Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Episcopate and Clement

I think at this point, I want to finish reading 1 Clement as I read and wrote about it last year and want to read someone else.

I'm still here.  In chapters 47 through 52, Clement writes more paranesis.  He accuses the Corinthians of being more divisive than when Paul wrote them.  I think in the context of these people being discouraged because of wicked people accusing them of hypocrisy, I doubt that Clement's words were actually appropriate in this situation.  It might be true and need to be addressed, but perhaps in better words.  Perhaps he could have reminded them to try to end any discord between each other and to love the men God has placed in charge of the church, especially ones that serve blamelessly.

This leads to 53 and 54.  He alludes to Aaron and Miriam receiving leprosy because they were jealous of Moses's leadership.  "For our sin will not be small if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties."

I sit and wonder, but what of some of the leaders really are leading the church astray and going against the Bible or placing themselves in Christ's place, or giving glory to some other Bible character as if he or she was an extension of Christ?  Then I think of Smyrna church, where I grew up.  I remember many dissensions against preachers, youth leaders, other prominent people.  Most of it was not deserved.  I hear Clement saying that this is not a small sin.  They serve the Lord blamelessly, and who knows, maybe if there was never dissension, some would not have turned to the liberalized PCUSA "theology."  Maybe some people would have come to know real theology and I could tell people I grew up Presbyterian.

Then again, all change of leadership comes from one elector: the Lord.  He is in control of outcomes.  Our church must try to be united in all that matters and charitable in doctrinal differences.  We should not be united at the expense of the Truth, which is why we should keep controversy alive, but we must also love people we disagree with and not work to ruin their families or people influenced by them.

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