ARE WE MERELY INTERESTED IN BREAKING UP CHURCHES?
by Shawn Brasseaux
For 2,000 years, our detractors have said that we Pauline dispensationalists are troublemakers. Allegedly, we aim to do nothing more than split up local churches by proving others wrong, nitpicking over final points of doctrine, attacking reputations and religions, disrespecting ecclesiastical traditions, and so on. Is this an accurate representation of us? Are we really sharing the Message of Grace with the sole intention of dividing and destroying local assemblies? Is there any way for us to be “less controversial?” Why, oh why, do local churches split wherever our ministries reach? Is the dissolving of denominational assemblies all that bad anyway?
Dear brethren, let me just go ahead and get it out now. I will never, ever, ever (!) deny that there are some in the “grace community” who have no desire other than to engage in petty arguing, fleshly debates, cheap insults, and idle speculations. They have no clear understanding in sound Bible doctrine but they will criticize others for their own doctrinal deficiencies. (Since I do not share their sentiments, we have parted ways. Whether I distanced myself from them, or they left me, it is for the best.) They love to pick fights in the name of “grace.” They ridicule denominationalists when they themselves are just as ignorant of grace teaching and grace living. They are puffed up in knowledge when they should be using what they know to benefit others (charity). They use a very condescending, sharp tone that derides and infuriates rather than offer Bible information that enlightens and liberates.
Second Timothy 2:24-26 says: “ 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.” We should have a gentle, meek spirit. We should be as patient as possible when dealing with others in the Scriptures.
However, we must remember that there are people in denominations who are just as rude as the “contentious grace brethren.” They want to prove everyone else wrong and their denomination right. We can only spend so much time with them before it becomes futility. Under no circumstances are we to continue arguing with anybody of any persuasion. If they do not want to hear the simple truths of the Word of God rightly divided, then we have better things to do with our time… and we had better get to them!! We wish these willfully-ignorant individuals all the best but there are people who are interested in learning. We need to go seek them instead of spending all our time with the same few who never receive anything.
Again, we should not be rude and crude, nasty and belligerent. Still, no matter how polite we are, how soft-spoken we are, how gentle we are, how loving we are, how tactful we are, how meek we are, the Message of the Cross is offensive. It cancels out works-religion. Galatians 5:11 says to this point: “And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.” If Paul preached religious works—in that case, physical circumcision—people would be pleased with him. He would be preaching that man could do something to please God. However, if he preached Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, that work on Calvary meant that “good” works would never be enough to get one to a right standing before God. How “offensive” grace is even today, for it takes away the boasting in what man can do in religion. If there is any bragging, my dear friend, the Bible says it will be in the finished work of Christ alone—and our flesh (sin nature) hates that!!!
Romans chapter 3: “ Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.  Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.  Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:  Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.  Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
You go to a denominational church and preach that Gospel of Grace, my friends, and there is a 99 percent chance that you will be run right out the door! With that message, you get rid of water baptism, confession of sins, commandment-keeping, Sabbath-day observance, tithing, and so on as necessary for salvation unto eternal life. Faith alone in Christ alone is what God is looking for today. If we do not see any value in His Son and His finished work, He could not care less about what “good works” we do! Again, you preach that, and most of the world will hate you. (Try it and see!)
The Lord Jesus Christ never hesitated in exposing religious error. He did it over and over and over again. Read His scathing rebukes of Israel’s religious leaders in Matthew chapter 23 and John chapter 8. Look at Mark 7:7-13 and John 2:13-17. These were certainly not the “Jesus-is-nothing-but-love-and-kindness” attitudes we hear about in shallow Christian speech today. The Lord never took it lightly when people were deceived in His name and entangled in Satan’s evil world system. It was a very serious matter. He actually called some of His audience “vipers,” “hypocrites,” “whited sepulchres [graves!],” “children of the devil,” “children of hell,” and various other non-flattering titles. Rest assured, there was a lot of “church-splitting” because of Christ’s earthly ministry!
Second Timothy 2:24-26 again: “ 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.” Those in denominations are deceived—stuck in Satan’s trap (just as those in Christ’s earthly ministry). However, we need to be sure that we give them sound Bible doctrine—not with the intention of pointless contending but—with the purpose of allowing them the information needed to escape Satan’s error. (That was Christ’s purpose.) If we fail to approach the situation in the Spirit, and wind up in the flesh, we find ourselves in the snare of the Devil too… and then we need recovery ourselves!
Dear friends, if you never get anything else from this study, remember one thing. Doctrine divides. That is just all there is to it. Those in the ecumenical movement already figured that out; hence, they choose to fellowship around something other than doctrine! They have their experiences, their speculations, their feelings, and they are united therein. Ultimately, their system is void of faith and God’s power because it is wanting of sound Bible doctrine. Do you really want to minimize doctrine as they? Think long and hard about their unanswerable confusion first, and then the answer will become apparent. (I say, “No thanks!”)
In all the years my family has been Christians, we have been through four local church splits. It was always a matter of doctrinal error, never something trivial. We are always striving for a pure church, not a perfect church. If maintaining a pure church means leaving a local assembly, and even parting from family and friends, then that is the way it must be. Our loyalty is to our Lord Jesus Christ alone. If a place does not honor Him in doctrine, we have no interest in participating in their services. I make this very clear to whomever wants to hear. Those who want to keep going to their denominational churches, we are so willing to give them over to their preference.
Second Corinthians 6:14-18: “ 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.  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (Pay attention to that exhortation in verse 17, “come out from among them, and be ye separate!”)
First 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.” (Notice that phrase in verse 5, “from such withdraw thyself!”)
Romans 16:17-18: “ Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Pay close attention to that phrase, “mark [identify] them and avoid them!”)
Second Timothy 3:1-7: “ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (Look at that encouragement in verse 5 to, “from such turn away!”)
Our critics charge us as if the dissolving of denominational local churches is a bad thing. It is abundantly clear from the above verses that the Holy Spirit endorsed separation from apostasy (false teaching in religion). Evidently, He was for “church-splitting” too! If a denominational church breaks up and/or closes, that means a grace church now has an opportunity to rise and replace it in the community. As long as the Message of God’s Grace is clearly proclaimed to the lost (that they may be saved from sins and Hell), and the Word of God rightly divided is taught to the saved (that they may be delivered from spiritual ignorance unto understanding God’s eternal purpose for them), that will be so much more valuable now and in eternity. BELOVED, THIS IS OUR INTEREST!