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The Biblical Doctrine of Separation and Unscriptural Forms of Separation

Updated: 3 days ago

The Bible is replete with the doctrine of separation. From Gen 1 to Rev 22, the teaching is found everywhere. Though many hate the doctrine and reject it (speaking of professing Christians), it is nevertheless a Biblical doctrine, and quite popular and important in Scripture I may add. In fact, the doctrine of separation is probably the most hated, denied, rejected and disobeyed doctrine in all of Scripture, yet it is part and parcel with salvation and sanctification, thus its importance couldn't be over emphasized. What follows below is a brief study on this critical and seriously maligned doctrine, but by no means an exhaustive survey on the subject.

Consider the fact that everyone really does separate. Everyone is some kind of separatist. The reality of the matter is, you are either a scriptural separatist or an unscriptural one. It’s important that we draw our lines where God draws them, and not make our own boundaries. And God’s lines aren’t hard to understand or grievous; but they must be obeyed. When we do, it brings great blessing (Ps. 1:1-3), but disobedience will bring much misery and destruction. But more often than not, even as the rest of Psalm 1 tells us (vv. 4-6), those that don't exercise separation in their disobedience to Scripture, are most often unsaved and ungodly. A renunciation of separatism is a renunciation of biblical Christianity.

Scripture teaches a doctrine of separation. It is a very defined and specific doctrine. Applications of separation are required in some cases, but overall it is very clear and perspicuous in Scripture. The reasons are given and how it is to be done, and though it may be difficult at times, obedience to God is the whole duty of man (Eccl 12:13).

"So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." (Lk 17:10)

Since separation is a Biblical doctrine, it must have originated with God, the author of Holy Scripture. Indeed this is true. God is a God of separation. When someone gets separation wrong or gets it unbiblical, he doesn't just get separation wrong. When someone misrepresents or corrupts separation, he also gets God, scripture, the truth, the church, and even the gospel wrong. Every doctrine relates to separation. The wrong view of separation corrupts a Christian worldview. You may ask, "What do you mean?" God doesn't condone sin or error. God will not deny Himself. He becomes that when we teach separation erroneously or deny it. That's a different God. He isn't holy any longer and He can't be just either. Scripture isn't plain any more. The truth is either this or that. The church accepts error. The gospel doesn't quite change a person or isn't quite following Jesus or it's a different Jesus. The true Biblical Christian worldview is one truth and this permits two.

Thus it must also be part of God’s instruction to those who believe in Him. If He instructs His followers to be separate, then it must be something He practices Himself. In fact, God is the one who set the precedent for separation. Long before Scripture was ever recorded, before the antiquity of the sun, God separated Himself from sin, doctrinal error and the angelic creatures who insisted upon believing such violations of God. He demonstrated consistency in the way He treated mankind, who also changed their beliefs, resulting in their rebellious actions. Throughout the Word of God, our Divine Father has instructed us concerning the expediency of separating from all those who have rejected the truth and pursued an imaginary alternative set of beliefs or practices.

Separation has been practiced by God’s people in every era of human history. It is not a new doctrine and it has perpetual relevance to every generation and to every culture. Today, however, it is being questioned as a legitimate practice. There are those who seek to convince professing Christians that embracing toleration of error is more Christ-like than separating from it. Hence, in a time when it is politically incorrect to be against anything, it is becoming increasingly difficult to convince professing Christians to be distinctive in this world.

The “evangelical,” reformed calvinists and many others cry separation is unloving. They spout that it’s Pharisaical. Interestingly, the most well known believer in the NT and the pen man of more NT books than any else, was a Pharisee, turned from Phariseeism when he was converted to Christ, and then became the theologian of separation. This of course is the apostle Paul.

The word "Pharisee" means "separatist." It is defined by the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition (BDAG) as: “The Semitic word means ‘the separated ones, separatists.” Now isn't that interesting. The Pharisees were separatists. Paul had been a Pharisee of the Pharisees. Upon his conversion, Paul was no longer a Pharisee. He left Pharisaism. So does that mean he wasn't a separatist? Wrong. After he was born again, Paul continued to teach separation, but this time Biblical separation. True separation. Not hypocritical or corrupted separation. So much that he could rightly be called the theologian of separation, the very face of scriptural separation.

The alternative to the doctrine of separation is the road to apostasy: having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof—playing church, but lacking the dynamics of genuine regenerate faith which includes obedience. Hence why separation is tied intimately to salvation, and an important element of the Christian life.

Separation Starts with Salvation

In Pr 9:6, the Lord Jesus Christ, Wisdom, cries out to the unsaved to “forsake the foolish and live.”

That concept is brought forth by the Apostle Paul in 2 Cor 6:14-18, a classic passage on separation and it is primarily applicable to the unsaved. Not the saved. Read it carefully and pay attention to the words Paul is using here:

“What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. ”

It’s at salvation that we “come out from among them,” and “separate” and “touch not the unclean thing;” and God “receive[s] [us],” (v. 17) and God becomes our “Father” and we His “sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (v. 18). The call by God in this second epistle to the Corinthians was a call to salvation, which was absent in some of the Corinthians (cf. 1 Cor 3:1-4; 6:1-10; 2 Cor 12:20-13:5; etc). Since these things do not occur after salvation (I.e. God doesn’t become our Father and we His children at some point after salvation as we faithfully practice separation, but rather at the very moment of salvation), separation is clearly an element of our repentance and conversion. There are also other passages that speak to this fact we separate for salvation, e.g. Pr 9:6; Ac 14:15; 1 Th 1:9; Heb 6:1; etc. Since the truly repentant sinner separated from sin and idols in his surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour—he turned from such things noted in 2 Cor 6:14-16, “idols,” “Belial,” “unrighteousness,” “unbelievers,” “infidels,”“darkness” — he henceforth characteristically lives a life of separation from sin, from error, from the world, from false teachers, from apostasy, and from unbelievers, and will give himself to a true local church that practices ecclesiastical separation (Rom 16:17-18; Phil 3:17-19; 1 Tim 6:3-5; 2 Jn 1:9-11; Rev 2-3; etc). This is one of the clear proofs that many evangelicals, protestants, reformers, and the like are unsaved today. They don't separate because they reject it, and thus can’t “stop the facade,” just like an Ethiopian can’t change his skin colour (Jer 13:23). God is a God of separation and for mankind it genuinely starts with conversion, when we come to know God and He us.

But in principle this text of Scripture also applies to the Christian life, those that are genuinely saved, noted with the ending of this context, which is 2 Cor 7:1, seeing that we continue to practice a life of separation and holiness:

"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

This passage penned by the theologian of separation, Paul the Apostle, reflects the Biblical position — in salvation we separate. When Paul gave up Pharisaism, by repentance and faith in Christ and thus converted to Christ, he didn't give up separation. One could say he doubled down on actual separation, godly separation, because no one represents it more in the NT than the Apostle Paul. Separation isn't Pharisaical. The Apostle Paul didn't give up separation, but in his salvation separated himself from his sin, sinful self, and false beliefs (Phil 3:3-10). He gave up the self-righteous separation of the Pharisees, which was a separation to show others how much better they were than others, comparing themselves with men (cf. 2 Cor 10:12). What set the Pharisees apart was not true biblical practice, but traditions that were not required by scripture. They were showy traditions that emphasized the easiest ways to manifest a faux righteous behaviour. They weren't even obeying scripture. No one is a Pharisee for interpreting, believing, and applying scripture. The Pharisees weren't doing that, which is why Jesus asked them continually in the gospels, "Have ye not read?" (Matt. 12:3, 5; etc), since it seemed like they hadn't even read the book, they were so far off in their understanding of it. When Jesus corrected their perversion of the OT in the Sermon on the Mount, He started by saying, "It hath been said." What was said in scripture was true; it was their corruptions that were not true.

Everyone didn't make it on the ark. Almost no one did. The broad road doesn't get to amalgamate with the narrow road. Light and darkness are separated. The tabernacle had an inner court separated from an outer court separated from the holy place separated from the holy of holies. Curtains of various fabrics and skins were cut and sewn and clasped to separate the out from the in. Christians cherish the doctrine of separation. Paul wrote that if you didn't separate, God isn't a Father to you and you aren't sons and daughters to Him (2 Cor 6:14-18). That doesn't mean He once was your Father and you His children. It means you have never known Him. Paul wrote about separation in every one of his epistles. Those that have the indwelling Spirit of God, separate.

As 2 Cor 7:1 clarifies, separation doesn't end with salvation. Its only the beginning. But it must start there, or it won't be genuine, or enduring or non-hypocritical. True salvation always produces a life of separation:

“Therefore thus saith the Lord, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them. And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the Lord. And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.” (Jer 15:19-21)

Truly saved people continue to live a live of separation (Ps 1:1-3), while false professors do not (Ps 1:4-6).

The Importance of Separation and Its Divine Roots

Obviously separation is so important, that its actually required for salvation, what we just covered. No one can be saved without separating, which ties into repentance. Now we will briefly look at what Scripture says about its importance, outside of salvation, as one continues on the narrow path that leads to eternity. Separation is derived from Scripture which instructs us concerning the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, truth and error, clean and unclean. Separation is the practical outcome of discerning the difference between "the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error" (1 Jn 4:1-6), so as to separate from "false prophets" and "the spirit of error." (vv. 1, 6). The practice of separation is the means by which this difference is demonstrated. Acknowledging a difference is insufficient; it must be shown through tangible means, since true faith works (Jam 2:14-26). Such difference is to be maintained by the people of God as they live in contrast to an unregenerate and apostate world. It is also to be maintained among the people of God to prevent the infiltration of the leaven and contamination of error (2 Cor 6:17-7:1; Lev 10:10-11).

God Himself exercises separation and demands the same for His children:

  • God separated Himself from all falsehoods, error and sin.

  • God separated Himself from Satan.

  • God separated Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and from Himself.

  • God commanded Israel to be separated from the ungodly Gentile nations.

  • God commands believers to be separate from sin, the world, error, false teachings, and unbelievers, and His true, faithful NT churches that He purchased with His own blood, to be separate from those who are compromised and unfaithful or heretical.

The "four beasts . . . in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne of heaven . . . . rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." (Rev 4:6-8). "Hagios" in the Greek and translated into "holy," carries the idea of separation, and requires separation.

The biblical doctrine of separation is based on one of God’s essential attributes—His holiness. He never looks upon sin with the least degree of tolerance, and this necessarily extends to His will concerning the conduct of His children. The Bible is laden with the doctrine of separation. It's very beginning and very end contains Gods character of separation. In the beginning, Gen. 1:4, God separated the light from the darkness, because as Light, He is separated from darkness (cf. 1 Jn 1:5-7). In the end, Rev. 22:14-15, God will separate those going to Heaven from those going to hell, because He is separate from sin and error. As born again believers, we are called unto fellowship with God who “is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1 Jn. 1:5-6). Therefore, there is an absolute necessity for separation from whatever is “darkness,” that is, whatever is in direct opposition to His very nature. The perfect will of God for the saint is always the same: “be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Pet 1:15-16). “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God. And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you” (Lev. 20:7-8).

Separation is an important evidence of salvation, proof that you are a true servant of Christ and not a counterfeit and/or false teacher. Those that are saved will separate, while those who are not, will not or do so hypocritically or partially, so their supposed profession must come into question. We know this for many Biblical reasons including what 2 Cor 6:14-7:1 and Ps 1:1-3 teach, the latter:

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

Paul was a former Pharisee, and He knew and taught separation. Separation isn't Pharisaical. If you are not separating, then you are blatantly disobeying scripture and those who do this without genuine repentance and subsequent corrective action, prove themselves to be unsaved (cf. Jn 14:23-24; 1 Jn 2:3-5). If you disobey scripture, and then act like you do obey it, you're being a Pharisee. Don't say your obeying scripture, when you won't practice biblical separation. Bear in mind, Scripture makes it clear that no Pharisee is saved. The Lord Jesus makes that abundantly clear in Matt 23.

The idea of separation itself, subsisting within the carcass of Pharisaism, was correct and the Apostle Paul taught it in nearly every one of his epistles and implied it in all. In Romans he said, "mark them . . . and avoid them" (Rom 16:17-18). In 1 Corinthians he said, not to keep company with someone who calls himself a brother, but is still continuing in sin (1 Cor 5:11), just like you don’t continue with people living in sin without any pretence of religion (1 Cor 5:12-13). In 2 Cor 6:14-17 he said, come out from among them and be ye separate, a call to salvation that produces a characteristic separation in the Christian life (2 Cor 7:1). In Galatians he said, if any man preach any other gospel, let him be accursed (Gal 1:6-9) and then a few verses later demanded separation from false brethren promoting false teachings (Gal 2:4-5). In Ephesians, he said, have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them (Eph 5:11). He implied separation in Phil 3:18-19 from false teachers (and separated unto Biblical teachers that walk after the apostles, v. 17) and in 2 Th 3:14, the theologian of separation said to separate from brethren who do not obey the Word of God. In 1 Tim 6, he said to withdraw your self from those who do certain things, and do not obey the wholesome words of Christ and the doctrine of godliness. In 2 Tim 2, he said to purge oneself from vessels of dishonour. God will separate every unrepentant unbeliever from Himself into the lake of fire along with the devil and His angels. He had separated Noah and his family by water and the ark from every other soul on the entire planet.

Separation is wisdom:

"Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom." (Pr. 18:1)

The Doctrine of Separation is Found Throughout the Bible

Scripture teaches a doctrine of separation. It is a very defined and specific doctrine. All sorts of separation are required. The reasons are given and how it is to be done. God is a God of separation. Separation keeps a person pure, a family pure, and a church pure. The Word of God is literally loaded with separation Scripture. For instance: Ex. 33:16; 36:23-32; Lev. 20:24-26; 2 Ki. 17:15; Ez. 9:1; 10:11; Neh. 9:2; 10:28; Ps. 1:1-6; 6:8; 28:3; 101:4-8; Pr. 4:14-15, 25-27; 9:6; 13:20; 18:1; 22:5; 23:20; 24:1; Is. 56:10-11; Ezk. 22:26; Mal. 3:16-18; Matt. 7:15-20; 10:34-37; 18:15-17; Rom. 16:17-18; 1 Cor. 5:6-13; 10:20-22; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; 11:3-4, 12-15; Gal. 1:6-9; 2:4-5; 5:1-12; Eph. 5:5-13; Phil. 3:1-2, 17-19; 2 Th. 3:6-15; 1 Tim. 4:1-6; 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 2:20-21; 3:1-9; 4:3-4; Ti. 1:9-16; 3:10-11; Heb. 13:12-13; Jam. 4:4; 2 Pet. 2:3; 1 Jn. 4:1; 2 Jn. 1:9-11; 3 Jn. 1:9-11; etc.

Saved people out of love separate from disobedient brethren (2 Th. 3:6—even over such “trivial” matters as a man not working when he ought to be, vv. 6-14); from heretics (Ti. 3:10-11, which is one that is teaching false doctrine); from those teaching doctrinal error (Rom. 16:17, whom are to be exposed as well); from those tarrying in alcohol (Pr. 23:20); from a habitually angry, furious man (Pr. 22:24-25); from the froward (Pr. 22:5); from the scorner (Pr. 22:10; Ps. 1:1—scorner includes those who refuse to change their erroneous views on doctrine, after being shown the truth); from the talebearer (Pr. 20:19); from those that live worldly (1 Tim. 6:3-5; Jam. 4:4); from those who teach contrary to God’s Word (1 Tim. 6:3-5); from those teaching a perverted gospel (Gal. 1:6-9; 2:4-5); from the disobedient professing brother (Matt. 18:15-17); from unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14-18); etc. Separation actually starts at salvation and without separation, one is not saved (2 Cor. 6:14-18). The greatest blessings and riches from God comes to His child that is separated: We see here that the one that separates is the one that obeys God’s Word and delights to obey.

What are the primary separation passages and what do they teach about separation? Here are some of them, in no particular order, most of which are self-explanatory.

1. Psalm 1:1-3.

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

The Psalms begin with separation (Ps. 1:1) and that is tell-tale. Psalm 1 is an amazing chapter on the fruit and evidence of salvation, which practically speaking is largely separation. The first three verses are a direct contrast to the last three, comparing two different people and their natures. The first three verses speak of the godly, who are contrasted with the ungodly in vv. 4-6. Separation stems from delighting in the law of the Lord and meditating therein, both day and night (v. 2). The saved separated saint is like a tree planted by a river of water, carrying forth fruit that is good and godly. It is the ungodly that do not separate, which are false professing "believers," warned of in vv. 4-6,

"The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish."

By the way, here, and everywhere, the word "blessed" could be substituted with the word "saved," while retaining the same meaning of the passage. Only those that are saved, are blessed. Thus, all who are truly saved, will separate from the ungodly, from sinners and the scornful. In other words, from those are unsaved. The end result is blessing, God's grace towards His children. Also worth mentioning, "sinners" is a label always reflective of unsaved people in Scripture.

God's grace will cause those that are truly born again to turn from unfruitful works of darkness and reprove them (Eph 5:11; cf. Ti 2:11-14). They demonstrate in their separation that they truly trust in the Lord and are like trees planted by the rivers of water, which that great first Psalm illustrates, correspondingly explicitly to what Jer 17:5-8 is teaching, which again reflects the subject of salvation, including the context (Jer 17:9).

"Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."

This text instructs separating from unsaved people, which are classified here as "ungodly" and "sinners," and from "scorners" which may be people professing to be Christian, but are in fact scorners and scoffers of truth. Not separating is to put trust in man and the strength of his own flesh, all the while further departing from the Lord.

2. Matthew 18:15-17.

"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell itunto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."

Jesus taught that out of love a church might have to separate from one of its members, from one of their own who remains unrepentant over sin or trespasses (Matt. 18:15-17), for the purpose of discipline. The discipline is meant to help. That's how it's meant to be done. It is no jump in logic to assume that believers are to separate from those of another church who would participate without repentance in the same trespass as the one had in their own body, though this passage would'r come into play, but rather Lk 17:3-4.

3. Romans 16:17.

"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."

Paul follows the command and beseeching of exposing and opposing false teachers with the reason as to why:

"For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." (v. 18)

Here the Apostle Paul adds to his teachings, giving more instruction as to what separation entails. Believers at Rome, and everywhere, are begged not to have any association with a man that teaches or practices false doctrine, which brings division and offence, but rather mark him, which is to is expose and point him out, and then separate from him (Ti 3:10-11; Rom 16:17). This man is a heretic, who does not repent over embracing false doctrine or sin and thus creates division by disunity (which is always caused by false doctrine or sin) against the unity of the Spirit. The way it reads here, born again believers are to scope out men who would cause dissension and offence over anything that he had taught them and to avoid those men. These are men who teach false doctrine.

The basis of separation is false doctrine such as false prophetic teachings, false Christology, false soteriology/gospel (Rome, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, Evangelicalism, [e.g. EMC], Independent Baptists [Many], Calvinists [see also here and here], etc), false doctrine of godliness (e.g. neo-evangelicalism, CCM music), etc. Some false doctrines are heresies, whIle others are fatalistically worse, categorized as damnable heresies.” (2 Pet 2:1).

Unsound doctrine is a very big issue. Separation from error and the errant is for the believer’s spiritual well-being and glorification of the Lord. It is to keep the saint and local church pure, even as He is pure. The clear command is to have no fellowship with those who have departed from “the doctrine which ye have learned” (Rom. 16:17) which is the clear doctrine found in God's Word. Divisions are caused by those who do not practice sound doctrine and follow the truth of God's Word, and the believer is required to separate from him. Those obeying Rom 16:17 are not the one's causing the division. Unsound doctrine for instance, not practicing baptism by immersion (which is what the word means and the only example in Scripture, see here); falsely believe that a true born again Christian can lose their salvation and/or be possessed by demons; do not practice separation (from the world, from doctrinal error and false teachers); do not believe and obey the great commission; attend denominations which are unscriptural since churches are to be independent and autonomous; do not believe in the doctrine of preservation of God's Word, for if they did they wouldn't use corrupted modern Bible versions; love and adore ungodly "Christian" contemporary music, i.e. "Christian" rock, which is a contradiction of terms for the message of this music is "another Jesus" and "another Gospel" through "another spirit" (2 Cor. 11:3-4); also love and adore other worldly music that comes with has no false pretence of religion such as country and rock; entertainment and pleasure is pursued rather than godliness, holiness, preaching the gospel, and living out the Christian life as we find in the Scriptures; ecumenicalism; etc.

People or churches that believe in any of these heresies will be separated from.

In particular, we separate from error, false doctrine and false teachers (or their teaching materials, if they have deceased) such as the EMC denomination, the EBMC denomination, Ravi Zacharias, John Piper, Tim Keller, John MacArthur, Mike Hovland, R.C. Sproul, James White, Eric and Leslie LudyProtestant Reformers such as John Calvin, Martin Luther, John Wesley, Jack Hyles, Michael Sullivant and PVBC, Gordon Conner, Reg Kelly, Caleb Garraway, Baptist College of Ministry and Falls Baptist Church, S.M. Davis, John R. Rice, Spencer Smith, Rick Flanders, Other IFB False Teachers, Paul Juss and Victory North Association, John Wimber and Vineyard Churches, The Getty's, Brian Doerksen, High Valley, Mark Hall and Casting Crowns, Rick Warren, Francis Chan, Augustine, David Lynn, Sarah Young, Asbury College, Justin Johnson and Grace Ambassadors Church, Charles Ryrie, Hannah Whittal Smith, Warren Wiersbe, Roy Hession, C.S. Lewis, John Hagee, John MaxwellK.P. Yohannan and Gospel for Asia, Charles Finney, Choo Thomas, Martin Richling, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King Jr, etc. Thats only a small sample. There are endless more.

4. Galatians 1:6-9.

"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

Of course, perversion of the gospel is a basis of separation. In Gal. 1:6-9 Paul said that anyone that would corrupt the gospel should be accursed. That passage may not say anything about separation but separation is surely inferred. A place with similar teaching is 2 Jn. 1:9-10 where John uses the imperative mode to command believers not to fellowship with those who teach false doctrine about the Lord Jesus Christ. A false gospel is certainly a false doctrine of Christ. A Christian should not allow one of these into his house nor even give him any kind of verbal encouragement ("Godspeed").

5. Galatians 2:4-5.

"And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you."

Separation from false teachers bringing a false gospel is critical. This includes those corrupting any element of the gospel, including repentance or Christ's Lordship, which inadvertently corrupts the gospel itself.

6. 1 Corinthians 5:9-12

"I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?"

Here Paul admonished the Corinthian church not to company with someone who is considered a brother who is a fornicator, covetous, idolater, railer, drunkard, extortioner, or one who is involved in other such sinful activities. This text assumes the same loss of company with any that practice such things in or outside of one’s own local body of believers.

Nowhere does the Bible ever give an exception to the rule of separation, including family. In fact, the Bible specifically points out family in Matt 10:32-37 and Lk 14:26. As long as professing believers or churches refuse to genuinely repent, we have to be separated. This is exactly what God expects of us, and if we love Him we will obey Him.

7. 2 Corinthians 11:3-4.

"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."

God's Word demands separation from those who preach a false gospel, false Jesus and come with another spirit, lest we bear with them and and our minds consequently become corrupted through Satan's beguilement. Such false teachers are described in further detail a few verses later, vv. 12-15, as servants of Satan and "deceitful workers," though they transform themselves into "ministers of righteousness." Any perversion of the Lord Jesus Christ, His gospel, His doctrine, must be rejected, and the teachers separated from.

8. 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15.

"Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. . . . And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother."

The word “disorderly” (v. 6) translated from “ataktoce” means immorally irregular and deviation from some prescribed order, which would be orthodoxy in the context, and the Greek word is found one other time in Scripture, in v. 11 of the same chapter. The English word “disorderly” is however found one more time in this context (v. 7), but translated from a different (but similar) word, “atakteho,” which carries the same meaning. A deeper dive into this word reveals the derivate “ataktos” which is found once in Scripture in 1 Th 5:14 where its translated as “unruly.” "Ataktos" is derived from "A" meaning alpha, the first Hebrew letter of the alphabet, which is a negative particle, and "tassos," a prolonged form of a primary verb meaning to arrange or assign in an orderly or ordained or predetermined manner. When it has "A" as its prefix, it becomes a negative word, thus the very opposite of what "tassos"means: unarranged and irregularly walk with Scripture, disorderly, insubordinate to God’s Word and authority (which includes pastoral authority or husbands or employer/masters) and unruly. Thus, the behaviour of the one being separated from in these passages, like the man who doesn't work but is a busybody, "For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies." (v. 11). It appears that this individual will not be disciplined and controlled.

Separation from disobedient brethren or unbelievers is necessary (2 Th 3:6, 14). Paul commands the church at Thessalonica to withdraw from or break fellowship with every brother that walks disorderly, deviating from what he had taught them, disobedient to his epistles to them, and to have no company with such for the purpose of shaming them and bringing them to repentance and back to a walk in the truth. The illustration that Paul gives here is of a man who is not working and providing for his family, an issue some might consider trivial. Unless the standard of God’s Word is raised before the erring professing brother, he may continue in his sin without rebuke and separation.

9. 1 Timothy 6:3-5.

"If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself."

Paul instructs Timothy that he and any other believer should withdraw themselves from those who will not consent to the Words of the Lord, describing it as purging oneself from corruption (1 Tim 6:3-5). This object of separation will not give his assent to something taught in scripture. Because they "consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness" (v. 3), we are thus commanded "from such withdraw thyself." (v. 5).

In this passage we are told that the individual who rejects the wholesome words of Christ and the doctrine of godliness (which dovetails with holiness and separation), is "proud" and dotes "about questions and strifes of words" because he really doesn't like what Scripture says and has no intentions of obeying it, which produces "envy," "strife," and "evil surmising;" for they suppose "that gain is godliness" (vv. 4-5, Paul continues on in this context, about love of money and the fruits thereof — vv. 9-10, 17-18). This is a near perfect description of evangelicals today. Those that reject the wholesome words of Christ and godliness, frequently have a love of money and gain. And like the Bible says, they suppose that "gain is godliness." This is very true I have discovered amongst evangelicals in general, almost a blanket. How we ought to rather be is described in the very next verse: "But godliness with contentment is great gain." (v. 6) and further "But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life..." (vv. 11-12). When a person rejects certain teachings and commands of Scripture, and rejects the doctrine of godliness, it will lead to pride, envy, strife, etc, towards those that do follow after godliness and the wholesome words of Christ. Separation is the command because of their behaviour, but it also reflects something dreadfully spiritually wrong with such individuals, which in most cases would be unregeneracy.

10. 2 Timothy 2:20-21.

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.”

Purging oneself from professing but dishonourable vessels is absolutely necessary to be honoured, sanctified and meet for the Masters use and prepared unto every good work. This complete text in context (vv. 15-25), instructs to plainly identify those who err (v. 17), which is precisely inline with the rest of Scripture. In 1 and 2 Timothy alone, Paul named the names of false teachers and compromisers 10 times (1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 1:15; 2:17; 3:8; 4:10, 14). We are commanded to separate from those who err — “shun” (v. 16) and “purge oneself from” (v. 21), described in other palces of Scripture as “from such turn away” (2 Tim. 3:5), “avoid them” (Rom. 16:17), “have no fellowship with” ( 2 Cor. 6:14), “receive him not” (2 Jn 1:10), etc. Those that teach error, what are likely false teachers, must be avoided. We must avoid their churches, meetings, books (there are great dangers in the average Christian bookstore today because of the false teachings contained in so many of the books), television, radio broadcasts, schools and music. We separate because of the apostate nature of Christendom today, which includes neo-evangelicalism. Error has a corrupting influence (cf. Rom 16:18; 1 Cor. 5:6; 15:33), and it also divides the sheep from the goats. Truth divides from heresy. We don’t want heresy in the camp, but when it comes, it separates those who are of the truth from the false professors, those that are either peddling or following the heresies. The apostle Paul speaks to this in 1 Cor 11:18-19,

“For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.”

11. Ephesians 5:5-11.

"For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

The command is clear: no partaking with those who are unsaved and living after sin and the lusts of the flesh, which is exemplified here by uncleanness, covetousness, and idolatry, very common and accepted sins among Mennonites. These, among many other works of the flesh (e.g. 1 Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21; Ti 3:3; etc), are "unfruitful works of darkness" (v. 11) which the "children of light" are required to separate from and reprove (v. 11), which carries the same idea as Rom 16:17, where the latter is focused on doctrinal error, while here in Eph 5, on moral error.

12. James 4:4, 1 John 2:15-17.

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (Jam 4:4)
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. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 Jn 2:15-17)

Besides these two passages, separation from the world is found in Jn. 15:19; 17:14; Rom. 12:2; Gal. 6:14; Eph. 5:11; 2 Tim. 2:22; Ti. 2:11-12; Jam. 1:27; 1 Pet. 2:11-12; 4:1-4; 1 Jn. 5:19; Pr. 4:14-15. Saved people separate from the world. They do that because at salvation they became overcomers of the world (1 Jn 5:3-4). What is the World? It does not refer to the good things in the world that God hath made (e.g., trees, birds, rivers). It also does not refer to innocent manmade things. There are things that man has made and there are aspects of human culture that are not contrary to God’s Law, and the believer is free to enjoy such things. The “world” that we are not to love refers to the evil things associated with man’s fallen heart, and could be characterized as either the lust of the flesh, or the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life (1 Jn. 2:16). These can be summarized as all unlawful lusts and pride. The believer is not to love anything pertaining to unlawful lusts and pride.

For example, CCM "worship" is false worship of the flesh and stems from the world. It's utter disobedience to God's Word. God doesn't contradict Himself. Born again believers can obey what He says. His commandments are His enablements. Neo-evangelicals and most of Christendom today is apostate and CCM is their common theme song. They don't seek God's kingdom first, but accommodate and associate and even produce false worship. They need to be rejected and separated from. God doesn't say, "Stay and complain." He says, "Separate." Peoples lack of separation sends a louder message than all the reports exposing the problem. They obviously don't hate the false worship enough to do what's right. Get out of Egypt. That’s what saved people do. Lost people want the allurements of Egypt while having God in their back pocket. They actually don't have any of Him.

Evangelicals and such, for the most part don’t culturally separate, meaning they don’t separate from the world. They also don't separate from error (they pick and choose what they will separate over, which list is very, very small), or over all sin (again, with partiality they pick and choose what sins are deemed as bad and which ones are acceptable). In so doing they reveal their rebellious nature and spite for God's Authority.

13. 1 Corinthians 15:33.

Be not deceived, evil communications [associations] corrupt good manners [conduct].”

The Bible over and over warns us against wrong associations. Separation from disobedient brethren or unbelievers is necessary in order to maintain a forthright, consistent testimony in the midst of terrible compromise and confusion today. Compromised fellowship clouds the issues, dulls the spiritual discernment and silences scriptural reproof. We are warned of deception. Only a separated Bible believer is able, in obedience to God’s clear command, to sound a faithful warning concerning the deception that Satan is sowing in Christianity today (Ac. 20:28-31). God is holy, and He calls us to be holy. In order to be obedient to His command, we must endeavour, by the grace of God, to be separated wholly unto Him, regardless of the cost or scorn of man.

14. Proverbs 20:19.

"He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips."

The word "meddle" carries the idea of not intermixing or engaging or associating. The Lord says we must not meddle with talebearers and flatterers—in other words we should separate from them.

In none of the above texts are certain non-essentials singled out as non-separating. The separation passages include any false doctrine or practice as worthy of separation.

Those that are faithful to God's Word in keeping His words, will separate as Scripture commands above. These are the true servants of Christ who are not "Christians" to serve people, but true servants of Christ who seek to persuade and please God motivated by love!

"For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." (Gal 1:10)

Further Reasons for Separation

1. Because God is Holy and Separate. We must obey Gods command of separation, because separation is one of the essential attributes of the Lord Jesus Christ. No other attribute of God may be as significant as His holiness. The biblical doctrine of separation is based on one of God’s essential attributes—His holiness (Lev. 19:2; 21:8). The angels in His heavenly presence cherish separation. They do not sing, “mighty, mighty, mighty” or “loving, loving, loving” or "unity, unity, unity" in the heavenly throne room, although these are also His attributes; they proclaim before Him, ”Holy, holy, holy” (Is. 6:3; Rev. 4:8). The root meaning of “holy” is “separation.” God is a separatist. And He commands, “be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16). God is holy, and He demands absolute holiness in His presence. Separation is indispensable. It is the most distinguishing attribute of God, according to God Himself. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. He expects separation from His people, those that are truly born again. Yet today, there is less holiness than ever and very little emphasis on separation in most churches and the major reason for that is unregenerate false “Christians."

2. Because separation is a necessary part of walking in fellowship with the Lord. Though it is almost a dirty word in Christianity today, it is frequently emphasized in Scripture and it is a matter of spiritual and moral protection. Separation is a significant component of growing in holiness and godliness. The Christian is NOT at liberty to live as he or she wants, to sin, or to be yoked with the world. Although the child of God is not under the law but under grace (Rom. 6:14-15), he both fulfills and establishes the law (Rom. 3:31; 8:2-4), and is even under a higher law: the law of Christ (Rom. 10:4).

"What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid." (Rom. 6:15)

God's grace leads to godliness, holiness, and righteousness. Those that despise holiness and separation, despise not man but God (1 Th. 4:7-8). Walking in obedience to God's Word is a necessity for fellowship with the Lord.

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 Jn 1:7)

3. Because separation from evil is the highway of the upright.

"By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. . . . The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul." (Pr. 16:6, 17).
"Evil communications [associations] corrupt good manners." (I Cor. 15:33).

Born again believers must not be “tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14).

4. Because of the necessity to maintain a forthright, consistent testimony in the midst of terrible compromise and confusion today. Compromised fellowship clouds the issues, dulls the spiritual discernment and silences scriptural reproof. Only a separated Bible believer is able, in obedience to God’s clear command, to sound a faithful warning concerning the deception that Satan is sowing in the church today (Ac. 20:28-31). In order to be obedient to Gods commands, we must endeavor, by the grace of God, to be separated wholly unto Him, regardless of the cost or the scorn of man.

5. Because separation is showing love to them in error. Is separation unloving? God says that Biblical love is loving God's truth and keeping it.

"Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." (Jn. 14:23-24).

Most so-called Christians today are very confused as to what biblical love is. In 1 Cor 13 we read that godly love does not behave unseemly (v. 5), is not easily provoked (v. 5), thinks no evil (v. 5), does not rejoice in iniquity (sin) (v. 6), but rejoices in the truth (v. 6). The truth is, when ungodly sins are rebuked and reproved, or we have to separate from someone or groups of people, we are showing love (Jam. 5:19-20). And when done so and the guilty party refuses to repent, separation is the next loving thing to do. When we obey the Lord, we show not only love towards our Saviour but also to man as well. "Love", to this ecumenical and ungodly generation, is broad-mindedness and non-judgmental tolerance of any one who claims to know the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not what the Bible says about love. We see that in the above quoted passage, Jn 14:23-24, but also in many other places such as Jn 15, 16, 1 John, etc. The only way we show love to the Lord Jesus Christ is by obeying His Word. Interestingly and even ironically, our love increases through increasing in knowledge (i.e. diligently reading, studying and applying Gods Word) and "in all judgment."! (Phil 1:8-9). “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 Jn. 5:3). It is impossible for people to live in unrepentant sin while at the same time keep the commands of God, and have a "pure heart" and a "good conscience" and have "faith unfeigned" (which means genuine faith).

How does the Bible define love? Love is not an emotion. Emotions are unstable and undependable. Love is not broad-mindedness. It is not non-judgmentalism. It is not non-critical tolerance. Biblical love is careful and based on the knowledge of God’s Word and is associated with the exercise of judgment. It proves all things and approves only those things that are the will of God, which is what scripture declares (1 Th. 5:21; Ac. 17:11).

Sharply reproving and exposing unrepentant error and sin is not unloving, nor separating from disobedient professing believers or churches. Was the Lord Jesus Christ unloving when He called Peter a devil (Matt. 16:23) or when he publicly condemned the Pharisees (Matt. 23)? Was the apostle Paul unloving when he rebuked Peter for his compromise (Gal. 1-2)? Was the apostle Paul unloving when he named the name of false teachers and compromisers such as Hymenaeus and Alexander ten different times in the Pastoral Epistles? Was the apostle Paul unloving when he forbade women to preach or to usurp authority over men (1 Tim. 2:12) and required that they keep silent in the churches (1 Cor. 14:34)? Biblical love does not mean that I ignore things that are wrong and injurious. To love a false teacher does not mean that I turn a blind eye to his error and strive to have unity with him regardless of his doctrine. It means that I obey the Bible and mark and avoid him (Rom. 16:17-18), that I expose his error publicly to protect those who might be led astray by his teaching. Separation is NOT "self-righteous" but an act of obedience; it is an act of love for God and His truth. It is the way of wisdom and spiritual protection. Without separation a believer is exposed to all the realms of Satan and unbelievers and the world and sin. To love people or even family does not mean we turn a blind eye to their sins or hypocrisy, or worldliness, or Scriptural error and false doctrines; and fellowship with them when Gods Word so clearly has instructed to separate. No, rather Biblical love means that we obey Gods commands and rebuke and reprove their sin, and separate until such a time they repent. It is for their spiritual well being, and my protection.

Not separating from sin, from error, from the world comes at a price. For neglecting separation, Lot lost his family and Samson was blinded and Solomon turned to idols. Separation is an incredibly important barrier of protection which must be obeyed. Jesus Christ Himself separated from His family (at least from His siblings), who rejected Him as their Messiah before His death (see Matt. 12:47-50 and 13:54-58), and He said that any man who doesn't love Him more than their spouses, or parents, or siblings or children or other family, is not worthy of Him. He came not to send peace, but a sword, and a sword divides, and that's exactly what He was referring to, giving an immediate example of a true Christian being separated from parents, and other family, and being at variance with them if that is required by God's Word (Matt. 10:34-38).

Neo-evangelicalism notoriously rejects biblical separation, an expansive doctrine of the Word that requires the faithful servant of the Lord not only to warn of sin, worldliness and doctrinal error but also to separate from it. Separation unto Christ (a very positive action) will result in a corresponding movement away from fellowship or identification with worldliness, false doctrine and teachers, and disobedient professing Christians who are committed to a course of disobedience and unfaithfulness to God’s clear instruction as found in His Word. In reality, separation from whatsoever or whomsoever contradicts sound doctrine and obedience to God’s Word is not unloving at all. The most loving action imaginable is to raise a testimony for the Truth before the errant so they may return to the walk of faith, which in most cases is to a place of true salvation.

UnBiblical Forms of Separation, and What Separation Is Not

1. Separating when the Bible says no. No separation over things we have liberty, which are non-scriptural, non-sinful things; either not mentioned in Scripture or mentioned as non-separation issues. Worldliness isn’t one, which includes those who are worldly. Sin isn't one either, nor is doctrinal error.

In Rom 14, Paul deals with areas where we don't separate, which are based on weakness of the faith, as that chapter starts off, "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations." (v. 1). It's important to determine who is weak in the faith. Neo-evangelicals have  hijacked the identity of the weak in v. 1 by misusing the example that Paul uses in vv. 2-3. "For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Rom 14 is dealing with non-scriptural issues, food we digest and holidays we keep. In an area that someone takes a position that is non-scriptural, don’t fight with him over it. That’s the point of the last part of v. 1, “not to doubtful disputations.” It means, “without arguing with him over it.” Don’t get bent all out of shape when someone takes an extra-scriptural position that does not violate scripture.We get some instruction about separation in Rom. 14. We are not to separate over non-scriptural issues. Some practices are preferences. We aren’t to divide over things that are beyond the scope of scripture and not sinful or erroneous. The issue of keeping holidays (vv. 5-6) and foods we eat (vv. 2-3, 6), are non-separation issues.

"He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks." (v. 6)

2. Ghosting. There are typical patterns demonstrated by those who despise, hate and reject reproof of error or sin or some transgression, with the subsequent ghosting of a reprover. "Ghosting" is defined as a practice of closing off communication, even in their company. Its giving the cold shoulder. It is ignoring someone. It comes about in Christianity because someone can't confront the truth and refuses to repent of error and/or sin, instigated by a hatred for reproof and pride. He didn’t have a defence of what he was doing or believing or promoting, so he can't face an encounter over it. He really wasn’t doing what he did based on biblical conviction. He didn't start by studying his Bible. He began with his emotions or lust of the flesh. Then he looked for people who would see things his way, that would help him justify what he did and does, to encourage it. He can have only approval and he typically finds it in other people. If he won't get it and he can't explain from the Bible what he's doing, he ghosts the person who loves him enough to help him.

Ghosting is cowardice. It isn't biblical separation, which requires repentance, and real attempts at reconciliation, including mediation. But that involves acknowledging error or sin and God forbid that would happen among man-centred preachers, liars, slow bellies and evil beasts (Ti 1:12). It avoids the confrontation out of fear or pride or both. Ghosters are weak. They can't face up to legitimate criticism and then won't. John wrote, perfect love casts out fear (1 Jn 4:18). The love for God and others defeats fear. That love isn't there. They are proud. To give in to biblical teaching requires humility: poor in Spirit, mourning, meekness, and then hunger and thirst after righteousness. The ghoster is a lover of his own self. He seeketh his own. He looks on his own things more than the things of others. Ghosting is a form of throwing a fit, a childish type of tantrum behavior.  Instead of repenting of error and/or sin reconciling along the lines of Matt 5:21-26, he sulks, ignores the reprover, and goes silent. Coward is label of grace for this evilness.

3. Casting out the one who obeys and contends for the faith. This is the Diotrephes type of "separation" that blasphemes God's Word. Diotrephes was a self-seeking, self-loving, troublemaker, who practiced his "ministry" according to his selfish lusts, not the Word of God. You could say pastor Diotrephes was a heretic in the very sense of the word, what the apostle John went through with him, who had separated himself from the apostle John, unlawfully and unBiblically. Flee from the Diotrephes', if you are truly converted to Christ (3 Jn 1:9-11). Judge the man behind the pulpit with the Word of God (1 Cor 10:15; Ac 17:11), which is righteous judgment (Jn 7:24), and see whether he aligns with Scripture. And then flee from men who oppose the truth of Scripture and from heretical churches, for it is commanded (cf. 1 Tim 6:3-5; Eph 5:5-11; Phil 3:2, 17-19; 2 Jn 1:9-11) and truly born again believers will most certainly do it (2 Cor 6:14-7:1).

If you read here and you suspect your pastor is a Diotrephes, you shouldn’t resist the truth but love it and then dissociate from him lest you become like him. If you stay with him, you are impersonating him, and will become a false separater just like him. John exhorted Gaius to separate, and Gaius obeyed because he was of the truth and walked in the truth. That means he was saved and exemplified his converted state by obeying Gods Word (as repeatedly commanded in scripture: e.g. Jn 14:15-24; 15:1-10; 1 Jn 2:3-5; 2 Jn 1:6; Rev 22:14-15). What John instructed and Gaius obeyed, is true separation, not the faux "separation" of the heretic Diotrephes.

4. Other forms of false separation. (a) Separation is not isolation. Jesus said, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil” (Jn. 17:15). (b) Separation is not antiquity. Materials in of itself are not sinful. They are worldly only when used for sinful purposes as per the definition of 1 Jn. 2:16 (“lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eyes, pride of life”). (c) Separation is not externalism. External “righteousness” without a proper internal relationship with God through Christ is true Pharisaism. (d) Separation is not spiritual arrogance. Born again believers are not better than other men as far as their natural condition, and they aren’t saved because they are special, like Calvinists would have you believe. All men are sinners, and Jesus came because God loves the whole world (Jn. 3:16). The believer has no righteousness except that which he has received as an undeserved, unearned gift of God’s grace. We must not “look down our noses” at other men. The apostle Paul, the theologian of separation, knew this better than anyone, calling himself “the chief of sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).

Denial or Rejection of Separation is a Large Cause of the False and Fake Unity Found in Majority Churches Today

Separation is intimately tied in with unity. We don’t tolerate error to have “unity,” to stay together. There isn't one example in the NT of a church that had more than one doctrine and practice. When this happened, it created division, they were reproved for it and they (mostly) repented (e.g. 1 Cor. 1:10-13 and 2 Cor. 7:10-11). Scripture is clear, so plain that even a child can understand (2 Tim. 3:15). In all whom God indwells, which are all the saved, He makes “know[n] the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee” (Pr. 22:20-21). There is only one Holy Spirit, and He teaches every born again believer the same truth, not lies (1 Jn. 2:20-21, 27). Denying, or ignoring, or rejecting separation, is a lie. Its not the truth. You can never have true unity without sound doctrine, and actively practicing separation. The communion of the church is one doctrine and practice, the same kind of fellowship that Jesus has with the Father. The fellowship is that of walking in the light together even as He is in the light (1 Jn. 1:6-7). So if there is doctrine and teaching contrary to God’s Word, it must be dealt with immediately, and separated from (if its not corrected). Correction or separation is how God puts it (e.g. 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 4:2; Rom. 16:17; 2 Jn. 1:9-11; Gal. 2:4-5; 2 Th. 3:6). That might appear “harsh” and “intolerant” to the effeminate snowflakes with their pink bow ties, but it’s actually very loving to God, and even to that person (or church, or organization, or book, etc), for “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Pr. 27:6).

Unity in the church has been perverted in definition to allow for tolerance of false doctrine and practice. Unity has become getting along, despite differences. This is not the unity in scripture. They had the same doctrine and practice and not just “major" or "essential doctrines” (a seriously perverted teaching of most churches today). The standard was scripture, everything God said. With this new unity, the false one, the better person, the elevated person, is the person who tolerates error and doesn’t separate and reprove. He sees something wrong and instead of reproving it and separating from it and them, he tolerates it and maybe even embraces it. Not disagreeing or agreeing to disagree is the highest value in the false new way. This is not biblical unity, but it is what men are left with, and it has become accepted in churches. I understand that not everyone will agree on everything all the time. However, that is the standard, and anything less should be rejected. For certain, where the Bible doesn’t speak either explicitly or implicitly, there is liberty. Discord shouldn’t come from areas where someone has liberty. However, where God speaks, there needs to be same mind. The Bible itself is plain. It can be understood, even by children. There is only one doctrine in Scripture, but many applications. Acceptance of anything less than the truth is not in accordance with God. He is the standard. Not only has He told us what He wants to believe and do, but He’s given us the grace and strength to do it. We help one another and bring each together according to the truth of God’s Word. This is the sanctification that Jesus prayed for in Jn. 17. Jesus Himself was the perfect example by always submitting to the Father and then praying for us to be sanctified in the same way (Jn. 17:17).

Practicing Separation from Error and Teachers of Error

First of all, true spiritual discernment is required (1 Th. 5:21). “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.” (1 Th 5:21). Biblical separation begins with spiritual and doctrinal discernment, which follows diligent study of Gods Word and a strong knowledge of the Scriptures (2 Tim. 2:15). “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). I cannot separate from that which is false if I do not know truth from error. See also Col. 1:9; 3:16; Ph. 1:9; Heb. 5:12-14. This is where separation begins. Unless the believer has a good foundation in the Word of God, he will not be able to effectively discern truth from subtle error and therefore will not be able to practice separation properly. Each child of God is to study the Scriptures intently and prayerfully that he might know sound doctrine. He is to exercise careful keen discernment that he might know truth from error, good from evil, fidelity from compromise, clean from unclean, the spirit of truth from the spirit of error.

One must maintain an earnest proclamation and defence of the faith (Ju 1:3; Rom 16:17; Ac 17:11). Jude exhorts his readers "to earnestly contend for the faith,” not because he loved contention, but because it is necessary to preserve the faith from corruption. In his diligence to write to born again believers to warn them about the profane and perverted gospel (the meaning of "the common salvation") , he exhorted them to earnestly contend for the faith. Jude did not say, as some say today who wish to avoid the reproach of a liberal ecclesiasticism, that all one has to do is to preach the gospel, or the Word of God is its own defence. The true born again Christian has to contend for the faith when an attack against the faith, or the Word of God in other words, is perceived. Jude would have had scant sympathy for that type of ministerial self-righteousness and heresy which proclaims, ‘We must preach the Gospel and let these issues alone.’

This ungodly compromise convinces many people that he is not a “wicked” separatist, and thus his pool of people just greatly enlarged. He won’t have to suffer any type of resentment or persecution, and in the event his day job fails, he has the people of mammon on his side (Lk 16). This heretic is nothing like the true believers of old. The prophets contended for the faith within the structure of religious Israel, often to their own death. John the Baptist contended for the faith, incurring the enmity of the religious leadership and was beheaded for denouncing the sin of adultery (divorce and remarriage) by name in high places. Jesus contended for the faith, reproved the unBiblical traditions of the Jewish leaders and their replacement of the truth with fables, and proclaimed the Messianic hope and promise was fulfilled in Himself, and was murdered for it. Stephen the Deacon contended for the faith including that Christianity was the fulfillment of the O.T. faith and was stoned to death for reproving the Jewish leaders for their unregenerate stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart nature and rebellion against God’s Word through resisting the Holy Ghost (Ac 7:51-58). The neo-evangelicals of our day on other hand, appear to very much alive and non-persecuted and doing fairly well! Why? They promote ecumenical union and disregard doctrinal and moral purity, and align themselves with the culture of the age.

The greatest weapon against theological corruption, heresy, and the moral rot of society would be a vigorous, decisive contention for the faith by every true born again Christian. Neo-evangelicals (and the like) and their half-hearted, deeply compromised and contrary to Scripture indecisive “contention,” is not Biblical contention for the faith, nor is it a substitution for separation. Real, vigorous, aggressive, decisive contention for the faith has been reduced to a “polite,” pious murmur which they love to call ‘witnessing,’ when its not even close. For these people Niceness and Hospitality has become the Parameter of Acceptance, But Not Truth and Righteousness.

Marking, that is exposing, those who err (Rom. 16:17). Not only are we to know the truth and to be discerning, not only are we to aggressively contend for the truth, but we are also to identify teachers of error, false teachers and apostate Christian groups by name, naming their names in warning. In this way we protect ourselves and others. This was Paul’s custom. Consider the following examples—1 Tim. 1:19-20; 2 Tim. 2:16-18; 4:14-15. In these passages the Apostle warned Timothy of several false teachers and disobedient men, and he identified these men by name. This was also the custom of the Lord Jesus Christ (Lk. 20:45-47; 12:1; Rev. 2:6,15,20). Following the example of the Lord Jesus Christ and of His Apostles, we must identify and label those who are false, apostate, or disobedient. To fail to do so is rebellion to the Bible’s command. It is also the mark of an unfaithful, careless shepherd. A good shepherd protects the sheep from danger.

Avoid their doctrine (2 Tim. 2:14-18). In this passage Christians are warned to avoid the Words of the false teachers. Let us not be deceived. False teachings have been very successful. Christendom is permeated with false doctrine. Wherein comes this success? The Bible reveals to us that there is a supernatural power behind false teaching. That power is Satan (2 Cor. 11:13-15; 1 Tim. 4:1). It is for this reason that Christians are warned not to become involved in any way with false doctrine. Rather we are taught to “shun” it, for “they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker.” This means the Christian is not to attend a church or event or conference in which false doctrine is being proclaimed. We are not to attend Bible studies, or meetings, or prayer groups in which false doctrine is involved. When those involved with false doctrine ask permission to sit with us to “explain their beliefs more clearly,” we must wisely refuse. The only exception is an occasion in which we ourselves teach the one who is in bondage to the false belief. And this is only when that one is willing to listen with an open heart and not argue and resist the truth. See 2 Tim. 2:23-26. Apart from our own ministry to try to help the deceived, we must avoid all false instruction.

Avoid fellowship. True Biblical fellowship is based on shared beliefs that align with God’s Word: (“Can two walk together except they be agreed?” Am. 3:3). Once we have discerned false doctrine or practice, what then? God’s command at this point is very clear—separation. The following expressions are used in the N.T. to describe separation: “Avoid” (Rom. 16:17), “Shun” (2 Tim. 2:16), “Turn away from” (2 Tim. 3:5), “Purge oneself from” (2 Tim. 2:21), “Come out from among” (2 Cor. 6:17; Rev. 18:4), “Have no fellowship or communion with” (2 Cor. 6:14), “Receive them not into your house neither bid them Godspeed” (2 Jn. 1:10). One does not need a Ph.D. to understand the meaning of these exhortations. God is telling His people to stay away from those who teach or practice error in contradiction to God’s Word.

Avoid yoking together in ministry, organization, etc (2 Cor. 6:14-18). This command does not allow a Christian to be in the same group, Christian organization, fellowship, or church with those who are committed to error, false gospels, worldliness, sin.

Rebuke them openly, publicly, and plainly (Matt. 23:13-33; Ac. 13:8-10). God’s Word commands us to rebuke false teachers openly, publicly, and plainly, and the faithful servant of Christ will do just that, because he is not in this world to please men but to please his Master and Lord. Christians who dislike biblical separation often protest that we cannot help the erring person if we separate. This is absolutely false, not true. One reason for separating is to help those who err to see the seriousness of their error, to make a clear distinction between true and false doctrine. Many excuse their refusal to obey biblical separation by saying they are ministering to the false and disobedient. This is wrong. The Bible warns that a little evil leavens the whole body (1 Cor. 5:6; Gal. 5:9). The ecumenist is a very confused and disobedient person. He apparently thinks the leavening of the whole body is a good thing!

Try to convince those who are misled by error, of the truth (2 Tim. 2:24-26). We are to try to help those who are involved in false doctrine, but we are to do this from a separated position. It is our separation which shows them that we do indeed believe false doctrine to be evil. Though we refuse to have close fellowship with those involved in false doctrine, or allow them membership in our local church (all Biblical churches are local only), we are to try to teach them the truth if they will listen. Notice in 2 Tim. 2:26 that the false teacher’s root problem is revealed. They are in “the snare of the devil.” False doctrine is not a problem of ignorance; it is a spiritual problem. They deny the Lordship of Jesus Christ, which is Him that bought them (2 Pet 2:1). Only God’s providential work can rescue a person out of the grasp of false doctrine. These are unsaved people snared by the devil through false doctrine. This is the reality of all false professing Christians and religious people.

Maintain a spiritual demeanour (Jam. 3:13-18). The ministry of discernment, judgment, contention for the truth, and separation from error are to be carried out in a spiritual manner. "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." (Jam. 3:17). That doesn’t diminish the necessity of sharp reproofs, fiery rebuttals, fierce contention, and such, for that is exemplified throughout Scripture by the prophets, apostles and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Born Again Believers Must Be Scriptural Separatists

1. We must be separatist because separation is a doctrine taught throughout scripture and is a divine command (1 Pet. 1:14-16; Eph. 5:6-9; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; Ps. 1:1-3; 2 Th. 3:6,14). Separation is taught and commanded from Gen 1 to Rev 22, and separation starts with salvation (Pr 9:6; 2 Cor 6:14-18).

2. We must be separatist because God is a separatist. Separation is a reflection of Gods character (Lev. 20:7-8, 26; 1 Pet. 1:14-16).

3. We must be separatist because the apostles and NT writers were separatist, especially the Apostle Paul who authored half the NT books (Rom. 16:17-18; 1 Cor. 5:7-13; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; Phil. 3:17-19; 2 Th. 3:6-7,14-15; 1 Tim. 1:3-11; 4:1-6; 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 3;1-11; 4:1-4; Ti. 1:9-16; etc), but also Peter (2 Pet. 2:1-21; 3:16-17), and John (1 Jn. 2:15-17; ; 2 Jn. 1:6-11; 3 Jn. 1:9-11), and Jude (Ju. 1:3-22), etc.

4. We must be separatist because separation is a means of spiritual protection (1 Cor. 5:6-13; Rom 16:17-18; 2 Jn 1:9-11; 3 Jn 1:9-11; Rev 2-3; etc).

5. We must be separatist because separation is a fruit of true conversion, "works meet for repentance." (Ac 26:20). The Spirit of God through His Word, leads us to separate from the world (1 Jn 2:15-17; 5:3-4); separate from sin because it is contrary to God and a fruit of the god of this world; and separate from error and those who practice or promote error because the truth divides from error (Lk. 12:51-53; Rom. 16:17-18; 1 Tim. 6:3-5; 2 Cor. 11:3-4; etc). God is a Father to the separatist (2 Cor. 6:17-18).

6. We must be separatist because separation is an act of wisdom: "Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom." (Pr. 18:1).

7. We must be separatist because separation is absolutely necessary to "be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." (2 Tim. 2:21), "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." (2 Tim 2:20-21).

8. We must be separatist because because we are warned to “Be not deceived: evil communications [associations] corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. 15:33), and that “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Gal. 5:9; 1 Cor 5:6). The hours speak to the years, and then to the generations.

9. We must be separatist because love for the truth can only only evidenced as we "hate every false way." (Pr. 119:128), "Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold." (Ps 119:127). We never really know if we are separatists by conviction until we are tested. The test reveals the truth. This is the lesson that dedicated believers had to learn throughout the history of Christianity. Many of them suffered and even died not just for the Gospel, but for something as simple as the mode of baptism, and separation from those who erred.

10. We must be separatists because God came to divide truth from error, the saved from the unsaved. Scripture is very clear that we separate from sin, error, abominations, etc, including the people behind it, though "separation" is a dirty word to the heretical world of neo-evangelicalism. Relationships are NOT more important than obedience to God's Word, REGARDLESS who the person is. Our relationship with Christ is so much greater than people, it will actually appear as hatred towards the ones that we relate to in this world, preach to, etc, such as parents, children, spouses, siblings, other family, friends, etc. Jesus said He came to divide households, not to make peace between born again believers and the lost. "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." (Matt 10:32-39).


Separation is not an optional part of Christianity; it is not some kind of “non-essential” or "minor" doctrine (which in of itself is a heretical philosophy); it is a divine commandment (Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Cor. 6:14-17; 1 Tim. 6:5; 2 Tim. 2:16-18; 3:5; Ti. 3:10; 2 Jn. 7-11; Rev. 18:4). Separation is not mean or unloving; it is obedience to God. Its also a divinely-ordained wall of spiritual protection against apostasy and the world. One is not trying to be unloving, schismatic or exclusive, but simply seeking to be obedient to the Lord and His Word above all else. Its are not personality issues or petty grievances, but sin, worldliness, and errors that require separation.

People that are saved do not attend churches where a false gospel is preached and the Word of God is wrested or distorted (2 Pet. 3:16-17) because that is accursed of God (Gal. 1:6-9) and an error of the wicked (2 Pet 3:17). These would include all evangelical churches, reformed churches, protestant churches, and all Baptist churches besides select certain ones from among the Independent Baptists. They don’t associate with false brethren who bring a corrupted gospel (Gal. 2:4-5). They separate themselves because they separated themselves from unbelievers and the lost at and in salvation (2 Cor 6:14-18) and then characteristically live in such a manner from henceforth. We separate from those who don’t abide in the doctrine of Christ because they have not God (2 Jn. 1:9-11).

Separation is everywhere in the NT, and OT as well. The Lord commands us to “mark them . . . and avoid them” (Rom. 16:17), “be ye not unequally yoked together with” them (2 Cor. 6:14), “have no fellowship with” them (2 Cor. 6:14), “come out from among” them (2 Cor. 6:17), “withdraw thyself” from them (1 Tim. 6:5), shun” them (2 Tim. 2:16), “purge oneself from” them (2 Tim. 2:21), “from such turn away” (2 Tim. 3:5) “reject” them (Ti. 3:10), and “receive them not into your house neither bid them Godspeed” (2 Jn. 1:10). We are to separate even from professing brethren who are walking in doctrinal disobedience (2 Th. 3:6). Separation is a wall of protection against spiritual danger. Failure to separate from error leaves one open to the influence of error, the toleration of error and the eventual capitulation into error. It is deception. For "A little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump. (Gal. 5:9) and “evil communications [means associations] corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. 15:33). The reason the gardener separates the vegetables from the weeds and the reason a shepherd separates sheep from wolves is to protect the good seed and the sheep. Likewise, a faithful and godly preacher will seek to separate his flock from spiritual dangers, which are even more destructive than weeds and tares.


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