John Locke Heresy and Sectarianism Among Christians

Sectarianism adds in worship or discipline those "acts" not necessary to Christian unity because they are not commanded in express words by the Holy Spirit. Men like Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Campbell and Alexander Campbell found that the basis for unity was fully defined by Locke when to do so was dangerous to your physical health.

Today, it is dangerous to your spiritual health. The willingness to ignore the express command of Christ through Paul will naturally carry with it the willingness to distort the truth. Therefore, the almost universal rejection of any mechanical devices to worship God as the "works of human hands" has been reversed. Thereafter, those who still resist the use of mechanical devices is branded as schmismatic. A noted Presbyterian scholar wrote and it has been proven that:

It will, no doubt, be said that the attempt to prove the unjustifiable employment of instrumental music in the public worship of the Church is schismatical,

since the practice is now well-nigh universal;

that it is trivial, inasmuch as it concerns a mere circumstantial in the services of religion;

and that it is useless, as the tendency which is resisted is invincible,
and is destined to triumph throughout Protestant Christendom.

To all this one answer alone is offered, and it is sufficient, namely: that the attempt is grounded in truth. It involves a contest for a mighty and all-comprehending principle, by opposing one of the special forms in which it is now commonly transcended and violated." George Girardeau, Against Instrumental music.

See Instrumental Music as deliberate Sectarianism

Behold the Pattern: Rubel Shelly

See that MUSIC or SINGING is a burden leading to heresy in both Hebrew and Greek

The REST Jesus died boils down to: stop the speaking, stop the singing, stop the music, just STOP.

And Isaiah 30 in the LXX: God uses MUSIC to pour out His Wrath.

John Locke was born in 1632 and notes that:

PERHAPS it may not be amiss to add a few things concerning heresy and schism. A Turk is not, nor can be, either heretic or schismatic to a Christian; and if any man fall off from the Christian faith to Mahometism, he does not thereby become a heretic or schismatic, but an apostate and an infidel. This nobody doubts of; and by this it appears that men of different religions cannot be heretics or schismatics to one another.

We are to inquire, therefore, what men are of the same religion. Concerning which it is manifest that those who have one and the same rule of faith and worship are of the same religion; and those who have not the same rule of faith and worship are of different religions.

[John Locke would define those who do not rest on the inspired Word as not being Christians. Therefore, they may be another religion but not heretical once they have removed Christ from their profession.]

For since all things that belong unto that religion are contained in that rule, it follows necessarily that those who agree in one rule are of one and the same religion, and vice versa. Thus Turks and Christians are of different religions,

because these take the Holy Scriptures to be the rule of their religion,
those the Alcoran (Koran). And for the same reason there may be different religions also even amongst Christians.

The Papists and Lutherans, though both of them profess faith in Christ and are therefore called Christians, yet are not both of the same religion, because

these acknowledge nothing but the Holy Scriptures to be the rule and foundation of their religion,
those take in also traditions and the decrees of Popes and of these together make the rule of their religion; 

and thus the Christians of St. John (as they are called) and the Christians of Geneva are of different religions, because 

these also take only the Scriptures, and
those I know not what traditions, for the rule of their religion.

This being settled, it follows,

first, that heresy is a separation made in ecclesiastical communion between men of the same religion

for some opinions no way contained in the rule itself; and,

[Those who cause division over untaught questions are, according to Locke, heretics]

secondly, that amongst those who acknowledge nothing but the Holy Scriptures to be their rule of faith,

heresy is a separation made in their Christian communion for opinions not contained in the express words of Scripture.

[Locke might say that to add instrumental worship to aid human worship is heresy. Therefore, those who divide the church by adding instruments feel compelled to destroy John Locke]

As Locke is repudiated by musical Restoration Movement churches, it is well to note that the movement was formed by those out of Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians who agreed that instrumental efforts to worship God were sinful.

Those who forced instruments into non-instrumental churches for the sole purpose of competing financially with the Anglical-based, big city churches, forced the separation based on opinions not contained in the express words of Scripture.

Those who forced instruments into otherwise united churches confessed that if instruments were part of worship then it would be sinful. They legally dodged the bullet by claiming that the instruments just aided the worship. The judge did not buy the opinion.

However, those who added instruments confessed that if the original founders of the church saw the instrument as part of the worship or interfrering with worship which is 'in spirit" then the majority would force the minority to sin or get out.

One who has "marked" the church so as to exclude those who did not agree cannot say that the OFFENDED PARTY is suddenly the GUILTY PARTY.

Now this separation may be made in a twofold manner:

1. When the greater part, or by the magistrate's patronage the stronger part, of the Church separates itself from others

by excluding them out of her communion because they will not profess their belief of certain opinions which are not the express words of the Scripture.

[Exclusion can be by restricting the activity of those who oppose the sectarian additions]

For it is not the paucity of those that are separated, nor the authority of the magistrate,
that can make any man guilty of heresy,

but he only is a heretic who divides the Church into parts,

introduces names and marks of distinction,
and voluntarily makes a separation because of such

Note here that Locke attributes division or sectarianism to those who introduce names or differences or marks of practices unlike the existing order are guilty of being the heretic.

[While attempts are made to justify the heresy after the fact, the use of mechanical devices to worship God or "aid" others to worship God run totally contrary to Old Testement evidence, the evidence from paganism and 1800 years of church history. It runs counter to a direct command of Paul who defined Spiritual worship as teaching the inspired Words of Christ with the human heart as the accompanying "instrument." Division is created by the fabricated opinion that perhaps all of the Scriptures and history are wrong and perhaps we are right. Therefore, sowing discord based on such an opinion would be defined by Locke as heresy]

2. When any one separates himself from the communion of a Church because that
........... Church does not publicly profess some certain opinions
........... which the Holy Scriptures do not expressly teach.

[This includes those who add "acts" to become sectarian without Biblical authority, and those who insist upon adding without Biblical authority. One can see why Locke must be discredited if either heretical and sectarian division is forced. Majority vote does not relieve the heresy. Thomas Campbell and Alexander Campbell followed this practice because it was the common practice throughout Bible history by true Bible scholars.

It is absurdity beyond contempt to do violence by branding people who refuse to add that which is not commanded as sectarians.]

Both these are heretics because they err in fundamentals, and they err obstinately against knowledge;

for when they have determined the Holy Scriptures to be the only foundation of faith,
they nevertheless
lay down certain propositions as fundamental which are not in the Scripture,

and because others will not acknowledge these additional opinions of theirs, nor build upon them as if they were necessary and fundamental,

they therefore make a separation in the Church, either by withdrawing themselves from others

[without clear Biblical commands],

or expelling the others from them.

[by making fellowship impossible and by forcefully silencing any attempt to refute the error]

Nor does it signify anything for them to say that their confessions and symbols

are agreeable to Scripture and to the analogy of faith;

for if they be conceived in the express words of Scripture, there can be no question about them, because those things are acknowledged by all Christians to be of divine inspiration and therefore fundamental.

[While ridiculing those who believe that God authorizes by command, example and necessary inference, Locke notes that many require the participation of others in acts which are "deduced" from Scripture: "The Bible didn't say, "Don't smoke pot."]

But if they say that the articles which they require to be professed are consequences deduced from the Scripture,

it is undoubtedly well done of them who believe and profess such things as seem unto them so agreeable to the rule of faith.

But it would be very ill done to obtrude those things upon others unto whom they do not seem to be the indubitable doctrines of the Scripture;

and to make a separation for such things as these, which neither are nor can be fundamental,

is to become heretics;

for I do not think there is any man arrived to that degree of madness as that he dare give out his consequences and interpretations of Scripture as divine inspirations and compare the articles of faith that he has framed according to his own fancy with the authority of Scripture.

Alexander Campbell is often misunderstood for two major reasons. The first is that Campbell spent his life opposing the understanding of conversion practiced in experimental religion.

Experimental religion taught that the Holy Spirit works "immediately" upon the unconverted, producing a sequence of emotional upheavals leading to salvation,

and that this happened "apart from means of grace such as prayer, meditation, reading the Scriptures, and church attendance."

Against this, Campbell argued that the Holy Spirit "puts forth its moral power in arguments and motives, that is, in 'words', which Campbell broadly defines as 'significant signs' addressed to the mind."

Campbell felt that the Holy Spirit could not work directly on an unconverted sinner in any capacity, but that it was reason, rational persuasion based on the facts of the Gospel that brought about conversion. (The Christian System explains this understanding in great detail.)

But once the sinner is converted, there is every possibility for the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts and minds of the believer. However, because Campbell is usually writing about the process of conversion, he is often misunderstood to deny the work of the Holy Spirit, and thus to deny any personal experience of God. Thus every statement Campbell makes should be carefully located: is he speaking of before or after conversion?

[Locke died too soon]

I know there are some propositions so evidently agreeable to Scripture that nobody can deny them to be drawn from thence, but about those, therefore, there can be no difference.

This only I say- that however clearly we may think this or the other doctrine to be deduced from Scripture,

we ought not therefore to impose it upon others as a necessary article of faith because we believe it to be agreeable to the rule of faith,

unless we would be content also that other doctrines should be imposed upon us in the same manner,

and that we should be compelled to receive and profess all the different and contradictory opinions of Lutherans, Calvinists, Remonstrants, Anabaptists, and other sects

which the contrivers of symbols, systems, and confessions are accustomed to deliver to their followers as genuine and necessary deductions from the Holy Scripture.

While denying the clear negative message about instrumental music throughout the Bible and church history, those who impose instruments do so knowing that they will offend and divide by deducing musical instruments from the law of silence: God didn't say, "Don't worship me with instruments."

I cannot but wonder at the extravagant arrogance of those men who think that they themselves can explain things necessary to salvation more clearly than the Holy Ghost, the eternal and infinite wisdom of God.

Not using musical instruments is not imposing a thing on others unless they confess that they cannot worship without instruments and therefore would be sinning to sing without instruments. That is, according to Locke, one is a heretic if they impose something as a new distinguishing mark of the group which is not necessary to salvation.

Thus much concerning heresy, which word in common use is applied only to the doctrinal part of religion.


Let us now consider schism, which is a crime near akin to it; for both these words seem unto me to signify an ill-grounded separation in ecclesiastical communion made about things not necessary. But since use, which is the supreme law in matter of language, has determined that

heresy relates to errors in faith, and
schism to those in worship or discipline, we must consider them under that distinction.

Schism, then, for the same reasons that have already been alleged,

is nothing else but a separation made in the communion of the Church
upon account of something in divine worship or ecclesiastical discipline
that is not any necessary part of it.

Now, nothing in worship or discipline can be necessary to Christian communion (unity)

but what Christ our legislator, or the Apostles by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, have commanded in express words.

Singing the inspired text isimposed by an express commandment. However, musical instruments have not been imposed by a commandment in express words. Therefore, one cannot add instruments which are not necessary to salvation upon those who follow the express will of God is according to Locke, a schismatic.

Congregational singers have added nothing new for two thousand years. Therefore, by continuing to obey the express will of God they cannot be honestly labeled as schismatics.

In a word,

he that denies not anything that the Holy Scriptures teach in express words,
nor makes a separation upon occasion of anything that is not manifestly contained in the sacred text- however he may be nicknamed by any sect of Christians and declared by some or all of them to be utterly void of true Christianity-

yet in deed and in truth this man cannot be either a heretic or schismatic.

These things might have been explained more largely and more advantageously, but it is enough to have hinted at them thus briefly to a person of your parts.

Why Locke must be deposed -- even in strict interpretation of the Constitution:

J. W. McGarvey
........... "Nor does God permit us to drive some of the brethren from the church
........... ........... to avoid doing what they believe to be sinful.

To do so is to cause division in a way that God condemns. and if we thus sin,
........... he demands that we be marked and avoided as schismatics.

So it matters not how the effort may result, it condemns us in the sight of God.

If the brethren submit and debauch their conscience by doing that which they believe to be wrong, we sin against them and against Christ, says Paul. (1 Cor. 8: 12.)

If we drive them from the church which they have to leave to avoid condemning themselves in this way,
........... we are guilty of the sin of causing division,"

J. W. McGarvey was forced to leave his home congregation when instrument (always divisive or "secting"). Of course, those who imposed the instruments (always in the North) blamed J. W. McGarvey using the "Guilt Clause." (see link above)

Because truth has been left behind with the God-given power to determine truth it is easy to add to the misuse of Scripture blaming those who are driven from a church destroying unity by adding something not necessary because it is not commanded for creating division.

Neither Thomas Campbell nor Alexander Campbell were involved in the division over instrumental music in worship and cannot therefore be used to discredt those rejecting instruments without following the Post-Modern path to just ignoring the truth.

Instead of misleading people by trying to destroy John Locke or even Thomas Jefferson it would be informative for both the preacher and the audience if we all read Locke at least once.

Sectarianism again is adding to faith and practice which is not commanded by the Words of the Holy Spirit speaking through the Apostles recorded in Scripture. Those who are forced out of their "home" because of the forceful addition of unscriptural practices are not sectarian but Christians.

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