Editorial

The Dangers of Going it Alone

By

Our culture has become overrun with personalized belief systems. If you’re not happy with the conventional teachings of your faith, just modify them to suit your current leanings. And in two years, when your priorities shift, modify them again. It’s an easy “just add water” faith recipe for people on the go who don’t want to be tied down by anything remotely absolute in a rapidly changing world. As a result, more and more Christians decide to go it alone rather than commit themselves to a faith community.

Spiritual and social isolation paves the way to precarious self-deception. When left alone in our thoughts, we allow our spiritual adversary to seize opportunities to implant doubt and deceit. He instructs his assigned minions to distort the reality of God’s unfailing love into something far more conditional.

Countless times I have fallen for the baseless argument that God has had it with me—that I’m a disappointment to Him and to those around me. When these lies become internal realities, we search in vain for significance in someone or something other than Christ. We begin to reject His life-lifting truth, thereby raising our vulnerability to demonic influence.

Mark David Chapman believed the internal voices that told him how much notoriety he would gain by murdering former Beatle John Lennon. In the months leading up to Mark’s infamous act, as his wife, Gloria, explains, Mark “began to withdraw into himself, and we stopped attending church.”

In his article “Spiritual Isolationism,” Rev. Andrew T. Yeager writes,

Perhaps there is no better resource that militates against spiritual isolationism than Luther’s Small Catechism. Consider the Explanation to the Third Article: Who is the Holy Spirit? He is the Spirit who gathers. He gathers the whole Church on earth to Jesus Christ and keeps her with him in the one true faith. . . . He is not a Spirit of isolation. He’s a Spirit of koinonia, communion. He is not a Spirit who spreads people out, hermit-like, to live separate, isolated spiritual lives, but a Spirit who draws people in—into Jesus, to His living voice and into communion with one another in the Church.

We all have our occasional “Armchair Alliance” (see also “Bedside Baptist” or “Pillow Presbyterian”) moments. But let’s resolve to resist the isolationism our culture would urge us into. Mark Ashton gives us five solid reasons to remain committed to the local church for the sake of our souls and the sake of the world.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:24–25).

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Peter Burgo, Editor-in-Chief

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