The matter of fellowship is a very important one for all Biblebelieving
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 (2 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 inter-denominational 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 people.
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
2 Corinthians 6:14-18. John speaks of it in 2 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 fundamental error.
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