Professing Christians adversely affect you!
What I wish to make clear is this: you may spend the early hours of the Lord’s day alone with God – over his Word and in prayer. That produces a real spiritual effect upon your soul: it draws out your heart to things above, and gives you longing for a closer walk with God. Later in the day, you attend some church and mingle with those who may have ‘a form of godliness’, but, being strangers to God experimentally, not walking with him for themselves, not having spent the early hours of the morning in secret communion with him as you did, they know nothing of ‘the power’ (reality) of ‘godliness’. And although they may talk of certain truths of Scripture (parrot-wise), they are but spiritually-dead souls, and their influence upon real Christians is anti-spiritual, deadening, injurious.
Now it is those two totally different influences being brought to bear upon us, the one spiritual through living fellowship with God himself, the other anti-spiritual, which produce two different effects upon us, and result in two different lines of conduct from us. My Brother, it is these religious white-washed worldlings (and they may be premillennarians, fundamentalists etc), who are so dangerous to the real Christian! Why? Because we are influenced and affected by their ways and characteristics; their levity and lightness, their looseness and laxity. They sneer at those who seek to please God in all things, and are conscientious over little matters. For example: they make promises and break them; they fail to keep an appointment promptly, yet have no prickings of conscience over it, which tends to make us careless about our word. Or, they are showy and loud in their dress, which makes us less careful in heeding that word, ‘be not conformed to this world’. Or, they have no scruple running into debt, which makes us less careful to ‘Owe no man anything’. Such matters as these, and a hundred others I might mention, as regarded as trifles by empty professors, and association with them will soon drag us down to their level and make us very inconsistent.
[Letter to Lowell Green, June 3, 1934]
O how little of that holy reverence do we behold in the so called ‘public worship’of the day! Why, even the heathen conduct themselves with more decency and decorum when they pay homage to their false gods. And the more we associate with the white-washed religionists of this degenerate age, the more shall we be affected and infected with their lightness and levity. One sound apple placed among rotten ones does not impart soundness to them, but causes them all to be corrupted!
[Letter to Lowell Green, August 19, 1934]