Saturday, March 15, 2008

The DEAN excusing the BISHOPS

“I would urge those bishops who believe that unrepentant active homosexuality is wrong not to compromise their own beliefs, the scriptures, the church of God and the holiness of Christ. If they have already accepted the invitation they should repent and apologise. It is not good to go back on your word. But you should not have given it in the first place.”

“Attending is to fellowship with false teachers in their wicked work. It cannot help but diminish faithful Christians’ confidence in you as a leader. To believe otherwise is a further illustration of the naivety, which leads you to attend,” Phillip Jensen.

You can find more hyperbole (and some sensible comments) from the special Lambeth-GAFCON briefing here.

However, I can't help but contrast these comments to a description of the task Paul assigns Timothy:

You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. Share in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs; the soldier’s aim is to please the enlisting officer. And in the case of an athlete, no one is crowned without competing according to the rules. It is the farmer who does the work who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in all things.

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. The saying is sure:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he will also deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.

Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more impiety, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his’, and, ‘Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.’

In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary. All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work. Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and that they may escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will."

- 2 Timothy 2

In some talks I heard from Peter Adam on this passage, Timothy is told to remain within the church at Ephesus and keep proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus Christ and teaching his scriptures. Even with the rank heresy that some in the Ephesian church are teaching, Timothy is NOT to leave the church and start afresh. He is to stay in the church, being "an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and that they may escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will."

Is this something that our church today needs to hear? Are there times we need to stay,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Matt.
I'm still trying to work through the whole "don't fellowship with false teachers" bit. On the one hand it seems like quite a good reason not to attend the conference. I get a bit nervous though, when those who decide to attend are then tarred with the same brush as ecusa, and are told they are breaching a clear command from God. It just doesn't seem that clear to me. For starters, what constitutes as fellowship? Didn't PFJ share a lecture series with archbishop Pell a few years back? We would hardly approve of some of his teaching, yet this seemed to be ok. Secondly, have we really broken fellowship? We are still in the same communion aren't we? Is leaving the only choice or do we, on behalf of our brothers, need to take some responsibility for the communion, chuck on the sackcloth and ashes, repent and beg for their forgiveness. This seems to be part of a larger trend of identifying evil as something 'not us', rather than accepting some kind of corporate identity and responsibility.
I am gladdened that we have bishops who love Jesus so much and care for his church so well, and have the guts to do what they are doing, still I'd rather have bishops who love Jesus, care for his church and speak up loud and gentle at lambeth.
Mike W