Pastoral Relief and Retreat

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Wethersfield, CT, United States
I am Pastor at Poquonock Community Church, Congregational (CCCC) in Windsor, CT. My wife Jama and I live in Wetherfield, CT. We'd like to invite you to Terre Haute -- High Ground -- That's what Jama and I call the retreat space on our property. We offer free intentional get-away retreats. We'll feed you and house you and give you space to be with the Lord. All are welcome; no questions asked. This blog is my daily devotional journal. I write it because it is so easy to go for weeks without ever taking the time to be alone with God. Writing helps me develop a discipline I need.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

2 Timothy, Deconstructed


What you see below is 2 Timothy 3:1-7, word for word the way it appears in the ESV Bible, but set up for the Power Point generation.

2 Timothy 3:1-7 (Outline Form)
But understand this, that…
I.      In the last days there will come times of difficulty.   For
A.     People will be
1.     lovers of self
2.     lovers of money
3.     proud
4.     arrogant
5.     abusive
6.     disobedient to their parents
7.     ungrateful
8.     unholy
9.     heartless
10. unappeasable
11. slanderous
12. without self-control
13. brutal
14. not loving good
15. treacherous
16. reckless
17. swollen with conceit
18. lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
19. having the appearance of godliness but denying its power
B.     Avoid such people. For among them are
1.     those who creep into households and capture weak women
a.     burdened with sins and
b.     led astray by various passions
2.     “always learning” and
a.     never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

II.    Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so
A.      these men also oppose the truth,
1.     men corrupted in mind and
2.     disqualified regarding the faith. But
B.      they will not get very far, for
1.     their folly will be plain to all, (as was that of those two men.)

Now, why did I do that exercise?  Because I think it visually highlights all the important points without having to run through them at length. 

The item in the indictment that stands out the most to me is that Paul isn’t talking about the world in general here.  Jannes and Jambres are traditionally believed to have been Egyptian magicians who were brought in to Pharoah to see if they could duplicate the plagues God was bringing upon Egypt.  They aren’t mentioned in the Bible by name, so we can only assume this is a piece of oral tradition that managed to make it all the way to Paul’s day. 

Who they are is people who think they are spiritually clever.  They may as well be those who are wandering around the church today with the idea in their head that God has some new revelation or that enlightened minds “don’t believe that sort of thing any more.” 

As I said yesterday, sound teaching never changes.  The rather long list of what people will be like in the last days is what drives “magicians and materialists” (C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters) to conclude that the Orthodox view of God must be wrong.  Viewing things “realistically,” we have to rethink God.  But “realism” never arrives at the truth.  It can’t, because it begins from the wrong premise.

Good theology always begins with God; his self-existence; his own perfection, power, and glory.   ALL is judged good or evil according to that standard.  We are told that people are getting better.  This clearly isn’t true.  Our society is in fact getting neither better or worse.  But sin is on display today in ways it never was before.  We are told there is no such thing as sin.  This clearly isn’t true either.  And so the objections to a truly Biblical faith go on. 

Watch for Part 2 of this discussion later today!

Jon

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