The Bible teaches separation. It is clear. If you want to know what the Bible teaches on separation, read A Pure Church, a 300 plus page volume with a full scripture index, and excellent exegesis of the appropriate and pertinent passages. The teaching in the book does not deny itself. It is consistent. And it is being practiced by churches right now. What the Bible teaches is always consistent. God is one God and He doesn't deny Himself. His teaching in His Word could not deny itself, because He doesn't deny Himself. He couldn't, because He is one God.
There is a big branch of fundamentalism that calls itself historic fundamentalism, the true fundamentalism, with the other stuff false, what these self-professing 'historic fundamentalists' would contend is 'not fundamentalism.' However, what these self-professing historic fundamentalists say is separation has always contradicted itself and the Bible itself. I give them some credit for saying that separation is a biblical teaching and defend them for that, but they do not get it right, and I'm going to highlight a few contemporary, recent examples to make this plain.
Some might say "leave well enough alone." Why write about it? I would like for fundamentalists to think about what they are doing and change, submit to the truth for the glory of God. I'm hoping that giving these examples will help them. There are some, most likely, that it won't help. They are bound to be non-separatists and were never separatists by conviction in the first place.
Before I get into my examples, I'm not saying that I don't think that some of these men have done good things. I like a lot about what they do. That's not the point. The point is: are they practicing Biblical separation? Are they consistent in their practice of separation?
Independent Baptists, those who call themselves separatists, separated from the Southern Baptist Convention. They remained separate from Southern Baptists. They taught to separate from Southern Baptists. Recently, independent Baptists have begun to fellowship with Southern Baptists. You saw this with Calvary Baptist Church of Lansdale and its seminary fellowship with Mark Dever, Southern Baptist leader, by having him speak at their conference. Calvary in Lansdale is moving away from this separation position as seen by a lot of decisions it has made, but there are many to whom this action is no consequence, other fundamentalists.
Scott Aniol, the head of Religious Affections Ministries, a historic fundamentalist parachurch organization, is also a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is fellowshiping with that Southern Baptist institution under the cooperative program of the Southern Baptist Convention. He joins in the ranks of Billy Graham and Rick Warren, the many liberals still in the convention, and the high percentage of unconverted membership in its churches. The Southern Baptist Aniol will join FBF and BJU board member Mike Harding for his Preserving the Truth Conference.
Chuck Swindoll is neither a separatist or fundamentalist. He wrote the sine qua non anti-fundamentalist book, The Grace Awakening, in which he said that we ought to think of God in sweats, cut-offs, or a swim suit (p. 53). But he is big and he is famous and he is a kind of Christian celebrity. Fundamentalist Chris Anderson brags about his fellowship with Swindoll in their collaboration with some of the music that he wrote, being sung at Swindoll's church, Stonebriar Community Church.
A group of fundamentalists, independent Baptists in Minnesota announce their fellowship with Phil Johnson for a men's meeting.
John Vaughn, the president of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship preached with Clarence Sexton and Jack Schaap at the Baptist Friends Conference.
Matt Olson, president of the fundamentalist Northland International University, revels in his fellowship between him and a Sovereign Grace, continuationist church.
Alright, enough. This is becoming typical of what is called historic fundamentalism. It isn't consistent with fundamental Baptist separation of the past. Their practice seems to be going by the wayside. And it is no wonder with the confusing position that these self-proclaiming historic fundamentalists take.
If someone holds to false doctrine or disobeys God's Word and doesn't turn from that, do we separate?