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Be Ye Holy
Chapter 5: The Spirit of the Separatist

Unwavering Militancy

The 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 of separation.

Previous 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.

A dangerous 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.

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Be Ye Holy: The Call to Christian Separation. By Fred Moritz. ©1994. BJU Press. Reproduction prohibited. This work is available for purchase at the Bob Jones University Campus Store (phone: 1-800-252-1927; web address: www.bju.edu/store.) Please note, due to browser limitations, the Hebrew and Greek words are not displayed in their original languages.

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