The Christian life is hard. We are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. We are supposed to defend those who are week. We are to seek out the lost and offer them the Good News of Jesus Christ. But we are not to join them or help them in their wicked endeavors. This can be a fine line–how to seek out, pray for, and be in ministry to those who need it most and not to join them in what they are doing.
Jehoshaphat joined Ahab in his military endeavors. He gave his son to one of Ahab’s daughters for marriage. He was probably trying to reunite the divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Upon returning from a defeat in battle, Jehoshaphat is confronted by a prophet:
Jehu son of Hanani the seer came out to meet him and said, “Why did you help the wicked? Why have you loved those who hate the Lord? This is why the Lord is angry with you. Nevertheless, there is some good to be found in you, in that you have removed the sacred poles from the land and set your mind to seek God.”
The good Jehoshaphat did is not overlooked, but neither is the evil he did in trying to help prop up Ahab overlooked. Jehoshaphat was good, but he could have been even better in serving the Lord. Watch out for helping the wicked. In my mind this goes beyond social issues that are dividing denominations right now (homosexuality and, to a lesser extent, abortion). There are denominations that have believers within them who hold to the historic understanding of the faith and biblical interpretation, and those very same denominations have leaders–in churches, denominational headquarters, seminaries–who deny the divinity of Christ and reinterpret the Trinity. In these denominations funds go from all congregations, regardless of their beliefs, to the regional, national, and global offices to support and pay for those who do not even believe Jesus is God.
That would be the parallel with Jehoshaphat and his rebuke by Jehu.
John Wesley, in his sermon On Schism, argues very strongly against the Methodists separating from the Church of England. However, he did include this in his sermon as well:
But perhaps such persons will say, “We did not do this willingly; we were constrained to separate from that society, because we could not continue therein with a clear conscience; we could not continue without sin. I was not allowed to continue therein with breaking a commandment of God.” If this was the case, you could not be blamed for separating from that society.
Good thoughts about helping the wicked.