The basic answer to the question in my title is this: it depends on what sort of segregation we are talking about. Some segregation is fully proper and biblical. If we take a very simple definition of the verb, we have this: ‘set apart from each other; isolated or divided.’ No probs there for the Christian in many cases.
For example, the very words ‘saint,’ ‘sanctification’ and ‘holiness’ all have as their root the notion of being set apart. Believers are set apart for God and his use, and we are set apart from the world. As Paul put it in 2 Timothy 2:21: “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”
Indeed, Paul was “set apart for the gospel of God” as he says in Romans 1:1. And believers are to be separated in various ways from the world and the world system. As we read in 2 Corinthians 6:14-15: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?”
So individual believers can and should be separate and should segregate at times. But what about churches? Is it right for them to segregate? Again, it depends on what sort of segregation we are talking about. Consider the issue of church membership. There the church MUST segregate.
Church membership is only for actual Christians. They are in a covenant relationship with God and others in a local body of believers. Church discipline is a crucial part of church membership. But that is quite different from when folks roll up to church to hear the gospel on a Sunday morning.
In that sense, anyone can come and visit a church. No one should be excluded. There should be no segregation in this sense. Blacks and whites, redeemed sinners and unredeemed sinners can all come. But membership is the exclusive domain of the born-again believer. See much more on this crucial distinction here.
So a church is wrong to discriminate against, say blacks or women. But it is right to exclude some from the life of the church and ministry, including those who are not saved and those believers who are living in willful sin. The church MUST segregate in that sense. But here I have in mind a new type of segregation: keeping out the unclean (the unvaxxed).
As I have said often now, this IS wrong. I am willing to go so far as to say that churches that are discriminating against those who have had doubts about an experimental drug being injected into their bodies are not really Christian churches, but apostate churches. They have sold out and become a docile tool of the Total State.
Jesus never turned away the sick or the unclean or those considered to be impure by others. He welcomed them all. ‘Let only the vaccinated children come unto me’ is NOT what Jesus said. He excluded no one based on their medical condition, and neither should we.
Sure, some sensible steps can be taken in certain circumstances. Say your child has just come down with the measles. The wise thing to do would be to keep him home for a while, and not send him to school or Sunday School. But bear in mind that it is the diseased who are to be quarantined, not the healthy – just as the unclean were treated in the Old Testament. See for example Leviticus 14:7-9 and Numbers 5:1-4.
But so many churches have sold out on all this. Thankfully I did find one Melbourne church this past Sunday that did not demand my papers nor seek to exclude me from fellowship. But most are doing this. As one Australian Christian pastor has just written on the situation in Victoria:
Dear pastor, do you remember an important declaration penned by some brave Queensland pastors advocating against segregation? The declaration many in your state decided to oppose on the basis of ‘tone’ and ‘dubious association’? That declaration has accurately painted the exact same scenario you and many other Australians, especially Victorians, are now being forced to live in.
Did you just not see this coming? Because if that’s the case, this situation is quite concerning since we are talking about one who is called to oversee and protect the flock of God placed under his care. One who is called to keep watch but cannot see obvious threats that will, as you said in your own words, harm the church and stop her from fulfilling its dutiful ministry to all? That can’t work, can it?
Dear pastor, the care of your flock was given to you, not to Daniel Andrews. Make no mistake, you are responsible, not him. Christ has already ruled on what the life of the church is supposed to be like. That’s settled. There is to be no change on those matters.
If Christ says segregation is wrong and harmful, there is no point in time in which it is ok. Not even for a second. Why, dear pastor? Why then did you decide to usurp the authority of Christ over your congregation? Why did you believe that the Lord of the flock would be ok with you running the show as per what you thought would be best, in complete opposition to his word?
Christian business segregation
But what about a Christian business? This is a bit different. While in theory, they exist to serve God and others, they are also there to make a profit. Anyone – Christian or non-Christian – can normally partake of their goods and services. Consider a Christian bookstore. Should they segregate, in this case, against the unvaxxed?
I hate to say it, but this has in fact happened to me. I was not allowed to enter a major Christian bookstore, one that I had been to zillions of times over the past three decades, and had spent zillions of dollars at. Not wanting to single this store out – almost all Christian businesses are doing the same sort of segregation – let me speak briefly to my recent unfortunate encounter there.
As I say, I am not wanting to pick on anyone in particular here. I was met there by a ‘guard’ who asked to see my papers. When I said I had none, he said he could not let me enter. Presumably, he is being paid to exclude customers like me, and he was not the one making the decision here. So I could not get upset with him.
But I knew the store manager and I was able to get her attention, so we chatted for a bit outside of the store. She was apologetic and all that, yet she too was presumably doing what her bosses, as well as Dan Andrews, was demanding of her. I did point out to her what a terrific customer I had been for so long, and how sad it was to be treated like this.
I even had my list of books in my hand that I was hoping to purchase. She did offer to get them for me, but I told her she was the manager and far too busy, and thanked her for the kind offer. She did say that Covid was real and a problem. I responded by saying that so is AIDS, herpes, the common cold, and the annual flu, but I was not being asked to show my medical status on those infectious diseases.
I told her that if her store and a hundred other Christian stores stood strong, banded together, and resisted these unjust and discriminatory orders, we could probably see things turned around. But all these businesses have basically just given in and complied without a whimper.
There is no resolve to stand up for what is right here. There is no determination to let their Christianity actually make a practical difference here. There is no Christian courage of conviction here. ‘We are just following orders’ is sadly the mindset for most of these folks. Um, where have we heard that before?
With most churches and Christian businesses simply rolling over before the secular state and doing its bidding, we live in very dark days indeed. I thought that Christians – be they pastors or bookshop owners or whoever – were somehow supposed to be different. But it is all just business as usual it seems for most.
They seem to believe that above all they should not rock the boat and they simply should do whatever Big Brother tells them to do. So much for a Christian witness. So much for being set apart. So much for letting your light shine in a dark place. It is so very sad.
I close with some words from a new column by Rod Dreher. A few days ago I did a quick tour of the West and looked at all the segregation and bigotry taking place because of Covid hysteria and Statist overkill. In his new piece today Rod does a quite similar thing, looking at various places where this is happening.
He gathers together a number of pics making the rounds on the social media where we have fences running down the middle of grocery stores and the like, keeping the vaxxed and unvaxxed apart. He goes on to say this:
I don’t think these governments believe that fences and shopping restrictions directly hinder the spread of Covid. They are trying to make everyday life harder for the unvaxxed, and to turn them into social pariahs, to compel them to conform and get the vaccines.
Don’t you see what’s happening here?! This is also a trial run for the future. You will have seen academics, medical authorities and even governments declaring that “racism is a public health issue.” It is not difficult to imagine a future in which the state, in the name of health and hygiene, imposes restrictions on those it determines to be bigots. Does it sound far-fetched? Maybe. But look, if parents angry over what school systems are doing to their kids can be considered potential “domestic terrorists,” the potential is there. Do you really think that the Woke in power would not use public health as an excuse to punish their political opponents?
All around us we see the rise of ugly Big Brother Statism, and the stealing away of our liberties and human rights. We expect the secular left tyrants to engage in this sort of behaviour. We do NOT expect Christian churches and businesses to happily go along with all this.
Hmm, what did Jesus say about situations like this? “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” (Matthew 5:13).