Saturday, April 29, 2006

sound doctrine and righteous living

I ran across this great quote while working on my Sunday school lesson on Titus 2:1-10. This is from MacArthur's commentary on 2:1 where it says "speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine." It is always a good thing to bear in mind that we should not and cannot claim allegiance to Christ at the same time as we say that we do not need to live godly lives.

"The Bible never divorces doctrine from duty, truth from behavior. After presenting eleven chapters of basic New Testament doctrine, Paul then said to believers at Rome, 'I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present y our bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect' (Rom 12:1-2). He followed the same pattern in his letters to believers in Ephesus (see Eph 4:1), Philippi (see Phil. 4:8-9), and Colossae (see [Col] 3:2-10). Quoting Leviticus 11;44, Peter said, 'It is written, "You shall be holy for I am holy"' (1 Pet. 1:16). Those who claim the name of God have always been commanded to live godly lives."1

1Titus, MacArthur New Testament Commentary John MacArthur Jr. p. 71

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

men who must be silenced

It is fitting and appropriate that Paul warns us of false teachers just after we are given standards for qualified elders. In Titus 1:10-16 we see Paul’s warning to Titus about what type of men he will find promoting false doctrines as well as an idea of what these men are teaching.

"For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain."
(Titus 1:10,11 NASU)

First of all, I think that it is important to know the odds that Titus was up against. “for there are many…” There seems to be a proliferation of false teachers while there seems to be only one true minister of the gospel, Titus, in this area. Basically, it is this: there are many people teaching false things, and Titus is to begin to set the congregations in order by himself, at least until other elders were appointed by him to assist with this task.

This admonition to be aware of these false teachers, their motives, and their teachings is not “new news” to anyone who studies the New Testament (or the Old Testament, for that matter). One interesting point is that it seems that the false teachers in this context may have been Jewish believers1 because of the language used in verses 14 through 16.

The “Jewish myths and commandments of men” would make sense if it is referring to the Pharisaic additions to the Law of Moses and Rabbinic tradition as well as the teaching of some Jewish believers that Christians need to be Jewish first, and then become a Christian. To put it another way, these teachers taught that gentiles must adhere to the various dietary and other laws. That is why Paul goes on to say, “To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.” (Titus 1:15 NASU)

Finally, verse 16 gives us a scathingly clear diagnosis of the professing believers acting as teachers. It is a serious condemnation to say that these men are “worthless for any good work.” One phrase that may be overlooked if you aren’t looking carefully is a parallel with a general descriptive identifier of false teachers. “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him” Christ told the masses that a teacher should be judged by the fruits that he produces (Matt 7:15,16 NASU). Peter tells us that false teachers will “revel in the daytime” (2 Peter 2:13 NASU). Jude says that these men are known for “following after their own lusts…”(Jude 16 NASU)


There are always more followers than teachers, it can’t work any other way, really. Think on this, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15 NASU)

I firmly believe that a mark of a true child of God is the desire and continuing struggle to obey God and His commands in all areas of life. A person who exhibits some of the negative character traits of false teachers or of the pagan world around us (drunkenness, sexual immorality, etc.)2 and proclaims allegiance to Christ is possibly deceived or are deceiving themselves. If you or I are willfully sinning and excuse ourselves with, “I’m saved by grace, so it doesn’t matter what I do…” or “I can ask for forgiveness after…” then it is not a stretch to say that you may not be saved, and will hear the dreadful words from Christ, “I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.”(Matt 7:21-23 NASU)

1 Whether or not some of the men referred to here were saved or not is not the main point here (I don't think). However, if Titus is to "reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith" it seems that these men were at least viewed as being able to be reached with the gospel.

2 The difference between a Christian who sins and a sinner making a false claim of being a Christian as evidenced by the way that they live is summed up, I think, excellently by Paul in Romans 7:14-25. If you desire to check yourself to see how your spiritual walk is, I encourage you to study the book of 1st John.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

why i blog

I thought that this would be a good question to answer now that I've been a-blogin' for a little over 6 months now.

The purpose of my blogging:

There is a dual intentional purpose for why I blog what I blog. The first reason is actually why I began blogging. In late 2004 I was asked by my pastor to be a regular teacher in our Sunday school program teaching adults in their 20's & 30's. So, in January 2005 I began regularly teaching this class on a rotating basis with a (now) good friend of mine and a man who is a great encouragement and a solid brother in the LORD. Our class has so many different people that are in different stages of life (some married, some married with kids, some college students, some non-college-student young adults, etc) and we wanted to figure out how best to minister to all of the people in our class, so I thought that a Sunday School blog would be a great and easily accessible vehicle for interaction and focus on eternally relevant issues.

The second (and maybe a little more selfish) goal of mine was to help me with my Bible study and personal devotions. What I mean is that I tend to learn more and study better/harder if I have some sort of a deadline or "due date" for something. I not only devote more time to studying but I tend to stay focused when there is a tangible goal. I didn't (and still don't) want to have my individual quiet time and personal study to be mostly devoted to studying for Sunday School, so I wanted and needed this outlet to encourage more depth in my personal study. Consequently, many of my blog entries have been revolving around and dealing with the various lessons and texts that we have studied in Sunday school, but many others are the direct result of my personal Bible study.

The content of my blog:

Whether you regularly read my blog or you may have just now stumbled upon it and have quickly perused the current topics, you will (I hope) be able to see a fairly consistent pattern.

  • subjects dealing with scripture passages and concepts (theologies/doctrines) and their implications
  • prevalence of Bible citations to show where my thoughts have their foundation
  • a serious and sober tone (normally)
  • fairly long individual entries
I feel that a little explanation of why these are the characteristics of my entries is necessary. The nature of what I study, think about, and consequently write about is of such eternal magnitude and divine implications, I feel unable to write short comments while still being thorough and accurate. It can be done. However, I do not believe that I have the ability to condense the thoughts that I have about any specific topic that I choose to deal with here into a compact 8 or 9 sentence coherent composition.

I strive very hard to be accurate with any assertion or assessment that I make regarding any biblical text, theology, or doctrine. Since this is the case, I cannot stress enough my desire to be challenged or corrected if a reader feels that I misstate something or just get it completely wrong. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a public note, then please e-mail me with your concern. If I am shown (in scripture) my error, I will make my mistake known and attempt to correct it. It is so important, that I place a high degree of esteem on men or women who question me on biblical grounds about something that I say or hold to.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

more thoughts on eldership

Since there are qualifications for one to be an elder, it is possible for one to be unqualified or disqualified for service as an elder (pastor, missionary, etc). We can see that since there are qualifications in both 1 Tim 3 and Titus, but we also have Paul's comments about his own ministry, “Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” (1 Cor 9:26,27 NASU)

A Christian who is known as a thief, murderer, adulterer, or drunkard is not qualified to be an elder. Likewise, a Christian in the ministry who is guilty of these, especially while holding the office of an elder, is also disqualified. Moreover, not only would I (or anyone) be disqualified from this office, but the primary damage here is done to the name of Christ, and it is immense.


When the topic of “televangelists” is brought up, people who were alive and who knew what was going on in western culture during the latter part of the last century think of Jim Baker, and the scandal that surrounded and brought down his ministry. Now, I have heard stories that Jim Baker has been cleaned up by God. I actually have heard that he got saved in prison…wow! Whether or not Jim Baker (or another pastor/elder) was saved during the exposure of his sinful lifestyle or not is not my main concern now. I truly hope that Mr. Baker is soundly saved and is growing in the LORD. However, no matter what growth he has nor his natural and God-given abilities and talents…he is no longer qualified to be a pastor/elder because he, in mans eyes, is not above reproach.

I think that standard holds for Jim as it does for me and any other man who wants to be in ministry in the position of an elder. Furthermore, it would be foolish if Mr. Baker were to go back to the same ministry again because, if nothing else, he would be in the same environment where he so publicly fell into and lavished in sin. It would be foolish from purely a temptation standpoint.

Just as robbing a bank, speeding, or doing drugs have real life consequences…so does adultery by an elder. We can, and have been, forgiven by God through Christ for all of these things if we are truly saved, but the consequences of these actions by a Christian leader is that this same leader is no longer qualified to be an elder.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Easter and 1 Corinthians 15

When discussing eternal subjects and events with believers and unbelievers alike, sometimes we tend not to emphasize one key event. The necessary subjects that we do tend to bring up are sinfulness (mine), holiness and righteousness (God's), and the sacrificial offering to reconcile the two (Christ's death on the cross). All of these subjects are vital, absolutely vital, if one is to truly understand and receive the true gospel.

Did you notice anything that may be missing from that list of major things that need to be understood? What about this?

"if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain...and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. "
(1 Corinthians 15:14,17 NASU)

Have you ever been reading the Bible and come across a verse that you "kind of knew" was there or that you "had heard before", but when reading it for yourself you sit back and say "Wow!" Well that was my reaction when I read this chapter a few years ago. This is not to say that prior to that time I had thought that the resurrection of Christ was somehow of minor importance, but my reaction was more to the blatantness and bluntness of Paul here.

Think about this for a minute with me. Our faith is built, most significantly, upon a series of the most foolish ideas ever to assail the mind of man.1 Now take this knowledge (that the death and resurrection of Christ is, in fact, very foolish and absurd) and not only communicate to someone that this is one of the bigger theological issues in the Christian faith...but it is the central issue in the Christian faith.2 I say that with a little hesitation, but I think that I have it right. In the story of the Cross we have most of (if not all) the key theological concepts that the Bible communicates. These concepts are either directly involved in the crucifixion story or are necessary context to properly understand the action, those involved, and its repercussions.

a side note:

If we know this, we should have all the more compassion in our hearts, voices, and minds when people that we witness to throw up objections. These objections should not stop us from pressing (even pressing hard) with the truth of the gospel. However when people do reject it and call it foolish, we should not immediately respond by saying that it isn't. We need to proclaim it, defend it from the Bible and history, and let the Holy Spirit convince the hearer of its truth when He converts their soul.

the main point:

When we witness, we should make it a point and the intention of our hearts to faithfully bring up the issues of sin, righteousness, judgment, the cross, and the empty tomb. I think that as we go through these subjects, each new one will expose new walls and objections that a person must wrestle with prior to truly trusting in Christ (I believe).

Also, pastors and leaders of the Church should never avoid, sugar-coat, or make light of this issue. This should especially be the case around Easter.3 I can think of fewer ways that a pastor or Christian teacher can do greater harm than by not standing firm on what the gospel is built on and preaching that very thing without trying to make it inoffensive for the hearer. It needs to be offensive, because we should be offended at how wretched we are.4

1 I Do not use the term "foolish" in a flippant way, here. We are told that when we preach the gospel, it is a stumbling stone to Jews and foolishness to gentiles. Furthermore, we know that the gospel (the word of the cross) is foolishness to everyone who is perishing, but is the source of our hope and power as believers. (1 Cor 1:17-25)

2 The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ brings into focus the key concepts in the Bible. In short (and incomplete), here is what I mean:
  1. God the Father was soveriegnly overseeing and in all ways controlling this event. (Eph 1:9-11, Isaiah 53:10)
  2. The Holy Spirit was the method by which Christ put on human flesh, therefore this is how God could suffer and die in our place. (Matthew 1:19; Luke 1:35)
  3. Christ fully being both God and Man, perfect in righteousness and blameless, so He is able to be the supreme sacrifice demanded to satisfy God's holy wrath (John 1:14, Colossians 2:9)
  4. Humanities sin - the reason for the sacrificial death of Christ (Romans 3:23; 6:23)
  5. Holiness of God - that God would require a punishment of value of Christ (being God Himself) shows that His holiness is no small thing. (1 Timothy 6:16; 1 John 1:5-10)
  6. Planned Redemption - In Chris's ministry, we know that He did things that were "to fulfill the words of..." the prophets. This means that all of the work that Christ did, including His death and resurrection, was planned from before humans ever sinned or were created. (Isaiah 53:5,6, Matthew 26:56)
3 I received a flier that a local church sent out advertising for Easter services. One of the problems was that the flier spoke more about what you would wear, or didn't need to wear ("fancy duds and pastel ties" or "hats"), and never mentioned the cross, the resurrection, or even Jesus at all.

4 Please read Being Offensive is Necessary for more of my thoughts on this issue.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Response to Activism

Other than introductions, I don't want to comment on this post. I received an e-mail from a friend, and brother in the Lord a few days ago and I thought that both it's content and intent were worth your reading.

Bethel University, on April 18, will be the site of another skirmish in the battle with evil principalities and powers, as a radical, pro-homosexual group is going on their campus to confront Bethel's stance against homosexuality.

I just caught part of a 2-hour radio call in program called Olive Tree Ministries, on KKMS. She was interviewing a prof/administrator from Bethel, as well as a former homosexual who now speaks on behalf of the Biblical approach to winning them to Christ. The administrator took the school's position: this can be a learning experience in how to face this huge issue in our culture. The ex-homosexual took the opposite position: this is poison, that Bethel ought not allow them to use their facilities as a platform for their agenda.

I'd very highly recommend that you check out and go Radio Show, to listen to the program. I understand they have CDs available of today's broadcast.

While I strongly disagree with Bethel for allowing this to transpire, I believe that as observers we can and must learn from the event. The ex-homosexual guest made reference to the anti-Christian venom of this activist group, their hand-in-glove workings with the ACLU, their confrontational methodology, their intent to film the encounter, their acumen for manipulating the media, their unabashed effort to recruit footsoldiers to promote sodomy on campuses, and their ultimate goal to induce a sea change of public opinion in America on this issue. Indeed, Bethel is duly warned!

One of my concerns is that as fundamentalists we are prone to allow this maelstrom to wreak its havoc around us, but be oblivious to it in our busy schedules. We tend to not realize the impact these things have.

Indeed, this issue is front and center in our culture. This is one approach that some believers have chosen to address it. I believe their approach is misguided and will do great harm. But to prudishly ignore the issue because it is so smutty, offensive, disgusting, or whatever, may well do just as much harm.

What do I believe is the right approach? New Testament times, outside Jewish society, were awash in sodomy. Thus the Scriptures are far from silent. 1 Corinthians 6:9-20 is a powerhouse of transformative truth. It is essential in today's sex-obsessed society that we challenge assumptions and insist on the Bible's truth: Jesus Christ changes people when He becomes their Lord. As for unbelievers, it is regrettable to see them ensnared and enslaved by lust, but only the Savior can liberate them.

Would you consider joining me in fasting and praying on April 18? I'm going to pray that God's glory would take on special polish. That the activists would experience countless logistical, technical, interpersonal and health snafus. That their hardened hearts would be busted wide open by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. That Bethel students and employees would be innoculated against sodomy instead of induced into it. That our country would be awakened in a massive spiritual revival. And that if in God's sovereign wisdom He allows human rebellion to continue to increase its exponential expansion, that He would purge and judge the United States of America with such a frightful demonstration of His righteous justice that each and every observing person, demon and angel would tremble at the searing Holiness on High.

In short, cling to Jesus! je

Monday, April 10, 2006


Recently, pastor Bruce has been preaching on the 2nd coming of Christ and the final judgment of sinners that will follow the fulfillment of time and history. While speaking about this, he read an e-mail from a member of our congregation regarding the reality of hell and the impact that this reality has (or should have). I'll summarize what the e-mail said, "If hell is where all unbelievers go and hell is a place of torment and a place of nightmares....and I truly believed that, I would be out pleading with the dying world to repent from their sins and trust in Christ. I can only assume that my lack of fervor in evangelism is based on the fact that I don't truly believe in the reality of Hell."

Now, I don't believe that one should be motivated to salvation for the reason of "fire insurance" but I do believe that a proper understanding of hell is vital to the mature Christian walk. Now, before one can truly understand hell and the fact that it is a reasonable place of punishment for those people whose sins are not forgiven, we must understand the cause or the reason for hell. That is sin.

If sin is seen in its true light, and if it is seen as being primarily an offense against God. Offense against other people, ourselves, and our bodies are real and have consequences, but the ultimate reason that sin is so bad is that God is offended by our sin. Putting it another way, when we sin we sin against and anger God.

The Scriptures are also clear that if

God, being who He is, cannot tolerate anything less than holiness or righteousness. This means that no sin (no sinner) can ever be with God in heaven. Not only can He not tolerate it to be in His presence, but the very act of evil requires a punishment.

Example: If someone kidnaps and kill a child, we would agree that this man or woman needs to be punished for his actions. If this person were never caught, would God be a holy and righteous (or even good) God if he let this person get off scott-free for eternity? So, because of His character, He will make sure that all of those who did evil are punished. But, because He is actually Holy, He will not stop at punishing murderers, He will punish all people who have ever been unjustly angry with anyone at any time because He sees that as murder in the heart. So, punishment for sin is reasonable and fair.

The method that God has determined for punishing these offences is hell. Hell is eternal punishment because God is eternal in every way and because any offence against Him would take an eternity to repay. So the fact that eternal hell is the chosen and necessary form of punishment is also reasonable. It is our sin puts us in a place where we are at odds with God, we end up in hell (John 3:36; Matt 10:28). Hell is decribed as being eternal separation from God in darkness where there will be much "weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Mark 9:43; 2 Peter 2:4; Matt 8:12)

Here's the punch line

I believe that - I believe it because that is what the Bible talks about. Shouldn't that motivate me to go out and plead with those unsaved people, because most people (even the majority of people even who go to church) are not saved? The knowledge of this fate should push us out of the door, or at least out of our comfort zones, to share our faith and plead with those who will inherit this doom.

Let our compassion for others along with the grace of God available to them be the super fuel for our witness.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

elders: qualifications and tasks

In preparation for Sunday School last week, I was studying the book of Titus (specifically focusing on Titus 1:5-9) and trying to break down and understand the qualifications listed for being an elder. I am thankful that I had done some work with this text when I was looking at the qualifications for pastors in response to a position paper by a local church advocating that the Bible allows women to be pastors. However, since I have written a decent amount on this subject (you can read the articles1 that I have written), I want to explore the other biblical qualifications for an elder as well.

what is an "elder"?

An elder is a man who meets the requirements of scripture (primarily looking at 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1) and has a group of believers placed in his charge. Many were identified as elders: Peter (1 Peter 5:1),John (2 John 1:1; 3 John 1:1), those whom Timothy (1 Tim 5:19) and Titus (Titus 1:3) would be overseeing and appointing, as well as Timothy and Titus themselves. Also, it seems that a primary task (if not the primary task) was to preach and teach the Word of God. We can see that the office of deacon (or servant) was established in the early church so that the teachers (specifically the Apostles in this text) wouldn't have to stop or to lessen the amount of preaching in order to wait on the tables of the church (Acts 6:2). Perhaps one of the best summaries of the task of an elder or overseer is seen in the book of Acts where Paul is saying farewell to the church at Ephesus, "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." (Acts 20:28ff)

The words elder and overseer are synonymous and are words used in scripture describing the office of the local pastor.

Paul reminds Titus that he was left at Crete to appoint elders in that region, and this text gives qualifications for people in that position. Much can (and needs to) be said about each of these qualifications and what the implications are. However, I will only briefly outline these qualifications here.

Positive Qualifications - the elder must be:

  1. a man (v. 6) - For an extensive look at this qualification and the controversy currently surrounding it, please see my previous articles.2
  2. above reproach (v. 6,7) - “unquestioning integrity, no false doctrine/behavior can be proven against them”3 or in Paul's culture, "a person like this was not subject even to indictment, much less trial”4
  3. husband of one wife (v. 6) - This is not a requirement that all men who would be elders must be married, but it is a call to biblical sexual experience and expression, “an elder must have an unsullied, lifelong reputation for devotion to his spouse and to sexual purity.”5
  4. believing children (v. 6) - self explanatory, but if the children are too young (or has no children), see 1 Tim 3:4-5,12.6
  5. hospitable (v. 8) - In Luke 14:12-14, our Lord shows that we should not invite people over so that we can be invited over to their parties, we should do it for the needy and receive our reward from God in heaven and not from these people on earth.
  6. loving what is good (v. 8) - see Philippians 4:8 to see how the Bible describes what good things are.
  7. sensible (v. 8) - "being prudent...and thinking soberly of himself, and others, as he ought."7
  8. just (v. 8) - doing what is right, being righteous, or being fair. "The pastor who is just, or righteous, is a man who reflects the just and fair character of God Himself."8
  9. devout (v. 8) - similar in meaning to being holy
  10. self-control (v. 8) - The elder is not prone to over-indulgence in things so that they become sinful (eating, laziness, drinking, etc) as well as control over private sin. "A pastor who is not self-controlled, who does not continually monitor his own life, submitting his sin to the Lord's cleansing and keeping a clear conscience, is not fit to lead God's people, no matter how outwardly righteous his life may appear to be."9
Negative Qualifications - the elder must not be:
  1. children accused of dissipation or rebellion (v. 6) - children must not be known as being rebellious. This is directly following the qualification of having children who believe, and so it paints a bigger picture of what that "believing" looks like.
  2. self willed (v. 7) - arrogant or self centered. This is used as a noticeable characteristic or description of false teachers (see 2 Peter 2:9ff). We see this fault (placing self above or over the work that God has for me) displayed by a few disciples and then corrected by Christ in Matthew 20:20-28.
  3. quick tempered (v. 7) - not having a "short fuse" or easily angered
  4. addicted to wine (v. 7) - not one who drinks causing impaired judgment or control over his faculties, not a drunkard
  5. pugnacious (v. 7) - not a fist fighter. Not one who settles arguments in a hostile fashion, but gently (2 Tim 2:24,25).
  6. fond of sordid gain (v. 7) - not a lover of money or greedy. Notice in 2 Peter 2:15,16 how Balaam loved the wages of unrighteousness, because he was prophet for hire who worshipped false gods, as a picture of false teachers.
the task of the elder:

"holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching" (Titus 1:9a NASU)

This statement is reiterated in both of Paul's letters to Timothy (1 Tim 1:18,19; 2 Tim 1:12-14) as well as being similar to Jude's urge that all believers are to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3). Peter says that we have been granted "everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us." (2 Peter 1:3) We're also familiar with the fact that false teachers will secretly come into the church and lead many astray (Matt 7:15; Acts 20:29; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Jude) and that we need to be on guard against them. The point here is that the pastor must cling to the word of God and it must be his primary nourishment and source for preaching and direction in his ministry.

This may sound like a big "DUH", but it isn't. If you look at many modern churches, so much of what is preached on or the language used has its birth in culture. I noticed on a local church's web site that they had over 1 month of Sunday sermons based on the Chronicles of Narnia and the movie that recently came out. I don't have a problem with referring to a movie (I haven't personally seen it, so I cannot render an opinion on its worth) that has a gospel message or picture in it...but using it as the primary motivation for 4 or 5 weeks worth sermons? The question then becomes what is the main source of the message? Is it the movie, or is it the scriptures?10

Why is "holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching" of such high importance? It is so important because then he will be able to, "exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict." (Titus 1:9b NASU)

This seems to be the culmination of what the office of the elder publicly (if not just cororately) does. We see an exhortation by Peter to all believers to "be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence." (1 Peter 3:15 NASU) If all believers are to know what we believe and why we believe it well enough to reason with those who would question us, how much more do pastors need to be able to stand firm and be unwavering in their knowledge of the word?

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2;15 NASU) This is from Paul's letter to Timothy who, like Titus, is the New Testament example of a non-apostolic elder and pastor. The implication is strong: if you don't handle the word accurately and are not diligent, you should be ashamed. There is, and should be, a high respect and esteem for those men who faithfully dig deep in the word of God and then bring the treasures of its riches to those under his care (1 Tim 5:17). The reciprocal is true as well; men who are careless or reckless with the word should be expelled from their office so that they might not lead people astray.

1 Articles on the role of women in ministry2 see list above
3 Believer's Bible Commentary - William MacDonald
4 Titus, MacArthur New Testament Commentary - John MacArthur p. 22
5 Ibid p. 40
6 It is not a requirement for men to be both married and have children, but these are the standards if a man is married and has children. Paul makes it clear that he desires for people to be as he is (single), but if people cannot control themselves, marriage is the only place for sex to be correctly expressed. See 1 Cor 7 (especially verses 1,8-9) for Paul's lengthy talk about marriage.
7 John Gill's Exposition of the Bible - John Gill
8 Titus, MacArthur New Testament Commentary - John MacArthur p.41
9 Ibid p.42
10 This is such a key and important thing to note for our day. It seems that much of modern preaching and teaching finds its primary source of what to preach on defined by the culture around us. I have seen many churches (whenever I hear of a church and its website, I go visit it and look around to find out a little about it) that have had month-long series on the Chronicles of Narnia and 40 Days of Purpose as well as gearing up for series on the DaVinci Code. Churches need to talk about the gospel and the sacrificial substitution of Christ - but don't use Aslan and Narnia as the primary picture...use Christ and our sinfulness as the example! If we need to find out what our purpose is in our lives, don't use a watered down "Christianity 101" book as the basis of the teaching...use the Bible! If we are afraid that people don't correctly understand who Christ is as laid out by the Bible, or why the Bible itself is what it is (made up of the 66 books, and not of others) we should be teaching Christology and the historical nature of our Bible. Then Christians (or people who claim to be Christians) might have a proper view of who Christ is and what the Bible is, and thus be able to communicate and defend it to those who would distort it historically or biblically.

Copyright © 2005-2010 Eric Johnson