated in the Scripture. But Satan does His utmost to undermine the doctrines that are the most important, and Christ predicted that heretics would constantly try to come in and take over the church. Each of the apostles also predicted the same thing: Peter said:
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies. (2 Pet. 2:1).
Notice the word "secretly." Heretics don't wear a big sign saying, "Look. I'm a heretic. I'm different than you." No, they hide it. They come in secretly. They try to appear like Christians while all the time undermining the Christian faith. This is a strategy of Satan. Paul said:
I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch… (Acts 20:29-31)
We need to watch out. And that's what the orthodox pastors were doing when they argued and wrote those creeds. They were watching; they were warning. They knew the practical ramifications of true doctrine and they knew the devastating effects of false doctrine. So why does God allow these heresies? In part it is to strengthen the church and to move the church into adulthood as they oppose heresy and grow in their knowledge. In 1 Corinthians 11:19 Paul said:
For there must also be heresies among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. (1 Cor. 11:9)
And the way false doctrines crept in back then is the same way they tend to creep in now. The false teachers will initially say that believe the same doctrines. When they call Jesus God, they will think in their heads that He is a god, or like God, but not God. Or they will say, "Yeah, he's the Son of God," and think in their minds, "But so are we." And the orthodox theologians would carefully craft a response, and they would see the heretics talking among themselves on how they could redefine the terms to their own liking, and they would say that "Yes, they could affirm it." But they gave a totally different definition to the terms they were using, and they knew it. They were being deceitful just as many wolves in sheep's clothing are deceitful today.
At the council of Nicea the word homoousian was used to say that Jesus was of one essence or one being with the Father. He had an identical essence. On the sheet that was being signed, one of the heretics inserted the letter "i" so that it said, homoiousian or "of like essence." And there were many middle of the road peace makers who didn't understand the issues involved with that one little letter iota. After all, the Son wasn't the Father, and so being "like the Father" seemed enough. But it was a barn door big enough to drive a truck through, and the heretics used it until the orthodox closed the loop hole.
Here's the frustrating thing: in every era, the nice guys tend to be the majority, and they don't want to fight. They don't understand what is at stake. And they cause trouble for the Orthodox who do see the dangers, and treat them like they are unloving. Why can't we all just love one another? And you just have to face up to the fact that you won't be popular if you are a Reformer. Truth hurts.
But all through those times the liberals used every trick in the book to confuse and fluster the orthodox. They lied, they redefined terms, they manipulated, they spread slander about their opponents. And when they could convince a magistrate of their position, they would use force to get their way. In fact, this is one of the stratagems of every one of those heretics – the use of force. They were statists, which means that they believed in big government. The orthodox didn't stoop to that because they knew that truth must prevail as truth or it was no victory. In contrast, the heretic Arius got the emperor to back him up and got Athanasius banished from the empire five times. Actually, they were trying to kill him on a couple of those occasions and he had to flee. Much of what Athanasius wrote was in hiding.
Let me read you one brief account of how heretics used force to get their way two years before the Council of Chalcedon. Dioscorus was a heretical Eutychian who believed that Jesus did not have two natures, but only one nature. And I'm reading from Rushdoony's book here. He says:
Dioscorus presided and ruled with the aid of violent monks and armed soldiers. The form of orthodoxy was maintained by adopting the twelve anathematisms of Cyril, whereas in reality another doctrine was affirmed. The two-nature (dyophysite) faith (and that's what we hold two – dyophysite or two natures of Christ – perfect God and perfect Man. Anyway, it says, "The two-nature (dyophysite) faith) was condemned, and Falvianus, its champion, was condemned. The proconsul, Proclus, with armed soldiers and chains, entered to compel the bishops to sign. After severe violence, ninety-six of them did, with many severely wounded. Flavianus, Bishop of Constantinople, died within three days of the injuries he received. It was said that the monks kicked him savagely, and Dioscurus jumped on Flavianus as he lay upon the ground. The Robber Council gained a savage and impressive short-term victory, but it stood self-condemned by its disgraceful conduct. The victories of the true Council of Ephesus were hammered out in the arena of faith, of consistent theological thinking. The victories of the false council rested on violence and were short-lived. Within two years, Chalcedon had denounced them, but before then, the opinion of all true Christians had condemned the Council of Robbers.
My point in reading that account was four-fold. First, to show that both the church and Satan recognized how critically important these fine points of doctrine were. Why would they be so heated and hateful over the doctrine that Jesus had two natures instead of one? Because it was important. If Satan was doing all that he could to undermine these doctrines, you better believe that we need to know them.
The second reason I read that account was to show that tyrants have always seen true Trinitarianism as a threat to their statist, big-government policies. Gary North said:
Again and again, the Christian emperors of the Roman Empire sided with the heretics. Athanasius was banished at least five times in his life. Again and again, it was statism vs. Christian orthodoxy. (pp. 14, 65, 69, 84)
These emperors recognized that Orthodox doctrine of the Trinity and the doctrine of Christ placed limits on the power of the state.
The third reason I read that bit of history was to show the way heresies tend to work. They start off as meek as a lamb and showing all peace and love and "why can't we all just get along and love one another." But once they gain a foothold, they are ruthless in getting rid of true Orthodoxy. They initially call for free speech, but once they have the majority they try to shut down and shout down free speech. The church was in a fight for it's life, and they knew it. Unfortunately the modern church doesn't know that this is a fight for the life of the church. They could care less about doctrine.
The fourth reason I read that bit of history was to show how false the slander of the JW's is when they claim that the Roman Emperors were the ones who imposed Trinitarianism upon the empire, and that the church was just a lackey to the state. It was actually quite the opposite. When Arianism was fighting against Orthodoxy, Athanasius felt like he was against the whole empire. Yet despite the fury of the emperor, he and the church stood strong. Despite the fact that a later emperor favored Nestorius, the church condemned him. Their hope was not in the power of the state, but in the power of God to cause truth to triumph. Ephesians 4:13-16 is one of the most encouraging passages when confronting heretics. God guarantees that truth will triumph in the end, and that each part in each generation plays its part in advancing the cause of truth.
I have to tell you the story of what happened to Arius. It is so cool. Despite the fact that the church approved the wonderful doctrines of the Council of Nicea, Arius later triumphed through political means and through force. The emperor called Arius back to work in Alexandria, and insisted that the church receive him. The head pastor in Alexandria, a man by the name of Alexander, was so heartbroken, that he lay on the floor crying out to God and prayed:
If Arius comes tomorrow to the church, take me away, and let me not perish with the guilty. But if Thou pitiest Thy Church, as Thou dost pity it, take Arius away, lest when he enters heresy enter with him.
The next morning, when Arius came in with his huge procession marching down the street, celebrating the fact that the emperor was forcing the church to be reconciled to him, he had gastric pain. He stopped the procession and ran to the latrine. After waiting for quite a while, his followers investigated and found that Arius had collapsed in blood and fallen headlong into the outhouse. I love God's irony in this death. The Orthodox pastors read Acts 1:18 which says, who falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. They saw this as God's judgment on Arius. Rushdoony says:
Arius' manner of death was used by the orthodox to discomfit the heretics and encourage the saints, and it was declared an act of God. The heretics preferred to forget it, and modern heretics have eliminated this and like events from history books as "irrelevant." It was however, a providential conclusion to the great intellectual and spiritual battle of Nicea. (p. 17)
I have chosen not to go into many of the finer points of Trinitarianism since they are so intertwined with the doctrine of the hypostatic union of the divine and human natures in Jesus in one Person that it warrants another series all of its own at some point. But I thought it would be appropriate to end this series with several encouragements relative to doctrine in general.
First, doctrine does matter. The word "doctrine" occurs 42 times in the Bible, but the concept of clear doctrine is written all over the Bible in thousands of places. To dislike doctrine is to hate truth. To avoid doctrine is to condemn oneself to a life of innumerable errors. The early church understood the practical importance of doctrine for all of life, and they taught it, memorized it, catechized their children in it and made sure the doctrine got passed on from one generation to the next. Parents, evaluate your catechizing of your children in the doctrines of the faith. How well have you done? Can your children recite accurate answers to the key doctrines of Christianity? They need to be able to. If they can't, they will be susceptible to being sucked in by every wind of doctrine. I suggest that you get out your Westminster Shorter Catechism booklets and begin quizzing your kids and memorizing the catechism right along with them. And kids, make the memorizing of the catechisms a high priority in your lives.
Don't just study doctrine. Talk about it
Second, don't just study doctrine, but talk about it. There is no better Sabbath conversation than to converse about the intricacies of Biblical doctrine. May the following complaint of the heretics of Jerusalem be a complaint that heretics in our own city would bring against every one of us. They complained, look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine (Acts 5:28). Boy that would be awesome if Omaha would be filled with the doctrines of the faith.
It's not enough to be against heresies. We must also be against heretics
Third, it is not enough to be against heresies. We must also be against heretics. The early church anathematized heretics. That seems so unkind. But to fail to do so is to treat the heresies as being unimportant. The Christian Evangelical Leaders Network here in the city thought the doctrine of inerrancy and a couple of other doctrines were important enough to put in our doctrinal statement, but not important enough to make it a screening device that would keep such people out of CELNet leadership. But it is worthless to affirm truth if you are not willing to resist both the heresy and the heretics themselves.
Romans 16:17 says, Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. Avoid them? Why? Because bad company corrupts good morals. Because God doesn't like them. Because they are enemies of Christianity. Because they are self-condemned. But most of all, because God commands us to.
Many churches in this city have taken a vow that they will not say anything negative about Roman Catholics or mainline churches or any other church. That is a sinful vow and it violates the Scriptures. Let me give you just a small sampling of verses that show some of the ways that we must take stands against heretics. Scripture says we must.
Take note of those who cause heresies and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you have learned and avoid them. (Rom. 16:17)1
So we are to take note of them and avoid them. Know who they are, and have nothing to do with them. Not very kind, but very, very Biblical.
From such withdraw yourself. (1 Tim. 6:3-5)2
And from such people turn away. (2 Tim. 3:5)3
Do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil. (2 John 10-11)4
He is saying that you can't be neutral to such people. One heretic recently died in Omaha and it made me ill to my stomach to hear evangelicals eulogizing this individual. I for one am glad for God's judgment. I have prayed for God's judgments on heretics. Here are more Scriptures.
Come out from among them and be separate. (2 Cor. 6:4-18)5
Expose them... (Eph. 5:11)6
Identify them by name (1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 1:15; 4:14)7
Judge those… (1 Cor. 5:12)8
Note that person and do not keep company with him. (2 Thess. 3:14)9
Withdraw yourself from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. (2 Thess. 3:6)10
I think I have given enough Scriptures to show that you can't be neutral to people or to doctrines. It's not enough to oppose false doctrine and then to be friends with God's enemies. Scripture says that heresy and heretics must be treated seriously.
Fourth, we should learn from the early church that their primary goal was not unity and preservation of the church, but it was the defense of the truth. It looked like the church might possibly be destroyed if they stood for truth, but truth was so important that they took the risk. Too many people today want unity at any expense, but unity apart from truth is not unity.
1 John 3:18 says, My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. That concept of love in the truth is repeated a number of times. And the early church councils were loving toward heretics. They did everything they could to get some of these heretics to repent and to reword themselves. The heretics were rejected only when they stubbornly persisted in their error.
And that brings me to the last admonition relative to doctrine: we should not get discouraged at the total ignorance of doctrine that is displayed by pastors and the heresies that have crept into the church as if maintaining Orthodoxy is an impossible task. Don't give up in praying for Reformation. When God has promised the triumph of truth in history, it should be our goal to keep advancing the truth. Let me end by reading the encouragement in Ephesians 4:11-16. It says:
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. (Eph. 4:11)
Why did He give these officers? The next verse explains.
For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith. (Eph. 4:12)
That hasn't happened yet, but it is God's goal in history.
And of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect [or as some translate it, "a mature"] man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Eph. 4:13-16)
May this church value truth and seek to apply it to all of life. Amen.
"I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people." (Rom. 16:17-18) ↩
"If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. From such withdraw yourself." (1 Tim. 6:3-5) ↩
"having a form of godliness, but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" (2 Tim. 3:5) ↩
"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work." (2 John 2:10-11) ↩
"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.' ‘Therefore come out from them and be separate,' says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.' ‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,' says the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor. 6:14-18) ↩
"Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." (Eph. 5:11) ↩
Examples: "Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme." (1 Tim. 1:20); "You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes." (2Tim. 1:15); "Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done." (2Tim. 4:14) ↩
"What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you." (1 Cor. 5:12-13) ↩
"And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed." (2 Thes. 3:14) ↩
"withdraw yourself from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us." (2 Thes. 3:6) ↩