Re: from John
We speak of 'zombies', those covered in tattoos, and various other ways the world displays its spirituality. Those that aren't necessarily bedecked any particular way, but their eyes/stares are as if 'darts'.
Whether they are zombies, or ex-pastors...they are OF THE WORLD. They do not know us. The reason we feel estranged from them is because they are estranged from God and Jesus Christ. Is that a prideful thing to say? It is truth. Like Jesus said, "If I say, I do not know Him (the Father), I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His Word" (Jn8:55) The -TRUTH- is that the Christian -does- KNOW Christ, and Jesus knows us. He has called us His "friends" (Jn15:15) Is it presumptuous of us to claim intimacy with the Creator of the universe? It is TRUTH.
Why is there this animosity? Strangely enough -because- we are righteous. Did Cain kill Abel because Abel had done wrong? No. He was righteous, and Cain was evil. That's why Abel was killed. (1Jn3:12)
That's why the world (the zombies and ex-pastors) hate us. (vs13)
But wait just a minute! You mean to lump pastors with zombies? After all, aren't pastors relatively "good", and zombies are "bad". So, pastors might have a 'bit' of bad doctrine, but they're not -THAT- "bad"....surely? [Please keep reading a few more paragraphs....]
In a Q/A, when this was included in a mailing, it was asked about recognizing Jesus. The world recognizes Jesus the same way they recognize the Christian. The hatred they had for Jesus? That is the hatred we experience. We are part of the same 'family'. There was a song written years ago: "I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God" Whatever the truth about the Gaithers might be, these words are truth. How do we know we are in Christ? "...by the Spirit whom He has given us" (vs24)
And why is it that when 'they' speak evil of us, that 'they' are in agreement with each other? Because they are of the world and we are not. The world is together with the world, with each other. Christians are not. He who is in us is "greater than he who is in the world". (4:4-5) And the one in the world has been nipping at the "heels" of the Seed. (Ge3:15) And so when they come after us, they are just nipping at your heels, too. Remember: "I am crucified with Christ" (Ga2:20)
The Gaither song would speak of "you will notice we say brother and sister 'round here" and people would sing the words, thinking they were Christians...but were not. Brother and Sister applies only to those who are In Christ. The pretenders can sing the words all they want, but the singing of it doesn't make it so. It is not a mantra. All it does is create a warm-n-fuzzy...but there is no reality.
Now... 'they' speak of the "important" doctrines. John doesn't speak that way. He says, "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son." (2Jn1:9)
Is it any clearer? Holding to false doctrine? Such a person is NOT SAVED. Pastor or Zombie? Same difference.
But should we not "love our brothers and sisters" and "build them up" (Ro14:19, 1Th5:11, etc)?
John, the apostle of love says this: "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor speak a blessing to him; for he who blesses him SHARES in his EVIL DEEDS." (2Jn1:10-11)
Of course, we are lights in this dark world. Those who do not know the Lord, and make no claims to such, we are evangelists. But what about all those "churches" around us? You know...our "brothers and sisters" They always come at us with the "not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together" argument, against which you allegedly have no response. (Heb10:25) But what is the truth about them?
In 2Jn he tells us NOT to invite them into our homes, and to NOT give them a blessing. The exhortation regarding Babylon, the false church, is...
If it's not Philadelphia.... COME OUT!!! COME OUT!!! COME OUT!!!
When Korah rebelled against Moses and offered "strange fire" God ordered to "Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment" (Nu16:21) And the order was given to the congregation to "Get away from around the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram" ... "Depart now from the tents of these wicked men" (vs24,26) and whoever was in the vicinity of their tents were swallowed alive into the earth.
Being "holy" is not the donning of a halo with a pious little smile. Holiness to God is -SEPARATION- from sin and false doctrine. Holiness is not a (warm-n-fuzzy) 'feeling'. Holiness is a -location-...in God's presence...separate from sinners.