Shepherding/Discipleship Movement Survivor's Blog

The present-day impact of the Shepherding/Discipleship movement from the perspective of a former member of Morning Star International (now Every Nation Churches and Ministries).

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Almost Like a Seminary Education...

Yesterday was the final meeting for the "cult class" I took this semester. (Yes, it's a real class for credit - the course name is "PHIL 231: Topics in World Religions (Cults).") When my instructor handed my paper back he said, "Go to seminary and use this as your master's thesis." Not bad for something that was mostly written in 3-4 days. He is not the first person to say I need to go to seminary, by the way. My husband especially has been encouraging me to go to seminary. Where or how, I don't know, but I'm sure that if that's in God's will for me He will make a way.

Though the last two years have almost been like a seminary education - two years ago, I was totally clueless. I could discuss postmodernism all day for sure (thanks to master's degree #1), but I wouldn't have been able to clearly articulate my faith outside of platitudes, much less write a thirty-plus page theologically-grounded treatise mostly off the top of my head. It started two days before I was to start VLI, when I stumbled upon potentially disturbing information about Morning Star's/Every Nation's leaders and history, and the Lord started speaking to me about using my writing talents for Him, to bring a word to a body that had forgotten Jesus Christ is the Head, and the rest as they say is history. In an incredible and incredibly humbling way, it looks to have become entwined with the history of that movement, hopefully for the better for those who have been helped in any way by the journey that the Lord has very publicly led me on - along with those of other current and former EN members. I know that at least some have found true freedom in Christ as a result... just as I have rediscovered my own freedom in Him. What an education this has been - and I might add a much different education than I would have received in VLI/ENLI. Not just intellectually, but even more spiritually.

A fellow poster on FACTNet recently commented that the church might instead focus on helping the poor and hungry. We as the Body of Christ are most definitely a "hospital church" for Jesus came for the sick and sinful, not for the healthy. He didn't primarily come to train leaders; He came to save the lost. And the "leadership skills" He did teach included being last rather than first, humbly serving others rather than being served, having only one Master, Teacher and Head... certainly not setting up pyramidical leadership structures. That post also made me reflect on Jesus' teachings about those poor in spirit, and those hungering for spiritual things. One who eats bread will become hungry later; one who eats of the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, the living Word, will never hunger (John 6:35). There are so many starving for the Word, and I believe that's what the Lord has called me to do, to help point people to Him and to the Word so that they may hunger no more. And also to help warn people where there is tainted milk and meat in the process.

Hebrews 5:12-14 (NIV): 12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.


Blogger James Fletcher Baxter said...

The missing element in every human 'solution' is
an accurate definition of the creature.

The way we define 'human' determines our view
of self, others, relationships, institutions, life, and
future. Important? Only the Creator who made us
in His own image is qualified to define us accurately.

Many problems in human experience are the result of
false and inaccurate definitions of humankind premised
in man-made religions and humanistic philosophies.

Human knowledge is a fraction of the whole universe.
The balance is a vast void of human ignorance. Human
reason cannot fully function in such a void; thus, the
intellect can rise no higher than the criteria by which it
perceives and measures values.

Humanism makes man his own standard of measure.
However, as with all measuring systems, a standard
must be greater than the value measured. Based on
preponderant ignorance and an egocentric carnal
nature, humanism demotes reason to the simpleton
task of excuse-making in behalf of the rule of appe-
tites, desires, feelings, emotions, and glands.

Because man, hobbled in an ego-centric predicament,
cannot invent criteria greater than himself, the humanist
lacks a predictive capability. Without instinct or trans-
cendent criteria, humanism cannot evaluate options with
foresight and vision for progression and survival. Lack-
ing foresight, man is blind to potential consequence and
is unwittingly committed to mediocrity, collectivism,
averages, and regression - and worse. Humanism is an
unworthy worship.

The void of human ignorance can easily be filled with
a functional faith while not-so-patiently awaiting the
foot-dragging growth of human knowledge and behav-
ior. Faith, initiated by the Creator and revealed and
validated in His Word, the Bible, brings a transcend-
ent standard to man the choice-maker. Other philo-
sophies and religions are man-made, humanism, and
thereby lack what only the Bible has:

1.Transcendent Criteria and
2.Fulfilled Prophetic Validation.

The vision of faith in God and His Word is survival
equipment for today and the future.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by
nature and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of
Criteria. Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive
characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the natural
foundation of his environments, institutions, and re-
spectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is orien-
ted to a Freedom whose roots are in the Order of the


7:43 AM  

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