Posts Tagged ‘separation’

The Outside World

The headline reads, “Polygamist sect told its children that the outside world is hostile and immoral.” It’s a follow-up story to the child abuse culture discovered at a splinter Mormon group’s compound in Texas. But there’s a surprising side to their belief about the outside world: It’s entirely Biblical! Compare Ephesians 4:17-20–

You must no longer walk as the nations walk, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to the hardness of their heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!

BUT, while the Apostle Paul wrote such things about “the outside world,” he never suggested that we should isolate ourselves from it. When they made the choice to isolate themselves, the leaders of this sect were NOT following scriptural principles. We should avoid participation in the world’s evils, but we should be close enough to “expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). Indeed, this same apostle called himself an ambassador to the ignorant world (Ephesians 6:18-20). How can you be an ambassador if you are not present with the people to whom you are an ambassador? Jesus spoke of his followers as lights for the world (Matthew 5:14-16). Many other scriptures point to this part of God’s plan; e.g., 1st Peter 2:12.

There is another reason not to isolate ourselves from the world. When all we know is our own practice, we tend to think that anything we are doing is right. Admittedly, this sect chose their isolation, in part, because they wanted to practice something that the world would condemn. But if they had not isolated themselves, their children would have seen how abnormal this practice is and been motivated to examine the practice long before now.

Those of us who hold fast to our Christianity even while the world assaults it are forced to evaluate the worthiness of that choice every day. There are some things about it that the world doesn’t understand, as was predicted (1st Peter 4:4). The Apostle Peter also wrote, “honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1st Peter 3:15).

Let’s use this occasion to encourage ourselves to be lights to the world and always examine that light to keep it pure.