Section 7: Concerning Separation
We believe separation is a doctrine as well as a practice and that the separation principle runs through the entire Bible (Genesis 1:4, 6; Leviticus 10:10; Deuteronomy 7:1-6; Ezekiel 22:26; Daniel 12:2; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1). We believe there are several aspects of Biblical separation.
A. Personal Separation
We believe believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; Hebrews 12:1-2) and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness that reflects the teaching of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-12) and a continual pursuit of holiness empowered by the enabling grace of God (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 1:6; 2:12-13; Hebrews 12:14; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 3:1-10).
We believe the Bible clearly indicates that apostasy and worldliness shall increase in the last days (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Peter 2:1-3), but that the believer has been commanded to separate himself from this sinful rebellion against the will and word of God. We also believe that because our glorious God is worthy of our total consecration, every believer should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as neither to bring reproach upon our Lord and Savior nor to cause a spiritual stumbling block for others (Joshua 24:15; Romans 12:1-2, 14; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 8:1-13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; Ephesians 5:15-18; Titus 3:10; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11).
We believe spiritual carnality (worldliness) is a mindset that chooses temporal advantage over eternal reward; a willingness to sacrifice fulfillment of the will of God and our fellowship with Him in pursuit of material possessions, carnal entertainment, social advantage, physical pleasure, or personal power. While worldliness is primarily a condition of the human heart set in rebellion against God, we also believe the fruit of carnality and worldliness will ultimately show itself in an individual’s lifestyle and practice (1 Samuel 16:7; Matthew 12:33-35; 15:16-20; Galatians 5:16-21). We believe Christians should reject worldliness in all its myriad of modern cultural form, including, but not limited to: entertainments and art forms that pander to the flesh as seen in most Hollywood movies and television programs, rock music, and pornography (Romans 13:14; Ephesians 4:17-24; 2 Timothy 2:22); corrupted sexuality as expressed through immodest dress, sensuality, modern sexual license, and gender blending clothing (1 Corinthians 6:13-20; Ephesians 5:6-12); carnal indulgences such as alcoholic beverages, tobacco, hallucinogenic, narcotic and/or other non-prescriptive mood or performance enhancing drugs (Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-35; 31:4-5; Ephesians 5:18); fleshly speech which corrupts rather than edifies (Ephesians 4:22-32); an inordinate focus on material possessions as that which is seen in gambling; get rich quick schemes, or by a life given to the acquisition of wealth rather than in seeking the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:19-34; 16:24-26). All such similar expressions of the flesh are harmful and out of harmony with a Spirit-filled Christian life (Galatians 5:17-18).
B. Ministry Separation
We believe that while recognizing the unity of all true believers (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 4:1-6), it is also evident that unbelief and error in many organized fellowships has developed to the point where recognized apostasy exists. We believe the Bible clearly teaches that believers should separate from apostates; that we are commanded to reprove apostates rather than recognize them, to rebuke rather than to reason with them, to reject rather than to receive or unite with them (Matthew 18:15-20; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Galatians 2:11-21; Ephesians 5:11-15; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12; 2 Timothy 4:2-4; 2 John 9-11). In practice this means that we affirm the historical position of the Reformation in separating from Catholicism. We also believe a Bible-believing church should separate itself from liberalism, cults, and all other forms of paganism and religious apostasy. Applying this same truth to an individual, we believe believers should maintain freedom from oath-bound religious or social secret orders and other entangling alliances.
C. Familial Separation
We believe God calls the believer to separate from disobedient and unrepentant Christian brethren when moral, doctrinal, or ethical compromise creeps into their life or ministry. We also believe loyalty to Christ demands separation from those individuals or groups content to walk in disobedience to the Word of God, demonstrated by maintaining fellowship with or toleration of religious unbelief and/or worldly compromise (Matthew 18:15-20; Romans 16:17; I Corinthians 5:11; II Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15).