Should Christians Separate from the World?

HomeChristianity and the BibleShould Christians Separate from the World?

No one likes being misunderstood. It’s frustrating. It troubles us when we’re misunderstood…in fact, it’s so troubling that we often take it personally when others misunderstand our family, or our friends. I’m no different. Thousands of GodWords visitors are seekers or skeptics or spiritually confused, so I take it personally when someone makes it more difficult for these nice folks to understand God. At the moment I’m taking aim at Pentecostals.

One of the identifying marks of a particular brand of Pentecostalism is a list of do’s and don’ts known as “Standards”. Note the capital S. This list of restrictions includes things like long hair for men, women in pants, adult beverages, cosmetics, wedding bands, movies, and so on. Those who adhere to Standards are convinced that these restrictions help to keep them spiritually pure.

Please don’t misunderstand: I have no problem with Pentecostal people as individuals. I grew up in and ministered in and still worship in a church that originated in the Pentecostal Holiness tradition and whose motto is “Holiness Unto The Lord”. If a guy wants short hair, or if a woman likes skirts, that’s okay with me. Fewer movies is probably better than more. Alcoholism is a plague. I’m all for clean living…but that’s not the point.

Most Christians are, to some extent, concerned about clean living…or “being holy”. This makes sense, since the Bible teaches that Christians should live holy lives. Many Pentecostals, however, take the Scriptural mandate for holiness and twist it into something it’s not. They teach that Christians should separate themselves from non-Christians and “worldly things”.

To some extent, I understand their confusion. After all, the implication of the word “holy” is ‘being set apart’. The Bible asks whether light can have fellowship with darkness. The Bible also tells us to avoid the appearance of evil, which sounds like a really good idea to me. It would be easy to assume that Christians should pull back from society to remain pure…easy, that is, if you ignore the rest of the Bible.

Jesus didn’t suggest that purity is maintained by avoiding contact with impure things. He explained that it is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of it. Purity is, He explained, an inside job. He chastised the religious elite of His day for missing the point, saying “…you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence”. Jesus taught this by example as well. He rightly went against the religious traditions of His day when He ate with tax collectors and spoke with foreign women and worked on the Sabbath and ran the swindlers out of the temple.

Purity isn’t a matter of simple avoidance. God is utterly holy and utterly pure, but He didn’t hang back from the world to avoid contamination. He’s fully aware of the extent to which humans can degrade themselves, but He became one of us and lived with us and touched the sick and the sinful with His hands and His heart. God isn’t less holy because of His contact with sin. Based on Jesus’ example, Christians are supposed to place themselves in contact with those who are not yet holy.

Pants don’t make women sinful. Men with long hair aren’t necessarily being disobedient. Beer wasn’t created by Satan, and there are a lot of really great movies that I’d love to take Jesus to see. It’s okay to set standards to live by, but setting Standards only further confuses those who are already confused about God. Our insides are more important than our outsides…and Jesus died to prove it.

If holiness had anything to do with pants and pilsners, the Bible would clearly say so. Christianity isn’t about simple do’s or don’ts. It’s about allowing God to decide which direction your life should take. It’s about letting God transform you into His likeness. It’s about love interacting with those who need love most.

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Robert Faron
Robert Faron
February 9, 2016 7:36 am

seperating from the world means don’t get involved with the world. Jesus ate with the tax collectors, but I will assume they spoke about the things of God. It is fine for me to spend time with a worldly person, but it is wrong for me to involve myself in worldly activities. If my friend wants to go bowling with me, great, but if he wants to hit the bars afterwards that is wrong and I won’t go. Pants on women is about a differentiation of the sexes, men don’t wear dresses and women shouldn’t wear pants. The devil is trying to blur the gender line, and that is a sin. Long hair is a sign of submission and the order of the family. 1 Corinthians was not written to the Corinthian church only, it was written to all of God’s churches, then and now, he said for women not to cut their hair and he didn’t change his mind, his word is forever settled in heaven. It doesn’t teach long hair, it teaches un cut hair. Thank you and have a nice day

December 17, 2016 6:10 am

Let’s not confuse the scripture with our personal opinions. If the scripture prohibits anything, as a believer, go with that prohibition.
For instance, on the issue of men not having long hair or women covering their hair while praying or prophesying, why not just believe this scripture as it is and keep back your personal opinion.God’s word is crystal clear on this, therefore obey it.Men should not have long hair, simple.
Moreover, women should not wear pants, I mean dress immodestly. Any dressing that can seduce another person is sin.Imagine in a world where women are allowed to be wearing only pant to the church all in the name of modernisation,it is wrong before God & men.
Bible is clear on the issue of separation, it enjoins believers to be separate from the world, that is the standard set by the world through its civilizations. Separation does not necessarily require believers not greeting, staying together or even attending the same school with unbelievers, rather it focuses on the principles of living. In other words, believers are not to live like unbelievers.
Unbelievers live in disobedience while believers live in total obedience to God’s word. That is, believers should not partake in ungodly practices since these practices are associated with unbelievers & not believers.

July 3, 2017 12:04 am

Hello and God bless you. I am so thankful for finding this page/website because I have so many questions regarding this topic! I’ve been serving the Lord in a pentecostal church for the past 7 years and since my conversion I’ve always struggled with the Standards you’ve mentioned. As a young woman who came to know Christ as a teenager the transition I felt like I had to make was not easy and difficult to explain to my family and friends (in regards to my outward appearance and certain things I was no longer allowed to do) But through it all I’ve sumbmitted myself and obeyed the regulations placed. Even though they may not always make logical biblical sense to me. I wanted to know what you would say to the portions in the Bible expressing that we should be obedient to our clergy leaders? (Hebrews 13:17 and 1 peter 5:5) If i do decide to cut my hair short or wear pants, i am in disobedience to my leaders and therefore to God? I believe with all my heart that God saved me where I am at for a reason and this feeling is what’s been keeping me there all these years. And I love the members at my church, theyre a great group of people. But a lot of the older members are focused on the “standards”. I’ve tried having conversations with these members about my inability to completely understand how a woman having short hair or wearing pants is wrong. And they’ve led me to Deuteronomy 22:5. Which I get, but not really because I can wear pants and people will still know I’m a woman and I can cut my hair and Not confuse anyone about my gender. I know doing these things are not a sin, but do they become sin when you are disobeying rules set by your leaders? As you wrote in the article, it’s confusing and I feel that all the time. Some seasons more than others because I just have that “suck it up” kind of attitude, but in regards to this, should I? I recently shaved a small portion of the back of my head (it’s easily hidden by the rest of my hair so as to not cause too much of scene) to see what it’s like because for a long time I’ve felt that the Lord has been telling me for the last 6 years that my long hair is an idol and I feel so deeply that he’s calling me to cut it short… though I don’t feel like I’ve done anything wrong for getting this small portion shaved, I know that if one of my leaders finds out I’ll be in trouble. I have mentioned the possibility of me cutting my hair and donating it and my leaders have advised me against it because they believe a woman should have long hair. I wear pants every now and then and I can’t help but feel ashamed when I do and immediately regret it because if I’m seen by and elder in my church I know I’ll be having a conversation with my pastor about it. I love my leaders, I want to obey them, I believe the word of God is telling me to obey them but to what extent? Is there an extent? Is it always this confusing?

My overall question: is my disobedience to my leaders a direct disobedience to God and his Word? (But please feel free to comment on everything else.)

September 26, 2017 2:22 pm

Wow, I guess that I am not the only one who feels confused! This website has helped me TREMENDOUSLY!! I have been wondering about these things for 6 years or so! Now i believe i need to look for another church.

April 6, 2018 12:57 am

…Good afternoon. I was able to see this site as i browse about women having long hair. As I go into reading, we’ll to tell you honestly I was a bit shock. I thought this site could be a bit help, but I’m sorry to say this, but this isn’t helpful. The Bible was written many years ago. If such was written only for a group of persons and won’t be applicable now-a-days,then what’s the point of having one. There would be no importance in reading it. But then again, the Bible was written for us, and even for those yet to be born. Those scriptures are also for us, the very words in it. We should live a holy life not conforming to the patterns of this world and not being equally yoked to the unbelievers. And also we should not be an instrument of Satan to tempt our brothers. I hope God would clear the blur vision you have in His Word, but if not it is also His will, for He even allow Pharaoh to have a hardened heart all for His glory. God bless

June 12, 2018 5:10 am

Hi there! I’ve been going through several sites and videos about women’s hair in regards to the Bible, but I still can’t find anything that directly pertains to my question.
I have been wanting a sidecut for well over a year now, but have recently become much more aware of trying to live my life in accordance with what God wants and upholding His expectations.
As a Catholic, I’m aware there are no regulations in my religion about hair length as far as I can find. However, I have read (as well as heard some people explain) that some people stereotype the sidecut hairstyle and those who wear it as being promiscuous etc.
I understand what you mention about seperating oneself from the earthly world, but would this particular hairstyle be wrong of me to get, as isome view it with the same negative light that certain people of Corinth were viewed?
I don’t want to get a hairstyle that will displease God or make me unable to reach as many people because they judge me as a pagan or a prostitute etc. (If given the opportunity to help bring anyone closer to God, even though I’m not a religious leader of any kind).
Last, I know some people say that a woman should wear a veil in church, but if I am able to pull my hair over and no longer be able to tell I even have a part of my head shaved is it then wrong to have this hairstyle? And would this style be OK to get if I cover the sideshave while in prayer? As I know the Bible mentions not having a shaved head while in prayer or while prophesying.
I have wanted this style for a while because I just like the look of it because it’s different and edgy. But the Bible says not to try to stand out or do anything rebellious. People also have made the argument that unmarried women can cut their hair, but I am engaged and unsure if this would go against that argument, especially when my fiance doesn’t care what I do with my hair. God Bless

August 9, 2018 9:50 am

Wow, this has been of so much help. The way you have explained is to the point and clear to understand. I cannot fathom how some people still struggle to get it. But then again the Word said about falseness that their eyes are blinded, they cannot see. I feel so sorry for them for be so blinded about Standards and to miss the whole point of Christ love and reason for Him coming to earth and died on the cross. And still they cling to the Standards. Its a bit like losing your first love for the Lord in exchange for law. I have a pentecostal family member and had to distance myself recently from him as he keep on telling me I will miss heaven because of my bob hair and ladylike pants. I truly love Jesus and accepted Him as my Personal Saviour, so I just wonder by myself why He would reject me if I accepted Him…

October 14, 2019 8:04 pm

The last paragraph in this post contradicts itself. Which direction your life should take and letting God transform you into His likeness will show up as external visible changes aka holy living (Standards)

July 16, 2020 1:02 am

My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

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