Editorial: Isolation or Separation?

In obeying God’s Word we must ever guard against imbalance; that is, becoming so occupied with one truth or one line of teaching that we ignore, or fail to practice and teach other equally important truths. Those of us who engage in teaching are not slow to admit failure in fully addressing some immediate needs, such as guidance for parents in raising children in an evil age, and other concerns of a Christian family and home. We still heartily recommend Dr. Higgins’ book, “Marriage and The Family.”

Many Christians have looked outside of assemblies for help. We thank God for all available help that is biblical. When such evangelical teachers are giving me what I need to hear and it rings true, it becomes easier to accept their views on separation. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col 3:2) and “Be not conformed to this world” (Rom 12:2) keep us from involvement in the world of sports and pleasure. If there is a “good world” and our separation should only be from the world of violence, drugs and moral evil, then we need to be reminded that the “good world” crucified our Lord.

A recent movement that promotes keeping promises to wife and family must surely be “good.” If we oppose those who promote faithfulness to marriage vows, is it not like opposing motherhood? We thank God for every restraint against evil, and believe that God in His sovereignty can use such restraints to hold back the flood of evil. However, before we become personally involved, we need to know that in their effort to even embrace the gay community, they have claimed in their writings that the Lord Jesus was tempted to sin in this way. The language of this book, which they have publicly endorsed, is perhaps the most blasphemous we have ever seen.

If we isolate ourselves from all unsaved people, then we cannot be a witness to them. Neither should we insulate ourselves from the needs of neighbours and fellow workers, but while showing compassion, we must separate ourselves from their ways. This balance requires constant watchfulness. Our love to souls must be seen in loving care and deeds, but our separation from sin and error must ever be clear.

The limits of fellowship are defined in Scripture. Ecumenical supporters deny guilt by association, but Scripture says, we are not to have fellowship with unrighteousness (2 Cor 6:14), nor with unbelievers (v 15), nor with the works of darkness (Eph 5:11), nor with other men’s sins (1 Tim 5:22), nor with error that denies the Person and work of Christ (2 John 7) nor with the deeds of apostates (v 11), These limits need to be obeyed. It is a strange argument that says by disobeying God He will use us to reach more souls or do more good. “If ye keep my commandments ye shall abide in my love” (John 15:10).