Separation Of The Individual Christian And The Local Church -- By: Richard V. Clearwaters

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 01:2 (Summer 1958)
Article: Separation Of The Individual Christian And The Local Church
Author: Richard V. Clearwaters


Separation Of The Individual Christian And The Local Church

Richard V. Clearwaters

Pastor, Fourth Baptist Church
President, Central Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary

A well-known evangelist of our day whose ministry is almost “sloganized” by the phrase “The Bible says” has authored a tract published by the American Tract Society on the subject “Worldliness and Separation.” This evangelist speaks of worldliness and separation in the following words:

“God calls us to be a separated people: ‘Come out from among them, and be ye separate’ (II Cor. 6:17). .. What is worldliness actually?

“A prominent writer described it very aptly: ‘It is the self-indulgent attitude of the heart and mind towards life.’ It is not merely doing certain forbidden things or going to certain proscribed places. Worldliness is what we are, not just what we do. It is in reality an inner attitude, for as man ‘thinketh in his heart, so is he’ (Prov. 23:7). Any Christian whose interest is directed toward himself is worldly.”

Our only comment on the above use of Scripture is to finish the quotation where the evangelist stopped at a comma and let the evangelist’s use of his text be condemned by his context. We simply remark, “The Bible says” “Come out from among them, and be ye separate,” and in the same connection as we -continue the inspired sentence, “The Bible says,” “And touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” The evangelist’s text nor context say anything about “Be ye separate in your heart!” What the Bible says in this connection is primarily with, not the internal environment but with the external environment of these New Testament Christians.

“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, As to be hated needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

(Essay on Man, Epistle II, line 1, by Alexander Pope)

The Principles of Separation throughout the Bible

Jude’s theme, “contending for the faith” treats the cause and course of apostasy, and in verse eleven warns the church of the ages against a false Religion, a false Ministry, and a false Worship in these words, “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.”

II Timothy and II Peter warn the church: (1) Against the apostasy of the false profession of the unsaved calling themselves Christians; (2) against the apostasy of false teach...

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