Some state that while they would not receive a professing Christian who has been convicted of holding evil doctrine, they would not refuse those who only come from the place where the evil is taught. Now of course there is much which might very properly be born with among Christians in terms of simple ignorance or weakness in the faith, but that is not the question under consideration. The question is, ‘Is it right to receive those who, according to Scripture (see 2 John 10, 11) have made themselves partakers of the wicked works of a false teacher?’
Would any law–abiding citizen think of welcoming a known companion of criminals into his house—however much that man might protest his personal integrity and innocence? The answer is obvious. Yet when it comes to the meetings of the saints, things quickly become less distinct and persuasive to some minds. The Lord rightly said “For the sons of this world are, for their own generation, more prudent than the sons of light” (Luke 16: 8). Thus the question is asked: ‘How can anyone who is free from serious error himself be regarded as a partaker in the wicked works of a teacher of error?’ The answer to such a question, according to 2 John, is simply by giving a greeting to the one who holds the false doctrine. Now are we to imagine that a refusal to greet such a person should he knock on the door—let alone allow him access to the home—is so completely different to associating with him at the place where he teaches his doctrine? It is strange that a Christian should even raise such a question, and yet this is the point at issue. Such do not see any equivalence between an ecclesiastical link and giving a man a greeting. Yet if to greet the teacher of false doctrine is to make one a partaker of his wicked works, how is it that being his ecclesiastical companion has no such comparable effect?
Those who refuse the idea of ecclesiastical contamination make a great deal of applying only a personal test, and say that it does not matter where a person comes from. However, while personal purity is, of course, essential, they do not (or will not) understand that what I associate with is part of the personal test! The principle of the matter is set out in Numbers 19: 13: “whoever toucheth a dead person, the dead body of a man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of Jehovah; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel; for the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him: he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him”. In reality, there is not the slightest obscurity about this doctrine—the problem lies in a desire to evade its force. The false teacher is to be cut off—if on the doorstep, then most certainly ecclesiastically—and those who will not accede to this course of action partake in his wicked works.