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From Warnings To The Churches by J.C. Ryle (1816-1900):

Divisions and separations are most objectionable in religion. They weaken the cause of true Christianity…But before we blame people for them, we must be careful that we lay the blame where it is deserved. False doctrine and heresy are even worse than schism. If people separate themselves from teaching that is positively false and unscriptural, they ought to be praised rather than reproved. In such cases separation is a virtue and not a sin.

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4 comments
  1. But it seems to me that most divisions in the church occur over things like music genre, a pastor who people dislike, and other issues which are perhaps important, but which a church should grow from, not separate over.

  2. Amen and Amen! Ryle spoke out against the early Keswick influences in his day. In the 1920’s & 30’s there were movements such as the Independent Fundamental Churches of America (IFCA) and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church who did the same separating themselves from liberalism. It’s time once again for that to happen as Evangelicalism slides even further down the slippery slope via the Emergent, Exchanged Life, and Contemplative Spirituality movements.

  3. Nice quote. Yes, we should unify whenever possible. Yes, we should even tolerate a little music we don’t like and some teaching styles we don’t either. We should also not feel that all churches need to be the same. How boring. But as soon as I hear that we need overlook major doctrinal differences for the cause, you can pretty much bet that the cause of Christ is finished with that organization.

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