Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Call for Separation

When Reformed Christians refer to themselves as "conservative" or "orthodox," but then deny cardinal doctrines of the faith and reject basic Christian morality, clearly the devil is hard at work diluting our notions and definitions of what it means to be a Reformed Christian. There seems to be an increasingly blurry line between the world and the church. Ministers who have been divorced two and three times are allowed to remain in the ministry. Co-habitation, a polite euphemism for fornication, is tolerated in couples coming to the church for marriage. We are dialoguing about sodomy. We watch R and X rated movies, profane the Sabbath (at General Synod, no less), and generally live indistinguishably from from our secular neighbors.

I am acutely aware of the log jutting out of my eye.

But consider what the Bible consistently teaches:

"Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God" (Romans 1:1).

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother that walks disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received from me" (2 Thessalonians 3:6).

"But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself" (Psalm 4:3).

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2 Corinthians 6:17).

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1 John 2:15-16).

"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul" (1 Peter 2:11).

"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world" (James 1:27).

"Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children: and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting...but rather giving of thanks" (Ephesians 5:1-4).

Innumerable further examples could be supplied, but the point is made: we are to live differently from the ungodly. We are to uphold biblical values uncompromisingly. We are to separate ourselves from those refuse to repent of their sins, who indeed celebrate them as virtues. We must, like Paul, hand them over to Satan with the prayer that they may be restored to true saving faith. This is not self-righteous judgment as condemned by Christ, but loving discipline commanded by Christ, which is a mark of the true church.

Accommodation to the secular, demon-haunted world, is not merely confined to the individual, but finds expression in our corporate church life, such as the flagrant disregard for biblical polity, our current dialogue over sodomy, and our corporate leadership models so proudly promoted by our General Secretary and the General Synod Council, to name but a few. Consider the heretical teachings which flourish in both our seminaries, with their simultaneous rejection of Reformed theology and biblical authority. All of this prompts self-examination in my own heart (and with it God's just condemnation of my own sinfulness), but also the nagging realization that I no longer recognize the church to which I belong. Is God calling us to tolerate the unbeliever in clerical garb, or to separate and form a new union? Such a question is urgent in these days when good is called evil and evil good.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Scott! It's sure good to hear from you again! I was at Danboro when we met in Delaware/Raritan. I've been in Orange Classis now for 8 years. Thank God for your kind of writing. We need it in the RCA--we need it badly.
Jay Vogelaar

11:58 PM  

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