Opening remarks and context
Months ago I wrote a paper detailing the ongoing “Peter Hammond controversy”. In this paper, I spoke at some length on the admitted and proven heretical kinism of Peter Hammond, the various ethical charges brought against Hammond, the corresponding excommunication of Hammond, and the Biblical position of inviting the heretical and excommunicated Hammond to a Christian conference such as The Future of Christendom Conference. Christian Raymond has responded in an “open letter” against my article and other things myself and Jordan Wilson have written and said on the matter. Jordan is a fellow member of Cross and Crown Church and a writer at thefloatingaxehead.com. Christian Raymond is a son of a pastor who has stood with the excommunicated Hammond and has claimed the exposing of this excommunication is “bullying.”
I do not have the time or desire to systematically respond to Christian Raymond’s sixteen pages in such a way that makes everything crystal clear to all readers. There is too much background that would need to be covered to properly write an essay as a response. Though I was only ever asking for a personal response from Christian (in keeping with what he told me he would do) I am now in a position of dealing with an “open letter” that does little-to-nothing to add any context to the problem and adds a layer of public confusion and distraction. In order to add this much-needed context and much-lacked context, I will list a number of articles having to do with the debate.
These links include many other links that will direct to various evidences. Now that this open letter is, well, open, I will quickly address at least a few of Christian’s points, claims, and obfuscations. Jordan Wilson has done a great job addressing much of Christian’s paper here. I wholeheartedly agree with Jordan and sharing in the same heart, I quote him now.
“As I told Christian just now I’m fine with him posting what we’ve discussed as long as it is not done is such a way as to add to confusion, mislead people and lead to much unnecessary additional consternation and time wasting then is already in place. Christian’s document fails that test and for that reason it was foolish for him to release it. By his actions, Christian is adding to the problem he says he wants to fix. Regrettably, having already responded to Christian personally I now need to take the time from other profitable kingdom oriented ventures to correct the record that Christian released publicly. The Genie is now out of the bottle and I feel I have no choice now.”
The debate has been long, though I do not believe the debate is complex. The debate has been made to look complex, and much effort has been put into confusing the central contention of the debate and distracting away from that central contention. To drive home that crux of the issue, let me restate it.
- Christians have a duty to not associate with the excommunicated and with heretics. (Matthew 18:17, 1 Corinthians 5:4-13)
- Ecclesiastical elders have a greater and weightier duty to guard the flock in accord with their pastoral role. (Acts 20:28-31, 1 Peter 5:1-2, Titus 1:9
- Those who have played a role in inviting such a man to speak (axiomatically associate), defending that invitation, and doubling down on such an error are guilty of failing in the first point and if they serve as a leader, guilty of the second point as well.
This debate is not about many things that Christian feels the need to bring up. I will address some of these points, however, some readers may not be familiar enough with the situation to understand all that I will say. Again, I do not have the time or desire to detail, once again, the history of this debate, the numerous conversations I’ve had with notable individuals, my history with AHA, and other details that Christian brings up. This will not be very systematic, so I apologize for the lack of structure. Feel free, all readers, to questions if you desire clarification.
Hammond is a kinist
Christian and I agree on this point, yet we come to dramatically different conclusions based on this agreement. Christian takes issue with my exact definition, yet we both agree that Hammond is a kinist. Note that I expressed the problem of giving a precise definition of kinism in my article defining kinism. Because of this difficulty, I understand having a slightly different definition of the word.
Hammond is a heretic
One significant point is that Christian not only affirms that Hammond is a kinist (according to both of our definitions), Christian also affirms that kinism is heresy. Further, Christian brings attention to his father’s ecclesiastical discipline regarding kinism and Christian Identityism. This is central in understanding the debate and the inherent hypocrisy in how many Christians have embraced Hammond as a brother.
Hammond is a racist
Christian Raymond finds this probable but not proven. I suppose that is his prerogative, but I also want to draw attention to how Hammond does not only have a few stray comments here-and-there regarding his views on race, but he makes a habit of drawing racial lines when speaking on culture, history, and ethics. I have heard several comments from him conspiratorially laying all the evil of the world at the feet of ethnic Jews. He consistently draws racial lines in such a way to connect dignity, value, and righteousness to certain skin colors and not others. Hammond makes a habit of drawing these racial lines and it is not unclear if you listen to the podcasts he continues to be a guest on (both Nazi podcasts and Christian identity podcasts).
I would be very slow to believe Hammond’s defense of himself in a Facebook comment thread. Not only does his comments distract from the actual accusations, but his comments also do not deny or apologize for his many other public comments that are in question. Hammond makes a habit of responding, but not responding to the accusations that are laid against him. In this case, the accusation is various racist and pro-Nazi comments he is on record of saying. Instead of discussing those racial views, he talks about his father’s military service, his self-declared ministry record, and how he does not hold to the economic views of National Socialism. But are we talking about the economic views of National Socialism? No. We are talking about the racial views of Nazism, kinism, and Hammond’s own words on the topic. Hammond does not address any of that. Remember that this is a man who has been charged with and duly excommunicated for not only lying, but making it a lifestyle habit to deceive and slander. He is not a man that just “fudges” some details, but a man that habitually engages in deception.
Peter Hammond defends his guest-star status among Nazis with “Nazis need the Gospel too.” Amen! I agree. However, can any of us honestly listen to those podcasts and tell ourselves “this is Peter Hammond sharing the Gospel with Nazis”? No. Absolutely not. Peter Hammond is downright chummy with the (self-proclaimed, keep in mind) Nazi, never once corrects the Nazi even in some of his most disgusting rants, and then Peter Hammond shares in the praises of Adolf Hitler while affirming the same racial ideologies of the host of the podcast. This is not boldly preaching the Gospel to those who need it, this is Joel Osteen on The View in full surrender mode.
Access to documents and the lack of due diligence
Christian Raymond lists Hammonds excommunication as debatable. He does not doubt that he was excommunicated (which is good) but he does doubt the legitimacy of the excommunication. As he states below,
“I list this as debatable because I have yet to gain access to the various documents you mention. I have read the summary, but I also noticed your paragraph here: “There is also a contrary examination of the excommunication from Brian Abshire that sided with Hammond. I have asked for this document, and thus far no one has provided this document. I’d be happy to read it.” If my understanding is correct, Phillip Kayser was involved in the arguments in Hammond’s defense and he was one of the speakers at the conference. Yes, I do believe ecclesiastical courts matter but I also believe that hearing both sides is the minimum “due diligence” needed before stating a public opinion. I think the debatable aspect is not so much whether or not Hammond was excommunicated, but whether or not that was done so properly/biblically/theonomically. Accusations alone do not prove guilt – especially in the most serious of accusations. Hence, I will not state an opinion on the accusations since I’ve yet to receive both sides of the arguments, as it appears that you haven’t either as of that blog post. If you can send me a copy of either side of the court debates or send me the contact info of where to get a copy, that would be helpful for a subsequent discussion on the matter.”
There are a few serious points that deserve to be clarified regarding this section of Christian’s document.
The only reason why Christian has not “gained access” to these documents is that he has not asked for these documents. Pastor Lindstrom of Church of Christian Liberty is not difficult to find on social media or online, and he has been willing to share these documents with whoever asks. Based on the wishes of CCL, I have previously been reluctant to directly share these documents myself, but because of the severity of the matter and my strong belief that excommunication should be public for the sake of the Bride of Christ’s protection, I will personally email Christian Raymond all relevant documents that he has put no effort into acquiring. I’ll also note that the very article that Christian is responding to contains a link to the CCL website. That website contains a very convenient button at the top labeled “CONTACT”. That is where I would, for future reference, attempt to contact CCL to request the documents.
I will be very upfront. I am startled that after all of this time, and after writing sixteen pages on the matter, Christian Raymond has not even read the easily accessible documents that form the core (though not all) of my contention. To be frank, Christian’s document should have been one line and should have read as follows. “I have put no effort into understanding these matters, therefore, I should not speak further about them till I do my due diligence.”
There has been some confusion (deliberate and otherwise) regarding missing documents. This is not confusion spread by Christian Raymond, but rather others. Alas, this needs to be corrected. After briefly corresponding with Robert Zins and after Jordan Wilson has likewise corresponded with Calvin Lindstrom, we no longer believe there are any other substantial documents that we have not reviewed. The Robert Zins document entitled “A Response to Brian Abshire’s Defense of Peter Hammond” contains the only defense of Peter Hammond from Abshire that anyone is familiar with. Mr. Zins contains these defenses of Hammond in appendices in his rebuttal. The entirety of Abshire’s defense. Therefore, if I have not made myself clear before, these defenses have been reviewed by myself and many others. I and others have reviewed both sides. We have done our due diligence. Has Christian Raymond?
One pastor and defender of Peter Hammond has mentioned further documents that apparently exonerate Hammond. These are the “secretive and shadowy” documents I refer to in IGNORING ETHNIC HATRED, DISREGARDING CHURCH AUTHORITY, AND THE FUTURE OF CHRISTENDOM. Now, if these merely mentioned documents actually exist, they have not been made public and no details (including authorship) have been released. Until these surreptitious documents magically materialize, strategic mentions of them to elicit doubt should be ignored.
How to reject excommunication
This is not how overturning an ecclesiastical decision works. An excommunication from a Reformed church (which was also backed up by a third party) is not “debatable” because a friend (Abshire) of the excommunicated wrote an article. Further, it is downright imbecilic to think that the mere suggestion that other documents might exist is cause to question what the Church of Christian Liberty has declared. The burden of proof lies with those wanting to overturn what the Church has decided. It is not overturned or dismissed because a document might mysteriously exist out in the ether somewhere. If we are to debate the legitimacy of an excommunication from a Christian fellowship, it is our burden to do so. It is not the burden of the excommunicating fellowship or those who affirm the fellowship’s decision to somehow answer a document that no one can conveniently find and provide. Excommunication is not overturned when a long time supporter, endorser, friend, and co-author of Hammond writes a document (claiming to be impartial) casting doubt on an ecclesiastical decision. If this is a way to dismiss an excommunication, then no excommunication is lawful as long as there is a fanboy or long-time ally on Facebook willing to write a paper or say that there might be some hidden away paper that counters the ecclesiastical court decision. Excommunication is from the Church and done by the Church. In keeping with that historic doctrine, the legitimate overturning of an excommunication is not done by a lone pastor and his lone pen. Haphazardly casting doubt on an excommunication from a Reformed congregation without doing any due diligence on the matter or believing that an article from a lone long-time supporter of Hammond can somehow overturn what the Church has done is an appeal to autonomy and ecclesiastical anarchy. I understand that Christian Raymond may not be “up to speed” on all of this, so see this as a retort to those conspiracy peddlers and those who repeat rumors, and not so much as a retort to Christian specifically. Either way, the record should be set straight.
To those who claim to have such documents but refuse to release them for review
- If you have evidence exonerating a man who has been slandered and you do not put genuine effort into loving your neighbor by helping him clear his name, you are sinfully breaking the positive aspect of the Ninth Commandment.
- If you claim that you have evidence exonerating a man who has been excommunicated but you actually do not have that evidence, you are sinfully breaking the negative aspect of the Ninth Commandment.
The excommunication itself
Again, I am glad that Christian Raymond at least admits that the excommunication has happened. This is not the case for others. Joel Saint of Independence Reformed Bible Church flatly denies that the excommunication exists. A copy of the excommunication letter can be found here. And to answer Joel Saint’s question, Peter Hammond was excommunicated for lying, that’s who. To see the five-point list of charges, Joel Saint can refer to Robert Zin’s paper that was included in the files that were sent to him several months ago. Christian wants to give Joel Saint the benefit of the doubt and I understand that. Perhaps Saint was making flamboyant truth claims about the existence of the excommunication based on his limited knowledge or limited access to documents? That’s hardly better, but unfortunately, that is not the case. I am familiar with what documents were sent to Joel Saint months ago. Joel Saint may not have read those documents, but he certainly has the excommunication letter. There is a difference between being charitable and being foolishly naive. This is an example of willful deception on the part of Joel Saint. For the sake of clarity, the discipline charges included five primary points. To summarize (again, contact CCL for the documents).
- Willful and deliberate deception regarding military service.
- The slander of former co-laborers and former employees of Frontline Fellowship (Hammond’s organization).
- Violating oaths of silence made during herrings and also lying about those hearings.
- What CCL listed as “physical sexual misconduct” with a female.
- Willful and deliberate deception regarding ordination.
The doctrine of excommunication vs boycotting
This is the crux of the matter regarding the MARS (Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society) conference.
One frustration of mine is that I have already addressed the point in the original article that Christian is responding to. I could copy and paste the same thing and it would be sufficient in answering Christian’s argument. Essentially, when considering the implications of inviting a man to speak at a Christian conference as a Christian authority on a subject, we have to think clearly and Biblically. We are not talking about a sort of economic boycott meant to place financial pressure on MARS. We are specifically talking about the ecclesiastical doctrine of excommunication, heresy, and the duty of the Christian regarding such men.
“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” – Matthew 18:17
“In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler-not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” – 1 Corinthians 5:4-13
This is the Word of God.
Christian Raymond rightly calls Hammond a kinist. Christian Raymond also rightly calls kinism heresy. Now, Christian calls the excommunication of Hammond debatable. As I have already written, Christian Raymond believes it is legitimate for himself to cast doubt on an excommunication while at the same time maintaining ignorance on the facts of the case. With that said, does Christian Raymond believe unrepentant heretics should be excommunicated? I certainly do. Not out of hate or spite towards the heretic, but for both the love of the heretic and the love of the Church. According to the stated views of Christian Raymond, Peter Hammond is a heretic. Unless Christian Raymond believes unrepentant heretics should remain in Christian fellowship (I do not think he believes that), then it follows that he believes that Hammond should be excommunicated. That is, of course, if Hammond hadn’t already been excommunicated (which he has been). Either way, Hammond is either a lawfully excommunicated man for the above five points or he should be excommunicated for the heresy of kinism.
Christian Raymond gave us a grammatical study on “conference” to minimize the significance of inviting this man to speak at the MARS conference. He makes the case that the only error was a lack of “wisdom” in inviting a controversial man. Keep a few things in mind. Peter Hammond was brought into fellowship among other believers, was introduced as a believer, was introduced as a teacher, and then MARS interviewed him to allow Hammond to give his often debunked defense. Christian compares the MARS conference as merely a place to hear other ideas and debate different worldviews. Is that, in truth, the reality of the situation? Is MARS truly not saying one way or another? Could he be excommunicated? Could he be a pagan? Could he be a brother? These aren’t hard questions. Was Peter Hammond invited as a Christian authority to a Christian conference for the purposes of teaching other Christians? Or was Peter Hammond invited to present just any ol’ worldview alongside various other debated worldviews? We all know the answer.
I can imagine a conference wherein pagans are invited to debate their worldview or to present their worldview in order for it to be discussed and dismantled. I can imagine inviting a pagan to speak at a business conference on his or her specialty. However, a sober, unbiased, and honest look at this situation cannot judge this invitation to be innocuous. Further, Peter Hammond is not a pagan. He is an excommunicated man. This is a categorical distinction that matters. A pagan could be welcome in many situations, but we are called to not even eat with an excommunicated man. But delving that deep into the distinctions is not at all necessary. Those who attended the MARS conference and those who are familiar with the conference all know that Hammond was not just invited to share ideas, he was invited as a brother and as a member in the Bride of Christ. This man, a heretic, was given a stage without qualification to teach as a Christian authority on his subject matter. As I said in previous papers, this is sinful negligence of the pastoral duties of the ecclesiastical elders who organized this conference. To compare Hammond speaking at an explicitly Christian conference in the capacity that he did with, for example, inviting a Muslim to debate or present on his worldview is to dangerously miscategorize our Christians duties and standards before our Lord. I believe we all really know this intuitively. It takes quoting some Latin and defining out of context some terms to obfuscate the obvious.
In short, yes, it is a sin to invite an excommunicated heretic to a Christian conference, treat him like a brother at said conference, and then stubbornly defend those actions while denying facts of excommunication. It is a sin.
Abolish Human Abortion and the Holocaust memorial
Christian seems to be confused as to why I would reference the abolitionist mission in Washington DC. He seems to think it is “odd” that I would reference this mission in DC since I have publically distanced myself with abolitionist leader, T. Russell Hunter. Simply put, abolitionism is not T. Russell Hunter. If abolitionism was T. Russell Hunter, I would have rejected abolitionism along with Hunter. However, it is not. T. Russell Hunter is a narcissist and a liar. Abolitionism is true Christian doctrine. I separate the two as anyone who understands the subject matter should. Much like much of this, Christian should know better and I think he does.
Anyone who would comment on Dr. McDurmon in this sort of juvenile broad-brushing way is not only an upstart but an infantile and contemptible tar-baby that should be ignored. “Of course it bears his signature inability to deal honestly with any subject.” Note that this is but a mild quote in comparison with other things I’ve read. There’s a sect of neo-confederate upstarts within the Christian Reconstructionist community that reeks of the same incorrigible stench of Pulpit and Pen. Just think of them as a bunch of younger JD Halls but they cosplay as Stonewall Jackson on the weekends. I do not only have a problem with certain upstart’s rampat immaturity but also their willingness to toss their integrity aside when it suits them. Most notedly, if any upstart wants to tell my elder, Dr. Jason Garwood, that I should be disciplined, you shouldn’t lie to him about talking to me first. Let’s not start pulling a Hammond. Was I or am I talking about Christian Raymond? No.
Controversial vs excommunicated heretic
Christian Raymond seeks to make a comparison between Bojidar Marinov and Peter Hammond. Note here that I agree that Bojidar is controversial. So am I. So are you, Christian. That is not the question, though you seem to make a habit of shifting to this question. We do not base our Christian fellowship on perceptions of controversialness. Yes, I understand that all orthodox Christian men do not agree on all things. I am not asking for perfect unity. What I am saying is that Peter Hammond is neither orthodox (according to Christian’s standard or mine) and he is also excommunicated and thus not to be seen or treated as a Christian. Are we seriously going to compare the sometimes controversial ecclesiastical ideas of Bojidar with what Christian Raymond has called heresy (kinism)?
Attendance this year and last Christian Raymonds says,
“I highly doubt that you were planning to attend the conference anyway since you did not attend the previous year’s conference, and that decision to continue to not attend was merely confirmed once you realized Hammond was a speaker.”
This is speculation based on nothing. Christian Raymond knows full well that I lived in Oklahoma during last years conference. That is well over 20 hours away. Though I was perfectly aware of some differences between brothers at this conference, they were not heretical differences. That is until Peter Hammond was invited. Now living in Virginia, I was greatly looking forward to the MARS conference and have said as much publically. Christian should speculate less.
Accusing the organizers of kinism/nazism
This hasn’t happened. They have been accused of minimizing the severity of those ideas and not properly and Biblically handling heresy and excommunicated parties in accordance with their duties before God.
FaceBook group administration
I do not care.
Leaving IRBC via letter
Why is the form of communication the Sacks chose to use when stating they are leaving IRBC relevant? Are they obligated to attend exit interviews? Were they under church discipline? In short, it’s not relevant at all. Is Christian Raymond referring to some made up ecclesiastical rule that says that members cannot leave a fellowship until they go to a certain amount of meetings? I am unaware of such a rule, but if Christian can direct me to such a rule in scripture, I’d happily look into this further. I will, again, direct Christian to Matthew 18:17 and 1 Corinthians 5:4-13.
This is a central complaint of Christian Raymond. He claimes that I made backhanded innuendos and comments about his father, Paul Michael Raymond, and Joel Saint. So, what were these backhanded comments directed towards these two? Let’s start with Paul Michael Raymond. Though Christian says that backhanded comments have been made, he does not get specific except in two cases related to his father.
First, I make the mistake of thinking that Paul Michael Raymond was a MARS board member. I will note that as a mistake. Apologies. But in what world is that a backhanded comment or innuendo? Surely Christian doesn’t think just being a MARS board member is somehow an insult?
Second, I said that Paul Raymond claimed that Hammond was being bullied. Christian Raymond states in his open letter regarding “bullying”,
“I don’t have those screenshots but I remember hearing my dad use that word
once or twice in conversation.”
If I said anything negative about Christian Raymond’s father, I certainly wasn’t backhanded or oblique. As Christan admits, what I said was accurate.
What about Joel Saint? Even less here. Christian only mentions what I said about Joel Saint’s views on paedobaptism and kinism. Note that Joel Saint originally argued with me on the phone that paedobaptism was worse than kinism. I am making that claim as a witness to that conversation. Is my testimony weighty enough to convict Joel Saint of this charge? No. Not alone. But I will not “recant” what I heard (in shock and disbelief) with my own ears. Take it or leave it. I have also seen Joel Saint make comparisons between baptism and kinism on social media. Again, where is the “backhanded innuendo”? I have no idea. Has Joel Saint denied his comparisons of kinism and baptism? Because I don’t make a habit of recording calls, I will rest in the knowledge that God knows.
So, even though Christian Raymond lists responding to backhanded comments and making corrections about his father and MARS as one out of three of his main points, he offers next to nothing but an assertion that there were backhanded comments. And that correction is such an infinitesimal non-issue, I’m surprised Christian brought it up. Then again, he brought up a lot.
Christian named his open letter A Need For Radical Unity. Unity, however, is not a virtue divorced from an object. It is like joy or anger or love. One can love sin or one can love Christ. Unity is much like love. It demands to be more than an empty truism.
Christian remarks upon my willingness to debate other Christians as if I do not have that willingness any longer. Where have I said that I was unwilling to debate? I have never said that. However, I am not willing to debate with just anyone on any topic. Just as I’m sure Christian Raymond is not willing to invest hours if not days to debate a petulant teenager on politics, I’m not willing to spend my time debating men whose arguments have not extended past the level of memes. Literally. Memes. Christian remarks upon blog posts as if they are a bad thing. Long, theological, detailed, packed with evidence, articles on the topic are bemoaned, but not the memes of his friends? Joel McDurmon has publically stated that he is willing to debate given some reasonable requirements. I respond with the same position. Do not act as if I, or anyone else, is not willing to debate just because we have been busy researching and writing as opposed to playing meme games on social media.
Christian Raymond recalls me calling for unity within the broader abolitionist movement. Let me set the record straight. I wanted a Christian degree of unity with men like Jeff Durbin. I was not, and am not, calling for unity with heretics and men that have been given over to Satan. Surely we can understand the difference.
Back in March of 2017, I wrote an article on unity. I called it Peacemakers and Piecemakers. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I will quote myself with some minor edits and additions. This section at the end of this article is deeply relevant to Christian Raymond and many others.
There are those who write hundreds, if not thousands, of words essentially saying nothing. Taking no stand. Making sure that he appeases all sides as if he could magically hold mutually exclusive views. This is nothing but a call for neutrality.
Likewise, beware the man who will boldly stand against some injustice, but when relational politics and pride get in the way, he conveniently switches to believing in a wishy-washy, hippie, and radically ecumenical Jesus who would just never say a harsh word. Beware the man that wants justice for the preborn but not the widow and not the immigrant.
A Biblical piecemaker must also be a Biblical peacemaker. A unifier. Any division based on just any doctrinal difference will not do. There is a wide expanse of difference between the man who marginalizes excommunication or ignores heresy in the name of “peace” or “unity”, and the man who refuses to divide over periphery doctrinal questions. Both men may appear to be good peacemakers on the surface, but one man is compromised, guilty of partiality, or seeking artificial comfort, while the other is dedicated to being unified under the Banner of Christ.
Likewise, a Biblical peacemaker must also be a Biblical piecemaker. A divider. Any unity based on social connections or self-gain will not do. There is a wide expanse of difference between the man who refuses to have unity with other Christians based on peripheral doctrinal differences, and the man who treats heresy like heresy and excommunication like excommunication. Both men may appear to be “mean” piecemakers on the surface, but one man is compromised and idolizing pet doctrines, or relationships while one man is dedicated to ensuring that it is truly Christ that we are united under.
When a man seeks false unity, he will inevitably cause sinful division. When a man seeks false division, he will inevitably cause sinful unity.
The enemies of true Biblical peace will often come snarling bitter, slanderous, rivalrous, vitriolic lies. These are the low hanging fruit. The obvious enemies of peace.
The enemies of true Biblical peace will also come with gentle reproofs calling on Christians to be nice, ignore sin, and to make sure that everyone “gets along”.
No matter which “side” you’re drawn to, remember that there is no truth without love and that there is no love without truth.
This is simple and so easily missed. Everything hinges on the answer to these two questions.
- Who are we to be united under?
- What is Biblical peace based in?
The answer to both is Jesus Christ.
If we are united under Christ, that necessarily causes a division between those in Christ and outside of Christ. Excommunication is a marking out of a man outside of Christ. Heresy is a fruit of a man outside of Christ. Yes, I want unity. I want to have peace. But I will not sacrifice the Christian doctrine of excommunication on the idol of false unity nor will I shrug off heresy as if it’s like differing views on baptism. I will fight for unity and I will fight for peace, but I will do so in a way that does not betray higher loyalties and my King. I pray that I can sit down, have a beer with, and have true unity with all parties involved one day. Including Peter Hammond.
All peace and all division is based in Christ, in His revealed truth, and in love. Not love according to our feelings or our culture, but love determined by God’s Word. It is not love to embrace a man given over to Satan as a brother. That is hate.