Theology Thursday - When Should We Separate?

Some wisdom from Douglas MacLachlan’s book Reclaiming Authentic Fundamentalism (pgs. 132-133):

If there is no clear cut, “Thus saith the Lord,” we shouldn’t judge and neither should we separate (Rom 14:10-13).

1028 reads

There are 6 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture

RAF was a real breath of fresh air. I remember it fondly.

Without lots of context, the quote is a bit hard to work with. What does "judge" mean and what does he mean by "separate"? I recommend reading the book. At the time, separation was a bit of a runaway train, and it was so encouraging to read a leader within the movement call for more wisdom in the when and how of it.

Larry Nelson's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

RAF was a real breath of fresh air. I remember it fondly.

Without lots of context, the quote is a bit hard to work with. What does "judge" mean and what does he mean by "separate"? I recommend reading the book. At the time, separation was a bit of a runaway train, and it was so encouraging to read a leader within the movement call for more wisdom in the when and how of it.

In the previous paragraph, he defines (familial) separation as "the unfortunate necessity of functional severance from members of the family who are true Christians, when doctrinal or ethical compromise creeps into their lives or ministries."

He then continues: "Of course, we must develop a hierarchy of priorities when it comes to familial separation.  Over matters of preference we may certainly differ, but we should not divide.  We shall have to determine whether or not our dispute is constitutional or merely superficial.  If there is no clear-cut "Thus saith the Lord," we shouldn't judge and neither should we separate (Romans 14:10-13).  There are two opposite and equally destructive options open to us as Christians.  One is to see no basis for separation at all.  The other is to see every little difference as a basis for separation among God's people.  if the first option is a manifestation of naivete, the second is a manifestation of heresy, which at its root means "a person who without justification creates division."  And neither naivete nor heresy will do for authentic Christians."

[I happen to have my copy of RAF with me this morning!]

TylerR's picture

Thanks! I wanted to provide the paragraph context, but I'm moving, MacLachlan is in a box (somewhere), and I couldn't find him. I had the quote written down. I'll always remember when I read that, and how much sense it made. What a simple yardstick!

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

TylerR's picture

The copy of RAF pictured above is a nice one. My copy is probably a first-edition, and it has a pale, bright pink cover! It's probably one of the most unique book covers I've ever seen. Design styles certainly do change. The newer version (above) is much better . . .

Note: My apologies for those who felt my original description of the book cover was offensive. I've changed my description, above.

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Bert Perry's picture

RAF was, I believe, one of the first books I bought upon joining 4th Baptist back in 2003.  It is a treasure that has served me, and 4th, quite well.  And per Tyler, I've got the good cover, though I think the pink cover would be cool, too, as it would show up well on my bookshelf when I wanted to find it to loan it to someone.  :^)

I've had multiple chances where I've wanted to loan it out, not all of which were taken, and fewer of which resulted in persuasion, sad to say. As someone wiser than I said, if a man doesn't reason himself into a position, good luck reasoning him out of it.

Larry Nelson's picture

 

My copy of RAF has the bright pink cover, and a printing date of 1993.  It has the signature "Russell Dell" inside the front cover, whom I assume is the former academic dean of Baptist Bible College (Springfield) by that name.  So I assume it is a copy which one belonged to him (I purchased it used).

Help keep SI’s server humming. A few bucks makes a difference.