Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Taking too long between posts. Anyway......

I believe there are activities that weaken, even threaten the structure of the local church in regards to its purpose as the pillar and support of the truth. But as Steve suggested in the comments, they have more to do with who I am than what I am doing. The Leaders of the local assembly have a great responsibility and risk before them. The context of 1 Timothy 3:15 is qualifications of leaders and it is their conduct that Paul is addressing.

Paul warned the elders at Ephesus about the danger of false teachers (wolves) coming into the flock and doing harm. But he also expressed concern that even some of the elders present would wander from the truth and draw others with them. I am assuming the nature of the risk is false teaching from the outside as that was a common problem in the early church. The risk from inside may have been something else.

The letter Jesus dictates to the apostle John in Revelation may be a clue. It seems Ephesus fell victim to misdirected effort, they left their first love. Whichever the case, it is clear to me that we need to be on our guard as well. There is no reason for us to assume we are in a better place spiritually after 2,000 years. For my part I have a growing concern that the church in our day has lost its confidence in the power of God's Word. The error of the Colossian church of mingling human wisdom with God's (col. 2:8 ff) is again finding traction today.

The resurrection of contemplative theology in our day is drawing a lot of attention from people who should be able to see through it.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Returning to 1 Timothy 3:15 we move from the requirements in John 4:24 for true worship to a statement of purpose. The church is to be the pillar and support of the truth. It seems clear from the passage that Paul is speaking of the local church since that is where Timothy must "conduct" himself in his ministry. The imagery suggests the purpose. The local church is to elevate or hold up the truth. No surprise there, as we find through out the scriptures repeated instructions to proclaim, demonstrate and declare the truth about God and His Son Jesus.

What strikes me here is the singular purpose Paul places on the local church. Paul's use of the difinite article with truth tells us he is not speaking of truth in general, but in the particular. That being the content of v. 16:

He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.

As individuals our lives are cluttered with other demands. The need to make a living and provide for our daily needs consumes much of our energy. Family responsibilities take up even more of that precious resource we call time. That is the way it is for the individual believer, but when we join together as the local church we are tasked with the one clear purpose of upholding the truth.

When the local church expends its resources in activities that do not contribute to that purpose is the structure weaken?

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