Should I leave my church if it does not Rightly Divide the word of truth?

Recently, an email inquiry was sent into this ministry that asked a question that the majority of those who agree with Mid-Acts Pauline Dispensationalism (aka “Right Division”) must wrestle with at some point.  I determined that the email exchange would be beneficial for those who visit this site and through permission from the sender, I am providing the original email below:

On a recent X feed, you mentioned leaving the teachings of John MacArthur. I have discovered the Doctrine of Right Division recently through Hope Bible Church pastored by David Osteen. I have been a member of 2 churches whose pastors are Master’s Seminary graduates and have believed in Calvinism for about 5 years. Since learning about RD and believing that the King James Bible is the word of God, should I leave my church? There are no RD churches in my area.

The following is my Reply back to this dear brother.  If you are willing, please join the discussion, add your perspective using Scripture, and provide your personal experience in the Comments section below.


 

RD churches are few and far between.  Hopefully the Directory I maintain at WWURD.com will be of some assistance, but I realize that chances are slim:  https://wwurd.com/directory/

Most RD’ers that I converse with choose to do “church” at home.  They will either tune in to a live feed from an RD pastor or they will watch a previously posted video, usually a series (book of the Bible, etc.).  If you are following along with Pastor O’Steen at Hope Bible Church in Georgia, you’re in a very good place.  Realize that I have listed a number of churches, YouTube channels, and videos on the website:

https://wwurd.com/links/

https://wwurd.com/videos/

The lack of RD churches is no surprise to us.  Even during Paul’s day and ministry, he indicated that all forsook him and his teachings:

[2Ti 4:16 KJV] At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.

Paul told us that during the end of the dispensation of grace, apostasy would rule the day and that is certainly where we are at:

[2Th 2:3 KJV] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away (Gr: Apostasia) first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

[1Ti 4:1-3 KJV] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

[2Ti 3:1-7 KJV] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

[2Ti 3:12-14 KJV] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

So, in a way, I take the lack of RD churches, the predominance of false teachings, the apostasy that I witness daily, and the extreme minority of those in the “RD camp” (following the Bible’s instructions) to be a good thing.  It tells me that His return is near and that the dispensation of the grace of God is soon to come to a close.  In the meantime, I am just going to be a faithful ambassador for Christ and I am going to work daily to “make all men see the fellowship of the mystery” (Eph 3:9).

So what does Scripture say about your current situation (churches run by Master’s Seminary grads, Calvinism, etc.)?  Here is my answer to that question:

[2Th 3:6-7 KJV] Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;

Paul commanded members of the Church, the body of Christ, in Christ’s name, to disassociate from and avoid believers who walked disorderly and did not follow his teaching.  Paul’s command was “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” a statement denoting that this command came directly from the ascended Lord, not one Paul initiated on his own.  The command to disassociate “from every brother” means to physically distance oneself from disorderly believers or believers who do not follow Paul’s teaching.  It is a strong command, and is repeated in verse 14:

[2Th 3:14 KJV] And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

Paul repeated these commands (from the Lord) in later letters:

[Rom 16:17-18 KJV] Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

To Timothy , he wrote:

[1Ti 6:3-5 KJV] If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

To Titus, he wrote:

[Tit 3:10-11 KJV] A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

Paul instructed Titus with how to deal with someone who taught contrary to his teachings.  He told Titus to admonish (counsel, warn, reprimand) such a person.  You can choose to approach your Master’s Seminary taught pastor with the truth that you have learned, but be forewarned that he has a tremendous amount invested in where he finds himself currently and that most are not willing or capable of forsaking the years of false teaching that they have been under, and been teaching themselves.  Everyone’s situation is different.  Paul’s instructions, however, apply to each one of us in the body of Christ equally.  Should your decision be to approach your pastor with Biblically-based questions, just understand that Paul instructs us that after a second admonition, if the pastor/person fails to correct his teaching, believers are to avoid him.

Understand that Paul is to the Church, the body of Christ, what Abraham and Moses were to the Jews.  Abraham was the origin of the Jews and Moses their lawgiver.  Paul was God’s handpicked agent whom God commissioned to begin the Church, the body of Christ, and to reveal all its doctrines, which Paul called mysteries (secrets).  The body of Christ is instructed to follow Paul’s doctrine:

[1Ti 1:16 KJV] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

[1Co 14:37 KJV] If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

Seminaries, churches, pastors, and teachers obedient to Christ Jesus spend most of their time learning from and teaching from Paul’s epistles, instructing fellow believers in the great Church truths revealed in them.  Believers obedient to Christ within our present dispensation of grace avoid churches that fail to do this.  Paul wrote that such church bodies “do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ but their own appetites,” are “proud and understand nothing,” and are “heretics.”  Each of us will stand before the Lord one day regarding our faithfulness to Him and whether or not we followed the instructions provided to us (Rom 14:10; 2 Cor 5:10). 

Years past, I was faced with this understanding and I had to make a decision as to whether or not to hold on to tradition and my church’s Doctrinal Statement.  I chose not to forsake the teachings that the Lord provided for me, I stepped down as an Elder at my local “Bible-believing church,” I was alienated by many, and I had only Him and His word to depend upon.  Understanding the truth of “Right Division,” I found myself in a sense of mourning, realizing that family and friends did not understand the Bible correctly and that they were placing themselves under false teaching.  I even went so far as to sit down and to write a book about Right Division and when I finished it, I sent a copy of it to my former pastor (also much associated with the Master’s Seminary).  I suspect he never read it…

Somewhere along the way through this journey, I crossed paths with a little mantra and it has stuck with me since.  It really does apply to this situation that all those who follow Right Division must endure: “Don’t waste your energy fighting the old, invest your energy in building the new.”  Having faced years of conflict, rejection, and ridicule, I choose now to invest my energy in just communicating the truth of God’s word (building the new).  I still mourn for the well-intentioned brothers and sisters I once fellowshipped with, and truth be known, there is anger that can simmer up from time to time.  I take it to the Lord, and I find myself praying daily that He will return for His body (Titus 2:13).

Thus, the choice is yours with regards to your current situation.  Our instructions are clear.  Prepare for a myriad of emotions should you decide to approach your pastor and remember that we are instructed to take it only so far.  I will be praying for you and your situation. 

[Rom 8:18 KJV] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Grace and Peace,

-Paul

 


 

 

 

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