“The Principle of Separation” – A Member Comments…
Brethren believe that separation is a principle emphasised right through the Holy Bible and we observe that it has been historically practised by all peoples, nations and religions in some form or other for many millennia. From the first page of the Bible when God divided between light and darkness (Genesis Ch1:4) through to the last page where there is a separation between those that go into the city and those without (Revelation 22:14-15), the principle of separation is emphasised.
Brethren accept the Bible as a revelation from God as to His purposes and that it is a Book of Principles which guide all true believers as to his or her way of life individually and collectively. The Lord Jesus said of his disciples “they are not of the world even as I am not of the world” see John 17 v 14. The world in this sense refers to the system of sin and lawlessness under the domination of Satan – this describes essentially “Separation”. The word “fellowship” means “mutual association on equal and friendly terms”; and “partnership” – a “joint interest”, “an association of persons having the same interest”.
One of the key facts recorded in the Bible is the Cross of Christ, and the lessons of that, indeed the significance of it, is critical publicly and privately to all humanity. The notice over the cross as recorded in the Gospel according to John was written in Hebrew (the religious language of the time); Latin (the official or government language of the time; and Greek (the language of the intellectual world). That is, the three key strands of society were exposed by the cross. The teaching of scripture in relation to the Cross of Christ is of critical public and private significance to all humanity.
To the Brethren the lessons of the cross are many, including that publicly this “world” as a system showed what it thought of Jesus. The acceptance of this underlies Christianity as practised amongst us: because this “world” publicly rejected Him then we must maintain separation from this world in the practice of our lives every day.
Any history of the centuries since then includes how often lovers of Jesus who have sought to stand true to Him and His rights have been treated. For instance very recently an Armenian migrant from Iran told me that Christians are being murdered every day in Iran.”
The Rules: As individuals we seek wholeheartedly to follow the teachings of Jesus as set out in the Gospels and as taught in the Epistles of the New Testament see;
a) Matthew 16 v 24-26;
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
b) Mark 10 v 28-30;
Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
c) 2 Timothy 2 v 19;
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
d) 2 Corinthians 6 v 14 – 18;
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for 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.
These scriptures are examples of “the rules” that we regulate ourselves by, both as a congregation and individually. In so doing we do not attempt to pass judgement on others for the standard to which they hold themselves to or the degree of separation which they themselves practice.