Be Ye Holy
Chapter 5: The Spirit of the Separatist
Christian who understands the Scripture's teaching about
separation will never apologize for being militant in his
defense of God's Word and in exposing those who deny it
and work to destroy it. Jude exhorts his readers to "earnestly
contend for the faith" (Jude 3). He spares nothing
in describing the apostates and their moral and doctrinal
corruption (Jude 4, 8, 10, 12-13, 16, 19). Paul was relentless
and unapologetic in warning churches and preachers about
false teachers. He exposed their true spiritual character
(II Cor. 11:3-4, 13-15), named some of them by name (I Tim.
1:18-20; II Tim. 2:16-18), and–with tears–used stronger
language than many today would dare to use in describing
their lifestyle and their end (Phil. 3:17-19). Peter's language
in II Peter 2 is equally plain as he describes the doctrine
and character of these false teachers. John's commands to
separation in II John 7-11 cannot be misunderstood. It is
apparent that the apostles who were used of the Holy Spirit
to write the New Testament never divided over the strategy
generations of separatists battled error and stood for the
Faith. Some fought unbelief in major denominations or conventions
of churches, eventually leaving those organizations. Then
came the battles over ecumenical evangelism and the division
between Fundamentalism and New Evangelicalism. Some present-day
leaders were forced to leave former circles of fellowship
because groups and organizations which once stood for separatism
moved toward a nonseparatist position. These conflicts often
cost dearly as men sacrificed financial security, positions
of leadership, and personal friendships. That generation
of men, many of whom are in heaven and some of whom are
still on the scene, deserve the respect and gratitude of
those who follow and enjoy the heritage of the churches
and institutions they built. Those men were not perfect,
however, and perhaps some were unduly harsh in their attitudes
at times as they sought to do God's work. Because they were
redeemed sinners, as are all believers, they may have exhibited
other flaws in their ministries as well.
tendency on the part of the younger separatists today is
to look at the weaknesses of the older generation and abandon
or moderate the position they took because of these weaknesses.
The present generation of preachers needs to realize that
it, too, will leave a record of imperfection in its service
for Christ. The shortcomings of former leaders do not justify
forsaking or weakening the biblical position for which they
fought. Men must be as militant as Jude, Paul, Peter, and
John in the ministry of the Word. The Bible teaches militancy.
Certainly the younger man today will not want to emulate
whatever flaws are apparent in a leader. He should adopt
the attitude which Paul asked his followers to adopt when
he said, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am
of Christ"(I Cor. 11:1). The current generation should
imitate the godliness of the past generation while not forsaking
separation because of the human weaknesses of those leaders.
Be Ye Holy: The Call to Christian Separation. By Fred Moritz. ©1994.
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