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A Final Thought On Separation

January 23, 2012

Though separation is not a pleasant issue to consider and though its applications is at times complicated, separation is one issue which Christians intent on faithful obedience to the Word must seriously work through. Though we should never be defined only by our practice of separation, separatism is an integral part of what makes fundamentalism different from other groups of believers. Separatism remains one of the prime distinctives that keep fundamentalism alive and necessary. However, separation should never be practiced for separations sake. Separation is always subordinate to the prime purpose of bringing God glory in our lives and churches. The purpose of separation is to glorify God through the careful application of His Word to maintain unity and purity within the church.

One thing stands paramount above all other considerations in practicing separation and is the only means by which we can understand how to practice separation for the glory of God. The Bible must be the supreme and sole standard and guide for us in our fellowship with other professing believers. Many times feelings and traditions take greater importance than the Bible. This must not be. God’s Word gives us exactly what we need to know about separation, telling us when and how to break fellowship with fellow believers. The problems regarding separation in evangelicalism and fundamentalism stem from deviating from the Biblical commands. In fundamentalism, we have added traditions and opinions to the Biblical commands. We have gone beyond and created extra-Biblical reasons to separate.

While I am deeply concerned whenever a church or an institution makes decisions that moves them away from a traditional or conservative stance I cannot separate from them over that decision. I may encourage them to return to their former position, but I cannot separate from them. Even though changing music or dress standards may be the first step down a well lubricated decline, unless the new position is disobedient to the Word then I cannot, I must not, separate over such a change. On the other end of the spectrum, I must not maintain fellowship with one who is in disobedience to the Word. No matter what circle he travels in, what history his church may have, how long we have been friends or how many people have been saved under his preaching, if one is in violation of the Bible I must separate from Him.

The Bible has to be the standard by which our fellowship is judged. If there is a difference between myself and another regarding the socio-cultural application of a Biblical principle, I cannot use the differing opinion as an excuse to refuse fellowship. If there is disobedience to the Bible, I cannot use any sentiment or tradition as an excuse to maintain fellowship. The standard is the Word of God, and only when we faithfully apply the Word to our relationships will we practice a separation that glorifies God and strengthens His church.

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