For 27 years, the North Pond Hermit was to rural Maine what the Loch Ness Monster is to Scotland: lore, myth, legend, a perverse point of local pride. Those convinced of his existence regarded him with admiration and fear, the latter more common among his victims. Serial thief for decades. These crimes had a pattern, spiking before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, and the items stolen ranged from batteries to packaged food to skillets to paperback novels. The hermit loved back issues of National Geographic and preferred peanut butter over tuna. He rarely stole anything of real value, save for the couple who returned for the summer to find a mattress stolen from a bunk bed — the passports they’d stashed under it left, in view, in a closet. He was considerate that way. If the hermit had to remove a door from its hinges to get in, he’d reattach it before leaving. He’d never break a window to gain entry, never rifle through belongings, always leave a cabin as clean as he found it. When finally caught we learned it was Christopher Knight, who grew up in a town of Main where cows outnumbered people. His father, obsessed with privacy, taught him how to hunt, gather, and farm. In 1985 when he graduated high school he drove his car to a remote lake, left the keys in the ignition, and walked into the woods for the next 27 years. He didn’t leave to hide a crime or b/c he was outcaste from society. He just loved the solitude and didn’t thinking sitting at a cubicle for 8 hours a day would be a good life. (Footnote 1)
Sometimes we find people who are not like us a bit weird. This tends to create a barrier between that individual and the rest of society. They become the “outcast” who isn’t invited to all the dinner parties. I think the North Pond Hermit had a point when asked why he decided on that lifestyle. He asked the question, “Who is strange? The one who decides to live free or the one who sits behind a desk for 8-10 hours a day staring at a computer screen?” I don’t condone his criminal activity but I think the man has a point.
John the Baptist was a bit of an eccentric man to say the least. You would think a prophet of God would want to have his message heard in the temple where all the Biblical teachers could listen. Maybe he would sit in the city gates to catch all those who come and go. Instead John was sent to the wilderness. When people ventured out to see this wilderness prophet, they saw a scruffy woodsman. He wore a poncho made of Camel’s hair. In fact, because Chick Fil A sauce wasn’t invented yet, he had to dip his wild locusts in honey. I think God did this to get everyone’s attention. It’s like Jeremiah burying his cloak until it was rotten, Ezekiel having to dig a hole through the wall while he preached, or Isaiah giving sermons while in his underwear. There is something about God that wants his prophets to get people’s attention with more than just their words. Surely this long haired, rough around the edges, desert preacher would get people’s attention.
There are a few key things to point out about this man
Sometimes God uses the person you least expect to prepare His way. This reminds me of a story about Abraham Lincoln.
Truly John the Baptist was an incredible man of God. He broke the 400-year revelation silence from God. He prepared the way for the Messiah. He brought people back from the distractions of life to the quiet retreat of a wilderness revival. Most of all, he stayed faithful to the mission of God by preaching the message of God unapologetically.
For more on this lesson stay tuned to my next blog post or listen to the whole sermon here.
Footnote 1--This first paragraph was taken from an online NY Post
The history of Early Christianity has been under attack for some time now. The devil has been very crafty on this point. If the Apostles, and the early church by extension, had a set standard of theological positions, then our goal should be to simply figure out what it was and follow it. But, here is where the devil's craftiness steps in, if early Christianity was simply a melting pot of ideas where one group ended up at the top through political maneuvering and sheer might, then who is to say that group has the "orthodox" doctrine? This is exactly what skeptics are teaching today. Listen to the popular Bart Ehrman:
"The wide diversity of early Christianity may be seen above all by the theological beliefs embraced by people who understood themselves to be followers of Jesus. In the second and third centuries there were, of course, Christians who believed in one God. But there were others that insisted there were two. Some said there were thirty. Others claimed there were 365 (Lost Christianities, 2)."
I want to present to you New Testament Scriptures that show the early church had a set standard of orthodoxy and they knew it. Of course the skeptic will say that the group that came to power in the later centuries rewrote history and changed the Bible to fit their theological positions. But this fails when one simply examines the manuscript evidence and the historical data from the patristics. That is a story for another blog post. Below you will find twelve verses that support the Christian position, that orthodoxy was established by the Apostles, not the fourth century church councils.
Popular skeptics like Ehrman challenge the historical date of orthodox Christianity. They thrive on sensationalizing the data by portraying early Christianity as a fuzzy picture with blurred doctrinal lines. I’m sorry if the data isn’t as exciting but I’m a promoter for truth over sensational news. The data shows that first century Christianity had clear lines of demarcation to show who was in and who was out. Sure, some of the implications of these theological positions took time to work out (i.e. the humanity & deity of Christ). But the New Testament can still be clear on what is orthodoxy and what is heresy.
Does the Paul from the Book of Acts and the Epistles differ? If you ask our liberal buddy Bart Ehrman, he would say YES!!! But of course he would for he holds to the Bauer Thesis. First, let me acknowledge that this debate continues because there are legitimate differences between the Paul portrayed in Acts and the Epistles. For example, Luke pictures Paul as the hero missionary of the early church who championed the mission and overcame every obstacle. The Paul of the Epistles is portrayed as a man who works in the shadow of Christ's redemptive work as a mere servant of Christ, not a celebrity to be admired (Gal 2:20; 1 Cor 2:1-5). Should these differences cause us any alarm? I content they should not. I want to give you six points to show that the Paul of Acts and the Paul of the Epistles were the same man.
Liberals get themselves all worked up when they see any sort of diversity in the Scriptures but seems to plug their ears when evidence to the contrary is pointed out. It does not surprise me at all that Luke pictures Paul a bit different than Paul pictured himself. I'm sure my friend would talk about me in a different light than I would talk about myself. Surely, I would talk about my mentors different than they would talk about themselves. Also, humility demands Paul to not picture himself as a hero or celebrity missionary. Luke even describes Paul as taking this route (Acts 14:11-15). Therefore, we should not be shaken by a bit of diversity.
I’m Billy Dyer a Teacher and Preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is my blog page. It is focused on “coffee table apologetics”..... continue reading >>
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