Category Archives: Fundamentalism

OBF Spring Conference 2023 – Messages

The messages from the Ohio Bible Fellowship Spring Conference (April 14-15, 2023) were recorded and are available to listen to via YouTube. You can listen to the audio-only videos at the following link.

Ohio Bible Fellowship – YouTube

Our speaker was Evangelist Mark Herbster of Maranatha University. The first two messages were given at Bucyrus Bible Church and the second two at Calvary Baptist Church of Willard. The messages dealt with the topics of Biblical Unity and Separation and were well received by all.

Proposed Resolution on Biblical Unity and Separation

The following paragraphs are a proposed resolution for the Ohio Bible Fellowship:

The Bible teaches that believers should enjoy unity with other members of the Body of Christ (Psa. 133:1; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; Eph. 4:1-6). This unity is based on our common faith (Eph. 4:5), desire for holiness (1 John. 1:6-7), and purpose (Phil. 1:5). The Bible also teaches that believers should be separated to God. This separation is based on a common desire for personal holiness (Titus 2:11-14), purity within the church (Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5:6-7, 11-13), and keeping distinct from error (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; 2 John 9-11).

The Ohio Bible Fellowship recognizes the need for both unity and separation in its purpose statement and doctrinal statement. Biblical unity is sought with like-minded churches who are committed to the same doctrines and practices (1 Cor. 14:40), who desire to advance the gospel (Matt. 28:19–20), and who proclaim the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27; 2 Tim. 4:2). Biblical separation is practiced by “furthering the separatist position for the protection of the Christian faith and the church” (2 Thess. 3:6, 14; 2 John 10–11) and by “warning of contemporary dangers” (Eph. 5:11; Jude 3).

During a time when many shy away from biblical separation, it would be easy to seek unity without it or to minimize its importance. However, this would not be complete obedience to the whole counsel of God. Let us, therefore, resolve to faithfully practice biblical unity with like-minded believers and churches whenever possible and to promote biblical separation when necessary for the purity of the Church and the glory of God.

Removing the Dross

I was just reading in Proverbs and found this statement:

“Take away the dross from silver, and it will go to the silversmith for jewelry.” — Prov. 25:4

This ancient proverb made me think of the unity-separation conundrum. In the past, fundamentalists had a strong voice for separation as can be seen in history and articles written and positions taken. In recent times, they have become less vocal about separation. In particular, separation from worldliness and from disobedient brothers have been relegated to debatable topics. The end result is that few speak about these topics anymore. Everyone does what is right in his own eyes, and nothing is said.

The proverb reminds me of our need to be pure for the Lord. Just as dross must be removed from silver to make it usable as jewelry, so we must obey God by removing sin from our lives to be usable for the Lord. Sin is not just separation from personal sin. That is important. But it also includes the refusal to separate from unbelief, worldliness, disobedient brothers, etc. To be usable for the Lord, we have to separate from those who continue in sin.

Note also what happens to the purified silver. All of it can be used by the jeweler. All of it. The simple qualification is that the dross must be removed. The same is true for us. The people who are purifying themselves for the Lord are the ones with whom God can work. These are the people we should be unified with. When we are walking in the same direction, we have fellowship and can be unified in spiritual endeavors. The ones who are not pure (worldly, disobedient, etc.) separate themselves as unclean. Because they are not purifying themselves, they show a lack of love for the Lord. Until that changes, we cannot be unified. We separate because unity with sin displeases the Lord. God’s reputation is affected by the company we keep. 

If I were to give my wife some silver jewelry that was not pure, she would not be very happy. If such jewelry were for sale, nobody would buy it. The same is true in our relationship to the Lord. If we want to be usable for the Lord, we must be willing to practice this kind of separation. As we do, we will notice others who are walking the same way. With these we can be unified.

Biblical Separation Applied

What is it about biblical separation that seems so distasteful to Christians today? Some view biblical separatists as people who don’t know how to enjoy life. Some view them as unnecessarily cautious. Some even view them as angry and inappropriately divisive people. But is this really the case? Are biblical separatists people who have gone over the edge with zeal for God’s holiness?

We believe that God desires unity within the Church (John 17:20-23; Eph. 4:1-6). We should strive for this unity because all believers are a part of the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). However, because of differences of opinion, interpretation, and practice, unity is best accomplished by believers who share the same beliefs, convictions, and practices (Acts 15:36-41). We also believe that there are situations where unity is not possible or appropriate, and where God commands us to separate ourselves. This is where the practice of biblical separation is necessary. There are three major areas of separation taught in the Bible.

  1. Personal separation

    We believe that all Christians should live in a way that reflects the change God has made in them (2 Cor. 5:17; Titus 2:11-14), that is holy and acceptable to God (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 6:19-20), and that evidences a love for God instead of worldly desires and attitudes (1 John 2:15-17). This necessarily requires Christians to keep themselves from certain thoughts, conversations, and actions but it should not result in complete isolation from unbelievers (John 17:15; 1 Cor. 5:9-10).

    For example, believers should not imbibe worldly and ungodly entertainment. If a television show or movie promotes sexual immorality, blasphemy, or covetousness, we should turn off that program and instead fill our minds with content that promotes good character. If a clothing style provokes immoral thoughts, promotes an ungodly alliance with rebellion or pride, we should not wear that kind of clothing. If having a television, computer, or mobile phone proves to be too much of a temptation to sin, a believer should limit its availability by installing protections of some sort or by limiting or removing access to such things.

  2. Separation from a disobedient brother

    We believe that a Christian should lovingly confront another Christian who has sinned against him with a desire for his repentance, forgiveness, and restoration. If the sinning Christian does not repent, the next step is to involve other believers and, if necessary, to bring the matter before the local church (Matt. 18:15-17). If the sinning believer refuses to repent, he must be withdrawn from to show him the seriousness of his sin (2 Thess. 3:14-15) and to guard against his bad influence (1 Cor. 5:6-7). There may be situations when a believer’s sin is so egregious (1 Cor. 5:1, 11; 2 Thess. 3:6) that immediate separation is necessary.

    For instance, if a believer is actively imbibing sinful media, other believers should lovingly confront this behavior explaining why it is wrong according to the Bible, and with the desire for repentance and restoration. If a believer is speaking in a way that is hateful, harmful, or unkind, other believers should confront him and help him to change. If a believer has committed adultery, other believers should confront him with his sin and seek his repentance and restoration. If, however, any of these believers refuse to deal with their sin, the matter should be addressed by a larger group of believers and eventually by the church. If the sinning believer does not repent, fellowship must be removed so as to escape his influence and to show him the seriousness of his sin.

  3. Ecclesiastical separation.

    We believe that a relationship with other churches, organizations, or believers outside of the local church can be beneficial (Col. 4:12-15; Rom. 15:26). However, these relationships should be carefully examined before fellowship is offered (1 John 1:5-7). The local church should not cooperate in a spiritual endeavor with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1), false teachers (Rom. 16:17-18; 2 John 9-11), or believers who are worldly (1 John 2:15-17) or disobedient (2 Thess. 3:6). Such cooperation sends a mixed message about true faith (2 Cor. 6:14) and fellowship (1 Cor. 5:11-13).

    If a church in the area asks for our support in a spiritual endeavor, we must examine whether fellowship is biblical. If the asking church invites the Roman Catholic church to take part and treats them as believers, we would not be able to take part in the event. If the asking church includes worldly or sensual music, we would not be able to take part. If the asking church includes false teachers or disobedient believers on their platform, we would not be able to take part. If a formerly good Christian organization or school is unwilling to practice biblical separation, we would no longer be able to support or fellowship with it.


There are two basic views about biblical separation. One views it as an unnecessary division within the Body of Christ. The examples given above are considered extreme, distasteful, and a mar on the Church’s reputation to the world. Another view is that biblical separation is something clearly taught in the Bible. The examples given above are simply obedience to God’s desire to keep believers and the Church pure and holy for Himself. Separation, in this case, is not a bad reputation to the world, but a showcase of what God truly desires.

I believe that this last view is correct. While we needn’t separate over every difference of opinion and need to show love toward those who are untaught in these things, our first responsibility is to think about what God says. When God tells us to separate ourselves from the world, our obedience draws us close to Him and gives the world an example of God’s holiness. When God tells us to separate from a disobedient brother, our obedience is designed to show him the seriousness of his sin and need for repentance. Continued fellowship with him would not accomplish God’s desire. When God tells us to separate from churches and organizations whose actions or relationships are sinful, our obedience makes a clear distinction between right and wrong, obedience and disobedience, and gives a clear picture of God’s desire for a pure Church.

Note: This article is based on the proposed revision of the doctrinal statement of Calvary Baptist Church of Willard.

Is this what we want for our Christian college students?

Someone told me that Cedarville University had removed some professors because of their bad theology. Others have praised the school for its good teaching and professors. I have to admit that I was skeptical about the university due to what I had experienced in the past. When my wife and I visited the school in the early 2000’s to see a Christian college student compete in a national Cross Country meet, the dinner afterward was accompanied by rock music over the speaker system. I also heard from a previous Cedarville student who bragged about blasting secular rock music in the dormitory about that same time period.

You may have noticed that I mentioned rock music. Why would rock music be a problem? To most people today, an aversion to rock music is an odd view to have. Everywhere you go, you hear it. Attend a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game and you will be pounded with the music. The same thing is true at a Tim Horton’s or a Subway restaurant. Rock music is imbedded in our society. But this doesn’t necessarily make it a good thing for Christians who want to be separated from the world.

Rock music has been the vehicle by which the world expresses their desire to be free from rules, to throw off restraint, and to express anger and sensuality. Listen to the world and they will tell you these things. During my lifetime, certain Christian performers attempted to meld rock music and a Christian message in an attempt to reach the world. This is “an unusual phenomenon, since rock music has historically been associated with themes such as nonconformity, sexual promiscuity, rebellion, drug and alcohol use and other topics normally considered antithetical to the teachings of Christianity” (Wikipedia). For some reason, that idea appealed to me in my teen years because I wanted the world and Christianity at the same time. After God saved me, I saw the error in mixing the world with Christ.

“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” —James 4:4

Today, I visited the school via Cedarville’s website. The chapel service was to have Andrew Snelling from Answers in Genesis as the speaker. As I listened to a man introduce the visiting speaker, I noticed the drum set behind him and wondered if they would play something before the message. They did. A rock band played for the gathered crowd. You can view this part of the chapel service at the link below.

The title of this article is an important question. If God is against mixing His message with worldliness, and if Christian rock music accomplishes this, why would we want to recommend such a school to our young people? Is it something we can overlook because we like the preaching? Is it just a difference of opinion (meat offered to idols)? Or is it worldliness infiltrating a college and displeasing the Lord? These are important questions to answer. But let’s set aside these questions for a moment.

Let’s assume that you are a conservative, fundamental Christian who believes that separation from worldliness is important. And let’s assume that you don’t agree with this kind of music. With those assumptions in mind, do you think it would be a good thing to send your Christian young people to a college that promotes the opposite of what you believe is pleasing to the Lord? While the students might get a good education (the Answers in Genesis speaker probably said some good things) and while the doctrinal statement of the school says good things, what else will your students get from the school? They will be influenced by worldly music with Christian lyrics on a daily basis and will be mingling with professors and students who believe the opposite of what you have taught them. Is this what we want for our Christian college students?

McGee on Liberalism Creeping into our Churches

“Liberalism has crept into our churches and we have allowed it to stay there unchecked. I can remember when I came before a church court to be examined for the ministry. A young fellow from a liberal seminary was also there to be examined. I have never seen anyone who knew so little theology and Bible as this boy, and what he did know he had all mixed up. It was clear that he had little knowledge and no faith. He could never even explain the great doctrines of the faith. In fact, one man very patiently said to him, ‘Well if you don’t believe it, at least you ought to know what you don’t believe!’ But he didn’t. Then one old man who knew this boy’s father, said, ‘This boy’s father was a great preacher in the past. He was sound in the faith and I know that one day this boy will come around and will get straightened out.’ It was not unanimous but the council accepted him. It made me sick at heart to be brought in at the same time with a fellow who did not believe anything at all.

The way this council handled the situation is not the way Moses would have handled it! He would not have drawn a sword and slain the fellow, but he would not have accepted him as a preacher. He would have given that boy a Bible and told him to go to Bible school, learn a little Bible, and then come back and he could be examined again and see if he was fit for the ministry. Because of similar actions by other councils, liberalism has come into the organized church and has taken over. You cannot compromise with sin.”

Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol 1., Genesis through Deuteronomy, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1981, p. 302.

The Greatest Tragedy of Modern Ecumenism

Peter’s warnings in the second chapter of 2 Peter are a potent reminder that false teachers will come from within the Church and turn many away from holy living and pure doctrine. While the warnings are not particularly enjoyable to read, they do serve as necessary warnings against what has happened in the past and will happen in the future. The Old Testament believers and the early Church faced false teachers. Our current generation is also being influenced by false teachers. Because of this, we do well to heed Peter’s warnings and to speak out against false doctrine and those who propagate it.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.1

This morning, I came across this commentary on 2 Peter 2:1-3 by D. Martin Lloyd-Jones which was originally published between 1948 and 1950. He was a Welsh pastor known for his understanding of the Scriptures and his opposition to liberal Christianity. When Lloyd-Jones wrote his commentary on 2 Peter, some were calling for unity without purity of doctrine. With the warnings of 2 Peter 2 in mind, he wrote these warnings about ecumenism.

The whole emphasis at the moment is that we should all be getting together and forming great organizations. The concern is not so much as to the truth of the message, but to gather ourselves together into one great community. The tendency today is to minimize truth in favor of organization, and men are telling us with unwearied reiteration that the greatest tragedy of the world is the disunited church. But the tragedy, the greatest tragedy, as I understand the New Testament, is not the disunity of the church, is not the fact that the church is divided into groups and denominations, is not that we are not all in one organization, but that all the sections are preaching a false message and there has been a departure from the truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus. If we were all brought together and formed into one organization, that is no guarantee that the message preached would be true. There are false teachers; there were in the Old Testament and there are and always have been in the church.2

The modern ecumenical movement leads to a minimizing of doctrinal differences for the alleged greater good of the Church. Sadly, this idea leads instead to a steady decline of doctrinal purity. While we should seek unity amongst our Christian brothers when possible, unity must always proceed from pure doctrine and practice. As Peter points out in his second epistle, there is too much at stake. So, take heed to his warning and guard yourself against the false teaching that has pulled so many people down. Remember what God has done for you (2 Pet. 1:1-4), diligently add godly character to your faith (2 Pet. 1:5-11), and follow the divinely inspired Scriptures (2 Pet. 1:12-21) as you seek to guard yourself from anything that would pull you away from the Lord.

1Scripture quotation of 2 Peter 2:1-3 was taken from the NASB.

2D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, 2 Peter, (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1983), 128-29.

Curse, strike, and pull out their hair!

Most people are familiar with Nehemiah’s leadership in getting the wall of Jerusalem built despite opposition. I have heard a number of sermons about working together, persevering, and standing up against opposition. But when is the last time you heard a sermon about cursing, striking, and pulling out the hair of sinful people in your church from Nehemiah 13?

In the context, Nehemiah had returned to Jerusalem to find the people returning to their ungodly ways. He found Tobiah living in the temple, people disregarding the Sabbath, and Jewish people married to Philistines, Ammonites, and Moabites. Nehemiah’s response to the first problem was to throw Tobiah’s belongings out of the temple and demand that the priests cleanse the room and start using it for its intended purpose (13:4-9). The second situation was handled by warning the people, contending with the nobles, and warning the merchants that he would “lay hands on them” if they returned on the Sabbath (13:15-22). (I’m pretty sure they weren’t thinking ordination.)

Up to this point, we all are with Nehemiah. The people needed to be straightened out and he found a way to do that. But what about the way he handled the third problem? When Nehemiah found that certain Israelites had married Philistines, Ammonites, and Moabites, he “contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear” not to do it anymore. Hmm… I think most people would rather overlook what happened here. Wasn’t Nehemiah a bit overzealous? Maybe not.

Are there not some things so important that extreme measures must be taken? In Nehemiah’s case, the answer would be yes. Think context here. The people of Israel and Judah had been sent into captivity under God’s curse because they rejected him and the Law. For seventy years, they had been captive in Babylon because of their sins against God. And now that the people had been given permission to return to the land, they quickly forgot the past. This was a big deal not only to Nehemiah but to God. What were the people thinking? Did they want God’s judgment to fall on them again? This is why Nehemiah’s reaction was so strong.

Should Christians do the same? Should we pronounce a curse on, strike, and pull out the hair of Christians who choose to return to their former sins? No, I don’t think so. But I do think that we should take a greater offense to sin than we normally do. Like Nehemiah we should view sin as a great wickedness against God. And when we see other Christians living in such a way as to anger him and influence others to sin, we should speak out and respond in such a way that shows the offender and those in the Church how serious his sin is. I’m not sure we do much of that anymore. Perhaps our desire to distance ourselves from the fighting fundamentalists of the past has taken the sting out of sin. Perhaps our emphasis on God’s love has led to license. And perhaps we need a few more Nehemiahs to shake things up.

Redefining Fundamentalism?

Several years ago, there was a push to redefine fundamentalism. Some within the movement were unhappy with the direction and character of past generations for a variety of reasons. Past fundamentalists were defined as too separated, too concerned with outward appearances, and too strident. Some of the younger fundamentalists chose to define fundamentalism as those who were willing to do battle royal for the fundamentals. The focus on the fundamentals was a good thing except that it ignored the other battles that had been fought during the 20th century.

Last night during our prayer meeting service, the Lord brought to mind a message preached at an ACCC meeting in Parma, Ohio several years ago. The speaker was Dr. E. Allen Griffith and his message, “The Impact of Contemporary Evangelism on the Faith“, pointed out some of the concerns several of us had about the new direction. Click on the link above and let me know what you think.

The Current Battle in Fundamentalism

A few days ago, Don Johnson posted a thoughtful article about the current battle in fundamentalism. After talking about the past battles against modernism and new evangelicalism, he sums up the current battle with this paragraph:

There is, however, a current battle. The current battle is the battle over culture. Some younger fundamentalists (and the conservative evangelicals) seem to be articulating a position that only battles over theology are legitimate, no one can do battle over non-theological matters. As long as doctrine is orthodox, there is no remaining conflict. Culture, as a neutral object, or at least as an insignificant object, must not become the focus of division. But is this challenge non-theological?

I have been thinking about the current trends in fundamentalism and found his article a refreshing perspective. Read the complete article and his conclusion at