by The Bob Jones
University Bible Faculty
The concept of biblical
separation must be emphasized today because of conditions
in Christendom and the widespread violation of scriptural
teaching on this doctrine. While it has always been necessary
for Godís people to keep themselves separate from evil,
many ignore the principle of separation entirely. Others
go to the opposite extreme and separate unnecessarily over
minor points of interpretation and custom.
be made between personal separation and ecclesiastical
separation. Both have positive as well as negative aspects.
The Christian who practices personal separation demonstrates
in his conduct and attitude a strict obedience to God and
His Word. On the negative side, he refuses to look and act
like the world; he has no desire for the world; he avoids
individuals who are evil in conduct, false in teaching,
and unspiritual in lifestyle. Ecclesiastical separation
involves, positively, identification with groups faithful
to the truth of Godís Word. Negatively, it is the refusal
to be identified with any teacher, church, denomination,
or other religious organization that does not hold to and
contend for those fundamentals of the Faith concerning the
Bible, Christ, and salvation.
Separation is not
optional but absolutely necessary when circumstances demand
it. Christians must observe this separation in obedience
to the Word of God. The Bible contains many Old Testament
examples as well as New Testament warnings and commands
concerning separation, which the Christian cannot ignore
without being disobedient to God and His revealed Word.
be discussed under three divisions: separation from the
world, separation from false teachers, and separation from
disobedient brethren. It is important to keep in mind that
these categories often overlap and cannot always be strictly
compartmentalized. False teaching occurs both in the church
and in the world. Sinful practices of the unsaved sometimes
enter the church.
In separation, as
in other aspects of Christian living, the Christian must
act according to the principle of love. But love requires
a choice; for example, every man chooses to love either
God or the world system. It is clear that the Christian
who loves the truth has made his choice against error; therefore,
he must reject false teachers. The believer who really loves
the purity of the church will not sacrifice that purity
for the sake of ecumenism. A true love for the brethren
does not encourage sin through the tolerance of evil practices.
Although what follows
is an attempt to be clear and specific, it is impossible
to lay down hard and fast rules to prescribe the proper
course of action for every situation which may arise in
the life and ministry of the Christian. No mature Christian
can escape the responsibility of making decisions. When
some specific situation arises, the individual must act
in accordance with principles, making certain that his decisions
or actions are in harmony with Scripture and do not violate
clear biblical teachings.
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