2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Americans know that the fourth Thursday of November we celebrate Thanksgiving as a national Holiday. It was originally celebrated to thank God, the God of the Bible, for His abundant blessing and fruitful harvest to the previously suffering Pilgrims. Very few nations on Earth have a holiday to thank the God of Heaven and Earth like this.
We know that the Pilgrims came ashore at Plymouth Rock after a long and dangerous voyage on the Mayflower originally headed to Virginia but very few Americans know the story of what compelled the Pilgrims who were first called that by William Bradford quoting1 Peter 2:11. As a group they were a local church that had formed fourteen years earlier in a town called Scrooby in England. As an underground congregation they were Puritan Separatists who did not believe the Anglican Church of England could be purified or reformed of its corruption. Religious freedom was non-existent in England due to the State Church and after years of abuses and persecution they decided to move to Holland (Netherlands). They had formed one of the first written covenants for local church self government pledging to obey God, His Law, and walk in Christian fellowship according to the Word of God. The problem they faced there from Holland was the worldly influence from the Dutch culture on their children and families. After facing many hardships, persecution, and worldly influences they decided to come to America. When they arrived, before they embarked, they voluntarily agreed to govern themselves by their local church covenant of self government and transmitting it into the first written charter for local self government known as the Mayflower Compact.
It begins with, “In the name of God, Amen, …” and gave this reason for coming, “HAVING UNDERTAKEN FOR THE GLORY OF GOD AND ADVANCEMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together in a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid….”
In today’s Church, Biblical separation is seldom practiced to any degree and instead of coming out from among them and being separate (2 Cor. 6:17) the new church growth driver is being relevant and adapting down the truth to our culture. Preachers want their messages to connect with their audience and be pertinent to people’s lives. We can, though, become so obsessed with relevance that we are deceived into holding back what is profitable and compromise preaching the whole truth. God’s Word hasn’t changed and it still calls for a clear-cut separation from all that defiles or contaminates His holiness 2 Corinthians 6:14 18. Grace makes holiness possible for every Christian because of Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:30). Practicing separation is holiness in action. Separation doesn’t mean from total contact with evil in the world. It means separate by not conforming or complying with its influence. Separate in desire, motive, and acts. Jesus was separate, but He still was in contact with the evil of this world.
There probably would not be an America as we know it and its founding being influenced by Christianity as it has been had the Pilgrims (Puritan Separatists) attempted to be relevant to the culture, government, and Church of England. It was because they took seriously the principle of separation from the corruption in their society and Church that they first separated as a local church congregation from England to live in Holland and eventually leave Europe in their voyage on the Mayflower to the New World.
WHAT IF THE PILGRIMS WERE OBSESSED WITH RELEVANCE?