Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: January 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Defining Points

Defining Points

          I have recently received some criticism from my peers over an article I wrote entitled - The Subtlety of “Good Words and Fair Speeches.”  The criticisms are accepted.  I am a big boy.  I can handle it.  I just do not agree they are viable criticisms.  I stand by the article and what I wrote.  There may be a few statements I would like to have clarified because they were ambiguous to some.  Those that know me know I do not like to be ambiguous (maybe verbose, but not ambiguous).  The criticisms have come from a wide diversity of theological positions.  It soon became quite apparent to me that we were all using the same words, but those words had significantly different meanings to different people involved in the discussion.  This is of course a common problem in theological discussions.  I guess it is appropriate to disagree with our peers as long as we do not discredit them in any way.  Yet, criticism is often not intended to be constructive.  My article was not intended to be a criticism.  It was intended to be a rebuke and a call to repentance.  I have received far more calls and notes of agreement and encouragement than I have criticisms. Thank you for those!

Baptist fundamentalism and Interdenominational Fundamentalism

          When independent, fundamental Baptists (I.F.B.) practice separation, most churches that are interdenominational are excluded by that separation without other considerations.  This practice has certainly always included all those believing in paedobaptism and those holding to any sacramental views of salvation.  Therefore, independent, fundamental Baptists would not cooperate with fundamental Presbyterians and Congregationalists without consideration of any other doctrines to which they might agree.  This would be true of fundamental Pentecostals and Charismatic churches as well.  In most cases, this was true of any churches that did not believe in the eternal security of the believer.  These were doctrines that resulted in separation from those believing them. 
          The contradiction of all this is that men like Dr. Kevin Bauder, Dr. Doug McLachlan, Dr. Timothy Jordan, Dr. David Doran, and Dr. Matt Olson all profess to be independent, fundamental Baptists.  However, their new definition of the practice of separation is like that of the interdenominational Fundamentalism.  They want most other doctrines other than the Gospel to be eliminated from the practice of separation.  Independent, fundamental Baptists do not agree and do not like what they are trying to do.  They are convoluting what it means to be an independent, fundamental Baptist.  Certainly we can agree that the Gospel of Presbyterianism, Congregationalism, Pentecostalism, the Full Gospel churches, and the Charismatic Movement is corrupted in numerous ways.  To ignore these differences is just – well it just plain ignorance. 
          The way I.F.B. churches practiced separation is not true of interdenominational Fundamentalism.  In fact, in most part their agreements were more upon the things they opposed than upon the things with which they agreed.  There are certain groups of local churches, such as the Independent Fundamental Churches of America (I.F.C.A.) that held to similar as the practices of I.F.B. churches.  The I.F.C.A. had fundamental Presbyterian and fundamental Congregational churches in the membership of their organization.  They excluded Pentecostals and Charismatics from their organization.  I was a member of the I.F.C.A until 1984.  Dr. Ernie Pickering was a leader in the I.F.C.A. for years.  I left that organization because of the influx of numerous New Evangelicals into the organization.  Dr. Pickering left years before I did.  I personally would consider the I.F.C.A. and the Southern Baptist Convention to be New Evangelical organizations.  Although there is still what would be described as fundamental local churches within those organizations, because those churches do not separate from the organizations, they cease to be fundamental in their practice of separation.  Separation is a fundamental of Fundamentalism.  Dr. George Dollar, one time president of Central Baptist Seminary, spoke of both the S.B.C. and the I.F.C.A unfavorably in his book A History of Fundamentalism in America[1] published in 1973.  The reason for this view of the I.F.C.A was the progressive capture of the organization as the membership became dominated by men moving away from Fundamentalism, to Evangelicalism, and then into New Evangelicalism. 

Clear or Clever

          Sometimes it appears that some in this discussion are trying to be more clever than clear.  I think they know the differences to which I refer above.  These are not uneducated or ill-informed men.  Therefore, their talking points have to be calculated.  They are providing more confusion than they are clarity.  They are trying to draw independent, fundamental Baptists into interdenominational Fundamentalism by redefining how separation is going to be practiced.  They consider their new Fundamentalism to be Authentic Fundamentalism.  What is Authentic Fundamentalism?  Authentic Fundamentalism is now interdenominational Fundamentalism.  Do not fall for this bait and switch.  If this is what Fundamentalism is going to become, then I.F.B. need to abandon the term altogether.  It is a term that has become useless to define anything anymore. 


          Dr. Bauder wrote a number of articles from his blog defining what he calls Hyper-fundamentalism.  Part of one of the articles is quoted below. 

      “Of course, the King James Only movement is only one species of hyper-fundamentalism.  Hyper-fundamentalism may revolve around personal and institutional loyalties, idiosyncratic agendas, absurd ethical standards, or the elevation of incidental doctrines and practices.  The thing that characterizes all versions of hyper-fundamentalism is the insistence upon draconian reactions for relatively pedestrian—or even imaginary—offenses.
“Hyper-fundamentalism and the new evangelicalism are mirror images of each other.  The old neoevangelicalism damaged the gospel, not by denying it, but by attacking its role as a demarcator between Christianity and apostasy. The hyper-fundamentalist does the same kind of damage by adding something else alongside the gospel.  If anything, King James Onlyism is worse, for it shows contempt for the Word of God. It attacks the heart of Christianity by sitting in judgment over its source of authority.
“Neoevangelicalism and hyper-fundamentalism are equal errors. Whatever we should have done in response to the new evangelicals is the same thing that we should do now in response to hyper-fundamentalists. Historic, mainstream, biblical fundamentalism has no more in common with Pensacola, Crown, and West Coast than it had with Ockenga, Carnell, and Graham.”[2]

          Is this statement, Dr. Bauder has declared me to be a hyper-fundamentalist, along with thousands of other pastors just like me.  In the same breath, he equates hyper-fundamentalists to be synonymous with neoevangelicals.  So I guess I, and all those that believe like I believe, are now both hyper-fundamentalists and neoevangelicals.  That is his right.  I only use the King James Bible in my preaching and I believe God has preserved His inspired Words in the Received Text.  However, such a belief has never been an exclusion from historic independent Baptist fundamentalism.  In fact, in most part, it has been a tenet of historic independent Baptist fundamentalism.  For the most part of history since A.D. 1611, it has been a basic tenet of historic Protestantism.  It was never any different until the Anglo-Catholic influence of such men as Tischendorf, Westcott, and Hort came on the textual scene and Eclectic Textual Reconstructionism (Lower Criticism) began to infiltrate Protestant Christianity.  In the book One Bible Only, Bauder refers to those defending the preservation of God’s inspired Words in the Received Text as controversialists[3] because they believed this translation was the only English translation that was actually translated from the Received Text.  Although there are many Seminaries and Bible Colleges that pay lip service loyalty to the KJV, behind the scenes they use and promote the Eclectic (Reconstructed) Greek text.  They did this to keep pastors who were loyal to the KJV recommending students to their schools.  I think this manifests a real lack of moral integrity.  I do give Bauder credit for being honest regarding his position on the Eclectic Text and Textual Reconstructionism.  That has not been true of many theological schools. 
          I think Eclectic Textual Criticism and Textual Reconstructionism essentially abdicate the practical aspects of verbal, plenary inspiration since no one can be sure they have ever reconstructed the original texts.  If Reconstructionism is true, than Preservationism is false and no one can be sure of the jots and tittles of the Words of God any longer.  This certainly explains why these same men are willing to except translations by the methodology of Dynamic Equivalency.  Men can believe what they want to believe about these things.  They can even declare men like myself to be hyper-fundamentalists if they so desire.  However, if they do, they are declaring a very large number of independent, fundamental Baptists to be hyper-fundamentalists.  Are those who are declared to be hyper-fundamentalists then wrong to declare the Textual Reconstructionists as hypo-fundamentalists?  Or, is it just a one-way street?


          Undoubtedly there are all kinds of Calvinists in the world today.  We have many people who say they are Calvinists simply because the word election is in the Bible and because they believe in eternal security.  Personally, I reject all points of Calvinism as defined by Theodore Beza.  However, many consider Beza’s Calvinism to be hyper-Calvinism, because they do not find limited atonement in Calvin’s Institutes (yes, I have read his Institutes and have many of Calvin’s commentaries).  This is how I define hyper-Calvinism.  Therefore, by brother Bauder statements, he would not be a hyper-Calvinist in my opinion.  However, there are many extremes of Calvinism that go far beyond where Calvin went.  According to my understanding, John MacArthur does believe in limited atonement (I have read almost every book he has written).  He has therefore gone beyond Calvin’s Calvinism. 
          Is MacArthur being a Calvinist or a Hyper-Calvinist really the big issue?  It is to me.  However, when it comes to separation, I would separate from MacArthur simply because of his Resolve Conference if nothing else.  I would separate from him because of his Lordship Salvation.  I would separate from him because he rejects Congregational Polity. 
In the doctrinal statement of the Midwest Independent Baptist Pastors’ Fellowship[4], we have excluded pastors who hold to Calvin’s Soteriology, Ecclesiology, and Eschatology from leadership or preaching.  However, they are welcome to attend and be encouraged in their ministries.  Our next preaching conference will be August 12th and 13th, 2013 at Ravenwood Baptist Church in Chicago, IL.  The subject of the preaching will be – The Local Church: the Pillar and Ground of the Truth.  Dr. Clay Nuttall will be the main speaker.  By the way, Central Baptist Theological Seminary will not be allowed to set up a display there either. 

Theological Reactionism against Extreme I.F.B. Pastors

          There are undoubtedly many Baptist Popes in many pulpits in I.F.B. churches.  Some of them deserve this aberrant title as they lord over God’s sheep.  Most of the other I.B.F. pastors are just trying to hold the line in the church “over the which the Holy Ghost hath made” them “overseers” (Acts 20:28).  Unfortunately, the Young Fundamentalists tend to lump most I.F.B. pastors into this Baptist Pope category.  That is painting with a very broad brush.  Almost all the I.F.B. pastors I know (I have over 7,000 in my data base) are just humble, godly men struggling to survive in their ministries while being resisted by many of the very people they love dearly.  I do not like it when some Academian gives people ammunition to shoot at these men and harm them.  Apply the label where it is due.  Just do not use a spray gun to put it on all I.F.B. pastors.  This kind of broad brush labeling is unfair and unjust.  Doing so manifests a real lack of biblical ethics and character. 

[1] Dollar, George W. A History of Fundamentalism in America.  Greenville, S.C.: Bob Jones University Press.
[2] Bauder, Kevin. http://www.centralseminary.edu/resources/nick-of-time/in-the-nick-of-time-archive/100-now-about-those-differences/229-now-about-those-differences-part-twenty-three-sinister-et-dexter
[3] Bauder, Kevin. One Bible Only?. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001, page 15.
[4] Midwest Independent Baptist Pastors’ Fellowship Doctrinal Statement. http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/Midwest%20Independent%20Baptist%20Pastors%20Doc%20Statement%20booklet.pdf. Pages 3, 4, 5, 5, 8, and 11.

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Gospel Centrism's Corruption of Separation Corrupts Unity

Gospel Centrism's Corruption of Separation Corrupts Unity

Unmasking Corruption

          The Bible doctrine of separation is born out of the doctrine of sanctification.  Both separation and sanctification are intricately connected to the priesthood of all believers.  The central emphasis of the both the doctrines of separation and sanctification is purity before God.  This emphasis on this purity throughout Scripture is upon two priorities:

1. Purity from worldliness
2. Purity from false doctrine

          In the Old Testament, the word sanctify is translated from the Hebrew word qadash (kaw-dash”).  The meaning is to morally purify something or someone in order to hallow the thing or person before God.  In the New Testament, the word sanctify is translated from the Greek word hagiazo (hag-ee-ad'-zo).  It too means to morally purify or to make holy before the eyes of God.  In the Old Testament, sanctification was essential before anyone could serve God or approach His presence.  In the New Testament and within the context of the priesthood of all believers, sanctification is essential to fellowship with God and His blessings upon any aspect of the believer’s ministry.  Separation from worldliness and false doctrines are essential to this practicum.  Therefore, the doctrine of separation and purity in sanctification is established upon three pillars:

1. Right doctrine (orthodoxy)
2. Right practice (orthopraxy – how right doctrine fleshes itself out)
3. Right attitudes, emotions, and motivations (orthopathy)

These three pillars for biblical sanctification are critical in that they define the “truth” of which the Church is the “pillar and ground” (I Timothy 3:15).  The intent of these three pillars for the purity of truth is to establish the foundations for a pure (sanctified) local church.  These three pillars for the purity of truth are critical in that they establish the parameters for “fellowship” with God. 
These three pillars for the purity of truth are being attacked today by a movement known as Gospel Centrism.  Those promoting Gospel Centrism promote varying degrees of theological reductionism.  They seek to reduce the parameters of biblical separation regarding doctrinal purity to merely Gospel purity.  Their emphasis is upon unity within the ambiguity of a very broad definition of Christianity and the Church.  This reductionism is certainly a serious deviation from what the Bible teaches regarding practical sanctification and separation regarding false doctrines. 
The two priorities for personal and local church purity, along with practical sanctification, are found in Christ’s high priestly prayer of John chapter seventeen.  Clearly the emphasis of Christ, as detailed in John 17:11 is that believers might enjoy and be blessed in their unity with the Godhead through practical sanctification and separation from false doctrine and worldliness.

11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth” (John 17:11-19).

          Jesus is speaking to the Father on behalf of all Church Age believers, represented in His Apostles, in this text.  He speaks as the believers’ Shepherd and High Priest.  He does so in that all Church Age believers are both His sheep and are His believer-priests.  Every believer-priest is under His direct authority and guardianship.  In John 17:12, Jesus declares that He kept His Apostles “in thy name.”  Therefore, Jesus not only prayed for unity among believers, Jesus’ shepherding ministry of discipleship worked to keep His followers in that unity.  Jesus’ work went far beyond the good news of redemption.  Jesus’ shepherding ministry of discipleship worked to keep His followers in that unity through multiple levels of doctrinal truths.  This ministry of discipleship in keeping believers in unity with the Godhead then defines the under-shepherd’s ministry. 
The Name of God embodies all the revelation about God in the books of the Bible.  Therefore, keeping the Apostles in the Name of God involved shepherding them in living according to the doctrines (“truth”) of the inspired Words of God.  It was through this work of Christ that His Apostles were kept in practical sanctification before God.  This was essential if they were ever going to be used of God after the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.  Without this ongoing work of practical sanctification through separation from worldliness and protection from doctrinal corruption, the Church would die because she would be separated from the Vine (John 15:1-17). 
          Obviously, biblical separation exists on a twofold plane.  If the believer fails to separate himself from worldliness and doctrinal corruption, God will separate Himself from the believer in the sense of fellowship and empowering for ministry.  This is why Gospel Centrism’s corruption of the doctrine of separation is so dangerous.
          This intercessory prayer of Jesus was not limited to the Apostles.  Jesus’ intent in this prayer continues down through the centuries of the Church Age to all future believer-priests.  Jesus wanted all believers to be blessed and empowered by unity with the Godhead.  The Bible has a number of words used to describe this unity with the Godhead – abide, fellowship, unity of the Spirit, and filled with the Spirit.  In John 15:1-8, Christ repeatedly uses the word “abide” to describe this unity with the Godhead.  In John 15:2-3, Jesus describes the Father’s purging of the branches by comparing the Father’s future ministry to His own ministry with His disciples - “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”  Clearly the emphasis of the statement is upon maintaining doctrinal purity.  Therefore, purging involves maintaining doctrinal purity which also defines separation from worldliness.  This is clear from His statements in John 17:20-23. 

20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (John 17:20-23).

          Christ’s prayer in John 17:22 is remarkable in its scope –“that they may be one, even as we are one.”  What is the depth of the unity between the Father and the Son?  Since Jesus is the incarnate Word of God (John 1:1 and 14), the Father and Son enjoy perfect unity in doctrine.  Jesus is God incarnate the Father and Son share in all the attributes of God – mercy, grace, love, wrath, righteous, etc.  Since the Son of God and the Father are eternal in existence, they share the same kind of existence.  Therefore, in the tri-unity of the Godhead (Father, Son, and Spirit), they enjoy a perfect unity in the three pillars of unity – orthodoxy, orthopraxy, and orthopathy.  When Jesus prayed to the Father for all Christians to have this unity, He was praying for these three pillars of unity.  Therefore, if Christians are going to use the word unity, they need to use it in the way Jesus used it in John chapter seventeen.  Although the believer will never share the unity in essence that the Godhead enjoys, all others aspect of unity are available to all believers.  This unity is defined by the Bible’s teaching on practical sanctification (holiness and spiritual growth), separation from false doctrine, and separation from worldliness. 
          Perhaps the greatest error of Gospel Centrism is the failure to see that separation is intended to keep local churches pure from false doctrine and worldliness.  Instead, Gospel Centrists believe that separation is intended to keep the Gospel pure from adulterations.  Although the Gospel should be kept pure from adulterations, this is not the ONLY purpose of separation.  In fact the front line defense in the purity of any local church is the careful examination of baptismal candidates in their understanding of the Gospel and a biblical response to the Gospel.  The first line of defense for purity of any local church is to carefully insure that all members are “born again” of the Spirit of God and committed to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).  Anyone failing in a careful examination of their understanding of the Gospel should never be admitted to membership in a local church in the first place. 
Granted, the first level of Ecclesiastical separation (refusing to partner in ministry with another local church) should be the same careful examination of their understanding of the Gospel and what defines a biblical response to the Gospel in order to be “born again.”  A proper understanding of a biblical response to the Gospel is really the critical dividing line here.  Calvinism’s corruption of the doctrine of election and their heresy of Irresistible Grace (Monergism) are radical departures from the teaching of the Word of God and are therefore a corruption of what defines a biblical response to the Gospel.  Yet, almost all those promoting Gospel Centrism are Calvinists. 
          Are there other corruptions of doctrines (false teachings) that the Word of God requires local churches to keep from influencing “born again” believers?  Of course there are!  The vast majority of the teachings of the epistles are to extricate false doctrine from the local churches to which the epistles are addressed.  It is foolishness to think that such instruction was not intent upon separating those teaching false doctrines from influencing local church memberships.  When those teaching false doctrine were separated from local churches, they simply took their corrupted converts with them and formed new corrupted local churches.  This defines heresy (divisions caused by false doctrine).  Are we to conclude then that the local church that separated these heretics from them should continue to fellowship with the corrupted local church formed by the heretics?  What foolish nonsense!  Gospel Centrism is itself a false doctrine and those purporting it are heretics. 
          Gospel Centrism promotes theological ambiguity at the expense of the abdication of theological dogmatism in order to promote a pseudo-unity based upon marginalizing doctrine in varying positions of moral relativism and ethical subjectivism.  Unity (?) is the objective of Gospel Centrism regardless of doctrinal agreement.  Therefore, Gospel Centrism is merely a new name for Consequentialism (the consequences of one’s conduct, i.e. unity, are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct).  Gospel Centrism equals philosophical drivel!
          In I Samuel 4:19-21, we are given the historical account of the death of Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phineas.  Eli has allowed his two sons to continue as priest while integrating the licentious practices of paganism with in worship of Jehovah at Shiloh.  God could not allow such practices to continue.  After Eli’s death, Eli’s daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, names her newly born son Ichabod.  She then makes this remarkable statement – “The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband.”  Make sure your name never follows this kind of “because.”  Ichabod is a good name for Gospel Centrism.

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
 Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, January 21, 2013

When Profit Leads the Prophet

When Profit Leads the Prophet

          Many local churches are run like businesses these days.  Ministry philosophies are established based upon market driven philosophies of the business world.  Then, those using these secular philosophies for church growth determine if these practices are blessed by God merely by measuring the results they achieve.  This is known as Pragmatism – the larger the crowd you can gather, the greater God’s blessing.  All this nonsense is what God calls “the doctrine of Balaam.”  It is the doctrine of the “stumblingblock.”  There are numerous variations of the doctrine of the “stumblingblock.”  It is a doctrine of manipulation of people for personal gain.

14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans: which thing I hate” (Revelation 2:14-15).

          In the early church, there were already those who held to the “doctrine of Balaam.”  This “doctrine” is detailed in the Old Testament in Numbers 22:5 through 23:24.  Balaam was a prophet of God.  He was the typical hireling prophet.  The Bible has much to say about Balaam.  Mainly, the “doctrine of Balaam” was integrating paganism or worldliness with Christianity.  The “doctrine of Balaam” was to abandon the doctrine of separation in order to ripe the rewards of the world.  In II Peter 2:15 God speaks of “the way of Balaam.”

“Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (II Peter 2:15).

          The “way of Balaam” was that he was a spiritual opportunist.  He saw the opportunity for fame and fortune in his position as a prophet of God.  He traded his God given gift for profit, power, and position in the world.  He made merchandise of both his ministry and the people God called him to serve.  The “way of Balaam” is the person who views people as the means to advance himself and build himself a kingdom.  The “way of Balaam” is similar to the Purpose Driven ministries of New Evangelicalism (meaning GATHERING CROWDS).  Pastors who take this avenue for personal success are not Christ’s under shepherds.  Beware of prophets who are led by profit rather than by the Word of God.  When a spiritual leader begins to measure his success by results, it will not be long before he will be deep in compromise and Pragmatism.
          Ministries get into trouble when they try to maintain status qou even when their numbers decrease or their budget decreases, or when costs increase.  In many cases, local churches, Bible Colleges, and Seminaries make ministry decisions on growth projections.  Ministries get themselves in trouble when they begin to budget according to growth projections.  When their growth projections are not realized, and they get into financial difficulties, they begin to make incremental changes in their philosophies of ministry to achieve their growth projections.  These incremental changes are often varying levels of compromise of their original parameters of separation and doctrinal distinctives.  At this point, the leaders of these ministries cease to be spiritual leaders and become prophets for hire.  There is often a very narrow line between being extra-biblical and unbiblical.

11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep” (John 10:11-13).

“And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not” (II Peter 2:3).

The Bible also speaks of the “error of Balaam.”

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah” (Jude 1:11).

          The “error of Balaam” is the “way of Cain.”  The “error of Balaam” is primarily the error in thinking that any way (methodology) is acceptable to God as long as it get RESULTS (Pragmatism).  The “way of Cain” is to think that God can bless the work of our hands apart from the proper relationship that comes through the proper sacrifice.  The “error of Balaam” is the false thinking of the corrupted prophet who believes he exists to make a profit or to gain fame for himself.  The corrupted prophet uses his position for self-glorification, rather than God-glorification.  He wants to be exalted before men, rather than exalt God before men and edify men before God.  Every true man of God must be meticulous in his efforts to guard against thinking that might even lead him down these pathways.  Paul warned Timothy to – “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them” (I Timothy 4:16).  If this is a warning to preachers, why do the people in the pew need to know about it?  People in the pew need to know because they are responsible for any unscriptural direction in which they might be led.  

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee” (Proverbs 23:7).

          These two philosophies of ministry are called the “doctrine of Balaam” by Christ in Revelation 2:14.  The Christian is called to preach the doctrine of Christ.  In other words, we are to seek to reproduce Christ in others by “renewing” their minds and allowing the Holy Spirit to “transform” their lives from the inside out.  A man reproduces what he is.  He is what he believes.  The “doctrine of Balaam” reproduces what Balaam was.  Balaamism uses and distorts the Scriptures to get the RESULTS Balaam wanted.  It is an insidious kind of corruption.  It is New Evangelicalism.  It is Gospel Centrism.  It is Convergent and Emergent Evangelicalism.  All of these corrupt the biblical doctrine of separation in varying degrees.
          Balaam taught the Moabite king Balak how to corrupt God’s children by breaching the walls of their separation from the world.  King Balak wanted Balaam to curse the Israelites so that they wouldn’t occupy his land, but Balaam could not.  He wanted to, but he could not.  He wanted to because he wanted king Balak’s reward.  So Balaam taught king Balak what he needed to do to seduce the children of Israel into compromise in order that God would chastise Israel, rather than bless them.  In doing, Balaam could get his material reward.  Balaam is the prophet influenced by worldliness.   The “doctrine of Balaam” was that he taught the men of Israel to fornicate with and marry Moabite women thereby defiling their separation unto God.  This is exactly what New Evangelicalism has done.  It is similar to what Gospel Centrism proposes.  Paul had a similar problem with the believers at Corinth and so admonished them. 

11 O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. 12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. 13 Now for a recompense in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 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. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (II Corinthians 6:11-7:1).

          As a result of Balaam’s doctrine (and the similar problem at Corinth), God’s children became involved in pagan worship and the fornication of Baalism.  New Evangelicalism always begins with toleration of error and ends with a rapid slide into false practice.  Whatever you begin to fix your eyes on will eventually become what you practice.  Take separation away from Christianity and you have Balaamism. 

“Historic fundamentalism is the literal interpretation of all the affirmations and attitudes of the Bible and the militant exposure of all non-biblical affirmations and attitudes” (George Dollar, A History of Fundamentalism in America, 1973).

“The essence of fundamentalism . . . is the unqualified acceptance of and obedience to the Scriptures. . .  The present study reveals that pre-1930 fundamentalism was nonconformist, while post-1930 fundamentalism has been separatist” (David O. Beale, In Pursuit of Purity: American Fundamentalism Since 1850, Bob Jones University Press, 1986, p. 5).

“Fundamentalism is the militant belief and proclamation of the basic doctrines of Christianity leading to a Scriptural separation from those who reject them” (John Ashbrook, Axioms of Separation, nd., p. 10).

“A fundamentalist is a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ who:

1. Maintains an immovable allegiance to the inerrant, infallible, and verbally inspired Bible.
2. Believes that whatever the Bible says is so.
3. Judges all things by the Bible and is judged only by the Bible.
4. Affirms the foundational truths of the historic Christian Faith: The doctrine of the Trinity; the incarnation, virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, bodily resurrection and glorious ascension, and Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ; the new birth through regeneration by the Holy Spirit; the resurrection of the saints to life eternal; the resurrection of the ungodly to final judgment and eternal death; the fellowship of the saints, who are the body of Christ.
5. Practices fidelity to that Faith and endeavors to preach it to every creature.
6. Exposes and separates from all ecclesiastical denial of that Faith, compromise with error, and apostasy from the Truth.
7. Earnestly contends for the Faith once delivered.”
(World Congress of Fundamentalists, which met in 1976 in Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland)

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.