Should I Stop Keeping Him As A Friend If He Would Not Submit To The Bible Doctrine?
A preacher said that any friend is not worth keeping if he won’t submit to truth/doctrine revealed in the scripture. What do you say about this?
The above statement as made by the preacher is faulty and not entirely true.
There are a lot of morally upright people in the world who are yet to submit to the truth revealed in the Bible. For example, you might have a very loving father, neighbor or classmate who is extremely kind and you share lovely memories together as friends. But such has not accepted the truth concerning what the Bible says about the one true church or baptism. Do you stop keeping him as a friend? Of course not!
Your very loving and kind father, neighbor or classmate is still your friend whether or not he is a member of the church of Christ. Hence, that makes the above statement by the preacher inherently faulty.
Cornelius would fall into the category of a morally upright and zealous man as the Bible describes him. Cornelius would be a friend that is worth keeping by anyone even at the time prior to his conversion. Would Timothy discard his Gentile father if he doesn’t submit to the truth about baptism? (Ephesians 6:1-4; Acts 16:1)
In the same vein, there are people with very bad and evil lifestyles. We are told not to associate with them (I Corinthians 15:33). Of course, no godly man would be happy to see his child mingle with swindlers, smokers, thieves, fornicators, etc. Even if the child claims he does not do all of those things his friends do, there’s the fear of being influenced. Hence, most parents have correctly cautioned their children about the dangers of mingling with bad companies.
If we have Christians who then deviates and would not submit to what God has said, we are to withdraw from such a person (I Corinthians 5:5,11) but then not fail to admonish him as a brother (II Thessalonians 3:14-15).
I would like to emphasize that when we are talking about God’s truth, we should never leave out morals. Good morals are part of the doctrine of Christ. I have known some preachers who would disassociate from others simply because they disagree on some doctrinal matter. But those same preachers have very bad moral lifestyles – such as lying, fornicating, swindling others of their monies and properties, etc. Yet, these same preachers would be the first to pronounce others as “liberals” if they teach something different from what they believe is true on a Bible subject. For these types of preachers, their definition of God’s truth is only limited to “doctrinal matters” and anyone who would not agree with them on any “doctrinal” issue is simply not worthy to be their friend. But I think that when we are speaking about submitting to God’s truth, it must not be limited to “doctrine” but must include moral lifestyles. Thus, we see why men like Alexandra and Hymenues (1 Timothy 1:20) whose faith and good conscience have been shipwrecked, and even the man who took his father’s wife (I Corinthians 5:1-13) needed to be “delivered to Satan.” In such situations, keeping company with them by good people will corrupt their good morals.