I recently listened to a sermon from Kevin Bauder at the 2006 Central Baptist Theological Seminary Foundation’s Conference. The sermon is Guarding the Gospel, preached from the 2d epistle of John. You must needs listen to this sermon.
For emphasis sake, let me say that again: listen to this sermon.
Bauder does an excellent job, I think, of making the case for separatism and fundamentalism. The case is quite compelling (I say that realizing that since I am already convinced by it, I naturally find the case compelling). Here are some excerpts:
What is the least that [this passage] requires of us. Well, at the very least it seems that we are required to extend absolutely no recognition to an apostate that would imply that we view him as a fellow Christian. We are obligated to do nothing that would lead other people to think that he is a Christian leader or a good Christian teacher. Is this so difficult to comprehend? Is this so difficult to grasp? The guy denies the gospel, how can he be treated as a Christian? The guy denies the gospel, how can he be recognized as a Christian teacher? The guy denies the gospel, how can we put him beside us on the platform of a Christian meeting? The guy denies the gospel, how can we ask him to lead in prayer? The guy denies the gospel, there is no common ground! Somebody who denies the gospel is attacking the most important thing, not just in the world, but in all the universe, in all time, because it is in the gospel that the whole character of God and the whole truth about God comes into focus, that the whole character and need of humans, the truth about humans and the provision for humans, comes in focus. You attack the gospel, we have nothing left! How can there be fellowship with an apostate? And yet John says, you extend recognition to this person, even to the point of bidding him chairein, you become a shareholder in his evil deeds. . . .
There are plenty of people in our world who are going to say the gospel is true and they believe it and they mean it, and they believe it and they are genuinely brothers and sister in Christ, but when it comes to the question “How important is it?”, their answer is going to be “Not important enough to pull away from the apostates.” Is open theism apostasy? If you say that it is, how can you possibly remain in a denomination with open theists? Is New Perspective on Paul apostasy? If you say that it is, how can you possibly remain in an ostensibly Christian organization, lending your name and influence to that organization, which permits the propagation of New Perspective on Paul? . . .
This, I think, has huge implications, not only for the way that we treat apostates, but also for the way we treat Christian indifferentists. Here’s a brother, he’s genuinely a Christian, he believes the gospel, perhaps has devoted his life to preaching the gospel, maybe even at some level has defended the propositional truth of the gospel, and yet he is willing to make common cause with people who deny the gospel. Should we look at that person as a model of Christian wisdom and insight? I remind you what John says on that person. He has become partaker, he has become fellowshipper, he has become a shareholder in the evil deeds. Does that mean that we write him off as an unbeliever? No! But I think it certainly restricts the degree to which we can endorse and participate in his ministry.*
*Please see Kevin’s helpful and clarifying comments below in the comments of this thread.