Archive for the ‘1 Timothy’ Category

1 Timothy Five: But…?

Posted: October 4, 2011 in 1 Timothy

            Remember when Jesus was in the upper room washing the feet of His disciples and commanding them to do the same? Yeah, well, we Baptists don’t do it. And we don’t do it because instead of taking Jesus’ words literally, we instead look at the principle at play here, which is humility. And since we don’t have dirty feet from walking, we don’t wash feet, but instead serve how we can. Pretty simple, right?

            I just wonder…is it quite so simple to argue away twice? ‘Cause Paul says in 2 Timothy 5:10 that a qualification as a widow for church support was that she be a foot-washer. I find it interesting that Paul didn’t simply say “a humble servant.”

            I’m starting to wonder if there’s more to this foot-washing thing than my Baptistic roots have led me to believe…

Ah! I figured out what it is. See, when Paul was going through the list of qualifications that a person must meet to be qualified as a pastor, he forgot several things. First starters, he’s gotta be funny! No one likes a pastor who doesn’t entertain from the pulpit! And he has to be a really good speaker, too. Can’t be boring the congregation, now. And educated! Lots and lots of education. The more, the better! That’s why we have seminaries. It’s why I spent so much time and money on my degrees, right??

Lol. Hopefully my saracsm is loud and clear. The point is simple- good pastors aren’t good because of where they went to school or how eloquently they speak. If that kind of stuff were important, Paul would have included it in his letter. Instead, these are the qualities that make good pastors:

1. He has to be above reproach. In other words, a clean nose. No fingers should be able to be pointed at him.

2. A one-woman man. While debate rages concerning this verse and the divorce topic, it’s sufficient to say that if a man is unfaithful to his wife, he is not meeting this requirement.

3. Sober-minded. A hot-headed temperment has no place in church leadership, especially in light of the constant criticisms that are leveled against the church staff.

…and the list continues: respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. Someone who can raise his family properly.

 

There’s nothing in there about looks, oratory skills, service length, or the style of preaching. What God looks for is a man who is willing to live the life of a pastor- not someone who can keep you entertained for an hour on Sunday mornings.

All that being said, I enjoy my pastor’s sermons. He’s a good public speecher- when he’s not making fun of hunting, haha! And he’s an awesome people person and friend. We have definitely been blessed at Connersville Baptist Temple, and I’m blessed to play a role among the students here.

            First Timothy two is a hotbed of theological debate. Nothing fires up some tempers faster than quoting Paul as he says “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” The Universalists and semi-pelagians have a ball with this chapter too, particularly as Paul says “God…desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” and “Christ Jesus…gave himself as a ransom for all.” Pretty cut and dried to the Universalist. God wants to save all, and since God is sovereign and gets what He wants, all will be saved, and all are saved because on the cross Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for all, and thus none have a sin debt left to attempt paying on their own.

            The semi-pelgian (or Freewiller, if you…will) tries to interpret these passages as the Universalists do, yet still hold to the idea of Hell, so they are left saying that yes, God has desires that He cannot or will not attain, and people go to Hell whose sin debts were paid already by Jesus.

            Clearly, I think both interpretations are wrong. The problem is that neither side wants to establish the extent of “all”, which is flawed because all always means all of a particular context- not “all without question”. See here for another example of this.

            Look, Paul tells us what he means by “all” in verse two. Certainly it does not mean the entirety of the human race, for we would then spend the rest of our life going down a list of mankind’s names. In clarification, Paul goes on to say pray for “kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” So all in this instance can be understood as all types, or all kinds of people. Interpolating that idea onto the rest of the chapter, than we can understand that God desires to save people from all people groups, and likewise Jesus ransomed people of all types. There simply is no textual or theological need to read it as the Universalists and Freewillers do.

1 Timothy One: That’s why!

Posted: September 30, 2011 in 1 Timothy

            Earlier in the week I was musing about why God would choose to love any of us. Why He would want to rescue any of us, particularly at the cost of murdering His own Son on our behalf. Paul begins to shed light on the answer to this question in 1 Timothy One as he tells young Timothy, “I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” Long answer in a nutshell, God saves rotten people so that others may see just how awesome God is. He has vessels prepared for wrath, to display His holy hatred against sinful rebels, and He has vessels of mercy to demonstrate His kindness and love. And here’s the awesome part- He freely offers salvation to all who want it. How stinkin’ cool is that?