The Gastonguay family, who set sail in a small boat to a tiny Pacific island in order to escape what they deemed as government controlled religion in the US, were thought to have been lost at sea until a Venezuelan fishing vessel rescued them. But that’s not the only rescue they need.
Many of the stories concerning the Gastonguay family have given little information as to their theology. They were often simply called “religious” or “devout,” which could many any number of things. The most recent story, detailing their being saved and sent back to the United States, gives some additional details as to why they were fleeing.
Hannah Gastonguay, who left with her husband, two small children and father-in-law, said they were Christians who didn’t believe in “abortion, homosexuality, in the state-controlled church.” She had a problem with taxpayer funded abortions and expressed a belief that churches in America “aren’t their own.”
While she and I may agree to an extent on abortion and homosexuality, and perhaps on the government encroachment into religious liberty, we completely disagree on what to do about it. Why would we come to such drastically different conclusions over how to respond to a culture that is increasingly post-Christian? The article gives us a big clue.
The Gastonguays weren’t members of any church, and she said their faith came from reading the Bible and through prayer.
Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, Harold Camping said he didn’t need the church either before he and his followers went off the deep end with their doomsday predictions.
As I wrote about Camping not simply waking up one day and deciding to be the world’s laughing stock in 2011, the same is true for the Gastonguay family – their crazy beliefs and actions came as a direct result from being disconnected with other Christians in a local church body.
While this family obviously doesn’t see it that way, think how arrogant it is for them to assume that they could not learn from anyone outside their home. How ignorant of their sinful condition (at best) or prideful of their spiritual life (at worst) it is for the Gastonguays to believe that they could not be deceived in their understanding of God’s word.
That doesn’t mean someone who gets all their preaching from a podcast is going to set sail for a tiny island to escape the oppressive United State government. But every Christian needs to be connected to a local church body. One of the reasons is it serves as a preventative for this type of crazy understanding or application of Scripture.
Christian, you need to be actively engaged in a local church family. It can be difficult. As my family recently moved to a new area, we are searching for a church to call home. That is not an easy task, but it is a necessary one.
God has gifted me, along with every believer, to serve Him and other believers in a church home. He has specifically prepared that church to best minister to me and my family, drawing us closer to Him. To reject the church, is to reject one of the greatest gifts God has for us. It is to dismiss the very institution Christ established and promised would endure until His return.
The Gastonguays were rescued from being lost at sea, but they still seem very much lost theologically. They, like all of us, need to be moored to a sure foundation of proper biblical understanding and interpretation that comes through living out the Scriptures in community with others.