A Question I Was Asked:

Is 'Amish' Separation Too Extreme?

Can you give me the correct interpretation of this bible verse from 2 Cor. 6: 17 - "Therefore, Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." I went on a tourist tour of the Amish in .... who have taken this scripture to the extreme by having nothing to do with the rest of the world. Obviously this is too extreme.

UK Apologetics Reply:

Yes, I agree with you that their interpretation is much too extreme. Paul was talking about separating oneself from an immoral and godless society. Yes, we have to live within this society yet not truly be part of it. We need to be 'ambassadors for Christ' (2 Corinthians 5:20). An ambassador will live in an alien country but will retain a certain separation, keen to represent the interests of his own country above all. Our 'own country' as Christians should be the Kingdom of God. However, ambassadors don't shut themselves away from everybody!

But let us get a fuller context of 2 Corinthians 6:

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." Therefore, "Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." And, "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

So, to use this Scripture to justify refusing to take advantage of latest developments in technology, for example, is to completely misunderstand this Scripture; technology is completely morally neutral. The separation advocated here is moral, spiritual, religious and - to a degree - social, yet in presenting the truth of the Gospel, we can never be entirely separate, just as Paul himself was never entirely separate.

I must say that it saddens me that a group as sincere as the 'Amish' have been led astray by some very poor Bible teaching over the years.

Robin A. Brace. December 22nd, 2015.