|From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase|
Editor's Note: This article is the fourth and final of a series presenting a position paper on the Biblical doctrine of separation published by Reformation Bible Church, Darlington, Maryland USA. We are grateful to Dr. John McKnight, RBC's senior pastor and a member of the TTW Advisory Board, for permission to reproduce it. Harford Christian School, mentioned in this installment, has been a vital ministry of RBC for over fifty years. We pray that the Lord's people will be edified and challenged to obey our Lord in this vital matter. - Dr. Paul Elliott
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and to exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (Jude 3)
Our instinctive response when personal religious beliefs are challenged is often emotional so that fleshly passions rule, rather than spiritual sensitivities. It is far better to immediately retreat to the Word of God alone for instruction and guidance. It is to this infallible source that we must continually return if we are to please God, know His truth, and serve His purpose.
Completely unaware of the history and unbiblical philosophy of this movement, many sincere people swell the ranks of New Evangelicalism. They are active in opposing the horrendous sins of abortion, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, etc. They are sometimes zealous in evangelism and eager to see men manifest a moral integrity and courage. Although their zeal is commendable, it lacks necessary authority and power when they condone idolatry and apostasy by virtue of their silence. Scripture says more in condemnation of idolatry and infidelity than it does about America's most publicized moral evils. By violating Scripture to swell its numbers through religious endeavors and morality campaigns, New Evangelicals remove the same platform on which they would stand on issues of homosexuality and abortion. The only authority in those matters is the Word of God. But to give deference to those who deny Scripture - and to disobey Scripture in doing so - is to subscribe to a position of spiritual impotence.
Evidence of this impotence is abundant. Today, there are more organizations and programs for evangelism and morality than ever before, yet at no time has our nation been more saturated with abominations publicly and shamelessly approved. By ignoring fidelity to the Word of God, the compromised ecumenical emphasis participates in the very problems it professes to fight. The problems of the day are not abortion, homosexuality or promiscuity: these are only symptoms. The problem is departure from the Word of God.
Leading this national epidemic of spiritual degeneracy are preachers who employ techniques of crowd psychology combined with sensual music to arouse audiences to an emotional "high." The resulting ecstasy is then proclaimed as God-sent.
Reformation Bible Church, with other churches of diverse denominational identities, endeavors to maintain scriptural obedience. It is never an easy task, because the pressures to ignore Scripture are always greater than the encouragements to obey. And when a biblical position is ignored in much of the professed Christian community, the stand becomes even more difficult. But truth must be maintained for the glory of God and for the advancement of His purpose.
Biblical commands to separate from infidelity gave birth to Reformation Bible Church of Dublin, MD. God's blessing on this separated ministry has been clear and abundant. Among those blessings was the establishment of Harford Christian School in 1966. The church and school continue in the biblical, separatist tradition of historic Christianity.
The biblical command to be separate governs the ministry of Reformation Bible Church and Harford Christian School. Chapel messages and Bible classes are grounded in the authority of an inerrant, infallible Word of God. We teach both the total trustworthiness of Scripture and the need for separation from those who deny its inerrancy and infallibility. Members of the board of directors embrace and promote these essentials. Faculty members must be in accord with these vital truths and are recruited from churches separated from both the theologically liberal National Council of Churches and from those that subscribe to the scripturally disobedient New Evangelical philosophy.
Like the ancient church of Constantine's era, modern Christianity is adrift amid the currents of pragmatism, worldly respectability, sensualism, hero worship, and secularism. Entertainment has replaced worship, and spiritual sensitivities are so dulled to the point that few even realize what has happened, let alone recognize the error. Convenience has replaced conviction and is justified on the basis of creating larger audiences. Psychology has replaced theology; thus the preaching of Christ has been replaced by religious pep talks on how to be happy, how to enjoy life and avoid religious hang-ups, and how Jesus can help one meet his/her personal goals. Obedience to Scripture becomes optional if such "legalism" dares infringe on personal liberties and lusts. Biblical exhortations to separation from error are lost in the rush to advance a popular religion that makes people feel good about themselves.
Amid this drift many, unsuspecting people may assume that Harford Christian School is part of that system, especially if they have never encountered a ministry anchored in the separatist position of historic Christianity. It is therefore necessary that this important element of truth and obedience be clearly stated. The faster the religious currents move, the greater the pressures become to drift with them and with the crowd. The greater the drift, the more conspicuous the steadfastness of our necessary biblical stand and, lamentably, the more peculiar it appears. This standard must still be raised as it has been throughout the history of this ministry. To do otherwise would betray the sacrifices of its founders. Worse, it would like Peter deny our Lord for the sake of momentary, earthly acceptance. One concession or compromise is never enough. Each is followed by demands for greater compromise. The road of compromise is unending. When one embarks on it, he rarely, if ever, returns to the path of obedience. Unchanging truth must be received with unchanging allegiance.
As good stewards, we must maintain the cause of truth against all comers. "Never get into religious controversies," says one; that is to say, being interpreted, "Be a Christian soldier, but let your sword rust in its scabbard, and sneak into Heaven like a coward." Such advice I cannot endorse. If God has called you by the truth, maintain the truth which has been the means of your salvation. We are not to be pugnacious, always contending for every crotchet of our own; but wherein we have learned the truth of the Holy Spirit, we are not tamely to see that standard torn down which our fathers upheld at the peril of their lives. This is an age in which truth must be maintained zealously, vehemently, continually. Playing fast and loose, as many do, believing this today and that tomorrow, is the sure mark of children of wrath; but having received the truth, to hold fast the very form of it, as Paul bids Timothy to do, is one of the duties of heirs of Heaven. Stand fast for truth, and may God give the victory to the faithful! - Charles H. Spurgeon, 1867
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