From 2008 to 2012, I attended Sunday services at Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC) every time I visited Lynchburg, Virginia. Charles Billingsley is one of my favorite worship leaders. So I attended the live recording of his album God of the Ages (2009), which I loved. I also went to excellent conferences at TRBC. The most memorable were Refuel 2010, with Chuck Swindoll, and Strategic Renewal, a prayer conference with Daniel Henderson and Jim Cymbala. Travis Doucette wrote and first performed “Defender” for this prayer conference.
However, Liberty University isn’t Christian. As reported on the Christian News Network, it’s a place of moral evil and confusion instead – the fruit of “envy and self-seeking” (James 3:16).* Liberty is filled with “earthly, sensual,” and “demonic” wisdom, not the heavenly wisdom of Jesus Christ (3:15).
Many good Christians work at TRBC, so I would love to separate them and Liberty. But I can’t. Pastor Jonathan Falwell has an office there. Billingsley leads chapel services sometimes. He and choir director Scott Bullman are adjunct instructors. Meanwhile, Liberty’s Dr. Elmer Towns (School of Religion) and Dr. Vernon Whaley (School of Music) lead Sunday School classes together. No wonder TRBC is silent about Liberty! Now the church is now holding martial arts, sports, and creativity classes on Wednesday nights. Out of more than thirty classes, less than five are biblical: apologetics, evangelism training, stewardship, and ‘iron sharpens iron.’ As a result, I’ve severed all internet ties with Liberty and TRBC.
Why is this necessary? Every time we “friend” a Facebook member, “like” a Facebook page, “follow” a Twitter account, or “subscribe” to a YouTube channel, we are making a spiritual connection with the said individual or organization. That connection can either lift us up to heaven or sink us into hell. In the short term, it can also make it easier or harder for us to hear the voice of God, obey, witness, and pray. Cyber connections aren’t just the click of a button.
We were created to worship God and be transformed into the image of his Son Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). We were also created to “follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). Therefore, no one is immune from influence. The friends we have today are the people we will be five or ten years from now. So it matters who we befriend, follow, and listen to – even on the internet.
Each day, we can hear the voice of Jesus or those of strangers (John 10:4-5, 27). We can walk in God’s light, on the straight and narrow road, or we can follow spiritually blind people and find ourselves in a ditch (Matthew 7:13-14, 15:14; 1 John 1:7). We can also meditate in God’s Word or walk in ungodly counsel (Psalm 1:1-2). The choice is ours. The consequences are eternal.
This world is full of evil people and we can’t leave it (1 Corinthians 5:10). We still shouldn’t make ungodly alliances or have “fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11). Neither should we keep company with sinners who call themselves believers – sexually immoral or greedy people, idolaters, drunks, revilers, etc (1 Corinthians 5:11-13). A little yeast leavens the lump, so we must purge ourselves (5:6-7). We must “come out from” these people “and be separate,” if we want God to receive us (2 Corinthians 6:17-18). The righteous light of Christ has no fellowship or communion with the lawless darkness of Satan (6:14-16).
Spiritual separation is vital if we want to be saved from God’s righteous judgment on sinners. Before he judged the rebellious leaders Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, through Moses God told the people to separate themselves. “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins” (Numbers 16:26). Then God sent an earthquake to swallow the men, their families, and their stuff (16:31-33). Before he judges Babylon, the city of the anti-Christ, God will tell his people, “Come out of her … lest you share in her sins and lest you receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).
Jesus is coming soon. He will divide wheat from tares and sheep from goats (Matthew 13:24-30, 37-43; 25:31-46). Until then, we must exercise spiritual wisdom and discernment. So let us examine our human relationships and purge the leaven. God will judge Liberty University in righteousness one day. If we want to be spared, we must separate ourselves. We must also pray for Liberty’s faculty, staff, and students and “pull them out of the fire” (Jude 23).
* All Scripture verses are NKJV, unless otherwise noted.