Lone Wolf Christianity

Chris

Administrator
Staff member
Lone Wolf Christianity
By Jordan Chamblee

There’s never been a time when the necessity of church and fellowship has been called into question as much as today. I passed by a table of books one day and saw a title that struck me as odd. The title seemed to insinuate that there was a way to follow Christ without ever meeting together with the church body. To be fair, I haven’t read the book so I could very well have misunderstood it. But I have encountered this attitude many times in social media and in person. The attitude of disillusionment with “established” religion and a kind of contempt towards formalized worship. The mantra is everywhere: “Christianity is a relationship, not a religion.”

True…but it is a relationship that includes religion. And part of this religion is meeting together with a body of believers, sitting under gospel preaching, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. These core things shouldn’t be replaced or seen as unnecessary.

Yes, many churches have been disappointing. There have been schisms, scandals, frauds, and embarrassments. But the answer is not to swing to the opposite end of the spectrum, reject church life altogether and adopt a “lone wolf” Christianity. Not only is this completely against Scripture (Hebrews 10:24-25), but also it is detrimental to a healthy walk with Christ. When we’re walking this path alone, we’re actually starving ourselves of so many benefits.

It starves us of accountability.

Accountability is a strong word. There seems to be a thin line between living under accountability and living under scrutiny. No one likes to be watched, especially by “church folk.” But let’s face this bit of honesty: we can’t take care of ourselves. One of the root principles of being a Christian is that we understand we are weak. We need accountability. We need brothers and sisters who love us enough to warn us, rebuke us even when we stray or backslide. This cannot be found anywhere other than a community of Christians in a church.

It starves us of encouragement.

On the flip side, when we are apart from the Body of Christ we are cut off from affirmation and encouragement. We may be doing very well in our walk with Christ, upheld by the grace of God, but the toil and the hardships can still weigh heavily on us, causing discouragement. When we separate ourselves from brothers and sisters in Christ we are separating ourselves from the comfort they can offer, the validation that Christ is sufficient, and the encouragement to stand up and carry on in faith.

It keeps us from witnessing the work of the Holy Spirit among His people and experiencing Christ in the lives of other Christians.

How many times have you seen two people who did not get along finally come together in forgiveness because of Christ? Or fellow Christians finally emerging victorious over a sin that had plagued their lives? When we cut ourselves off from this fellowship, we cut ourselves off from the corporate blessings of the Holy Spirit working among His people.

It starves us of biblical teaching.

It really isn’t enough to do our own Bible reading and “quiet time.” We need to be taught doctrine from a minister of the gospel. Someone who has dedicated his whole life to studying and expositing the Scriptures. In the Bible we never see personal study replace preaching and church attendance. In fact, the Apostle Paul spent most of his life concerned with the welfare and spiritual lives of his fellow preachers. We cannot afford to refrain from sitting under biblical teaching in church.

It keeps us from sharing our gifts with other Christians and makes us virtually useless in Kingdom work.

“Lone wolf” Christians are at a disadvantage when it comes to exercising their gifts. When we set ourselves apart from the rest of the church we are actually taking ourselves out of the battlefield and working in a place God did not call us to. In military terms, we are disregarding orders. We may be practicing our talents and doing great and good things, but outside of the context of the Body of Christ, it is irrelevant. In a body, the eye must remain the eye and do what an eye is supposed to do. If the eye leaves the body, it is useless. In the same way, each member of the Body of Christ is to remain in the Body and accomplish within the Body what they are called to accomplish.

We have to remember something that the cross of Christ accomplished: He abolished the individual:

“…you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” – (1 Peter 2:5 NKJV).

We are the bricks and mortar of a house, little parts of a greater whole. Our identity is no longer self, but we have been given a new and greater identity in Christ. We can’t afford to separate ourselves from this “spiritual house.” If we do, we’re just useless stones lying on the ground all by ourselves. Christ died so that we could live in this new identity. We cannot reject it.

(Editor’s Note: This blog was first posted in December 2014. In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic which kept many churches from in-person meeting for more than a year, this repost is offered to reaffirm the need to engage in corporate worship.)

https://www.raptureforums.com/spiritual-life/lone-wolf-christianity/
 

Andy C

Well-Known Member
Lone wolf” Christians are at a disadvantage when it comes to exercising their gifts. When we set ourselves apart from the rest of the church we are actually taking ourselves out of the battlefield and working in a place God did not call us to. In military terms, we are disregarding orders. We may be practicing our talents and doing great and good things, but outside of the context of the Body of Christ, it is irrelevant.
I dont agree with this article, and below link which was recently posted on this forum explains why many “lone” Christians do not attend church. Solid biblical churches are like finding gold - you know its out there, just takes a long time to find it, and there may be none in your area. Thankfully, anywhere you are with another Christian is part of the church, not just inside a building.



https://www.raptureforums.com/forums/threads/leaven-in-the-pulpit.180211/
 

soundingthealarm

Fleethewrath2come
I live in the "Bible Belt" and its pretty much Calivinistic Lordship Salvation (Works Based) or "Seeker Friendly" (modern day golden calf) assembling, there is truly a famine in the land and I'm just thankful for the "remnant" of believers who recognize the falling away that has and IS happening at warp speed.
 

OnlyHim

Well-Known Member
I think many of us even here have been pushed into a Lone Wolf type situation because there just isn't many options left. I have never looked for a perfect church or one that is aligned with all my preferences because they just don't exist, but I'm sorry I just cant support what goes on in the churches mentioned above in the previous post.
 

Burnboss

Well-Known Member
Seven churches in two months. Each one was once a God fearing, Bible teaching home to their communities. Now within the past five years, they have all become Calvinistic and or worldly friendly places of gatherings. I use to fill in for pulpit duty but now I'm told my message is not what the pastor wants his flock to hear. Guess I'll wait until Sounding starts his church and set under him.
 

ShilohRose

Well-Known Member
I've attended several churches over the years, and I never fit. I have often sung in the choir, but there is no fellowship with anyone. I'm always on the periphery. I finally decided that I'm an odd duck, and the fault is in me. If I'm ever allowed to attend church again, I'll go anyway, remain on the outside, and not worry about being ignored. The church I belong to is okay on doctrine, if some of the younger women don't ruin it with their choice of apostate teachers.
 

Amethyst

Angie ... †
It starves us of accountability.

Accountability is a strong word. There seems to be a thin line between living under accountability and living under scrutiny. No one likes to be watched, especially by “church folk.” But let’s face this bit of honesty: we can’t take care of ourselves. One of the root principles of being a Christian is that we understand we are weak. We need accountability. We need brothers and sisters who love us enough to warn us, rebuke us even when we stray or backslide. This cannot be found anywhere other than a community of Christians in a church.

It starves us of encouragement.

On the flip side, when we are apart from the Body of Christ we are cut off from affirmation and encouragement. We may be doing very well in our walk with Christ, upheld by the grace of God, but the toil and the hardships can still weigh heavily on us, causing discouragement. When we separate ourselves from brothers and sisters in Christ we are separating ourselves from the comfort they can offer, the validation that Christ is sufficient, and the encouragement to stand up and carry on in faith.
Unfortunately, this is missing form a lot of churches as well. Many have members who are well-to-do and are not concerned with helping others grow in Jesus, but discussing the next home they are building.
 

Andiamo

"Let's go!"
Every point in this article are all assumptions.
My husband and I are now back in church but spent ten years just visiting churches here and there, and trying a few home fellowships.
After being burned big time by our previous church and experiencing a crisis of faith where we were questioning everything but the most basic tenants of the faith, We sincerely needed that time to regroup, clear our minds and search out the scriptures for ourselves.
Although we hated the loneliness, It was a time of tremendous spiritual growth and is one reason why we are pre-trib rapture believers today and I am here with you fine people.

Church is church....but should not be our walk.
Our walks are individual and we need to take individual responsibility for them.
That means being teachable but also not being dependent on a pastor to spoon feed us the Word.
It means being like Mary and choosing the better part and making sure we meet with the Lord face to face, and not merely through church activity.
It means taking responsibility for striving for our own spiritual growth and maturity
and we will certainly be held accountable for that, and won't be able to blame any church for lack of it.
Nor will any church ever do it for us.
 

Misty S

Well-Known Member
Church here is... well, not great. They have adopted the social trends of the day, lots of young and edgy pastors. We have a pastor fairly close, who has happily boasted about wanting to shoot people and has kicked long time members from his church for not "tithing" enough.

We now meet with family and friends and go from there. It is far more concentrated and mature, not to minimize church services of old before trends of the day took a stranglehold.
 

JamesSuth

Well-Known Member
I think the article does a great job of pointing out what we need from and to give to the church, but I disagree with the conclusion that this needs to be through official church organisations. All these things can be achieved without being part of an official church. And it is better not to be part of an organisation that claims to be a church but isn't - they can do a lot of harm especially to those young in the faith. I think when people write an article like this they are doing so from a position of assuming there is a church nearby which although isn't perfect, is broadly following Christ. In many parts of the world that just isn't the case so we need to encourage believers who are in that position.

If we are not part of an official church we should try to avoid being a 'lone wolf' Christian for all the reasons mentioned in the article. We often do that through reaching out to other believers we might come across. But if anyone reading this in a country where being a Christian is nearly impossible, I know even that may not be possible and I do believe that Christ will give you extra help. Ironically when I was a member of my last church I was effectively a 'lone wolf' Christian after the retirement of my pastor and he and his family left leaving me as the sole believer in the congregation.

But I hope this doesn't sound like too critical of what Jordan Chamblee has written, there are good points and I'm sure he wrote it with good intentions.
 

RobinB

Well-Known Member
Church here is... well, not great. They have adopted the social trends of the day, lots of young and edgy pastors. We have a pastor fairly close, who has happily boasted about wanting to shoot people and has kicked long time members from his church for not "tithing" enough.

We now meet with family and friends and go from there. It is far more concentrated and mature, not to minimize church services of old before trends of the day took a stranglehold.

But if you are meeting with others you aren't a Lone Wolf. Even us meeting here daily means we're not going it alone.
 

JSTyler

Well-Known Member
Church is church....but should not be our walk.
Our walks are individual and we need to take individual responsibility for them.
I really like the whole post I cherry picked this bit from and agree with it. But this part really resonates with me in a different but similar context.

It reminds me of the whole worship conundrum. I love me some Hibbs, Woods, Hocking, McGee, Rodgers, Kelly and many other Bible teachers that I fill my head with. However, to a person, they seem to state in one form or another that, (all my paraphrasing here) "Worship is worship and we should accept what is offered and worship God regardless of style..." I don't buy into that argument so much these days. Just as I don't quite follow the conclusion of this article completely.

What we fill ourselves with HAS TO BE in alignment with sound scriptural doctrine and the HUGE preponderance of churches and worship aren't even in the same galaxy as soundness. I'd rather go lone-wolf than swim in a cesspool and call it a bath.
 

soundingthealarm

Fleethewrath2come
Church in many instances has been a building full of white-washed tombs, full of dead man's bones instead of a Grace Oasis for the walking wounded.

Scripture teaches us to not tout OUR virtues but rather humbly confess our weaknesses that we might be healed yet I've rarely found a church where that would ever be administered.

Case in point. 2002 I went through an unwanted divorce, was left by my wife who wanted to abandon I and her son of which she did. I fought for the marriage, begged and pleaded PRAYED went to counseling but to no avail.

A few years later attending a church (home group night) and we had a couple in the group that was sharing some of their issues and I spoke life into the situation and was rebuked publicly that "you have no business sharing on marriage as a divorcee." - Elder of the Church.

That Elder and His wife were LEADERS of the Marriage Ministry of the church and YET all the while it came to light that the Elder/Husband had been having an ongoing affair for years.

If you find a place where you can be who you CURRENTLY are warts and all, yet be encouraged/exhorted to press on to the high calling in Christ Jesus you have found a safe haven but I have not found such a place in a long long time.

I strive to have a circle of trust of people of whom I can go to and say "I'm fighting/battling/getting my butt kicked in this area" and at the same time be there for those whom share with me the same type of confessions and be there to share the good news of the AMAZING GRACE afforded us through the finished work of Jesus Christ!

As a husband and Father, I daily fight to provide that type of space for my wife and kids and family and friends.
 

Batman

Well-Known Member
What great posts you sisters and brothers have made. We have been burned in recent years too. Lots of calvinistic and seeker sensitive churches. Lots of in-fighting. Lots of modern rock Vegas show service formats. Lots of youth and younger folks trying or actually running things. Lots of women sticking their nose in the church in a manner that feels like the pulpit is the ultimate endgame. Lots of empty spiritual calorie singing and music (not just rock style) that glorifies self and ability, not the Triune Godhead. Lots of divorce. Lots of "christian" drinking (even when the pulpit and bylaws doesn't necessarily say it is ok). Lots of worldliness.

Our current church is built on 150 believers max, only 2 children in SS, at least 70% of the church is over 65, songs are sung from Hymnals only, the piano is the only instrument, the pastor wears a suit coat and tie and so do most of the men, zero sermons on tithing or any other tithing push mentioned during the year, and overall this group is struggling in a world where we are fine with everything mentioned above but know the typical younger couple with kids is totally opposite on many things and especially wants bells/whistles for their kids and an overall dynamic and constantly growing kids worship/SS membership. We are aware of the need to grow or we will die out to very small numbers but growth from the outside has include several progressive troublemaking couples that eventually left instead of continuing their stupidity and divisiveness. It is what it is.
 

Andiamo

"Let's go!"
Church in many instances has been a building full of white-washed tombs, full of dead man's bones instead of a Grace Oasis for the walking wounded.

Scripture teaches us to not tout OUR virtues but rather humbly confess our weaknesses that we might be healed yet I've rarely found a church where that would ever be administered.

Case in point. 2002 I went through an unwanted divorce, was left by my wife who wanted to abandon I and her son of which she did. I fought for the marriage, begged and pleaded PRAYED went to counseling but to no avail.

A few years later attending a church (home group night) and we had a couple in the group that was sharing some of their issues and I spoke life into the situation and was rebuked publicly that "you have no business sharing on marriage as a divorcee." - Elder of the Church.

That Elder and His wife were LEADERS of the Marriage Ministry of the church and YET all the while it came to light that the Elder/Husband had been having an ongoing affair for years.

If you find a place where you can be who you CURRENTLY are warts and all, yet be encouraged/exhorted to press on to the high calling in Christ Jesus you have found a safe haven but I have not found such a place in a long long time.

I strive to have a circle of trust of people of whom I can go to and say "I'm fighting/battling/getting my butt kicked in this area" and at the same time be there for those whom share with me the same type of confessions and be there to share the good news of the AMAZING GRACE afforded us through the finished work of Jesus Christ!

As a husband and Father, I daily fight to provide that type of space for my wife and kids and family and friends.
I'm so sorry that happened to you. My husband was also left by his first wife after she had an affair and chose the other guy, despite his desperate attempts to reconcile. Many in that church automatically took her side, assuming that a man must be doing something very wrong for a wife to seek love elsewhere. The gossip machine got going too. He had to endure much shame and embarrassment.
We also crave that transparency that you do...people we can trust with our deeper struggles and thoughts. "Confess your sins to one another that you may be healed" is wonderful in theory, isn't it? Most people have walls up around them, sadly. It's hard to get people to even share their testimony, or hear ours. We are still working on being compassionate and trustworthy people, and then maybe we can earn that trust one day.
 
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