Response to Bro. Patrick Andrews on “Mark Those Who Cause Divisions”

NOTE: read my original post here for context: https://labornotinvain.com/2021/02/15/mark-those-who-cause-divisions/

Brother Patrick Andrews is a minister out of Tennessee, and he recently responded to a refutation of my article from the other day: “Mark Those Who Cause Divisions.” I thought I might respond to it as objectively as possible for the benefit of my readers. I have included all of his comments in the quotes as is, but if you wish to read the entire thing uninterrupted, please see the very bottom of this page where I have copy and pasted it under the appropriate heading.

Again, I am not posting this expecting to receive a response. I just think it would be beneficial to any readers who would like to see both sides.

Let me say before I begin I consider Brother Andrews a brother in Christ, one who is sincere in their beliefs, and has a great love for the truth. I pray you will examine his words closely and take them into serious consideration as I tried to do. He deserves your ear, eyes, and concentration as much as anyone else.

Let’s begin.

Paragraph 1

The very first paragraph in his article is full of errors. I don’t know of anyone who believes that a person can be disfellowshipped because they believe something different from themselves. To do so a person would have to elevate themselves up to the point where they believed that they too were inspired by the Holy , like the apostles and those who helped record the Word of God, (II Timothy 3:16-17).

Bro. Patrick Andrews

Brother Andrews states he doesn’t know of anyone who disfellowships others because of differing beliefs, and he says that to do so would be to elevate themselves to the level of Scripture itself. Of course, I totally agree with his last statement, but I have a problem with his first comment. If we did not have varying beliefs concerning New Covenant , women’s roles in the Christian community, and other issues, then he wouldn’t be attempting to refute an article of mine.

If someone believes that a congregation is allowed to worship with instruments, should they be disfellowshipped for their belief? I don’t think so, but does Brother Andrews? Here’s how he responded to me stating my beliefs in a post from February 10th.

You are so “wise” to be so young: I imagine that by the time you are sixty years old, you will know more than God and will have completely revised and adapted the entire Bible to suit your views. Since all the people who love you wont tell you this, allow me to tell you. “You are still wet behind the ears and although you think you are wiser than thousands of men three times your age, you are really no more than an arrogant and ignorant false teacher”. Suck on that bottle for awhile.

Bro. Patrick Andrews, February 11th

Paragraph 2

It would take a mighty arrogant person to equate his opinions or his thoughts to the doctrine of Christ. God allows us to have opinions that are different from one another; that is what Paul is teaching in Romans 14. He is not equating opinions with doctrine; in fact he is doing just the opposite. When it comes to opinions, one person’s opinion carries the same weight as any other person’s opinion. But when it comes to doctrine, we all better be speaking the same thing.
I Corinthians 1:10 ¶ Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
John 17:17 ¶ Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Bro. Patrick Andrews

Again, I agree with the first statement, but I most likely disagree with how he interprets 2 John 9, the passage to which he alludes in the statement “doctrine of Christ,” but that is a discussion for a different time. You will notice in this paragraph that Brother Andrews equates “beliefs” with “opinions.” This is significant because it helps explain his comments in paragraph 1. When I commented that someone may believe that instrumental music is permissible (as I do), he would obviously condemn that, but he is using the word belief differently in his response. This probably explains his misunderstanding of the first section of my article as well.

He talks about opinions and doctrine in Romans 14, but he doesn’t really say anything that has to do with my article. Although, I think I see where there might be confusion. His version must translate διδαχή (didachē) as “doctrine” and not “teaching” as the version I use does (NASB). So, when he reads the word “doctrine,” he automatically reads into the text a list of doctrines that he may call fellowship issues or salvation issues such as the use of instruments in worship, possibly the construction of a fellowship building, and maybe even using funds from the treasury to donate to an orphanage.

He ends this section by quoting two passages, one of which is 1 Corinthians 1:10. He assumes that 1 Corinthians 1:10 is speaking of doctrine, but he is reading into the passage his own presuppositions. This is called eisegesis. If one reads just a little further down in 1 Corinthians 1, Paul tells the audience what divisions he has in mind, and what he meant by them needing to speak the same thing.

For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

1 Corinthians 1:11–13

Paul does not have in mind general disagreements over interpretation and application of the Bible. Instead, he wants them all to speak the same thing: “I am of Christ.”

Paragraph 3

In the second half of Daniel’s first paragraph he makes another grievous error. He claims that Paul is condemning unnecessary divisions over opinions in this verse, when in reality, Paul is charging the church at Rome to mark them that cause divisions and offenses contrary to the DOCTRINE which they learned. This is where this young man has so greatly erred. He can’t distinguish between doctrine and opinion. He just lumps them all together. A Gazillion opinions and the doctrine of Christ, to Daniel, are one in the same.

Bro. Patrick Andrews

I believe that there is a difference between opinion and the doctrine of Christ, but, again, I think he is reading something into 2 John 9 that isn’t there. Regardless, when we examine Romans 16:17, it is plain that Paul is telling the Christians at Rome to mark those that cause divisions contrary to Paul’s teaching/ doctrine. What teaching does he have in mind? Teaching that brings about a stumbling block (skandalon; cf. Romans 14:13). Romans 14 contains Paul’s teaching on how to deal with differences. If someone places a stumbling block in front of their brother or sister in Christ they were to be “marked.” That is, they were to keep an eye on that person. Notice the opening verses of that chapter:

Now accept the one who is weak in , but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Romans 14:1–4

The people Paul is telling the church to keep an eye on are those addressed in verses 1-4: those who pass on individual’s opinions, regard weaker brethren with contempt, and don’t accept these kinds of differences. These individuals were accused of “tearing down the work of God” in verse 20. They are the subject of Paul’s warning in Romans 16:17.

Paragraph 4

His second paragraph is also full of error as he claims that the teaching Paul is referring to, is the teaching that is found in Romans 14. Once again, what Paul is teaching in Romans 14 is that we should not condemn a brother who might hold a different opinion as us on anything that is not a in and of itself. You should never leave Romans 14 thinking that the doctrine of Christ is something that can be determined by opinions. There is a big difference in some person’s opinion and the doctrine (teaching) of Christ.

Bro. Patrick Andrews

I don’t believe, nor have I stated, that the doctrine of Christ is something that can be determined by opinions. This paragraph adds nothing to the discussion. I do agree, of course, that there is a difference in some person’s opinion and the teaching of Christ. Which is why Paul condemns those who cause unnecessary divisions and laid stumbling blocks before the disciples’ feet.

Paragraph 5-6

In the third paragraph of the article Daniel pointed out the Greek Word, “Skandalon”, and notes that this same word is also found in Romans 14:13. I am forced to agree that it is there, but I cannot draw the same conclusion that he does. He claims that Paul is talking about those who add to the New Covenant by inventing restrictions that the New Testament speaks nothing about.
I do agree with him that to add to God’s word is a sin, but Paul is not teaching that point in Romans 14:13.
In fact, that same word, “Skandalon”, is found another couple of times in the Roman epistle. Notice how this same word is used in Romans 9:32-33:
“Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the of the . For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence : and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

This is the very same word found in Romans 14:13 and Romans 16:17 and it is being used by the same inspired writer. However; in these two verses Paul is stating that to even teach Christ places a hindrance or a stumbling block in the way of some. Now is that a good thing or a bad thing. Should we stop preaching about Christ because it causes those in unbelief to stumble? In order to not hinder folks in what they want to believe, should we just not tell them about Christ, or should we put up a roadblock and try to turn them around? I say we Preach Christ regardless of how many times they fall down. I believe we would do the same thing if they were about to drive off a cliff. We would try and stop them the best way we could.

Bro. Patrick Andrews

I have no problems with the use of skandalon elsewhere in Rome; however, I think we must ask a question here: should an individual who causes unnecessary division and lays stumbling blocks before other believers be marked?

It makes most sense, in light of the context, that Romans 14 is in Paul’s mind when he writes of those who cause “dissensions” and “hindrances.” Dissension, by the way, is disagreement that leads to discord, which is what Romans 14 is all about.

Paragraph 7-8

In Daniel’s fifth paragraph he once again places himself in opposition to an inspired writer. Go back and read what he said about I John 2:4 and then notice what the Apostle John said and then you decide for yourself if Daniel is teaching the truth. I have provided the immediate context of this passage so that you can understand exactly what John is teaching:

I John 2:3 ¶ And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

The first thing that jumps out at me is the fact that John says we are to keep His COMMANDMENTS, plural. Daniel seems to believe that it’s just boiled down to two. He quotes I John 3:23-24 and claims that if we believe in Christ and love our neighbor that will pretty much punch our ticket.

Bro. Patrick Andrews

The plural word “commandments” doesn’t demand more than two, so I don’t quite get his point here. But Jesus and Paul both said that one who loves their neighbor (including their enemies) fulfills the law.

In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:36–40

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Romans 13:10

Any command of Jesus falls under this one.

Paragraph 9-10

The Apostle John also said that those who did believe in Christ or claim to know Him were liars if they didn’t keep The Lord’s commandments. Daniel thinks that that old preacher that he disagreed with was upset because all those people weren’t keeping his (that old preacher) commandments. I don’t know who that guy was, but I’m sure he wasn’t speaking about his own commandments; I am sure he was speaking about the commandments of the Lord.

If you claim to know God and do not keep his commandments (all of them), then you are a liar. That applies to Pat Andrews and every other person on the face of the earth, be they Baptist, Methodist, Lutherans or ____________________.

Bro. Patrick Andrews

There’s not really much here to respond to. The preacher wasn’t that old. He was me a few years ago, but I’ve heard many preachers use these lines young and old.

The commandments John has in mind, however, are definitely the two I cited.

John goes on to say he was writing a commandment that they had heard from the beginning (1 John 2:7). He then says that one who hates their brother dwells in darkness (1 John 2:11). On the other hand, John claims that the one who loves his brother dwells in Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. The word for stumbling here is skandalon by the way!

John then classifies the antichrist as one who denies Jesus (1 John 2:22).

In chapter 3, John says, “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous” (1 John 3:10–12).

He then says that one can know if they have passed from to life if they have love for the brethren (1 John 3:14-17). John even claims that those who love the brethren “know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him” (1 John 3:19).

We then come to the last two verses of chapter 3:

This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

1 John 3:23–24

Does the one who worships with an instrument or has a fellowship hall abide in Christ if they love one another and have faith in Jesus’ name? Yes. Because John says that one knows if they abide in Him by those two (a plurality) of things.

Paragraph 10-11

Daniel’s last paragraph really says a lot about how he approaches God’s Word. He concludes by saying, “if you can find someone who believes in Jesus and loves their neighbor, you have found a brother or sister in Christ…”.

It just comes down to those two things. Believing in Jesus and loving their neighbor. I’ve know people who were alcoholics who fit that criteria. I’ve known of folks who claim to believe in God and are good to their neighbors, but they believe we descended from pond scum. What about , what about confessing to others your belief in Christ, what about ? There are people that sit on a church pew every week that believe in God and love their neighbors, but they are living in adultery, or they cuss, they look at pornography, etc. etc, Just because they believe in Christ and are good neighbors are they bound for heaven if they don’t change their way of life? According to Daniel Rogers they are.

Bro. Patrick Andrews

I don’t have too much to say in response to this, but I will offer this: it seems that Brother Andrews doesn’t understand what Jesus meant when he commanded us to love our neighbor. How can someone claim to love their neighbor and be an alcoholic? There’s a difference between being “good” to one’s neighbor and loving them. Alcoholism, adultery, and even pornography are all things that cause us to “hate” our neighbors, not love them. When you commit adultery, there is no way you can claim to love your neighbor unless you repent. If you look at pornography, you are contributing to the mistreatment and objectification of women. The vices he mentions, and any sin he may bring up mention, do not produce love for one’s neighbor.

Where you find someone who believes in Jesus and loves their neighbor, you have found a brother or sister in Christ.

Paragraph 12

Romans 16:17 says to mark them that cause divisions and offenses contrary to doctrine. In my response to Daniel Roger’s article, which he asked me to refute, I’m marking him as a false teacher. I’m pointing him out to be teaching false doctrine and I would urge anyone to be on their guard about anything he writes or says.

He ought to quit following Dr. Dallas (listed below) and start following the great physician, Christ.

Bro. Patrick Andrews

There isn’t much to say here. Brother Andrews is obviously very sincere and has a great deal of love for the Lord and Bible study. But if you take away the offhanded comments, there is not much substance to his rebuttal in my estimation. I’ll leave that up to you to read and decide for yourself.

Well that’s the end of my comments. I will be posting a normal article at 9AM as scheduled. Have a great day.

BROTHER ANDREWS’ FULL POST

The very first paragraph in his article is full of errors. I don’t know of anyone who believes that a person can be disfellowshipped because they believe something different from themselves. To do so a person would have to elevate themselves up to the point where they believed that they too were inspired by the Holy Spirit, like the apostles and those who helped record the Word of God, (II Timothy 3:16-17).
 It would take a mighty arrogant person to equate his opinions or his thoughts to the doctrine of Christ.  God allows us to have opinions that are different from one another; that is what Paul is teaching in Romans 14. He is not equating opinions with doctrine; in fact he is doing just the opposite. When it comes to opinions, one person’s opinion carries the same weight as any other person’s opinion. But when it comes to doctrine, we all better be speaking the same thing.
I Corinthians 1:10 ¶ Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
John 17:17 ¶ Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
 In the second half of Daniel’s first paragraph he makes another grievous error. He claims that Paul is condemning unnecessary divisions over opinions in this verse, when in reality, Paul is charging the church at Rome to mark them that cause divisions and offenses  contrary to the DOCTRINE which they learned. This is where this young man has so greatly erred. He can’t distinguish between doctrine and opinion. He just lumps them all together. A Gazillion opinions and the doctrine of Christ, to Daniel, are one in the same.
 His second paragraph is also full of error as he claims that the teaching Paul is referring to, is the teaching that is found in Romans 14. Once again, what Paul is teaching in Romans 14 is that we should not condemn a brother who might hold a different opinion as us on anything that is not a sin in and of itself. You  should never leave Romans 14 thinking that the doctrine of Christ is something that can be determined by opinions. There is a big difference in some person’s opinion and the doctrine (teaching) of Christ.
 In the third paragraph of the article Daniel pointed out the Greek Word, “Skandalon”, and notes that this same word is also found in Romans 14:13. I am forced to agree that it is there, but I cannot draw the same conclusion that he does. He claims that Paul is talking about those who add to the New Covenant by inventing restrictions that the New Testament speaks nothing about.
 I do agree with him that to add to God’s word is a sin, but Paul is not teaching that point in Romans 14:13.
 In fact, that same word, “Skandalon”, is found another couple of times in the Roman epistle. Notice how this same word is used in Romans 9:32-33:
“Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence <SKANDALON>: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

 This is the very same word found in Romans 14:13 and Romans 16:17 and it is being used by the same inspired writer. However; in these two verses Paul is stating that to even teach Christ places a hindrance or a stumbling block in the way of some. Now is that a good thing or a bad thing. Should we stop preaching about Christ because it causes those in unbelief to stumble? In order to not hinder folks in what they want to believe, should we just not tell them about Christ, or should we put up a roadblock and try to turn them around? I say we Preach Christ regardless of how many times they fall down. I believe we would do the same thing if they were about to drive off a cliff. We would try and stop them the best way we could.

 In Daniel’s fifth paragraph he once again places himself in opposition to an inspired writer. Go back and read what he said about I John 2:4 and then notice what the Apostle John said and then you decide for yourself if Daniel is teaching the truth. I have provided the immediate context of this passage so that you can understand exactly what John is teaching:

I John 2:3 ¶ And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

 The first thing that jumps out at me is the fact that John says we are to keep His COMMANDMENTS, plural. Daniel seems to believe that it’s just boiled down to two. He quotes I John 3:23-24 and claims that if we believe in Christ and love our neighbor that will pretty much punch our ticket. 

 The Apostle John also said that those who did believe in Christ or claim to know Him were liars if they didn’t keep The Lord’s commandments. Daniel thinks that that old preacher that he disagreed with was upset because all those people weren’t keeping his (that old preacher) commandments. I don’t know who that guy was, but I’m sure he wasn’t speaking about his own commandments; I am sure he was speaking about the commandments of the Lord.

 If you claim to know God and do not keep his commandments (all of them), then you are a liar. That applies to Pat Andrews and every other person on the face of the earth, be they Baptist, Methodist, Lutherans or ________________________________.

 Daniel’s last paragraph really says a lot about how he approaches God’s Word. He concludes by saying, “if you can find someone who believes in Jesus and loves their neighbor, you have found a brother or sister in Christ…”.

 It just comes down to those two things. Believing in Jesus and loving their neighbor. I’ve know people who were alcoholics who fit that criteria. I’ve known of folks who claim to believe in God and are good to their neighbors, but they believe we descended from pond scum. What about repentance, what about confessing to others your belief in Christ, what about baptism?  There are people that sit on a church pew every week that believe in God and love their neighbors, but they are living in adultery, or they cuss, they look at pornography, etc. etc, Just because they believe in Christ and are good neighbors are they bound for heaven if they don’t change their way of life?  According to Daniel Rogers they are.

 Romans 16:17 says to mark them that cause divisions and offenses contrary to doctrine. In my response to Daniel Roger’s article, which he asked me to refute, I’m marking him as a false teacher. I’m pointing him out to be teaching false doctrine and I would urge anyone to be on their guard about anything he writes or says.

He ought to quit following Dr. Dallas (listed below) and start following the great physician, Christ.

2 Replies to “Response to Bro. Patrick Andrews on “Mark Those Who Cause Divisions”

  1. I would encourage brother Andrew to read my book: “Old Texts through New Eyes: Reexamination of Misunderstood Scriptures.” This book is available for free on my website: freedominchrist.net. If you access this site, click on BOOKS for a list of my books that are available (8 of my 13 published books” in a PDF format. Brother Andrew’s caustic language does not prove anything. I grew up in a one-cup and non-Sunday school segment of the so-called Restoration Movement in which we taught that God has a “torture chamber” for individuals like himself. Our so-called Restoration Movement is divided into about 25 divisions–each division claims to be the “one true church.” Unless his opinions have changed, he, too, is one of God’s children who exercises a very narrow perspective as to is or is not a child of God. I suggest that brother Andrew should read “My Pilgrimage of Faith: A Spiritual Narrative of Liberation,” which is available on my website: freedominchrist.net. Since brother Andrew had a problem with Daniel’s age, I am wondering about my age. I will be 87 very shortly. I have been preaching and teaching for over 70 years. I have taught both Hebrew and Greek grammar. I have a BA, two masters, and a doctorate degree–all in the field of theology. I still spend about 10 hours each day in biblical studies. By the way, I was disfellowshipped by the one-cup believers when I recognized brother Andrew as a Christian. It is true that I did not know brother Andrew, but I knew of his very sectarian and caustic fellowship. I have had some of his persuasion in my home. They, too, were just as rude spirited as brother Andrew. Hopefully, this brother will learn to be more loving and understanding as he matures in his judgment. Finally, I suggest that brother Andrew read my study on “Where The Bible Speaks,” which is on my website: freedominchrist.net under the caption: How to Read the Bible

  2. Since I’m not in the Restorationist movement, but rather the similar Holiness (Reformationist, I’ve heard it called) movement, it saddens me that there are people who are this sectarian. Apparently, the Church of Christ needs to sing one of my church’s hymns by Charles Naylor:

    The Bible is our rule of faith, and Christ alone is Lord,
    All we are equal in His sight when we obey His word;
    No earthly master do we know, to Christ alone we bow,
    And to each other and to God eternal trueness vow.
    (Notice what Naylor says; “All we are equal in His sight when we obey His word”)

    The day of sects and creeds for us forevermore is past,
    Our brotherhood is all the saints upon the world so vast;
    We reach our hands in fellowship to every blood-washed one,
    While love entwines about each heart in which God’s will is done.
    (We reach our hands “to every blood-washed one,” because “Our brotherhood is all the saints upon the world so vast”.)

    And the chorus of this hymns states:
    O church of God, the day of jubilee
    Has dawned so bright and glorious for thee;
    Rejoice, be glad! Thy Shepherd has begun
    His long-divided flock again to gather into one.

    I may not be a world class theologian, but I recognize that, though all our differences, the church is still a united being. I imagine that, if we were to apply Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, one could write: Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am Reformed,” and “I am Methodist,” and “I am Church of Christ,” and “I am just Christian”. Has Christ been divided? Luther was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of John Wesley?

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