Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Stubbed Toes

My dear wife laughs at me because I tend to trip over furniture or stub a toe whenever I try to walk across a room in the dark. She doesn't think it is "ha ha" funny. She thinks I should be able to remember what is out there in the room and not kick it in the dark.

Maybe I should wait until my eyes are better adjusted to the dark before I start moving, but it seems to me that anyone will get off course if they try to walk around in true darkness. When it is really dark you cannot see anything. (Profound, I know.)

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).  People who are not following Jesus are wandering about in the dark - and it is dangerous. They can't see to avoid the hazards. They are about to trip over the edge of the cliff to their deaths - and they don't even know it.

The way to keep from tripping in the dark is to turn on the light. (I'm just SO profound today!)

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5–7) 
I don't turn on the light at night because I don't want to disturb my wife. (Of course she is disturbed if I crash into some piece of furniture.) Other people stay in the dark for more sinister reasons.
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3:19–21) 
On the basis of my rich experience of stubbing my toes and tripping over things in the dark, let me urge everyone to WALK IN THE LIGHT!
(Ephesians 5:8–14 NKJV) 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” 


Monday, May 14, 2012

Mr. Fix-it Strikes Again

Did you know that there are four contacts inside a phone jack?

I knew that...

Did you know that if you hook the CAT-5 wire to the wrong combination of contacts, it will still (mostly) work when you plug in your modem?

I didn't know that!

But I did wonder why the direct line I put in from the terminal to the phone jack only provided a mediocre and temperamental internet connection. Hmmm... Where did I put those directions from the technician who told me how to do this?

Well, I couldn't find the paper. It must be around here somewhere... But I finally got fed up with the mediocrity and decided to try a change.

Bingo!

The switched wire almost doubled my upload speed... everything seems to be working much better. No more mediocrity - no more temperamental faults.

So, Mr. Fixit did a great job... except that it took a month for me to get it right.

Hmm....

I'm off to rewire an electrical outlet.  Hope this works the first time.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Divorce & Remarriage Revisited

I was happy to get a response to my last blog on divorce and remarriage. Every blog is better with interaction from the readers. (Please consider commenting.) Here is a slightly edited version of the response I received.
I was wondering...you only sort of glanced off it in Four...but aren't you going to make a clearer stand against divorce in leadership? Is it just Pastors or deacons too?? Why don't all your other reasoning apply to them. What if those things happened in their lives before they were Christians or called to ministry? AND...I still, after reading all this, have trouble pulling out rebuttals to the nastiness of those who disagree with this view. The issue that I've had trouble discussing recently is...that people who were divorced before salvation are okayed (accepted)... while those who divorce and remarry afterwards aren't.And what about where one partner has been divorced and the other hasn't?I guess...this is really academic....and I'm having trouble making it practical to my real life situations.
My seven blogs on divorce and remarriage were written in response to requests for a thorough treatment of the Bible's teaching for people who have been divorced and now want to know what they should do about remarriage. I hope that those blogs gave them some practical help.

But what about divorce in the lives of church leadership - pastors and deacons?

On the one hand, everything we looked at before DOES apply to people who are in church leadership. They should not be getting divorced. In the case of sexual immorality they have a biblical ground for divorce and a freedom to remarry after that divorce. But they certainly should not be using divorce as a cloak for adultery.

That said, if a man finds himself divorced he is disqualified from service as a pastor or deacon.

This is not because divorce is a sin. (In some situations it is not a sin, and sins are forgiven in Christ.) It doesn't matter if it happened before someone was saved or after they were saved. (Christ saves us from all of our sins.) It doesn't matter if the person is remarried or not.

The disqualification from these ministries is because of the high biblical requirements:

(1 Timothy 3:2) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife,
(1 Timothy 3:4–5) ...one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);
(1 Timothy 3:7) Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
(1 Timothy 3:11–12) Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.  Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 

Some argue that "the husband of one wife" does not refer to divorce - although divorce was very common in the Roman world while polygamy was very rare. 

But even setting that aside, it is clear that the pastors and deacons were supposed to be role models in family leadership. This would definitely be ruined by unfaithfulness on his part, but it could be spoiled by things that were not necessarily his fault.  His ability to be a role model is spoiled by having children who are incorrigible. It is spoiled by having a rebellious or unfaithful wife. It is spoiled by divorce. Even where someone could prove beyond a doubt that the divorce was not his fault, the divorce still destroys his ability to be the role model in family leadership that is required in the Bible.

I think this tends to offend the American sense of "fair play." If it is not his fault, why should he be disqualified? An airline pilot might suffer the loss of his sight or hearing through no fault of his own. Even though it is not his fault and even though he might be a talented and experienced pilot, he is now disqualified. In the case of pastors and deacons:
  • We don't set these qualifications - God does.
  • These things matter in the ministries of pastors and deacons who are examples to the flock and who must often minister to families in crisis.
  • It is not as if the divorced person cannot serve the church in many other important ways.