The matter of fellowship is a
very important one for all Bible-believing Christians. There
are kinds of fellowship that call forth the condemnation of the
Lord (James 4:4; Judg. 2:2, 3). Therefore, in all our fellowship
we must be careful to safeguard our fellowship with Christ. The
enjoyment of that fellowship is clearly tied by the Word of God
to separation from spiritual wickedness and error (II Cor. 6:17-18).
NEED FOR SEPARATION
For years it was the practice of evangelical Christians to
remain in denominations that were mostly nonevangelical, even
liberal or Anglo-Catholic.
They gave expression to their evangelicalism mostly through
interdenominational societies and movements. They felt they could
distance themselves from the rationalism or Romanism prevalent
in their denominations without actually separating from them.
With the formation of the World Council of Churches, it became
very much more difficult for Christians to justify this position,
because by virtue of their membership in the major denominations
they were part of the movement to create a one-world church under
the leadership of the pope. The World Council of Churches, with
no little help from Dr. Billy Graham, soon involved Evangelicals
in its operation, with a consequent compromise of the faith they
professed to uphold. Modern evangelicals in the ecumenical movement
sound more and more like liberals, often questioning or denying
parts of Scripture history and doctrine and involving themselves
in the effort to produce union with Rome.
Thus ecumenism is a major reason for separation. It is not
the only reason. Whether or not a church is in the World (or
National) Council of Churches, if it denies the fundamentals
of the faith, it should not be kept in the fellowship of God's
THE DUTY OF SEPARATION
"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"
(Amos 3:3). We are instructed to "have no fellowship with
the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them"
(Eph. 5:11). To a Christian, Liberalism, Modernism, Romanism,
and World Council of Churches ecumenism are undoubtedly "works
of darkness." The duty of separation is plain. Paul teaches
this duty again in II Corinthians 6:14-18. John speaks of it
in II John 10-11.
CHRIST THE FOCUS OF SEPARATION
Separation is no mere negative reaction. It is thoroughly
positive, because it is basically separation unto Christ. "Let
us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his
reproach" (Heb. 13:13). Fellowship in any organization that
denies Christ, repudiates His Word, or departs from His finished
work of atonement and the gospel of justification through faith
without works is a fellowship that leads away from Christ. Our
fellowship with Him demands our separation from apostasy and
SEPARATION, NOT ISOLATION
Our separation should not blind us to the duty of Christians
to express their love one for another and their spiritual unity
in Christ. The Free Presbyterian Church therefore seeks to stand
with faithful men and churches around the world, even when they
do not endorse all our positions on matters that, though important
to us, are not fundamental to the gospel. Whitefield was a Calvinist,
Wesley an Arminian. Yet Whitefield strove hard to ensure that
they stood firmly together in the work of the gospel. Spurgeon
endorsed and promoted Moody, much to the chagrin of some who
thought that Moody, a confessed Calvinist, was not Calvinistic
enough. We seek to express the fundamental oneness of God's people
in any way we can without compromising the fundamentals of the
faith. We are Biblical separatists, not isolationists.