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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


And those that search out the truth in that desert island will leave the established, structured church.

In any claim there is always the danger of falling over the other edge. And this is a good example. Even in the names we draw –the great saints of the past – we can fail to acknowledge the tremendous influences in their lives – their families, "established" churches, pastors, and the vast amount of reading they did. Take Oswald Chambers, Spurgeon, and Hudson Taylor for example. These were not desert island theologians! They were shaped through the influence of many people whom God used in their lives. Spurgeon had thousands of books – and he read them all.

Of course, we won’t know that if we are desert island theologians because we won’t see a need to examine their stories.

If you wish to be a “pure” desert island theologian – which Bible will you use? Or will you write your own translation? Remember, our bibles today are the product of much work by theologians in the past – and present - the work of Greek scholars and language translators all striving to provide us a clear text. (the more reliable translations are formed through team work)

Consider the apostle Paul. He had his desert experience, but he did not go into the desert as a blank slate or come out that way. He was shaped by his past. Yes, through Christ he did reinterpret his past, but he did not ditch it. He referred to the privileges of his past as “rubbish” – IN COMPARISON to Christ. God didn’t ditch it though. Paul’s past training and the skills were used by God in writing his epistles. Jesus’s disciples were not called to that because they did not have that capacity. That’s why Paul (a Pharisee!!) was chosen to provide the bulk of the theological content of the NT.

Oh yes, there are those who found Christ in the desert. But they don’t stay there. They need the Body! There are also many self acclaimed desert theologians who have gone off the rails in their creative theological conclusions. These are the ones who write a book and you see no references whatsoever, or they are poorly used. These "experts" see no need to build on the work already done – or even allow their work to be judged in the Body. And they can't see how they, in fact, have been shaped by influences in their lives - culture, family, religious affiliation, etc.

While there is a need to trust Christ alone, Christ does indeed use others, and we are to submit. We cannot simply wipe off 2000 years of church history and think we can do it better on our own.

Desert theology can be a way of insulating ourselves from the reproofs of the Body. …. After all, if you heard it from Christ himself (you think) you can’t be wrong, can you?

And you will not be inclinded to express gratitude and humility for what God has done and is doing through others. Let us be mindful of the danger of pride being the motive for “desert” theology.



 2012/8/25 10:28Profile


You missed the intent of the article entirely. Though Sean tried to qualify it by adding that he was not speaking of being free from a Body, you didn't seem to truly hear it. His intent in this article isn't the "lone ranger" of pride who doesnt need the Body. I know this not only to be "in theory" on "Internet forum threads of quick ideas", but real life, as I am in true NT fellowship (not "Internet fellowship", but the kind laid out in the NT) with him. We are all accountable to one another, we judge/test things and sharpen each other, we use out gifts to deify the Body as a whole, etc., so if you think pride is the motivation for what he is speaking, in love sister, you have not discerned accurately.
The point is God gave us "all we need to live Godly lives in Christ Jesus" by His Spirit and through His Word. In fact, Desert Island Theology proves my very point & yours whether you see it or not: if you read I Corinthians, you see a NT, New Covenant pattern for what real Body Fellowship, the assembly of the brethren, the ministry of the Holy Spirit & His gifts in our midst, the true offices of the 5-fold ministry should look like, etc. So, no one is advocating "lone ranger" Christianity, but a dedication not to except traditions of men in leui of God's Word.
I love Charles Spurgeons writings, Oswald Cjambers, Andrew Murray, William Gurnall, AW Tozer, Leaonatd Ravenhill, David Wilkerson, Art Katz, etc., but they are not ultimately my example to follow. Christ is. None of these men were perfect. Only God & His Word are flawless. They were great men of God who were made in His image, who were transformed into Christ's image, who became more like themselves & more like Christ, etc. But Diane, you know what happens when you make a copy of a copy, right? It gets more distorted, no matter how "great" the copy before was.
The Giants of the faith, many in Glory will be people you have never heard of. Not teachers/preachers in affluent societies whose worst persecution was mental and a little financial. Many will be unknown poor, cast out of society, hungry, battered, torn, & beaten saints who never stood in a pulpit and preached to masses, but who gave their whole heart/lives to Jesus and exuding the fragrance of Christ and hid in caves, lost family members, gave themselves to Christ even unto death (re-read Hebrews 11). Those saints didn't cry out in their prison cells for the writings of men like Spurgeon, Whitfirld, Wesley, etc. great as those men may have been. But they just wanted a Bible, & His Spirit, & possibly some fellowship with other believers, & the chance to share the Gospel if God ordained.
And frankly, it's not pride to say that I don't care if the church has had this "super-pastor" who controls everything in every "service", & tithing buckets have been passed around and OT passages from Malachi have been mis-preached out of context for 1,500 years, & theologians have written entire libraries of how the gifts passed away with the first generation church. I don't care at all what 2,000 years may have/haven't produced. That may sound proud to you, but I'd you knew my heart, and the heart of others in this hour, you'd know it's actually a humble hunger before God that says "God, just take us back to your Word by the Spirit, free us from the traditions of men some before us drank in rather in ignorance or not, and make us into what pleases you Lord!"
True, there are proud, bitter, arrogant, critical ones who have a different heart than that, but let's not throw out the baby with the bath-water. Let's throw out the unbiblical mess we have picked up over the generations and fix our eyes upon Jesus together with His Spirit to lead, guide, & teach us according to His Word, which is a light into our feet and a light into our path. Our feet are dirty walking through this world and need Christ to wash them. We are a generation I believe about to see trials and tribulations of overwhelming proportions, but only a Bride TOTALLY dependent upon the Lords leading will not only survive, but thrive, though it be through hardship and pain.
He's coming back for a spotless Bride dressed in white. He's not coming back for a harlot or a church following traditions of men (good men or not). It's only ones with this "Desert Island Theology" mindset in the last few years (which the Spirit of God has given/awakened) who started questioning things like:
1.) tithing (as opposed to NT giving freely and cheerfully as each one purposes in his heart).
2.) like women teaching and having authority over men (which Paul specifically forbids in several places and even makes the statement that "anyone who claims to be a prophet or any such thing should acknowledge that what he speaks is from God and not from man. But if he chooses to be ignorant, let Him be ignorant").
3.) and questioned the whole way we assemble/fellowship since the reformation (in the catholic image no doubt) with everyone in theater style listening to one man preach with no prophetic input/sharing, with no gifts manifesting (unless that one man has them) and the great disconnect between what we have done for centuries and what Paul lays out in the Corinthian letters and other places.
4.) and on, and on, and on.
Where did these crazy "Desert Island Theologians" get theses wacky ideas that go against centuries of church history/traditions? From the Word of God! Just like before Christ's first coming, a remnant of true seekers knew, something is incomplete in our current synagauge experience. Christ came and wrecked their traditions and showed them the meaning of the scriptures they had always had.
Again, He is coming again soon and seeks to have a Body Who hears only Him, who follows Him, who loves Him, Who loves His Word, and who wants Jesus to be glorified beyond all else. And ditching mens traditions, nationalistic pride, rights to our own lives, and suffering greatly for His Glory will be understood because they know from His Word there's a cross to bear and we must stay dependent upon Him always. We are always blind to things and unless God opens our eyes by His Word/Spirit, we will never see? Are we willing to see How "off" we have been about so many things for so long, & yet think it nothing to cast them off, repent, & let God fully have His way in our midst?

 2012/8/25 13:04

Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 2028


There may be ten thousand Churches, but there is only one Christ. Nor can all those Churches supply the place of our one, blessed all-sufficient Savior. A man may be saved without the Church, but he cannot be saved without Christ. A man may be in the Church and not be saved; but he cannot be in Christ without salvation. Sinners sometimes become members of the Church; but only saints are members of Christ. A person may live in the Church for years, with the old heart of carnality and selfishness; but "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature".

The requirements of the Church are often wrong and ruinous; but the claims of Christ are always reasonable and right. The Church may become a sink of pollution; but Christ is ever the perfection of purity. The Church may be rent with divisions; but Jesus Christ is not divided. The Church may become terribly entangled in mysticism and error; but Christ is always the embodiment of light and truth. The Church may change her name and her nature; but Christ is "the same yesterday, today, and forever". The Church may be a crutch to walk with, but she is a poor Christ to trust in for salvation and eternal life.

Vast multitudes cling to some Church establishment as a drowning man would cling to a life-boat. They bow obsequiously to her priestly and official mandates, and imagine that the blind servility which they tender to the Church will be accounted acceptable service offered to Christ. The simplicity of the Gospel is lost in the imposing forms and glittering accompaniments of modern churchism. Splendid church edifices attract the eye. Splendid music charms the ear. Splendid prayers are addressed to the CONGREGATION. Splendid sermons please the fancy, and leave deluded sinners to slumber on. Church rivalry has achieved a glorious success, if success thundering organs, ostentatious dressing, theatrical singing, pointless praying, rhetorical preaching, careless hearing, and unscriptural practicing!

Much of the current worship is done by proxy. Lazy religionists surrender their sacred rights to others. They take it for granted that the preacher is on the right track, and readily swallow whatever may be doled out from the pulpit, without using their own brains in searching for the hidden treasures of truth. Thus religious ideas are transmitted from generation to generation, until tradition exerts a more powerful influence than the Bible in molding the sentiments of men.

There comes to be a fashionable faith, as well as a fashionable dress. To embrace a certain stereotyped circle of doctrinal views entitles a man to the claim of "orthodoxy"; but let him not venture one step out of the beaten track, if he would not be denounced as a deluded heretic! But few have the moral courage to question the decisions of the Church, much less to discard what she has labeled as "orthodox".

The verdict of a few leading denominations has thus grown up into a threatening tyranny; and the multitude cannot think of stemming the mighty tide. So they bow down in their narrow enslavement and worship this curiously- fashioned but pious-looking idol - "the Church!" Since all idolatry is an abomination to God, we have no more right to worship a church than we have to worship a golden calf! We rob the Lord of His rightful honor, and ourselves of the highest bliss of Christianity, by looking to the Church too much, and "looking unto Jesus" too little.

What can be done to deal a staggering blow to this cruel church/worship of the day, and at the same time give us more exalted and ravishing views of Jesus Christ? There is a grand failure to carry out the ultimate design, when the appliances of the Gospel result only in the production of Churchianity.

Our perception, our prayers, our faith and our adoration must overleap the narrow precincts of the outward Church, and rise up to the eternal throne! - A. Phelts

"Worship God!"

 2012/8/28 7:49Profile

Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


You missed the intent of the article entirely.

I do not think I questioned the validity of solitude with God or Sean’s point. My aim was to offer a caution. It is an ever- troubling propensity to fall over either edge of any claim. Even on this topic: Some over-emphasize “community”. Yet we also see a tendency to overemphasis the other extreme: individualistic Christianity (which is especially a temptation in our free-rights/choice culture).

In any argument, it is not unfitting to comment on the other “side”. That need not be regarded as “missing” the point – wouldn’t you say?

A point to consider: Sometimes when people have been hurt by the church, rather than seek forgiveness and restoration, they are inclinded to distance themselves from community (and speak ill of the church). That choice be justified as a virtue: I'm being "alone with God". Pride knows no boundaries - even on desert islands.



 2012/8/28 10:26Profile


In the end the remnant will find themselves in solitude as persecution increases in America.


 2012/8/28 10:44


But many will be in solitude swept away as a bride in the wilderness for a time kept by the Lord, seeing His Soveriegn hand keeping us in times of unforeseen difficulty. Even after that, if we are swept away into solitude only in cells by ourself awaiting death, we will have the Lord and His Spirit. If we have Him, we have everything. Without Him, we can be in a church, alone, at a conference, or in a forum, and be utterly, truly alone. We will have all we need in Christ. And many will be swept into the kingdom in that day, though it go unnoticed on the earth - for it will be known in heaven.
In Him,

 2012/8/28 11:04

Joined: 2010/8/24
Posts: 1032


I do not know if those who keep quoting saints and commentaries are aware that they are playing the hypocrite.

If you so admire what they did, in that they honored the Bible above all else and refused to have a kind of a second-hand faith that is handed down from the traditions of men, then why don't you do the same.

It was mentioned that George Mueller came to believe in the doctrines of grace from reading the Bible alone but how do you know that his understanding of the docrines of grace is the same as yours.

For exapmle when he said " If this were true I could do nothing at all in the conversion of sinners, as all would depend upon God and the working of His Spirit."

How do you know that he means what many now aday understand him to mean that the Spirit would work independently from him.

Please listen to this short link by paul washer to get what I am trying to say.


 2012/8/28 11:15Profile

Joined: 2010/4/19
Posts: 447


Took bearmasters advice and took the point down...

 2012/8/28 13:15Profile

 Re: Learjet

Brother those are some serious allegations concerning Diane. She may have a different understanding of things but felt your treatment of her in your post to be unfair. Whatever happened to playing the ball and not the man. Or in this case the woman.

If I am off the mark I stand corrected. But felt you were a little unfair to our sister.


 2012/8/28 18:00


We say persecution will soon cone upon America. Does that reality gripus? What will we do when we no longer have access to our Bibles or the New Testament? What is more important to us? Our commentaries or reference works or lexicons? What will comfort us in the hour of trial? Will it be the Greek or Hebrew verb conjugation?

If we would in humility look to the persecuted? They have no access to the reference works that we do. They have no Sermon Index to turn to. If they are blessed they may have the New Testament and the Holy Spirit of God. Yet where are the revivals taking place? China, Vietnam, Iran. The VOM magazine will report of pastors having only a fraction of a New Testament over seeing large networks of fellowships that meet in homes. They are sustained by the Spirit of Christ and his word.

Again what will sustain us in the hour of trial? What should we be hiding in our hearts? How important is the Bible to us? Do we treasure it above everything else? Are we investing time to get it into our heart and mind?

We read in Revelation that the martyrs, those witnesses of Christ, were slain for the Word of God and the testimony they had maintained. Again how much do we live his word?

Just some thoughts resonating in my spirit un this urgent hour.


 2012/8/29 10:15

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