Thursday, July 16, 2009

Come off it.

1 Tim. 5:22-25 (ESV)
Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. [23] (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) [24] The sins of some men are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. [25] So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.

Timothy is charged with finding pastors for congregations. Paul gives him the qualifications needed. Talks about the honor that should be given to the office, he then tells Timothy not to be hasty in the laying on of hands. That is don’t be quick to ordain. I’m sure there was a shortage of pastors and laborers in Paul’s day. Not sure there was a time when there wasn’t an “emergency” situation as far as this is concerned. But sometimes the worst thing a man can do in an emergency is panic and do something for the sake of doing something. The pastoral office is a very special office with special needs. The qualifications for this office should be a little more than male plumbing and a pulse, or a mere desire to serve. Of course neither should the qualifications be less than these. But men should be vetted out a little to see if they truly have the aptitude to teach, and to lead, and to shepherd. They should have zealousness for the word of God, but not such a drive for orthodoxy that they start trying to purify the church and tear the tares out from the wheat before the harvest. By this I mean excommunicating everyone at the drop of a hat, rather than patiently teaching the correct doctrine and bringing people around. The courage (if you want to call it that) to excommunicate should not be the badge of orthodoxy. Neither should the experience of excommunicating a person be the prerequisite to join the Orthodoxy club. There is a time for excommunication it isn’t in the heat of a personal quarrel.
I find it funny, that right after Paul bids that Timothy not take part in the sins of others, and keep himself pure, he admonishes him for drinking nothing but water. Paul commands Timothy to drink wine. Why? Timothy was guilty of a sin, one that wasn’t conspicuous, one that is actually admired and respected in the world. Timothy was guilty of asceticism, extreme asceticism. Asceticism is basically torturing yourself with fasting in various ways. Timothy was so starving himself in his fast, and his teetotal ling that he was becoming frequently ill. Paul tells him to come off it. Drink some wine. To be sure Paul wasn’t telling him to be a drunkard, which may be the more conspicuous sin. But he was telling him to stop with this foolish show of prideful asceticism.


Mike Green said...

"Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands..."

Kinda makes you think about some of our insta-Pastor programs, doesn't it?

"Would you like to supersize your Ablaze combo, sir? You'll get a large order of fries with your collar."

Elizabeth F said...

Just for fun...
A great way to vet out men interested in the pastoral ministry is summer Greek.

Bror Erickson said...

Yes it does Mike,

Bror Erickson said...

Add to summer Greek, 3 years of class time and a vicarage, financial deprivation, and a total of four years dealing with deans and administration who failed in the ministry and plan to take out there frustrations on the students. You would think that would be a pretty good vetting process, but then, sin follows man everywhere. Somehow the Old Adam survives Baptism, you should see how he thrives after ordination!

Elizabeth F said...

Pastor Erickson,
you forgot to add dealing with financial aid and all that entails.