Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Training for Godliness

1 Tim. 4:6-10 (ESV)
If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. [7] Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; [8] for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. [9] The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. [10] For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. I read this and wonder why I am even bothering to read the Book of Mormon. But I think this means not that we shouldn’t have knowledge of the irreverent silly myths floating about, but that we shouldn’t be teaching them ourselves. And Mormonism is not the only one of these floating about today. I swear living in Utah is like living in a state where the majority of people believe in UFO’s and alien abductions, and about half of them claim to be a victim. The evidence in favor of Mormonism is just as sketchy as that for E.T. going home. There are plenty of other irreverent, silly myths out there. Pentecostalism comes to mind, health and wealth, name it and claim it, etc. And too often pastors grab some popular book like “The Shack” off the shelf and the next thing you know, your pastor is teaching that God the Father turns out to be a transgender, obese, black woman. Want to talk about irreverent? Pastor’s want numbers so they go with what is popular at the time, “The Purpose Driven Life,” “Your Best Life Now,” “The Prayer of Jabez,” WWJD, etc. These are just a few of the stupid, irreverent silly myths that have passed as fads in American Christendom the past 15 years.
Paul says, “rather, train yourself for godliness, while training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” So how does one train for Godliness? You might put down the latest fad, and read the Bible, brush up on your Greek and Hebrew, learn Latin and German. Pick up and read through the Book Of Concord again. Grab Pieper for that matter. Read some Luther. And then pray. Or pray and then read. Or pray, and pray again after you read. It isn’t that you shouldn’t read the popular books, you probably should, just to know what is out there and what is being taught. But don’t think that because you went to seminary you don’t have to keep a steady diet of Lutheran Doctrine up. Even if you are reading only to critique the bad stuff, if you aren’t also reading the good stuff, it will poison you to the point you are blind to solid doctrine. Becoming addicted to candy, you won’t have an appetite for solid food. Tentatio, suffering, anfechtung also helps in training for godliness. But that will come on its own, you don’t have to look for it.

No comments: