- The principle of separation between right and wrong, truth and error, holiness and sin, is a radical biblical principle and must be honored if the divine revelation is to remain uncorrupted, the gospel remains powerful and the testimony of the churches remains effective.
- This principle is to be applied first of all within the group as exemplified in the prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus, the apostles and every reformer. It is to take the form of protest against error and wrong and a demand for correction. When possible it is to be implemented by disciplinary pronouncements, withdrawal of fellowship and even exclusion. The basis of this judgment is not the principles of any human organization but the precepts found in the Word of God.
- When these disciplines are neglected and heresy multiplies and occupies high places, when apostasy expresses itself without official rebuke, then the true believer, failing to secure effective disciplines, must in obedience to the Word of God separate himself from the heretical or apostate fellowship regardless of personal consequence, trusting God to care for His own.
- The purity of the church means more to God and needy man than the unity of the churches, and this must always be a primary consideration in all religious fellowships.
- The separated believer, like Abraham, should retain his love for disobedient and foolish Lot but refuse to become a part of his compromises. He will look with love and patience upon evangelical believers in unholy fellowships but refuse to become a part of such fellowships or withhold judgment upon such alliances.
- The separated believer will welcome every occasion to manifest his unity with all other true believers but insist that such occasion be in keeping with the principles he has accepted and suffered for. The separated believer will always welcome evangelical unity within the framework of the whole Word of God and reject any “unity” that disregards it.
“To many of us there comes the necessity for making a decision, a decision from which we naturally shrink. It has to do with whether we shall honor a man and his opinions, his scholarship, his sincerity and piety, or whether we shall honor God’s Word” (The Southern Presbyterian Journal, 1952).
— Dr. Chester E. Tulga from The Doctrine of Separation in These Times