Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 18 Number 10 October 2016
Page 9

An Uninhabited Island

Donald R. Fox

Donald R. FoxMany of us remember the funny and clean TV sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” running from September 1964 to September 1967, with the Skipper and Gilligan as the crew of the charter boat S.S. Minnow and the five passengers. It was supposed to be a three-hour tour, but a storm shipwrecked all of them on an uncharted, uninhabited island. They were lost somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

The above reminds me of an illustration I heard years ago (from whom I do not remember) that helped me understand pre-denominational Christianity. I imagine that many of you that read the following may have heard it also.

Let’s say that several or more are shipwrecked on an uninhabited island. All survived the terrible storm. The kind of people marooned are just average type folks. They had one thing in common. They had absolutely no interest in religion up to this point in their lives. They were totally ignorant or completely unaware of all religions of this world.

As they recovered items from the wrecked ship, they found a Bible. No other literature, radio or the like was able to be salvaged from the ship. As the days, weeks and months passed, they started to read the Bible as a group. The Word of God was totally new to them. Naturally, they began with the first verse in the Bible, Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” They could grasp that this world and everything in it did not come from a huge, big-bang explosion. Their common sense led them to understand that from nothing comes nothingness. Chaos never produces order.

Time passed, and they studied the only book they had, the Bible. All the survivors believed what they read. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:37).

The Word of God became their hope and their rock of stability. Belief in the God of the Bible was now a reality to them. For the first time in their lives, they understood that there were fixed standards of right and wrong. Reading and re-reading the Acts of the Apostles, they became and were believers (Acts 15:7; Mark 16:15-16). They repented of their sins, and they desired to be obedient to God Almighty (Acts 3:19). Recalling the conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:26-40, they exclaimed one and all, “See, here is water: what doth hinder me to be baptized?” (Verse 36). They all believed and confessed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 8:37). The group went to the ocean side, and they all were immersed (baptized) for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38).

Further, they also understood that they, as new babes in Christ, must live faithfully. “…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). “…as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby…” (1 Peter 2:2).

Now a question: Upon this obedience in accordance with what the Bible taught, what were they? The Answer: They were Christians, no more and no less. To what denomination did they belong? None, for they possessed neither concept nor understanding of denominationalism. It can’t get any simpler or clearer than this illustration.

Disciplining an Addict

Robert D. RawsonWhen you guard your valuables, but some of them are taken for resale anyway, what can you do to impress upon a person that this should not be done? Methods of discipline are mentioned in the Bible.

Discuss with words
(Proverbs 1)

With some, this is all it takes. A frank, loving discussion of the awful acts of theft and being under the control of substances will be accepted early on by some addicts. Counselors, doctors and special family members can be brought into the discussion to help lead to desirable changes.

Offering help
(Proverbs 16:9)

I realize there can be a negative teaching in this passage by encouraging bribery. However, by giving gifts, we can become friends with a person. Taking away the challenge of stealing from you by an offer, “I know what has happened, and this doesn’t matter with me so long as you will let me help you now.” As a result, an addict may develop humility in the heart by this type of discipline. Mean it when you say it! He may even help you get back an heirloom that hurts your heart because it was taken. By only looking the other way, no change will occur.

What If There Is No
Change in the Addict?

What have you lost in talking about it or insisting that changes be made? What have you lost by being a better guardian of your valuables, which are not respected and will otherwise be used by the addict for quick money for drugs, alcohol or mannerisms on the computer that become addictive for the family member (Luke 14)?

By trying, we may succeed, and it can never be said that we didn’t try to help the change to take place. After all, you did not nag the person into that way of life (Proverbs 29:1). Neither did you enter into the habits and enable them to go deeper into the addiction.

Most of the time, this depth of addiction is a violation of the law of the land as well, and arrest, trials and placement into jail may occur. Without the changes brought about by good teaching and discipline, even time spent in confinement will do little good in bringing about changes in the lifestyle of the eventually pardoned or freed person. The love of God must be accepted for changes to begin (1 John 4:4) since God is involved, which is greater than the spirit of the world. Remember there is a judgment after death (Hebrews 9:27).

[Editor’s Note: Few families are spared from at least one member becoming overwhelmed with sin of some type, perhaps even to the point of addiction. In addition, every community in which God’s people assemble has within it persons whose various sinful addictions separate them from God, and Christians need to be ready to attempt to rescue these souls as well as the souls of others among the lost who may more nearly mirror what we see in ourselves. The Gospel is for all, and we Christians are charged with the responsibility of proclaiming it widely. Finally, talking is a place to begin, but true addicts usually need professional help that also addresses physiological (medical) and psychological issues. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]

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