I recall a specific sermon given by AW Tozer. He was discussing biblical teaching on the doctrine of Separation. Which is a doctrine based on God’s command to be separate from sin and from sinful practices.
He was making a distinction between what the Bible teaches versus how Separation is commonly applied (or not applied) by Christians.
Because, we often take for granted the vast differences between popular Christian practice versus what the Bible actually commands us to do.
Unfortunately, most Evangelicals have no idea what Separation even is; let alone, how to properly apply it in their lives.
AW Tozer’s basic point was that Christians commonly separate from this thing or that thing. Without really understanding why. And, even then, often not following God’s process correctly.
He stressed that the Bible teaches how we are also separated unto something and unto Someone.
In other words, Separation is not simply about not associating with or not participating in something. It is also about being properly joined with something.
In the Christian’s case, he is to be separated unto Christ and separated unto Truth.
This means we are set aside or set apart exclusively for God. It is about being dedicated by and prepared by the Lord to carry out His work on earth.
And, above all else, we are to be separated unto the Lord Himself. Dedicated to the Lord personally and exclusively.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (I Peter 3:15)
The words, set aside, set apart, and sanctified, are terms also applied to the various vessels used in the ministry of the Old Testament Temple. Such as the oil, incense, tables, bowls, and even the priests themselves; who were to be set apart for no other use.
All of these vessels of the Temple were to be used in strict accordance to the instructions which the Lord set down in the scriptures. Which were often written with very specific guidelines.
Which parallels the way in which the Lord desires to use us. To sanctify us and to set us apart for His work and His glory. All according to the specific guidelines he has set down in His word.
Conformity to Post-Modern Philosophy
But this is a big problem for the modern Evangelical.
Because popular teaching, mostly coming from the mainstream Christian media, caters to the Post-Modern culture of the world. Post Modernism tears down past ideas and past traditions that have emphasized things holy, pure and special.
In fact, Post-Modernism rejects even a distinction between the holy and the common. Since there are no holy things; according to that philosophy.
Evangelicalism has catered to this philosophy in order to appease the culture and to be relevant to it. Justifying its pandering due to a desire to win the lost culture to Christ.
But the purifying effect it hoped to have upon the world has not been accomplished. Evangelicalism has not sanctified the culture; instead, the culture has corrupted the church.
Evangelicalism has been conformed to the world.
The Distinction in Worship
Worship, for example, tends to lack any real distinction from the world.
One could just as easily walk into a modern sanctuary feeling like he is in a warehouse or a secular conference center as opposed to a place of Christian worship. Or believing he is at a rock concert with easy-listening, pop, or lite-jazz playing.
This is due to churches that have gone out of their way to make the church environment as common and comfortable for the Seekers as possible. Avoiding any religious or “sanctified” feel.
In fact, it is not even popular for a church to have a “sanctuary”; or to use music that is truly reverent, sober or reflective. The trend is to maintain a non-religious, positive vibe.
Even a sermon is no longer called, “a sermon”. Now it is called, “a discussion”. So that people won’t feel like they are being preached to. So that people won’t feel like someone is actually telling them what to do.
Like those “intolerant” churches that actually tell people about the absolutes of scripture.
Which is another thing that Post-modernism rejects – the existence of absolutes.
Changed From Within
The popular strategy is to cater to the tastes of the young Christians. So that, quite honestly, they won’t go someplace else. So they will stick around and keep the church going for the next generation.
Unfortunately, the young Christians, for the most part, have been saturated by the public school systems and popular media in Secular Humanist and Post-Modern philosophy. So, it is a tremendous struggle for them to change from their secular world view to a biblical one.
The same problem exists for the adult Seekers.
Therefore, the strategy of modern Evangelical churches is to cater to the preferences of these Seekers. So that the Seekers will visit and stay in our churches.
Sadly, their growing presence changes the entire nature of the church. Filling the church with those that do not know the Lord. Who then influence and conform the church to the tastes and preferences of unbelievers.
The Salt Has Lost Its Savour
If you think this is an over-reaction, then take a look at surveys within local churches. Which poll their specific congregations to see what their people really believe.
The percentage that do not know Christ is staggering. And the percentage that claim to be Christian, who do not believe the Bible is literally true or authoritative, or who do not accept major Christian doctrines, is also terrifying.
How then, if the church is to be salt and light to the world, does this occur when we conform to the Post-Modern culture?
When the church’s purifying effect has been watered down by a pattern of compromise with, rather than Separation from, the world’s spirit, philosophy, and methods?
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matthew 5:13)
To Be Continued . . .
Photo by Marta Dzedyshko from Pexels
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