Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cross-examination of Daniel: Q10

Q10: As an aside on the aside, note that doling out anathemas for nonessential matters is not the same as affirming central truths and anathematizing the deniers of those truths. That Daniel does not make this distinction is telling.

So for my last question to you, Daniel: What is the most significant difference between what happened, for example, at Nicea and the common claim easily found all kinds of places today that John Piper, for failing to practice separation from Rick Warren, must himself be the object of separation for anyone who is truly a Christian? Is there one?

A10: As I have mentioned, Frank, I am a Reformed Confessionalist, not an Evangelical minimalist.

I have addressed the issue of John Piper briefly in my second statement. As I have said:

Secondary separation means that we are to rebuke Pastor Piper of his sin and to treat him as an erring brother under censure, as he has according to 2 John 11 taken part in the wicked deeds of Douglas Wilson and Rick Warren. He is still at least a brother in Christ, but his compromise with heretics means that we are to censure him in hopes that he will repent one day, not to encourage him in his sin by continuing on writing open letters to praise him as if nothing has actually happened.

Secondary separation is different from primary separation, although both are done for the Gospel. Secondary separation (applicable to compromisers like John Piper) is done as a measure of reprove and censure towards Christians for their compromise, while primary separation (an application of Nicea) is an act of judgment against heretics, schismatics and true apostates.

To finish off this answer, I would say that efforts to limit such acts of public piety to the local church sound suspiciously like Cain’s answer to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9ff). After all, we confess “one catholic and apostolic faith”, not many branches of disconnected faith communities.

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