There is so much in this world masquerading as “Christianity” and this blog endeavors to equip believers to be able to discern what is good from what is evil. In fact, in the like-mindedness of Charles Spurgeon, it’s more important to be able to discern what’s right from what’s almost right. In a spirit of true concern for the body of Christ, and never out of selfish ambition, we are called to expose error—even subtle error—and point people to the truth of the gospel.
In this day, it is ever more important that believers be on the lookout for counterfeit forms of Christianity that seek to pervert the grace of God and lead people astray. And one of the most subversive ways these counterfeits creep into the Church is through various spiritual partnerships with apostates—and the Scriptures warn the Church adamantly not to partake in these partnerships lest we be guilty of idolatry.
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? —2 Corinthians 6:14-16
First, we should seek to differentiate between a spiritual endeavor and merely a co-belligerent partnership for the purpose of working together for the common good of all people. The latter is not forbidden in Scripture and these types of partnerships are carried out routinely in our daily lives. As an easy example, there is nothing wrong with Christians working together with Muslims to rescue children from a school bus that is on fire.
On the other hand, an example that may be less clear would be a partnership between Christians and Muslims against abortion. While working together to pass legislation banning abortion would be acceptable, Christians and Muslims holding a religious conference and organizing a march together to proclaim the “sanctity of life” from a religious perspective would be unacceptable as it blurs the line between the Christian gospel and the false doctrine of Islam.
Even worse, however, is when the Church partners with other organizations or denominations that claim to be “Christian,” but really are not. For example, when the Church or churches partner with organizations that claim to be Christian, but actually hold to a false gospel or otherwise pervert the truth of Scripture. Sadly, we are increasingly seeing this throughout Evangelicalism as the Church becomes less defined by its doctrine and its devotion to Christ and the body. Today, we see more unholy alliances than we ever have in modern history.
Today, we see historically orthodox Evangelicals and even Reformed churches—including Southern Baptists and Presbyterians—willing to partner with almost any organization for what many will call “gospel issues.” But these groups are united around almost anything but the gospel. In fact, many have united around a false gospel, social justice. The most recent example of this is the Southern Baptist Convention’s proposed partnership with a political public relations campaign that attempts to make Jesus more palatable to a world that hates Him. Thankfully, after pushback, that partnership was thwarted. But that isn’t the only one. Southern Baptist and Presbyterian churches, among others, are partnering with pro-homosexual groups like Revoice for the purpose of moving the Church closer to an affirming position on homosexuality, and they do so under the banner of Christ.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen churches, church leaders, and denominations sweep doctrine aside and partner with each other to advance various political issues from social justice to COVID vaccines, and most often, it’s done under the guise of “loving your neighbor.” These spiritual endeavors, however, compromise the gospel because it removes the clear distinction between what is true and what is false when it comes to biblical doctrine.
Why a true, Bible-believing Christian cannot join hands with another professing Christian who denies the essential doctrines of Christianity—salvation by grace alone, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, etc.—is simple: God commands against it. And He commands against it because it compromises the gospel which the Church is called to steward and defend. Amos 3:3 asks the rhetorical question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” The answer is no. But when the body of Christ lays aside doctrine to unite around other spiritual matters, it certainly sends the signal that the two—or more—”be agreed” on the essentials, too. It’s why God commands us to avoid them. There is no unity in the body where sound doctrine has been cast aside.
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. —Romans 16:17