Ecclesiastical Separation

The Position, Attitudes, and Objectives of Biblical Separation (Part 1)

By Paul Jackson (1903-1969): keynote address delivered at the 1958 GARBC Conference.

The Bible teaches clearly that every believer should be separated from all sin, including unbelief and apostasy. We shall seek to prove this statement with the Word of God, and to show that we must also have proper attitudes and objectives in the practice of Biblical separation.

Unfortunately there are many Baptists and other sincere Christian believers who do not share the convictions presented in this article. However, it is not written in a controversial fashion, but is designed to deal fairly and constructively with a great issue that faces all of us today. You and I who hold this truth live in an atmosphere charged with opposition. Much of this opposition springs out of misinformation or prejudice. We are in such a situation, whether or not we like it, and I trust we are convinced that we occupy a Biblical position. We urge your closest, most thoughtful attention!

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Kevin Schaal (FBFI): "Separation is Not Always the Answer"

Six Degrees of Separation

Theology Thursday - Calvin on the Errors of the Separatists

John Calvin is most often known for his views on soteriology, anthropology and theology proper. He actually wrote a great deal more than this, of course. However, many Christians have not bothered to read anything else from him. In this excerpt, Calvin explains what a Christian’s duty is to a true church, and the grace Christians should show to one another in matters of minor disagreement. Indeed, Calvin believed we should “pardon delusion” amongst ourselves on unimportant issues. We should refrain from “inconsiderate zeal” and “immoderate severity.”

I’ll let Calvin explain the rest:1

We have said that the symbols by which the Church is discerned are the preaching of the word and the observance of the sacraments, for these cannot any where exist without producing fruit and prospering by the blessing of God. I say not that wherever the word is preached fruit immediately appears; but that in every place where it is received, and has a fixed abode, it uniformly displays its efficacy.

Be this as it may, when the preaching of the gospel is reverently heard, and the sacraments are not neglected, there for the time the face of the Church appears without deception or ambiguity; and no man may with impunity spurn her authority, or reject her admonitions, or resist her counsels, or make sport of her censures, far less revolt from her, and violate her unity.

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Biblical Fundamentalism, Part 2

From Think on These Things, Mar/Apr 2016. Essentially the same article also appears in Voice magazine. Read Part 1.

The Second Great Divide

The colossal differences between liberals and conservatives were crystallized around the turn of the century with the subsequent division of the two camps occurring in the 1920s and 1930s. At this point the conflict was often referred to as the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy but, as the years rolled by, another division was looming, this one among the Fundamentalists.

By the 1940s the question of cultural and social engagement had arisen within the Fundamentalists’ camps. The original Fundamentalists, perhaps oversensitive to the social gospel that was at the heart of liberalism, often pushed away from any form of social action. In time, some felt that they had gone too far and needed to become more involved with the culture and improve society, as well as preach the gospel.

This ultimately led to a split within the conservative camp. The Fundamentalists would take on more separatist views, that is, they would separate from any who taught false doctrines and, rather than try to infiltrate society, they would live as lights of the gospel calling people to Christ. On the other hand, the opposing position would be termed new (or neo) evangelical.

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Biblical Fundamentalism, Part 1

From Think on These Things, Mar/Apr 2016. Essentially the same article also appears in Voice magazine.

I am a Fundamentalist. There I said it. And yet, although I inherited a few guns I don’t know where the bullets are. I don’t hate anyone, not even my neighbor whose cat keeps my songbird population thinned out. Knowing my own weaknesses and sinfulness I refrain from being particularly judgmental of others. Some might call me a “Bible-thumper” but I have not actually thumped anyone with a Bible since junior high when I was trying to impress the girls (I learned many years later that punching girls did not impress them nearly as much as I originally thought).

I have some strong preferences and opinions about everything from politics to entertainment (just ask me), but I recognize that not everyone shares all my views and I am at peace with that. I believe in separation from sinful practices and compromising associations, but I do not hide out in a wilderness refuge in an effort to stay as far away from “sinners” as I can. And horror of horrors, I will tune into CNN as much as Fox News—which may cause me to lose my Fundamentalist membership card in the eyes of some.

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