Hearing God’s Word–Doctrinal Beliefs

There are two camps that many doctrinal people fall into:

1) Mob Mentality
2) Lone Rangerism

The comfort of both is that it frees you from accountability, at least it feels that way.

When you believe what everyone around you believes and you isolate yourself into a pack of like-minded exclusivists you lose accountability because you’re just going with the crowd. You get lost, individuals are gone as they all quote their guys and no one has had an original thought for eons.

Lone Rangers are on their own, no one can keep them accountable because they’ve so isolated themselves from others they can’t hear anyone. They’re only interested in being alone and being right in their own mind.

Both lead to insulation and, frankly, heresy.

There are verses in the Bible that floor me, probably not as much as they should, but still, think on these and see if you and your church line up with this mentality.

Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

Unfortunately, this verse sums up Christianity. What’s more important–the glory of Christ or the glory of solo/mob rightness?

4 thoughts on “Hearing God’s Word–Doctrinal Beliefs”

  1. Charles Spurgeon: But here is the joy, here is the peace of Christians, that our salvation is a finished one! We have not a farthing to pay to complete the ransom of our souls. We have not a stitch to set to finish the robe of our salvation. We have not an act to perform, a prayer to offer, a tear to weep, a thought to think in order to finish the work of our redemption! I know that all these things shall be worked in us and, that by the Spirit of God we shall be made to do them — but all that shall not be with any view to the completion of our salvation — that was finished in the Person of the bleeding Lamb of Calvary! . . .

    Either Christ completed all that was necessary for your salvation, or he did not! If he did finish it, then rest in him and be glad, and say, “I am secure forever because my salvation is finished. I have nothing to do but to live to the honor of him who has completely saved me by his Grace, his blood, his righteousness.”

    Either you believe that God was hoping that some might respond to His offer to come to Christ, thus He is not in control of the outcome of His plan. Or you believe that God is in complete control of all things, and that His plan would accomplished what He so willed, to save those whom He had chosen before the foundation of the earth. So if I choose to believe the latter, I do not believe that makes me a member of a mob but rather a person who believes that God is sovereign over all things, including my faith.

    Ephesians 1: 4-6 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

  2. Jeff,

    It’s a seemingly difficult issue.

    On the one hand, people like Luther were definitely accused of being “lone rangers”.

    On the other side, we are told that “in the multitude of counsellors, there is safety.” (Prov. 11:14).

    Yet there was very little safety in the counsel of the Catholic judicial assemblies…they always judged truth to be heresy!

    I think a true man of God will not be a “lone ranger” for long, for his message will draw people, and God will lead the sheep to the fountain of living water.

    But I’ve also met those people who belong to a church of one, because nobody else believes what they believe! However, none of those people ever had a cohesive gospel message…they usually went off on some strange theory or private interpretation.

    The “safety” in a “multitude of counsellors” presumes that those counsellors are actually wise people of deep experience, who have learned to follow the Bible and not just jump at every wave of their supposedly inspired feelings.

    So to sum up, the work of God usually starts with a “lone ranger,” but one who teaches gospel truth and wisdom, not his own ideas. God then builds these truths into others who become a church, and then you have a multitude of wise counsellors. To differ from the counsel of the church at that point, is usually to risk walking apart from safety.

  3. Frank Z:

    “I think a true man of God will not be a “lone ranger” for long, for his message will draw people, and God will lead the sheep to the fountain of living water.”

    How do we reconcile this with the increasingly popular doctrine of Christian universalism ala Rob Bell et al? I’m sure there was lone rangers like that in every church and they may feel like they’re the “voice in the wilderness.”

  4. Josh,

    If by “lone ranger” we are talking about a person with a special message for the people of a certain time (such as Wycliffe, Luther, Wesley, etc, or the prophets of the Old Testament), then their work must be indicated by prophecy. “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7).

    In the case of the Reformers, the prophecy was Rev. 2:16 “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth” (which indicated the circulation and preaching of the Bible) and Rev. 2:28 “And I will give him the morning star.” (Wycliffe is often referred to as the “morning star” of the Reformation). John Hus also prophesied: “Today [1415] you are burning a goose, (for Hus in Czech means goose); however, a hundred years from now you will hear a swan sing – you will not burn it, you will have to listen to him.” That swan was Luther, almost exactly a hundred years later. And the Lutherans celebrated the prophecy by putting weather vanes of swans on their churches and schools.

    Also, I would never expect the truth to draw millions of people…at least not until it becomes a tradition, and no longer has living power. So the success of Rob Bell is more an indicator against him.

    We may not see it, but Satan certainly knows who is teaching God’s truth, and you can be sure he will do everything to fight against it: prejudice, bigotry, hatred, rumors, misrepresentations, persecutions, etc. Really how popular was Jesus in his day? And He was the Son of God!

    There are probably many tests, but another of them is regarding the message. Does it reveal sin? Do you go to the meeting thinking you’re not doing too badly, and go away crying “God be merciful to me, a sinner!” The message God gives His chosen ones is:

    “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” …or this: “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.” (John 15:22)

    Of course they also must present the remedy for sin. I don’t know everything Rob Bell teaches (other than that “universalism” teaches that everyone will be saved in the end…which certainly tries to make sin less sinful!), but if it is popular, then it probably is not hitting at the roots of sin, but rather giving a false comfort.

    “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own:” (John 15:19). Also John 5:43 – “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”

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