The Bible on Separation from Divisive Christians

The Bible on Separation from Divisive Christians June 6, 2014
Photograph by Josh Janssen, “Angry-Ann” [Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0 license]




The following exchange occurred on a Facebook discussion. One “Binks Webelf” (a non-Catholic who says he is considering becoming a Catholic) took it upon himself to take issue with some of my arguments.  His words will be in blue. He ends with the obligatory personal attacks against me, precisely as ended the previous exchange three days ago with a radical Catholic reactionary who classified me as a Neo-Catholic.
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[to a friend] I don’t allow radical Catholic reactionaries on my FB page (which is why it has a consistently congenial atmosphere), so such “interaction” would have to occur on others’ pages. You can argue with these guys. I don’t waste my time with unserious thinkers.

That’s my policy on Facebook [to block]! I’m more lenient on my blog, but they have to make an actual argument, not just insult or troll . . .

Shooting the messenger and name-calling again? Must be a “neo-Catholic” thing.

Is that supposed to be a rational “argument” Binks? I merely pointed out an inaccuracy and made an observation about how Kooky Terms often derive from folks with Kooky Ideas.  [referring to Matatics and the paper above; he now believes there are no valid Masses anywhere]

Mr. Armstrong: me no brain good, but I do note that the people doing the most name-calling, online yelling, job-threatening, and refusing any “rational argument” about the irregularities of your current Pope 

I haven’t yet found any; wrote a book about it . . . 

are also the people who are still spending time hating on Hilary [White]. 

I don’t hate anyone. Disagreeing with a false position that one has is not the same as hate, unless one presupposes a silly subjectivist secularism, where no one can disagree with anything, because all is relative; therefore, to do so is, ipso facto, to be intolerant and “hateful.” Don’t fall into that. It’s not a Christian outlook. I don’t hate you, either (since you are included in the category of “anyone”).

Of course, if we correct someone who is manifestly in error, that is the opposite of hate; it’s an act of love, because all lies are of the devil; therefore, we have led the person to a much better place with regard to the false thing he or she used to believe, before being corrected in love.

As I’ve said . . . via FaceBook in light of this recent episode, I genuinely believe this reveals a failure of Christian charity, Catholic inclusiveness (the real kind), and open-heartedness. 

I agree. To classify orthodox Catholics who disbelieve nothing that the magisterium teaches, as liberals, modernists, Neo-Catholics is the height of uncharity and divisiveness. I just had this happen to me a few days ago. Challenged to come up with something, anything that I supposedly believed, against the Church, my critic could not come up with one thing, and instead resorted to insult, saying all I cared about was filthy lucre.

Oh, and that old Book, too: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.” . . . where, exactly, is it written (say, in the NT, or Gregory The Great, Liber regulae pastoralis) that the best way to confront, convince, or convert erring people is by name-calling, hounding, and suchlike? In this, are you following Francis’ snarky and unfatherly example.

Equally, for you, Dave, where can you show me that your policy “I don’t waste my time with unserious thinkers” is Biblical, Patristic, or pastoral? I can’t find Jesus saying that anywhere, as he preached and taught. (1) You only talk to people who think and talk like you? (2) Or, is it that people who don’t think and talk like you are “unserious” and unworthy of your rational arguments?  

You haven’t read your Bible very closely, I’m afraid, if you don’t know these rather elementary things. That’s okay; we all are learning all the time. But after reading what I will give you, below, you will then be responsible for knowing it. Glad to oblige with nine relevant Bible passages:

A) 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (RSV, as are all) I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; [10] not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. [11] But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber — not even to eat with such a one. [12] For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? [13] God judges those outside. “Drive out the wicked person from among you.”

B) Romans 16:17-18 I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them. [18] For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded.

C) 1 Timothy 6:3-5, 20 If any one teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching which accords with godliness, [4] he is puffed up with conceit, he knows nothing; he has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, [5] and wrangling among men who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. . . . [20] O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge,

D) 2 Timothy 2:14-17 Remind them of this, and charge them before the Lord to avoid disputing about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. [15] Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. [16] Avoid such godless chatter, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, [17] and their talk will eat its way like gangrene. Among them are Hymenae’us and Phile’tus,

E) 2 Timothy 3:2-9 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, [3] inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, [4] treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, [5] holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people. [6] For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses, [7] who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. [8] As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith; [9] but they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

F) Titus 3:9-11 But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile. [10] As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, [11] knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned.

G) Matthew 7:6 Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.

H) Matthew 18:15-17 If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. [16] But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. [17] If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

I) Lastly, Paul recommends community shunning for the purpose of repentance and restoration:

1 Corinthians 5:3-5 For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment [4] in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, [5] you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Later, Paul relaxed the temporal punishment for this particular person and urged that the man be welcomed back into fellowship (which is the equivalent of an indulgence, and the Church’s practice of excommunication is based on this and other related passages):

2 Corinthians 2:6-11 For such a one this punishment by the majority is enough; [7] so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. [8] So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. [9] For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. [10] Any one whom you forgive, I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, [11] to keep Satan from gaining the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

Is that enough Scripture for you, or do you wish to fight against inspired Holy Scripture as well as against Pope Francis and apologists like myself, and those who have a deep concern for Christian unity and truth, and so necessarily have to oppose those who clearly don’t, since they wish to name-call and be divisive? St. Paul roundly condemned that; so do we. Jesus and Paul recommended separating in extreme cases, so do we.

I follow them, and the Church, not the (secularized) false traditions of men, such as those you are currently spouting.

(3) Or is it only “radtrads” (i.e., your brothers and sisters in Christ, Roman Catholics who don’t think and talk like you)? This is all puzzling, sad, and does no credit to the church you say you love and belong to (and to which I ponder conversion). There you are, and there you go.

I don’t use the term radtrads. I coined radical Catholic reactionaries precisely in order to separate these more radical Catholics from legitimate “traditionalists”: with whom I have much in common.

Note that the word “Catholic” was specifically included in that so as to avoid the silly insinuation that you make: that I think such folks aren’t Catholics.

Wow. Very winsome and inviting and humble, that. So: I’m silly. Plus Biblically ignorant… also, fighting against the Pope and you, and I spout secularized false traditions of men, and silly insinuations. No doubt I also foment coprophagia, too. “I wrote a book about Francis, so who ya gonna trust, me or your lying eyes”? Seriously: I don’t know what your books may be like, but your poor online manners and seeming presumptuousness really leave something to be desired, dude. Don’t bother responding– I’ll just keep chatting with those of my RC friends and clergy who don’t see fit to be so combative, bilious, unpleasant, and puffed up. With welcomers like you at the door of the Church….

I figured you wouldn’t deal with the relevant Scripture. Par for the course. Others can read and figure out what’s going on here and what the Bible says about such issues.

So, in warring against what you wrongly characterize as hatred, and extolling the advantages and rightness of charity, you employ all the following insults against me:

1) Very winsome (sarcastic use)
2) inviting (sarcastic use)
3) humble (sarcastic use)
4) poor online manners
5) seeming presumptuousness
6) combative
7) bilious
8) unpleasant
9) puffed up
10) With welcomers like you at the door of the Church…. (sarcastic use)

Superb display of hypocrisy! Thanks for the classic, textbook example . . .

Unless this was a deliberate joke: a humorous caricature of a person being a hypocrite . . . That is a distinct possibility. 

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