The Bible is clear: True Believers in the God of the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ are to hold themselves separate from Unbelievers and Scorners.
II Coringthians 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
However, over the last 50 years, there has been a movement to undermine this clear instruction in favor of ‘unity,’ or ‘inclusiveness,’ or ‘grace.’ The reasoning includes the idea you can get more bees with honey than with vinegar. It extends to being gracious or understanding [not judgmental] of other people and their beliefs and/or behaviors. It finishes with no wall of separation, regardless of what a person believes or does, unless they reject MY view of God.
In this, Contemporary Christianity is more New Age than biblical. The New Age philosophy, borrows the terminology of The Bible, on this issue, but with a twist. Warren Smith, writing for lighthousetrailsresearch.com, points out that, in the New Age scheme, people are either ‘part of God’ or ‘separate from God.’ However, they define their ‘god’ differently than does The Bible.
The New Age god is all about inclusivism: love and forgiveness, regardless of what a person has done or is doing. Not because they have appropriated the Redemption Jesus provided through The Cross, but because, ‘who are we to judge?’
‘Salvation,’ for the New Ager is ridding themselves of the fear that causes them to feel separated from God. Their atoning [at-one-ment], Smith says, is affirming that: “all is love, and all is God, never forgetting that they are a part of God.”
This makes the biblical doctrine of separation The Cardinal Sin! If you look around, you can see it. The worst sin anyone can commit, these days, is saying someone or some group is wrong, or is being sinful. New Agers speak of those who have ‘the illusion of separation,’ when they mean biblical Christianity.
Look at how awful it is to say homosexuality is wrong or bad? Consider how terrible you are, if you speak negatively about divorce. “Don’t you know you are hurting people’s feelings?” “Who are you to judge?”
New Age inclusivism is foreign to The Bible. God is Holy. Sin is unholy. They cannot dwell together on the same plane. Neither can those who have been declared holy, by God, through Christ. This means there is a Separation, whether we like it or not. How we act it out is the issue.
Christians argue Primary v. Secondary Separation. Primary Separation means I am not in fellowship with someone who holds to a variant Bible Doctrine. Variant Doctrines are those that vary from millennia’s-old cardinal doctrines of the faith. It does not speak of questionable things. Those are preferences. Valid. Important. But, not in terms of Christian Fellowship.
Secondary Separation speaks to those questionable things and to those who fellowship with those who hold variant doctrines. Doctrines that vary from the basic or fundamental beliefs that have always represented true Christianity.
It’s not Church Governance: presbyterian v. congregational v. episcopalian.
It’s not about modes of baptism or when Jesus is coming back.
It’s not about formal clerical garb and candles, versus a plain room and simple worship.
It’s about the Cardinal Doctrines of The Faith: Who God is; Who Jesus is; Who the Holy Spirit is; What they do; What Jesus did, on the cross; The Resurrection of Christ; The Deity of Christ; The Ministry of the Holy Spirit; What constitutes a Christian: a true believer; What constitutes a Church; Leadership in that Church; Ordinances of The Church; What constitutes Membership; What constitutes sin; Qualifications for Leadership in The Church; Your view of the scriptures; The Family; etc.
I know I’ve missed some things, but not many. The problem is how many men have added and how many men have subtracted. Denominations, in this country, have come about because of the legitimate difference, true believers have had over governance, modes of baptism, frequency of Communion, high-church v. low-church, when Jesus will come, and a few more. These are largely legitimate differences between brothers and sisters in The Lord!
The Problem comes when we divide over non-essentials. Where true believers exist, in fellowship with one another, regardless of what they call themselves, their differences amount to about 15 / 20% of the core doctrines. They disagree as brothers and sisters in The Family.
Today, this is not the case. Today, the wideness of belief is astounding. Church groups not only are sympathetic to sin and sinners, they support them in their sins. Sins the Bible clearly labels and defines. Sins that are indicative of those who do not know God. And, in their tolerance / support of these folks, those who simply believe what God hath said, are the enemies!
It’s not that Christians don’t sin….they do. But, Christians do not justify their sin. Christians abhor their sin. Christians are working to overcome their sin. We give sincere people room to fail. We do not ignore it. But neither do we ‘pile on.’
However, where open/overt, gross sin exists, without repentance, the Christian needs to get away or be influenced negatively. Sin is like a poisonous snake. You cannot make friends with it. You cannot let it bite you, without suffering the consequences. If you tolerate a little sin, it will grow. If you tolerate a bigger sin, it will grow larger. If you do not repent and forsake sin, it will take over your life!
With that in mind, Jesus told His followers not to marry unbelievers [unequal yoke]; not to go into business with unbelievers; not to freely fellowship with unbelievers; not to worship with those who do not believe the core doctrines of The Faith. Why?
Because these two groups have nothing in common. The ungodly group will negatively influence the godly group every bit as does a sick child influence the child who is well. Sin is like a coiled snake, hiding in plain sight. It wants you! Your natural desires are compatible with it. And, if you play with it, it will strike! If you do not seek the proper remedy, you will die.
Spiritual death is separation from God. The true believer can be separated (in terms of fellowship and power) from God, through deliberate, unrepentant sin. This is why we preach SEPARATION! Not that we do not love the sinner, but because we love God more.
What the Christian has for any sinner is The Gospel. He also has his hand out in love, should that unbeliever want what Jesus offers. But, the Christian does not hold that sinner close to his breast…in terms of an intimate friendship. To do so is to be a convert to the sinner’s philosophy and habits.
Pro. 6:27 Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned?
Not that long ago Bill Bennett published a Book of Virtues. A Best Seller, it quickly became a valuable tool in the education of children.
Today? Virtue is not simply under attack, it’s a liability. The cultural shift has been toward a greater freedom of individual expression. This has brought us, tattooed women and children, piercings and studs in every part of the anatomy, gutter language in public and among children, profanity, blasphemy on TV and even from the pulpit.
It has produced slovenly dress, sensual fashions, disrespectable attire at weddings, funerals and Church services, etc. It has produced a dishonest society, a rude society, a crude society, a violent society and a growing social apathy.
We are routinely treated to flagrant sexuality, fashionable fornication, degrading exhibitionism and acceptable adultery. We now EXPECT advertisers to lie about the products they sell. We EXPECT law-enforcement officers to exceed the bounds of propriety and respect. We EXPECT elected officials to pad their expense accounts, if not their pocketbooks. And we ARE NOT SURPRISED when preachers are fake, or hauled off to court for some sexual sin or another.
In short, we are no longer shocked at anything we see or hear, except illustrations of true character and virtue.
Does virtue present a threat to our way of life? Absolutely! We are respectable barbarians and virtue is a threat to good order, to individualism, to The System. It cannot function on absolute honest, respect and integrity.
Nowhere is this more shocking than in Church. a large percentage of church-goers have been divorced, had abortions and plan to be cremated. Christian parents allow their teen-agers to dress in suggestive, contemporary clothes, listen to sexually-suggestive, violent or emotionally stimulating music. Movies, TV, games, Facebook, texting / sexting and selfies are now common, even among church people.
The culture is crude! It is overtly profane and drifting into debauchery. The only quality routinely discouraged, punished or attacked is virtue: morally good behavior or character. Many of our Basic Rights are being hijacked through the use of contemporary definitions of key words, undermining the moral character of our people.
We live together, or are simply ‘together,’ we are sexually active, in blended family structures, practicing birth control, not killing fertilized embryos (babies). These, and many other words or phrases, mask our filthy, sleazy, disgusting value system. All of this, and more, undermines the moral character of our people.
And? And, a self-centered, debauched, distracted population is more easily led….into captivity to their own desires. Desire which distract and demean in ways that favor unconscionable leaders, who then use that selfishness to serve their own designs.
A morally straight society is sensitive to evil; to wrong doing; to sin. Such a society is not easily fooled, nor persuaded by promises of impossible benefits. It is not the government’s responsibility, nor is it within the government’s power and ability, to take care of it’s citizens needs, from the cradle to the grave!
The guarantees of our Constitution extend to our responsibility, within those guarantees. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness [that which provides us the greatest satisfactions of life] are MY responsibility, not the government’s. A wise government — wise leaders — understand this and encourage Virtue. A virtuous nation is a Strong Nation. A virtuous nations is a Prosperous Nation. A virtuous nation is a Productive Nation. We are not any of these…any longer.
We are in a spiritual war! We are fighting an invisible enemy. He is an invincible enemy, by ordinary means, and we will be defeated before we know it, unless we fight back. The Battle is not ISIS. It’s not Socialism. It’s not AIDS or Ebola! It’s Spiritual Wickedness In High Places!
Are you a Victim? Or a Victor?
In the 2000-year history of Christianity, one principle is clear: Where The Gospel and Christian Doctrine have been embraced, as a social policy, Christianity has grown and been a strong motivator for peace, prosperity and progress. Where it has been altered, hindered, or hidden from view, these identifiers have became weak and eventually died out.
The destructive pressures have been religious: Rome and religious Islam. While the names changed, the undergirding philosophy and tactics did not/ have not. The Church thrived in Egypt and in North Africa until Islam came. Christianity thrived and even dominated, in Turkey, until the Moslems came. The Church thrived in Russia until Communism came. The Church thrived in Europe until Socialism came.
Rome fell in about 400 / 500 A.D. Out of its ashes arose a hybrid from of Christianity, determined to avoid political Rome’s mistakes. Doctrines were corrupted and New doctrines created, that would assure Religious Rome’s survival an expansion, regardless of what political system existed.
In 800 A.D. Charlemagne was crowned by pope Leo III as Emperor of The Holy Roman Empire. a region we now call Western Europe. Charlemagne was not intending to receive this honor. He had come to Rome to worship at Christmas time. Kneeling before the altar, pope Leo III suddenly placed a crown on his head the Roman people shouted three times, “To Charles Augustus, crowned by God, the great and pacific emperor of the Romans, life and victory!” Charles was reverenced by the pope and called Emperor and Augustus, after the manner of the leaders of ancient Rome.
Hence was born the idiom: “Ruling by the grace of God.” The divine right of kings to rule was born. The crowned heads of Europe bowing before the Head of The Church — the pope.
Not everyone went along with this idea. In time there was a rebellion. England’s Henry VIII broke from Rome and started his own Church — The Church of England, which we know as the Episcopalian Church, in this country. His purpose was not noble, the pope would not permit him to divorce. Needing an heir and with time running out, Henry eventually went through 8 wives.
Another rebellion occurred in the 16th century,known as The Protestant Reformation. This was actually a spiritual revival! A revival that would create a Protestant Church, in England, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal and eventually The New World.
In the New World, biblical Christianity populated the coastal regions, while political Christianity ravaged South and Central America. Using the Bible as their reference point, Puritans and Pilgrims sought freedom from Political and Religious tyranny.
Harmony was sought among the indigenous people, not always graciously, not always possible, since the Pilgrims were essentially squatting on their lands. The Natives did not own the land, their animistic religious beliefs forbade such things. However, the colonists were tilling the land and building walls and other permanent dwellings on their ancestral hunting grounds.
These Europeans were an industrious lot and scientifically superior to the native population. Farming takes a lot of land and water. There are just so many places for good fishing and these settlers were fond of building near the water.
Native Americans had no literature, no sophisticated tools, no understanding of The Supreme God of the universe. They were spiritists; a superstitious people. They lived the way their ancestors did: primitively.
The “Noble Savage” was first and foremost savage, in the sense of being the child of his own self-oriented, self-serving need for survival at almost any cost. Their lifestyle and lack of development was the result of their religious beliefs.
The Puritans brought God. The Pilgrims brought industry. Success brought all sorts of people, some criminals, others simply looking for a new start. America became the breeding ground for New and Productive inventions and societies. It grew strong, based on its Judeo-Christian foundations and “Protestant Work Ethic.” It became the world Leader, after WWII.
As such, it has become an easy mark for those who can’t really compete. The political and educational effort to demean and diminish the U.S. has been waged by those who either can’t or won’t embrace the Principles of Life and Religion that has made this country great!
Rome sought to kill those who refused to honor Caesar as God.
Islam has and is demanding all infidels repent and convert or forfeit their wealth or their life.
The elite of this world are demanding a reduction in population and transfer of wealth from the ‘workers’ to the ‘minders.’
While all this is going on, the Public face of Christianity busies itself with Parties (on Sundays) and seeks to change everything about christian Doctrine, except the terminology. It keeps the outward expressions, but has all but abandoned the core belief structure.
In the Middle East Islam is aggressively conquering all it’s inhabitants….one by one. In America the slavery is more gradual, but just as devastating and demeaning. Under this more gradual process most of us are passively sitting in the proverbial pan, while the water gets increasingly warmer, adjusting ourselves to the new events and limitations, never realizing that one day the Headline will be about US!