Taking Down Walls
by Glenn Conjurske
“Taking down walls” has become the watchword of ecumenicals in our day. Indeed, it seems to have become the passion of some of them, such as the “Promise Keepers,” in which this ecumenical agenda seems to have practically eclipsed the ostensible purpose of organization.
Not to keep my readers long in suspense, I affirm at the outset that this taking down of walls is directly against the Bible. It is the reverse of the ways of God. It is the agenda of those who little regard the ways of God, or who but little understand them. Where in all the Bible does God ever teach us to take down walls?
The Bible does indeed afford us a couple of examples of God taking down walls. In the first place, God took down the walls of Jericho. This was the direct act of God, and so of course right. But God enlisted the co-operation of his people in taking down this wall. “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.” It was the power of God, but also the faith of the people, which brought down these walls.
But for what purpose were the walls of Jericho brought down? Obviously for the direct opposite of the reasons which move the “Promise Keepers” and other ecumenicals. God did not bring down the walls of Jericho so that the Jews and the Canaanites might enjoy fellowship together, or effect a union together. All of that was strictly forbidden. The people of God were on one side of that wall, and the children of this world on the other side. There could be no union between them. When the wall was taken down, it was not for fellowship, but for warfare. “And it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.” (Joshua 6:20-21). Our modern ecumenicals are not very likely to engage in any such activities
—-and neither ought they to do so, for this is not the day of judgement, but the day of grace. But this scripture at any rate gives them no warrant for taking down walls for the purpose of union or fellowship.
But did God never take down any walls in the day of grace, for the purpose of union, and not of judgement? Indeed he did. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, … for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross.” (Eph. 2:13-16). This would seem to be more to the purpose.
Yet observe, this “middle wall of partition,” which once stood between the Jews and the Gentiles, is broken down only in Christ. It has nothing to do with those who are outside of him. Those who are “in Christ” belong to “one body,” and surely ought to have no walls between them, but what has this to do with the ungodly, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Jew?
To break down the walls between the godly may be the work of the Lord, if it is done in the proper manner, without compromise, and without sacrificing the love of the truth for the love of the brethren. But to break down the walls between the godly and the ungodly is the work of the devil
—-unless it is done by converting the ungodly. When God broke down the middle wall of partition between the Jews and the Gentiles —-between those who were near to God and those who were far off —-he did this by taking those who were “far off,” and making them “nigh” by the blood of Christ. The ecumenical process is of another sort, by which those who are nigh to God, or profess to be, depart from his ways in order to join with those who are far off.
God never sanctioned any such taking down of walls. Quite the reverse. A whole book in the Bible is devoted to the building of walls. I refer, of course, to the book of Nehemiah. The real theme of the book of Nehemiah is separation. This is the purpose of the wall. But beyond the obvious symbolical meaning of the wall, the book plainly teaches separation in a more direct manner.
In the second chapter of the book, verses 19 & 20, we read, “But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? Will ye rebel against the king? Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore WE HIS SERVANTS will arise and build, but YE have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.” This was plain speaking. This was drawing the lines. And this is precisely the spirit and the language which are entirely absent from the modern ecumenical movements.
Again, in Nehemiah 9:2, “And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.”
Again in Nehemiah 13:3, “Now it came to pass, when they HEARD THE LAW, that they SEPARATED FROM ISRAEL all the mixed multitude.” This is the direct opposite of the agenda of the modern ecumenical organizations, which labor without end to associate and unite the mixed multitude.
Again, “And before this, Eliashib the priest, having the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, was ALLIED unto Tobiah. … And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the EVIL that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. And it GRIEVED ME SORE: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber.” (Neh. 13:4, 7-8).
And once more, “In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab, and their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people. And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives? And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son in law to Sanballat the Horonite: THEREFORE I CHASED HIM FROM ME. … Thus CLEANSED I THEM FROM ALL STRANGERS.” (Neh. 13:23-30).
This Nehemiah would doubtless be termed a bigot, a troublemaker, unloving, unChristian, etc., if he were to attend a “Promise Keepers” convention and endeavor to carry out his agenda. But Nehemiah’s agenda is God’s agenda. It was God who stirred up the spirit of Nehemiah to build the wall. Where did God ever stir up any man to take down any walls, except the walls of Jericho?
But we must delve a little deeper. God does not mix light and darkness. We learn his way in this, as in many other things, from the precious beginning of the precious book of Genesis. “Darkness was upon the face of the deep.” “And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.” This was his first act. His second act was, “And God DIVIDED the light from the darkness.” Whatever theorists may think, the light was not such as to dispel the darkness. The two must be separated. This is God’s way, as unchangeable as God himself. So we read in the New Testament, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for…what communion hath light with darkness?” (II Cor. 6:14). This text was the watchword of the old Fundamentalism, but it is rarely referred to at all by ecumenicals and Neo-evangelicals, except with a sneer. They have so entrenched themselves behind the scornful sneer that Fundamentalists quote
II Corinthians 6:14 out of context, that the text has ceased to have any meaning at all to them. To quote it at all is to quote it “out of context.” We would be glad to know what such scorners think the verse means in context, but I fear they have not yet troubled themselves about that.
But understand, there are two kinds of ecumenicals. There are liberal ecumenicals, who care not a fig for anything the Bible says. Man is supreme in their creed, and God, if he exists, is made in man’s image. He is nothing more than an overgrown bleeding-heart liberal. But there are also evangelical ecumenicals, who profess reverence for the Bible, and submission to it, but who have little of its spirit, and little understanding of its contents. Most of these seem to have yet some sense of the necessity of some form of separation from the world. Yet in spite of that lingering sense of the necessity of separation, which their theological ancestors have bequeathed to them, their actual separation is practically non-existent. How is this?
There are several forms of doctrinal deception which stand in the way of real separation. The first of these mistakenly substitutes separation from sin for separation from sinners. This doctrine is very common among Fundamentalists, and its effect is that there is very little real or scriptural separation, even among those who most pride themselves on their doctrine of separation. Their doctrine calls for “separation” from a few such things as smoking and dancing and playing cards and going to the theater. This is all excellent as far as it goes
—-and it would be a good deal more excellent if it would condemn the theater in the living room, along with that on the boulevard —-but still it falls far short of the Bible doctrine of separation. The Bible doctrine is not mere separation from sins, but also from sinners. Jesus Christ was “holy, harmless, undefiled,” and “separate from sinners.” (Heb. 7:26). Paul commands us, “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” These are not sins, but persons. “What part hath he that believeth with an unbeliever? … Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate.” This is separation from persons.
Other Fundamentalists limit their separation to ecclesiastical matters. They have no understanding of what the world is, and no idea of separation from it. They stand firmly for “ecclesiastical separation,” and will have no unequal yokes with unbelievers in the church, while yet they are thoroughly yoked together with them in every other sphere
—-in political activities and civic reforms, in labor unions, and in educational committees and programs —-some in the public schools, and others in the “home school” movement.
But the greatest deception lies with those who maintain a doctrine of ecclesiastical separation, but so lower the standard of the gospel as to include half the world as believers. Mormons, Roman Catholics, modernists, and cultists are all good Christian brethren, and these mistaken Evangelicals are busy taking down the walls, so as to embrace all of these. Almost all evangelical ecumenical movements are built upon this fatal flaw. We have no objection if the children of God wish to take down the walls which separate true saints of God, but when the truth of the gospel is so diluted as to include the unholy among the saints, the true saints ought to flee that union as they would Babylon.