Thursday, November 19, 2009

Priorities ( I Tim. 5:8 )

Efeses is a sophisticated place. People loved having long conversations on speculative topics. Time after time Paul had to remind them -- directly, and again through Timothy -- that good doctrine must be lived. Consider this shocking offhand comment:

    1Ti 5:8 Kendi yakınlarına, özellikle de ev halkına bakmayan kişi imanı inkâr etmiş, imansızdan beter olmuştur. 

Let's look at a few words:

  • imanı -- the faith (direct object case)
  • inkâr -- denial
  • etmiş -- has made
  • imansızdan -- than an unbeliever
  • beter -- worse
  • olmuştur -- has become 

A favorite scholar, R. J. Rushdoony, suggested that the American cult of celebrity correlates to the loss of reverence for worship. When we celebrate our covenant with God with condign passion and seriousness, we are less inclined to live (and lust) vicariously through the glossy pages of People magazine. 

Still, this is  a country that cherishes its heros, its larger-than-life sized "American idols." Sadly, this adulation of public figures has also affected the community of believers. Several decades ago, several very visible "televangelists" had spectacular public falls. A century ago, a Billy Sunday mesmerized a million people into performing a novel ritual, the "altar call response." Meanwhile, he lost all four of his own children. His advocacy of prohibition also discredited Christians in the larger public sphere ever since. 

Paul asserts that the man who refuses to measaure up to his responsibilities at home is "worse than an unbeliever." No atheist hurling[0] brickbats[1] at us from outside our community can do as much harm to the gospel we proclaim than the guy inside the camp who feels entitled to consort with prostitutes. 


[0] Hurl is a less-common way of saying throw, and always refers to an object propelled with hostile intent. A decade ago, it was also a slang term for the verb vomit

[1] That's a funny old word, defined by its use. "An object, such as a piece of a brick, that is hurled in a fight." 

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