ISOLATIONISM IN REVERSE

Raymond Elliott

 I can vividly recall a statement made by some members of the Lord’s church during my high school days at a Christian school that went something like this:  “You shouldn’t send your children to a Christian school because you will isolate them from society.”  And I suppose that some amount of isolationism was practiced in that day among the students and teachers; but, there were enough ‘outsiders’ and worldliness around the place to equalize the situation.

I know that Christians are not to be isolated from society but to live in such a manner as to be ‘insulated’ from carnality and ungodliness (Romans 12:1, 2).  We must permit our salt to savor and our light to illuminate in order that we can be a proper influence among the people of this world (Matthew 5:13-16). The church is to be a fort on the front line of a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:10-12).  We must radiate Christ in our lives in this world of darkness in order to bring others to our Lord (Philippians 2:15).  In this manner we must ‘mix and mingle’ with persons who are not disciples of Jesus Christ.  I believe that most Christians would agree with this premise.

However, I believe that some Christians practice isolationism in reverse.  Please correct me if I am wrong.  Some members cannot be found except for one hour per week.  They would be highly insulted if you should ask them why they don’t come around more often to the various periods of Bible study and worship.  Other members have for their bosom friends non-Christians and they never visit in the homes of their brothers and sisters in Christ.  Their children grow up not knowing the elders, deacons, preachers and the local membership.  They do not attend any of the special functions of the local church such as vacation Bible school, gospel meetings and they never are present for such occasions as a fellowship meal.  Neither do they attend area gospel meetings and Sunday afternoon singings.  This is isolation in reverse.  Whenever we care more for the world and activities in the civic, sports, social and educational endeavors than we do for the church of the Lord, we have placed our interest in the wrong areas in life.  I believe that the Lord said, “Seek you first the kingdom of God…” (Matthew 6:33).  How can we come to “love the brotherhood” (I Peter 2:17) if we seldom associate with our brothers and sisters of “like precious faith” (2 Peter 1:1) in worship and Christian fellowship?

If you are guilty of isolationism, from whom are you practicing it?