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The Importance of Walls

By H. A. (Buster) Dobbs

religion, articles, christianity

Unity is desirable but division is sometimes necessary. Many voices call for the walls of separation to come down. There is a third­grade­level song that iterates and reiterates the theme, "Let the walls come down."

The average person-on-the-street will likely say there should be no division at all under any circumstance and we must have unity whatever circumstance and we must have unity whatever the price. Many members of the church agree with the unity-at-all-cost notion.

In the political realm there are parties. If there were no divisions, one person would be doing all the thinking and the rest would be sightless sheep following blindly on. The result would be disaster and that is obvious. The halls of Congress are not open to any but the elected. That man would be counted a brass­plated idiot who would dare to suggest there should be no divisions in government. Anarchy and tyranny would be the inevitable result of bringing down all political walls.

In nature there are divisions. "Ask of mother earth, why oaks are made taller or stronger than the grass they shade." The division between animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms is plain for all to see.

In society we have divisions. Criminals are locked up behind walls to protect decent citizens. In schools we have various grade levels. All families do not live in the same house and sleep in the same bed. Thank God for divisions. The "all men are created equal" phrase in the Declaration of Independence obviously means "equal before the law" and not "equal in all things."

In religion division is inevitable because humans have failings and manifold faults. It was the Prince of Peace who said: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword ... And a man's foes shall be they of his own household."

Why did the one who pronounced a blessing upon the peacemakers of the earth say that he came to send a sword? "Sword" sounds violent and divisive. Jesus explained that division is caused by a wrong attitude toward him and his Word. Peace and unity result from keeping the law of the Lord.

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward (Matt. 10:37­41).

Loving Christ supremely involves keeping his Word absolutely. "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him" (John 14:21).

Notice two things here, we must both "have" and "keep" the commands of Christ to love him. We must love Christ above all else and that means obeying him no matter what it costs us. Supreme love is supreme obedience. Let those who discount the importance of obedience ponder this thought: "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."

Division comes when the commandments of men are preferred to the teaching of the New Covenant. "They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace" (Jer . 6:14).

Some people reject the Almighty God of creation and worship false gods-like Buddha, Ahura Mazda, Tao, Nanak, the Nature­gods of Japan, or the tribal gods of Africa. The Hindus worship over 300 million gods, but chiefly Brahma. Shall Christians draw a line, or let the walls come down? Is unity so important that we should accept pagan idols and false gods so as not to offend any and be at peace with all?

Some professing Christians are now worshiping the goddess Sophia. Feminists put her on the same level as Jehovah, Jesus, and the Comforter. The One­Worlders advocate worshiping Mother Earth and the Sea, the sky, the sun and all the stars. If there are to be no walls, then prepare to bow down before images of wood, stone, gold, and silver.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
And strewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments (Ex. 20:3­6).

God is still a jealous God and continues to visit punishment upon the rebellious and to prefer all who love him and keep his commandments. (Note, again, the connection between love and obedience.)

Others say, "Any person who calls Jehovah, 'Father,' and Jesus, 'Brother,' is my brother." We are solemnly told that anyone who accepts Jesus as the Son of God must not be forbidden (Lucado, Henderson, Banowsky, Osburn, Money, Young, Fair, Cope, Shelly,

Olbricht, H. Hazelip, Morrison, L. Allen-the list goes on and on). If we accept this view, it puts us in league with Pope John II, Louis Farakkan, Jim Jones (d), Jimmy Swaggart, Robert Tilton, Tammy Faye, Jim Bakker and Oral Roberts. It also puts us in fellowship with the Mormons, Christian Scientists, and many New Agers.

Where is the line to be drawn and the wall to be built? Somewhere? Anywhere? Nowhere? It ought to be apparent that the fear of God and common sense compel us to draw the line where the Bible draws the line. The commands of God must be strictly observed or we do not love God. We must not be in fellowship with those who do not love God, because not loving God is tantamount to hating God. We do not want to be in company with haters of God.

A person who knows himself to be a sinner, hears the gospel, believes it, repents and is baptized to receive the remission of sin is born again. He is a child of God. (If you need more detail on this, let us know.)

Suppose someone who is born from above-regenerated by loving obedience to the will of God begins to live in open adultery with his own mother. What to do? What to do? The Bible tells us to "deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (2 Cor 5:5). Shall we obey men or God? Even within the family of God walls must be erected against the immoral. The church is to be glorious and "without spot or wrinkle."

In like manner, if someone teaches a different gospel, which is not another gospel but is perverted teaching, we draw a line of fellowship. The Bible teaches that perverters of sacred revelation are accursed (Gal. 1:8). Those who do not continue in the doctrine of Christ are without God (2 John 1:9). Shall the accursed who are without God (Jesus, hope, promise) be in fellowship with the church of Christ? When the dear Lord tells us to sing, we must not join those who attempt to make worshipful music with machinery. If God wanted to be worshiped with contraptions, he would have said so.

Walking in the light of God's eternal Word puts us in fellowship with all others who are walking in that light. It also puts us out of fellowship with those who will not accept and abide by the teaching of God's Word and in consequence offend his majesty (Read 1 John 1:7).

Paul spoke of some who "did not like to retain God in their knowledge." They refused God's Word and "God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient" (Rom. 1:28). This parallels Jesus' statement that if we do not "have" and "keep" his commands, we do not love him (John 14:21). How about it? Do you fellowship those who do not love Jesus and refuse to demonstrate their affection by fidelity to him? It just may be that many who say they love Jesus and will not obey him are "honoring him with their lips but their heart is far from him."

We build no walls against those who are faithfully following the God­breathed scriptures, but the disobedient and rebellious themselves erect barriers against the faithful. They hurl insults at God by refusing to retain him in their knowledge.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18).

Published March 1997