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A contributing factor to the departure from the faith is to apply Scripture in such a way as to justify partial acceptance of the Bible or disobedience to gospel principles in the teaching and practice of ministers or religious groups who are not a part of our church fellowship. And when we justify partial acceptance of, or disobedience to, Bible truth in others we are opening the gate to the easy way of disobedience for ourselves.

It would be difficult to count the times we have heard individuals speak of how the Apostle Paul declared his interest in the preaching of Christ "whether in pretense, or in truth" (Phil. 1:18) and then apply this Scripture to the attitude we should take toward the false and fractional gospel preachers of the day. When concerns are expressed about this type of preaching we are promptly told to rejoice in their preaching like the Apostle Paul did rather than find fault with it.

Now there is too much teaching and warning in the Bible against neglecting and disobeying Bible truth to believe that this is the proper, or even a good application of this Scripture. In this particular setting the Apostle says that some people were preaching Christ for the purpose of getting him into deeper trouble. No doubt these enemies of Paul were sharing with other enemies the unacceptable truth of the Gospel exactly as Paul himself had preached it in hopes of agitating enough public sentiment against him to keep him in chains all the longer. The Apostle was rejoicing in such proclamation of truth even though the motivation was bad and he would have to suffer for it. Surely he was not rejoicing in a faulty and fractional preaching of the Gospel. The devil's agents utter some gospel truth too but neither God nor God's people rejoice in it because of the deceptive and destructive effect this has on the soul.

Another misapplied Scripture which is frequently used in pulpits and publications is found in Luke 9:49,50. The disciples of Jesus had seen a man casting out devils in the name of Christ and asked him to quit the good work because he was not in their immediate organization. Jesus promptly rebuked his disciples assured them that "he that is not against us is for us." It should be noted that the man was censured by the apostles was doing exactly the same thing that Jesus had earlier commanded the apostles to do. He was not practicing disobedience or giving people a false hope. We certainly should not (and we do not) condemn or forbid those who believe and practice the same blessed truth we believe in and practice just because they are not a part of our organization. If, for example, Billy Graham, or Tom Skinner, etc., would be found teaching and  practicing nonresistance, nonconformity, literal observance of the ordinances, the conditional security of the believer, the eternal salvation of the faithful, etc., etc. we should not (and we would not) tell them to quit the good work just because they are not in our immediate camp. Yea, we should (and we would) therein rejoice.

Any application of Scripture that condones disobedience or partial acceptance of the Gospel is a detriment to the cause of Christ and a dishonor to God.

—Aaron M. Shank