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I have experienced the reality of what effect Desert Island Theology has on your spiritual understanding and consequently, your spiritual life. When I first got born again, I was locked in a cell for months just fasting, praying, and eating God's Word most all day, day after day. I was shocked that I had gone to church for 23 years of my life, Christian school as a young elementary school boy, etc., and this God, His Word, and His Gospel seemed so different than my experience as a culturally religious church-goer all my life up to that point.
I was "put away" for almost 2 years with God, His Word, and His Spirit. When I came out of that place, I joined a "church" that I sensed the Spirit of God doing a work in at the time. I did notice though, that there were many things subtracted from God's Word in the reality of the fellowship, and many things added. Then, I went to Binle college. I spent 2 years earning a Bachelors degree in Biblical Studies, but slowly and unknowingly accepted several things that seemed to ignore plainly declared scriptures, in the experience of the NT. Women like Beth Moore teaching over men in the assembly (Paul specifically forbids this more than once in scripture), John Garlock's "Keys to better preaching" which took polls that said people can only listen engagingly (to God's Word, no less) for a max of 15 minutes, Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Church (God gave His true church a purpose already in scripture and it wasn't to see how many tithes you get in one building), no real true Body fellowship with the probability of NT Body Fellowship as laid out in I Corinthians where prophets contribute in the assembly, and the gifts were given place to contribute through the Body (just one man in total control preaching message after message to a building full of listeners), etc., etc., etc.
It really fogged up the spiritual lens for a few years. I always got a check in my Spirit about all these things (cause I knew God's Word and had His Spirit), but I just figured I must not be as mature and understanding as these people (after all, they were quick to let you know they were from a long line of "pastors" generation after generation - though not many fit true descriptions as NT biblical "shepherds", but rather, Lorded it over the flock). Then, the Lord laid His hand upon me at 4:30 a.m. One morning with fire and opened my eyes. I saw it for what it was - "a system of man's traditions which sought to nullify the Word of God".
So, what did I have to do about it? First, I had to go back to the "Desert Island Theology" and re-learn what the Lord had taught me in the beginning, and then I had to unlearn all the non-Biblical religion of men's traditions I had picked up along the way (like letting Jesus wash my feet again. My head and whole Body was already cleaned by Him, but my feet had picked up some of this world's mess along the walk).
It made me stand out like a sore thumb in the "Nicolaitin System". Not because I wanted to stand out and "make some show of myself" either. I didn't have to. The Sword of the Lord made a division between me and the system and the intent of my heart (to follow the Lord with a pure heart according to His Word and His clearly laid out pattern for the NT Church) was made clearly apart from he intent of the system (to keep the show going, to keep the tithe dollars rolling in, and to keep everyone "under control" happy to be part of the Babylonian Nicolaitin system that the Holy Spirit had already placed over the doorpost in the Spirit, "Ichabod", for the Glory of God had already departed.
I had to go back to the Desert Island of God's Word and unlearn and relearn according not to what man says, but what the Lord says. I am still doing that in measure today. In a New Covenent, NT pattern of Elder-Led Body Fellowship which must have as it's goal to praise, Worship, Honer, and preach Christ and be led by the Spirit of God and honor the Word of God and it's decrees as the light unto our path.
The American remnant Bride must do this. We must just throw out all ourreconceived notions, our religious background, our cultural influence, and just go back to the simplicity and power of the pattern laid out in God's Word for how the NT Body should operate and function, what our daily life and actions should look like, and what the true purpose of our life remaining on this earth shall be.
In China, there are 2 different "churches": the official state church which leaves out much of scripture, takes its orders from the govt., and fills dead pews with dead people to hear dead teachings each week. Then, there is an underground church. She has endured much tribulation and trial. She answers to no one but Jesus. She loves the Lord with all her heart, mind, soul, and strength. And she knows, there is nothing more precious than the Holy Spirit of God in her midst, and the full counsel of the Word of God as her guide. She lives on a desert island, and that desert island is the same one that God ordained for His Bride through the ages over 2,000 years ago.
Would you believe that the same separation is already making manifest in hearts in America today? The decisions to stay in Babylon or stand on the desert island with God, His Spirit, and His Word are already being made today in hearts and minds of those who profess Christ. The day that's coming will show clearly where we each really stand, in Babylon with the masses, or on a desert island with God. Better consider these things now. What is your lense for understanding/obedience to God's Word? Your experience/religious background/the theology of your denomination/cultural influence, etc? Or is it simply standing on an island with the Word of God and the Spirit of God listening/obeying only Him by His Word/Spirit? The father seeks those who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, not in word and works only.
This is a much needed word for the Body of Christ in America today!
| 2012/8/24 9:54|
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Jeff you share an edifying testimony. It is possible for one to be shut away with Christ and his word and learn from the Spirit. You have already done this as our persecuted brothers and sisters have. But I fear for many in the established church the shock will be to great to leave the established system.
I remember when I began my walk with Christ the admonition was to be in an established church. You had to sit under men who expounded the word. If you were not in a chuch then you could fall into error.
Now I see the opposite to be true. It is becoming apparent that error and political correctness is coming into the structured church. In some ways one may be far better off alonewith God and his word than sitting under established preaching. Particularly as error creeps more and more into the church
Even into those gospel fellowships that Greg is encouraging. There will be a continual reliance on the Spirit and his word. I might add that this will not sit well with the structured church. Those who seek for God and him alone will be declared as heretics. They will be persecuted.
But those who find delight on Jesus will value nothing less than Christ himself. And all things will be counted as loss for the surpassing greatness of knowing him.
Just some thoughts from the bear den.
| 2012/8/24 10:17|
| Re: Rest|
I've spent a lot of time developing this Desert Island theology and gaining insight from the Spirit but I think there is a need for balance here. God created His church as a body for some very real, practical reasons for which Desert Theology is not the Way. The Lord brought me into an extended period of Desert Theology but when chose to bring me out, I resisted, thinking that I didn't need other people to understand the Word. The core issue was not whether the theology was straight from the Mouth of God but that I was humble and listening to every way He would teach me.
| 2012/8/24 11:32||Profile|
| Re: Desert Island Theology|
Dessert in the Desert to quote the doughnut man. Some may reel from the thought of this separation because they see it as separation from the body, In the Great Command, we are called first to Christ and second to our brethren. A church ( body of believers) would do well to teach this for to reverse the order produces an atmosphere ripe for the traditions of man and a sundry of distractions.
I thought this thread would see many descent from such a proposition (the desert) because past threads have been so body oriented. This in NO WAY robs from the body of Christ for it is "The body of Christ" but what our sole ( or should I say soul) commune with the Lord brings to the body cannot be appraised for its value. The workings of The Holy Spirit are repressed when He is not sought first and if He is placed second, should there be any surprise of the result?
A very encouraging thread.
| 2012/8/24 11:55||Profile|
| Re: |
by Jeremy221 on 2012/8/24 5:32:50
I've spent a lot of time developing this Desert Island theology and gaining insight from the Spirit but I think there is a need for balance here.
Jeremy I do also see the need for balance. While I believe GOD desires for us to have time alone away with HIM there is an absolute need for the body to come together as well :)
I think GOD intended for us to have both, time with HIM and then to take those things HE has taught us and share and learn from each other so the body will be encouraged in HIM.
| 2012/8/24 12:15||Profile|
| Re: Desert Island Theology|
I prefer to receive what I read from the Desert Island and not from Commentaries. When I downloaded e-sword, I was only interested in word-studies and cross-referencing.
And those few men that actually do "labor in The WORD" are few and far between. Exegetical teaching and the such is a rare find. Endlessly we need to hear another's man opinion of what The Word is saying or one that quotes from others. That's sad to me and if I learn the Desert Island style and prefer that method - I'd see the these verses merely say what they say.
1Ti 5:17,18 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. And that Luke 10:7 cross-references in where it agrees with " for the labourer is worthy of his hire". The traveling men that "labour in the word" - or Missionaries.
I can't help but notice in the last 10 yrs or so how the majority can only quote from others, or teach/preach in their own words - thus adding and subtracting from HIS WORD the more that they go on.
That's not Desert Island Theology - it's man putting themselves Above The Word.
The same men that the others quote - 'Sold' their commentaries or books.
| 2012/8/24 12:28|
| Re: |
"I've spent a lot of time developing this Desert Island theology and gaining insight from the Spirit but I think there is a need for balance here. God created His church as a body for some very real, practical reasons for which Desert Theology is not the Way."
I think you make a good point, and it's one that I definitely agree with. I tried to make that clear in my post when I wrote:
"Not that it needs to be your only method of theology, but it certainly should be your primary one."
I myself and currently reading a theological book right now called "Looking Unto Jesus" by Issac Ambrose. It's 700 pages written on the verse from Hebrews 12:2. I've also gained quite a lot of insight in my Christian life from teachers in the body of Christ and another believers. It's definitely important that we learn from other believers. It's a method that God has ordained for us to grown and learn.
However, my post was more to address the need for people to search the scriptures themselves, and not simply just accept everything they are taught. Ultimately we will all be accountable to God's word and not what other men have taught us. It is often because believers blindly accept certain teachings - either from their denomination or pastor, without really searching the scriptures, that they find themselves in all sorts of error; like the ones I mentioned my original post.
For the vast majority of professing Christians today, it probably would be beneficial for them to take a break from there "Church" for a month or two and do nothing but read and re-read the scriptures. I can remember a time right after I was converted that I turned of the TV for 40 days. I spent that time reading God's word instead. After 40 days I turned the TV back on, and my eyes were "opened". Having been removed from the TV for a season, allowed me to more clearly see all the filth on it when I turned it back on. Needless to say, the TV went out to the dumpster.
Many believers get born again, and probably through sincere trust, they just accept what they are being taught. They are never taught to be Bereans. Sometimes they need to put what they've been taught aside and search the scriptures so they can see things in clear light. That is what I'm advocating.
But for most people, to have this type of mindset, what I termed Desert Island Theology, you don't have to leave or remove yourself from fellowship. It's just a way of thinking and learning from God, testing everything against God's word, and learning from Him as you search the scriptures. I myself am involved in a local fellowship and wouldn't want to be apart from it. I love my brother and sisters in Christ, and learn quite a bit from them. And it's definitely the will of God for believers to fellowship with other believers and learn from them.
Hope that clarifies a bit.
| 2012/8/24 12:38|
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It's not safe to judge others according to the flesh. Just because someone is in a "church" has no bearing on their obedience to the Spirit. I have known those whose work stood up to the lies, exposing deception and lukewarmness among the "faithful." Ezra 8-10 makes it clear that those who are called out need those with understanding to open the Scriptures and shed light on the marriages they have entered but which could result in them being cut off in the end, ridding themselves not only of the wives but the ungodly seed as well.
Ezra 9:11-13 (KJV)
Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness.  Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.  And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve , and hast given us such deliverance as this;
We need to watch lest we seek the peace and wealth of the peoples of the land because it will not only lead to destruction but cause us to be weak. We need to be alert to hear His voice through any vessel He chooses. We can only come to learn the fulness of the love of Christ in the Body.
| 2012/8/24 12:45||Profile|
| Re: |
Under the Old Covenant one needed the priest to expound the law to them. But in the New Covenant the Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus Christ through the scriptures. He is the one who brings the word to light into our hearts and minds.
Am I correct in my understanding of this?
Asked from the bear cave.
| 2012/8/24 13:55|
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I appreciate the thoughts raised by this thread. I also agree with what Annie is saying here.
After I came to Christ, I quickly questioned almost everything I had ever been taught, told or had seen. This included many of what has been suggested as the "fundamental" doctrines of the faith. This might have been because -- even as a teenager -- I was quite agnostic shortly before I came to the Lord. I didn't have any Christian books, commentaries, or theological maps to tell me what I should believe. Even since then, I still shy away from books on doctrine. If I do read a book on theology, it is with a very healthy dose of sincere skepticism.
I was acutely aware of how flawed each and every person can be. In addition, I was very strongly aware of my own relationship with the Lord...and that I know the same God that those "famous" or "renowned" men claim. I was criticized by people that I knew because of this perspective. This attitude was reinforced when I met Leonard Ravenhill.
When I met with Brother Ravenhill in his home shortly before he died, he told me that the church is in the condition that it is in because the church has been doing what it has always been doing. He strongly encouraged me to TEST EVERYTHING that I had ever seen, read and heard. And, of course, that we should hold fast to what is good...and dismiss or reject what is not.
When I read what Paul West wrote in this thread, I was reminded of the time that Paul visited the "council" in Jerusalem. While some believers were instructing the Gentiles to be circumcised and obey the Law of Moses, Paul told the apostles and other believers all that the Lord had done among the Gentile believers.
The apostles didn't create a long list of fundamentals or a lengthy "We Believe" list. They didn't create a list of requirements for believers desiring to engage in working for the Lord. In fact, they did quite the opposite.
Peter stood up and spoke about how the Law was an unbearable "yoke." Likewise, James said that the Church should not "trouble" (or "make it difficult") for Gentile believers who have turned to Christ.
The body of believers decided to endorse Paul and Barnabas and send two prophets with them. As for "obedience," they felt only the need to encourage that those new Gentile believers should avoid food sacrificed to idols, blood, strangulated meat and sexual immorality. These things were quite reprehensible throughout the pagan Roman world at the time and could possibly diminish the "light" of believers. However, even these things were later explained in the Epistles.
If you notice, there was no mention of tithing. There was no mention of views on eschatology. There was no admonition about "proper" versions of the books of the Bible. There was no mention of music. There is no mention of baptism (or which specific words are a requirement when dunking the believer).
It is possible that the apostles and other believers felt that, if a person truly comes to Christ, the Holy Spirit would lead such believers into all truth without necessitating such explicit and binding instruction from men (including men who claim to have received their convictions from the Lord). Of course, the fact that believers risked their lives by publicly confessing Christ might have weeded out most of the "pretenders" of the day.
Today, most churches have a list of doctrines that differentiate them from churches down the street. Many have become "indoctrination centers" where they (more or less) instruct individuals in the doctrinal peculiarities that they feel God has not only revealed in those congregations. Those doctrines then become binding for anyone who wishes to do anything other than sit in the pews or chairs.
I believe that the Lord will pour out His Spirit in these last days. I believe that a truly God-inspired revival will come. However, I often wonder if people will accept it. What if it means the end of denominations? What if it means that the structure of our "services" is thrown out the door? What if it means that Baptists will stop being Baptists and Mennonites will stop being Mennonites and Pentecostals will stop being Pentecostals? What if, once again, we are simply "Christians?" What if the Church suddenly refuses to allow the doctrines and traditions of men to impede their fellowship with other believers who know the Lord?
Of course, we might not have much say in this matter. If persecution comes, we may rely on whatever encouragement and fellowship that we can find. Denominational, sectarian and "I'm-right-you're-wrong-so-listen-to-me" walls might come crumbling down when those believers we might currently reject share jail cells or go into hiding with us.
A few years ago, I began researching and compiling a book on various church traditions. It is still unfinished. It was tentatively called TRADITIONS OF MEN. Through this book, I was attempting to find and expose the roots to many of the traditions that believers adhere to. I was making a strong effort to cite the origin for each and every tradition as we try to determine what is inspired by the Word and what was handed down from men.
Over time, I was surprised at just how much of our Christian traditions was rooted in a non-Scriptural foundation. If, as the original poster suggested, that we were able to forget all of the "Church" things that we have learned on a desert island with only the Word of God as our guide, I suspect that our churches and layout might look very different than what we have grown so accustomed to.
Scott, thanks for provoking this discussion!
| 2012/8/24 14:03||Profile|