Why Be Separate

Darren at LivingRoom quotes Letty Russell

This fear of difference is reinforced by a dualistic view of church and world that assigns good spiritual aspects to the church and evil material aspects to the surrounding world

in the context of churches being inclusive or exclusive.

I think this hits the nail right on the head, although I come at it from the opposite side as Darren. It is precisely this “dualistic” view of the church and the world that _drives_, not just _justifies_ my views on separation.

Jesus drew pretty stark contrasts with statements like “Whoever is not with me is against me”(paraphrase). There is no middle ground in scripture. You’re either a child of God or a child of Satan. Light and darkness, good and evil, right and wrong – these are the divisions Scripture presents us between those who have been reconciled to God and those who have not. You’re His follower or His enemy.

Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:24-26 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patiant when wrong, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Do you view non-Christians as captives of Satan who do his will? Or do you see them as fundamentally good who just need a little bit of love and care?

I believe your answer to that question will dictate your beliefs about separation from the world.

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9 Responses to Why Be Separate

  1. Darren Rowse says:

    My reading of Jesus approach was that he didn’t separate himself from people but rather spent a lot of time connecting with them. He was constantly found eating at the table of the sinner – he allowed a prostitute to anoint his feet etc.

    I agree he calls for 100% commitment from his followers, but this didn’t mean he separated himself from the real world.

  2. Regan says:

    A child of God or a child of Satan? How can that be? Does Satan now have the power to create life? Or are you, like far too many christians, re-empowering him? If you want to make comparisons about Christ and sepratism, Jesus spent far more time loving those in the ‘world’ than He did with those in the ‘church’.

    And what about a third option? People who just exist, whether good or bad, who are trying to figure out this mess called life and are confused by the lack of Christlikeness in ‘christians’. What about the group of ‘christians’ who get used by the devil [not my definition] to deter people from ever seeking out the truth in Christ because the ‘love’ they are supposed to represent doesn’t exist in the way they live?

    News flash… for ALL have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. We’re all in the same boat. Unfortunately, only some of us have found truth. Even less of us actually live in it.

  3. Jared says:

    Okay–
    Agree with Darren, although I warn him not to step into the huge, circular debate we Thinklings have with Robert about what the Bible “really means” when it says Jesus hung out with sinners.

    I don’t know if I agree with Regan or not. I suspect I might, but the theology in her (his?) comment is a tad askew, in my opinion.
    I agree too many Christians give the devil more power than he’s worth or due.
    I disagree that “we’re all the same.” Yes, all have sinned, etc. But post-grace, we are not “just like sinners.” Christians and the unsaved are fundamentally different.

    And while of course I think one’s view on the matter dictates how they view separation from the world, I hasten to add that despite the theological similarity in Robert’s view and my own, we have starkly different views on how this affects evangelistic methodology.

    Hmmm.
    Nutshell:
    I feel theologically akin to Robert.
    I have methodological affinity with Darren.

    I think it’s all about trying to be like Jesus.

  4. although I warn him not to step into the huge, circular debate

    LOL, despite Jared’s warnings, here are some things I’ve written about this in the past:

    Hanging out with sinners
    Thoughts on being salt and light
    Christians stink
    Christian metaphors

    I suspect that a lot has to do with the connotations we attach to terms like “separation”. While I’ve debated with the Thinklings a lot about this, in actual practice I think the difference between us is pretty small.

    Jesus spent far more time loving those in the ?world? than He did with those in the ?church?.

    Jesus spent almost ALL of His time with His disciples and the folks who followed Him, right? So what do you mean by “world” and “church”? I think you must have switched their definitions!

    A child of God or a child of Satan?

    Regan, these are the divisions and terms Jesus and Paul both used to describe us. Jesus said that the Pharisees were of their father, the devil. Paul described lost people as captives of the devil who did his will.

    People who just exist, whether good or bad, who are trying to figure out this mess called life

    The Bible doesn’t give us room for this categorization of us all as more-or-less neutral confused people. Jesus is pretty blunt – you’re either with Him or against Him. Enemy of God, or reconciled to Him. Child of God or child of Satan. Saint or sinner.

    Christians and the unsaved are fundamentally different.

    Now you’re starting to sound like me, Jared! :-)

  5. Jared says:

    I think that’s because theologically speaking we are Siamese twins.
    Well, we will be once you accept limited atonement. ;-)

  6. Wait, I thought I was Bill’s doppleganger!

    I don’t necessarily reject limited atonement; I just won’t be dogmatic about it because I don’t see unambiguous Scriptural support. But, the more I read Dr. Heddle, the closer I get to fully embracing it!

  7. Tony Rosen says:

    without really trying to be antagonistic:

    how does this post relate to your post concerning halloween? surely there’s a correlation of some kind.

  8. Bene Diction says:

    Jared:

    LoL. The Thinklings need to get out a bit more.
    Regan is a common name for a guy.
    He is Rachel Cunliffe’s husband and a heck of a thinker from NZ.
    Have you guys thought about joining the chat at Signposts and getting to know some fellow thinkers?
    I think ‘neutral confused people,’ isn’t quite what he was saying. Blog on!

  9. Jared says:

    I only put “his/her” for fear of offending Regan by picking one or the other and being wrong.
    I’m sorry I don’t know everyone in the blogosphere. Some of us have lives outside of it.

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