Of course not! God’s eternal, unchangeable Word plainly commands every believer to separate from false teachers (2 John 9-11), disobedient brethren (2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15), and the world (1 John 2:15-17). Surely nothing God commands is illogical, unreasonable, or unloving; it is only made to seem so by those who do not want to do what God commands.
One distinguishing hallmark of evangelicalism since its inception has been its refusal to practice biblical separation. The same is true of the charismatic movement. However, in our day, we even have some who want to be known as biblical fundamentalists and yet are joining heart, hand, and voice with those who do their best to make biblical separation appear to be illogical, unreasonable, and unloving—yes, even unscriptural! They would have us believe that biblical separation and biblical love are opposites. Therefore, those who do seek to practice consistent biblical separation are pictured as being negative, critical, unloving, unkind, judgmental, extreme, narrow, bigoted, jealous, self-righteous, and unscriptural.
This whole situation represents a definite satanic deception and reveals the fact that there is a great lack of spiritual discernment on the part of many Christians and Christian leaders. We must not forget that biblical separation is commanded by God. It is very logical, reasonable, practical, and very, very loving. The principle of separation is widely recognized and accepted in other areas of life, and it is incredible that so many could fail to understand its necessary application to the Christian life and the believer’s relationships and fellowships.
Recently, in thinking about this amazing incongruity, the following illustration came to mind, and we share it with our readers in the hope and with the prayer that it might prove helpful. Suppose that an analogy is drawn between hospitals, hospital personnel, and patients on the one hand and denominations, churches, pastors, and members on the other. Everyone knows that hospitals were established in order to provide the best possible medical and health care for those who need physical help. Without exception, hospitals and their personnel wage a constant battle against disease and infection. Strict standards of cleanliness within the hospital are essential, including sterilization of surgical instruments, bandages, etc. Controls are in place to make sure that these standards are consistently maintained. Anything less would be unthinkable, and rightly so!
But suppose that some hospitals, over a period of time, began to relax these necessary standards and hired personnel who thought the old standards were too restrictive. Suppose some of the new doctors and nurses decided that instead of fighting disease and infection, it was better to cooperate so as not to increase the tensions of conflict. Suppose these “new breed” medical personnel went so far as to say that to demand cleanliness was expecting too much, that contamination was all about us anyway, and there was no need to manifest a “holier-than-thou” attitude by insisting on standards inside the hospital that did not apply to the world at large. Suppose they even began to introduce contamination of various kinds into all areas of hospital procedures and, when questioned, responded that they were only seeking the welfare of the patients. When challenged as to the validity of their new views, suppose they replied, “How do you know this won’t work unless it is tried? How can you be sure these new procedures won’t improve the patient’s health and speed his recovery?” And, what if they said, “Who are you to judge, anyway? You are just too old-fashioned and too rigid and dogmatic in your thinking for this modern age.”
What would you do under such circumstances? Would you remain silent? Would you raise any objection with the hospital authorities? If repeated protests at the hospital failed to rectify the situation, would you consider it your duty to warn as many patients or potential patients of what was really going on? Would you continue your participation in and support of any such hospital or group of hospitals, hoping that things would improve over time? And, if you did speak up and sound a warning, would you thereafter cease such warnings if you were called “unloving” or “critical” or “too negative”?
Surely, any logical person would feel compelled to sound a warning if such a condition existed in a hospital and he or she knew about it. Without doubt, present or prospective patients would consider it a great favor if someone warned them about the changes in standards and policies that would result in their exposure to disease and infection rather than protection from these enemies of good health.
Why is it, then, that such strenuous objections are raised when Christians warn fellow believers about what has been happening in the major denominations and the churches that violate their doctrinal standards and promote many false teachings—teachings and principles that constitute a real and present danger to those who are continually contaminated by theological poison? It is sad to contemplate the fact that people would praise those who warn others of grave dangers in the physical realm, whereas those who warn of dangers in the spiritual realm are accused of being too critical, illogical, unreasonable, or unloving?
Beloved, unbelievers and believers alike would be greatly concerned if it were discovered that a hospital tampered with or compromised strict standards of cleanliness and sterilization. How much more concerned should believers be about any violation of the strictest standards of doctrine and holiness in the church. Those evangelicals, charismatics, and professing fundamentalists who are repudiating God’s standards of biblical separation and calling for “wider relationships” or “broader fellowships” are leading many Christians into dangerous waters. Although separation from doctrinal error may result in some painful departures from friends or churches that are deeply cherished and of long standing, even greater sorrow will face those who remain in fellowships where they will be continually contaminated by theological poison and cowardly compromise.
Biblical separation is not illogical, unreasonable, or unloving. Exactly the opposite is true! May God help us to obey His Word and separate from false teachers, disobedient brethren, and the world, regardless of what men may say or do. We who truly desire to obey God rather than men must practice biblical separation and faithfully warn those who disobey God’s command no matter how misunderstood or maligned we may be.
— By Dr. M. H. Reynolds Jr. (1919-1997)