Written By: Philip Rosenthal
1. Pick a narrow topic of truth.
2. Study it till you are sure you know more about it than just about anyone
3. Gather around a few people who agree exactly with your beliefs who are
4. Separate from everyone else who doesn’t agree exactly, even if they
mostly agree or aren’t sure.
5. Go back to step 2. Repeat the process to more narrowly define your
position and narrow down who is ‘in’.
6. Separate from people who do agree with your position, but who are not
separating from those who don’t agree with you (Secondary disassociation).
7. Pick another issue. Go back to step 2 to further narrow who is ‘in’.
8. Congratulations. You are now on a little island with a few others who are
And even if you are in fact ‘right’ on those topics you chose:
1) You are now separated from the majority of the body of Christ, for whom
Jesus prayed unity (John 17).
2) Probably another issue even more important will come along, but you have
few people left to help you on that other issue. That may make you
vulnerable to compromise.
3) Having separated from the rest, you have lost your influence.
Its a trap. Don’t fall into it!
Sure, there are issues we must divide over, but:
1 Those issues must be few and selective.
2. One can also have degrees of relationship to distance but not divide from
others, 3. One can speak up on issues without divide 4. One can divide with
‘low fences’ you can still chat over the wall with your neighbour, rather
than ‘high fences’ where you break off contact.
5. One can always be ready to reconcile where possible.
HOW TO DECIDE WHETHER AN ISSUE IS ONE TO DIVIDE OVER?
Whether an issue is worth separating over is a complex one, which I cannot
fully cover here, but core questions is “What the consequences of being
* For example if being wrong will affect a person’s eternal destiny in
heaven or hell then that is a critical issue. Such issues usually link to:
– The definition of God: Which God do you believe in? Is it the
three-in-one creator God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God the Son who
became a human being.
– The definition of Sin: The Bible indicates serious categories of sin by
associated penalties such as death in the Old Testament and excommunication
in the New.
– The requirements for Salvation from eternal punishment: Avoiding adding to
or subtracting from those in scripture. Belief that Jesus, the Son of God,
became a man, died on earth in our place and was raised again to life and to
the right hand of God in heaven as Lord of everything, including us who he
will one day judge – and that we believing in him are united with him in his
death and resurrection and are thus saved.
A difficulty with the above is that most of these central issues link in
concentric circles to other issues of lesser importance.
* Issues that for example affect the health of the family are also
important, but not to the same degree as eternal destiny.
* Before counting something as an issue to divide over, it is worth checking
the opinion of other mature believers – including from outside your little
group – to avoid the trap described above.
* Secondly, even when the other side is wrong on a serious issue, you may be
able to win them over by correcting them with truth. Only when this fails,
and the consequences of the difference poses a serious threat, comes the
time to divide.
* Thirdly, there may be situations when someone else wants to argue about a
point and you don’t think it is so important and don’t want to quarrel. Then
you have to make distance for the sake of peace and your own energy.