What is Biblical Separation?

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by Linda64, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. Linda64

    Linda64
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    From the Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible:

    SEPARATION

    Bible separation is the practice of separating from sin and error unto truth and righteousness.

    Three Types of Separation

    In the N.T. we find three basic areas of separation. The Christian is to practice Moral Separation-separation from sin and worldliness; Doctrinal Separation-separation from those whose teaching and practice is contrary to that of the apostles; and Practical Separation-separation from brethren who are committed to disobedient paths.

    MORAL SEPARATION

    There are many, many passages of Scripture which teach that the Christian is to separate from sin. We are commanded to put sin out of our lives and to avoid fellowshiping with the evil things of the world. Of the many passages we could consider, let us use but one-Ephesians chapter five. Here God begins by telling His children to "walk in love." And how is this done? The rest of the chapter tells us, and we see that much of the chapter is devoted to instruction about separation from evil things. This is part of godly love!

    DOCTRINAL SEPARATION

    he second kind of separation God requires of the Christian is doctrinal separation. Sound apostolic doctrine is to be preserved by the churches while false doctrine is to be avoided. Doctrinal separation can be further divided into two aspects: First, we are to separate from those who teach false doctrine. And secondly, we are to separate from the entire apostate last-days Christianity.

    Let us consider these forms of separation in more detail.

    We are to separate from those who teach false doctrines. "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" (Ro 16:17). See also 2Jo 1:13; Re 2:2.

    In this passage we are plainly commanded to mark and avoid those who teach false doctrine. A question arises here. Which doctrines are to be used as the basis for this separation? The answer is that any apostolic doctrine clearly presented in the Bible is a basis for fellowship and separation. To my knowledge, the N.T. never divides doctrine into "essential" and "non-essential," or into "fundamental" and "peripheral." Men do this today, but the Apostles did not. It is true that some doctrines are more important than others, but nowhere in Scripture do we read that portions of God's Word, rightly divided and properly understood, are of no significance and can therefore be put aside as peripheral. I realize this is contrary to popular thinking, but consider upon the following verses very carefully and I believe you will see that this is correct: Php 3:17; 4:9; 2Th 2:15; 2Ti 1:13 . In these references Christians are not exhorted to follow only the major apostolic doctrines. All apostolic doctrine and example is to be obeyed (Ac 2:42).

    PRACTICAL SEPARATION

    The Bible commands Christians to separate even from those who give evidence of having been born again, yet who refuse to follow the teachings of the Apostles in matters of practice and Christian living. Yes, there is a time when we are to separate even from our own brethren (1Co 5:11; 2Th 3:6; 1Ti 6:5; Mt 18:15-18).

    In all of these passages the writer is speaking of a separation from true brethren. This type of separation refers primarily to discipline within one particular local church, but the principle goes far beyond this. Not only are we bound to keep the letter of the Word of God, but also its spirit, its principles.

    Take 2Th 3:6 for an example. Immediately after giving the command to separate from a disorderly brother, the Apostle Paul gives an illustration of such. He mentions some who were walking "disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies" (2Th 3:11-12). In v. 14, he repeats the command to separate from such. Is this command to be limited only to those who are disobedient in the matter of employment? It would not be reasonable to limit the passage in such a way. The Holy Spirit is giving a principle regarding fellowship and separation. We are to separate from any brother who walks disorderly and who refuses to repent of his disobedience. The matter of employment is one example. The command would apply to our relationship with a brother who is persistently disobedient to any apostolic teaching. Would God tell us to separate from a brother who is disobedient in the matter of employment but not require that we separate from a brother who is disobedient in the matter of baptism, or in following the N.T. pattern for church government, or any number of other commands which are at least as important as whether or not one is employed? We believe these commands to separate from unrepentant, disorderly brethren are principles which cover disobedience to all apostolic instruction.
     
  2. John of Japan

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    Hi, Linda64. The article was interesting, but it left out separation of church and state (in the traditional Baptist distinctive sense, not the political). Also, traditionally most Fundamentalists have used the terms "personal separation" and "ecclesiastical separation," which personally I much prefer to the author's terms. Further, "practical separation" as described here is actually "church discipline" in traditional terminology.

    God bless.
     
  3. Linda64

    Linda64
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    John--

    I didn't post the entire article because it was too long. Perhaps I will post some more of that article in the next few days. Separation of church and state was not part of that article. This article dealt mainly with "Biblical" separation--i.e. separation from sin and unto righteousness.
     
  4. John of Japan

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    I understand, Linda. But of course there's a lot of sin in our government nowadays! :eek:
     
  5. Linda64

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    John--

    Here's is a website that lists the five Baptist Distinctives--you may have seen this one already. It also has the History of the Baptists--it is a very brief history, however. It is written by Cooper P. Abrams, III.

    http://www.baptistinfo.com/define.shtml

    I agree--there sure is alot of sin in our government nowadays!! I do believe very strongly in the separation of Church and State. The government has NO business in the Church (i.e: the RCC and Church of England)
     
  6. Scott J

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    Not all doctrines are presented with like clarity.

    For instance, escatalogy. Prophecy must be interpretted and none of us are infallible. If we separate on this... then we are separating on a presumption of our own infallibility, not the Bible.

    Further, my understanding is that Cloud separates over Bible versions (I assume this is his work since it refers to "Way of Life"). KJVOnlyism is not an "apostolic doctrine clearly presented in the Bible" by any stretch.
     
  7. Linda64

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    DOCTRINAL SEPARATION

    Following are some examples of doctrines which are important enough to be a basis for separation:

    1. Doctrine regarding Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and Salvation is to be a basis for separation (2Co 11:3-4). Note that not only was Paul concerned that the churches be right in regard to the Gospel and to Jesus Christ, but he fought to see that they were right about the Holy Spirit. If this attitude were maintained today, we would see more concern about the charismatic errors.

    2. Doctrine regarding prophecy and future things, such as the resurrection and death is to be a basis for separation (2Ti 2:16-18). The Holy Spirit identified Hymenaeus and Philetus as false teachers. What was their error? Only one was mentioned, and that was their error of saying the resurrection had passed already. This is a matter of prophecy, of future events. Here, then, it is clear that the doctrines of prophetic matters are important to the Holy Spirit. They are essential, fundamental doctrine. How different this is to the many Christian leaders, even professedly fundamental men, who have placed eschatology in the realm of tertiary doctrine.

    3. Doctrine regarding the church is to be a basis for separation (1Ti 3:15; 6:13-14,20-21). Much of the N.T. pertains to church doctrine and practice. We find the Apostles giving a great deal of their attention to training the Christians and early church leaders in the government, discipline, organization, and function of the assembly. This is the purpose for the first epistle to Timothy; Paul was writing to instruct Timothy in church business (1Ti 3:15) . He concluded the epistle with the exhortation that these church things are to be kept in detail until the coming of Christ. This is what the Holy Spirit thinks of church doctrine. There are more than 100 references to the church in the Bible, and even in the epistles not directly written to local assemblies, the church remains in view (Tit 1:5; Heb 10:25; 13:7,17; Jas 2:2; 5:14; 1Pe 5:1-4; 2Jo 1:9) . The glorified Christ is standing in the midst of the churches (Re. 2-3) , and seven times the phrase is used, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." I do not understand how men can look at such a staggering amount of teaching-more than is given on many other Bible doctrines-then put church doctrine in a non-essential category, a mere matter of personal preference.

    4. Doctrine regarding holy living is to be a basis for separation (1Ti 6:3-5). The passage teaches plainly that Christians are to withdraw themselves from those who deny the doctrine according to godliness. What a tremendously accurate prophesy of our day! There are multitudes of Christian leaders in practically every sphere of Christendom who literally scoff at those who still preach against worldliness and maintain strict standards for Christian morality. Divorce and adultery are rampant in many denominations. Homosexuality is widely accepted as an alternate lifestyle. Some denominations have ordained homosexual preachers. In fact, one entire denomination, the Metropolitan Community Churches, is composed of homosexuals. The world's vile theater, cinema, and music are reviewed in Christian publications, and brought into the churches, not to speak of the homes, lives, hearts, and minds of professing Christians. Yes, many deny the doctrine of godliness. The Holy Spirit commanded "from such withdraw thyself." In light of these conditions, I don't find it odd that modern translations would handily delete this phrase!

    Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible

    David Cloud is a defender of the KJV--as I am. After reading the facts concerning Wescott & Hort, I choose to separate from any church that does not use the KJV--the MVs are based on Wescott & Hort and important doctrines are watered down and weakened.

    http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/separationand.htm
     
  8. MRCoon

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    I agree and disagree with this statement. I think we need to have a seperation of a State Sponsored Church or a State dictation on religions. But I think our politics are so corrupt because we have believed the lie of the devil and tried to seperate our Churches from government rule. God established 3 institutions...1st the Family, 2nd Human Government, & 3rd the Church. I don't think we need to seperate ourselves from this realm. I think more churches should be involved in politics local and national. Why not advise our members on the issues? Talk the pros & cons...not a one-sided "our opinion" but the facts of the matter and the affects on the Christian life. I think we Christians need to be more involved in our world with strength of conviction to not compromise. I believe that the devil has slyly used a counter-move by attackng the Church and getting us Christians to focus on "protecting" the Church that we have failed in securing...in protecting the other 2 institutions God established first. As the family goes so goes the Government! As the government goes so goes the Church! We often miss this correlation between these institutions and it creates a society...a world that is out of balance and I believe God made a world of balance and wants us to strive to maintain that balance first and foremost.

    All seperation is best when grounded in the guidance from the Holy Spirit. Some of my standards or convictions are not (can not be) neccessarily scripture based (or backed) due to the cultural and language differences but I believe the Holy Spirit is what fills the gaps and crosses the generation and cultural divide and makes all things in the Bible relevant to us modern day Christians. So we should use the Holy Spirit to maintain our seperation but not to the point when our "seperation" causes us to fail or be a distraction from God's work and purpose in our lives.

    (Someday I'll learn how to write a short response [​IMG] )
     
  9. John of Japan

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    Hi, Linda64.

    I hadn't looked at this thread for awhile, so I didn't see your last post. However, it looks to be active again so I thought I would comment on this statement.

    It grieves me, and here is why. It is what I like to call Americo-centric. That is, it doesn't take into account the situation on the mission fields of the world. As this statement stands, you would have to separate from me, an IFB missionary who only uses the KJV when in the States, since I am in a country where there are no Bible versions based on the TR in print.

    The one complete Japanese Bible from the past based on the TR (out of print for 80 years or more) has two characteristics which mean I would never use it in my church: (1) It is in extremely difficult classical Japanese, and (2) has some horrible renderings, such as sake (extremely strong rice wine) for oinos (KJV, "wine"). So by definition, I use a MV in my church. It is unavoidable.
     
  10. MRCoon

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    John, I whole heartedly agree with this view point that many American Christians miss when talking about a Bible version. I only have two qualifiers or clarifiers for my personal testimony...First I'm KJV only because I believe it is in it's purest understood English form (please you others don't start spouting Tyndal versus Geneva or whatever at me)...Second I'm KJVO for the English Speaking People. Many other nations don't have a KJV Bible in their language and while we can seperate ourselves and take a stand on a Bible version we do need to consider other languages and offer the "Engish Language" clarifier...something like KJVO-EL.

    I hope that makes sense...or maybe I just repeated everything he said...so I should have just said ditto......"DITTO!"
     
  11. John of Japan

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    Hi, MRCoon, how are you?

    I have no problem with your position, so be at ease about that. Personally I pretty much stay out of the versions debate because it affects my ministry here in Japan very little. Caveat--I am working on translating a Japanese TR-based NT.

    Furthermore, I don't want to derail this thread or argue about versions. I'll leave that to the folk in the Version/translation thread. I'm too busy translating the Bible to argue about it! ;)

    I will say this and then I'll leave it there. I don't see how there can be a KJV Bible in any other langage than English! Say "KJV" to one of my Japanese believers and they will say, "Huh?" :confused: :D

    What I'm hoping Linda or someone will discuss with me, based on the opening post of this thread, is how they reconcile a decision to separate from any church that uses a MV with the fact that all over the world Fundamental missionaries use MVs because there is nothing else in the language or the TR-based translation is too poor to use!

    God bless.

    John

    P. S. Don't bother with David Cloud's explanation of the Japanese Bible situation. It is ten years out of date. I e-mailed him years ago with up-to-date info, he said he would change it and then never did.
     
  12. bapmom

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    I would say in regards to this, that if we here in America are going to separate from those who use the MV, than we have to put our money where our mouth is and do more to support translation ministries to other countries. I don't think we do a very good job of remembering them, so far.

    My church supports a few missionaries who are struggling to translate the TR into their foreign field's tongue, but I can see how hard that would be to accomplish and also keep up an active ministry in their new church there on the field without another missionary couple to help.

    For now, I do not consider the foreign churches to be under that umbrella of who I'd separate from based on version.
     
  13. 4His_glory

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    Separating over Bible versions isn't separation and isn't biblical- its sectarinism pure and simple.

    Biblical separation is a little more complicated than what people like David Cloud want to make it.
     
  14. bapmom

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    I would also agree with what MRCoon said about Christians separating from the government. I think we've stretched separation of church and state to equal all Christianity should separate from anything government. Since we do live in a country where involvement in our government is a privilege given to every citizen, I should think it would be important for us to have some kind of awareness of what's going on in that area, and take action when we need to.
     
  15. genesis12

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    I really appreciate your insights, John of Japan. I knew you were in Japan, but not your purpose there. As to translation - wouldn't it be simpler to translate only those portions where TR and MV and other versions are utterly opposed to each other? That is, information that would cause one to build on faulty doctrine? There can't be too many places where the various versions utterly disagree!
     
  16. John of Japan

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    Hi, genesis12.

    Here's the deal about my translation. The translation virtually all conservatives use is called the Shinkaiyaku, and it is based on the principles of the NASV, done from the same Greek text (Nestle's) and with support (and some degree of control) from the American organization. Unfortunately, these folk are extremely stingy with permissions (I've had dealings), so I wouldn't even try to get permission to do what you suggested.

    Concerning the differences, I fail to see how using the Shinkaiyaku with it's differences from the KJV will produce Japanese Christians that are any different in faith (except for the culture) than American IFB Christians. I am trying to teach the believers in my church the same things from the same Scriptures I would teach if I pastored in America! So, why would anyone separate on this matter??? Frankly, for an American Fundamentalist to separate on the matter of versions means that logically they would have to separate from every single Japanese IFB church!! :eek:
     

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