Therefore "Come out from among them and be separate," says the Lord. "Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you." --2 Corinthians 6:17
The church's mightiest influence is felt when she is different from the world in which she lives. Her power lies in her being different, rises with the degree in which she differs and sinks as the difference diminishes. [Some set out to BE different. This is not what our Lord is commanding of us. Our differences lie in the location of our hearts which are firmly set on Jesus Christ. Naturally, in the process, we will fall out of line with a self-absorbed world system.]
This is so fully and clearly taught in the Scriptures and so well illustrated in Church history that it is hard to see how we can miss it. But miss it we do, for we hear constantly that the Church must try to be as much like the world as possible, excepting, of course, where the world is too, too sinful.... [Thus, aiming only to be different, many churches follow at a distance behind the world, yet ever moving downward in increasingly sinful tendencies. They accept compromise under the guise of difference, viz., "We're not as bad as they are." Instead, our eyes MUST be upon the Holy One of Israel. HE CHANGES NOT]
Let us plant ourselves on the hill of Zion and invite the world to come over to us, but never under any circumstances will we go over to them. The cross is the symbol of Christianity, and the cross speaks of death and separation, never of compromise. No one ever compromised with a cross. The cross separated between the dead and the living. The timid and the fearful will cry "Extreme!" and they will be right. The cross is the essence of all that is extreme and final. The message of Christ is a call across a gulf from death to life, from sin to righteousness and from Satan to God. [Yes!]
The Set of the Sail, 35,36.
[From: "Insight For Leaders," July 23rd, by A. W. Tozer. Comments in brackets are mine]