by: Jeff Schrage
During the pandemic, I recently watched “Waco,” which follows the story of the Branch Davidians in Texas and the standoff that took place over 51 days. It likely gives some creative license to the director, but I expect that the account reflects the real (but very false) beliefs of David Koresh as shared by the few survivors. He believed that he was a prophet of God and would be the one to open the seals mentioned in the Book of Revelation. He read Scripture and knew it well, but he claimed to know with certainty unknowable things in Scripture.
I bring this series up, because it is an example, admittedly an extreme one, of what the book of 1 Timothy is teaching us to avoid.
…called to know Jesus! We are called to know him intimately! We are called to know His gospel. We are called to faith. We are called to grow in the knowledge of His Gospel as He spoke it to His disciples. We are called to maintain the purity of the Gospel AS Jesus Christ shared it.
There is a singular gospel, with a singular understanding, and a singular interpretation toward which we should be moving toward a greater understanding. It should seep into our mind, grow in our heart, and burst forth in praise and godly living. When we know the Gospel, the price of our salvation, and the riches that become ours through redemption, we should be transformed.
WE ARE NOT…
…to be carried away by teachings that sound like they are from the Bible, taught by teachers that are passionate about godly living. We can have our ears tickled and believe that we have found something that will “blow the lid off” what we begin to perceive as the stagnant, boring, repetition of the Christian Life. We want new revelation, flashier interpretation, and bigger action! This was what the Branch Davidians saw in David Koresh: freshness, giant expectation and moving forward in the plan of redemption.
This was attractive to people who did not understand the character of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ. One of David Koresh’s right hand men was a theology student that had grown up in the false teaching and was a professor of theology. His view of Jesus, skewed already, became disastrously more skewed when coupled with the charismatic, passionate leader claiming to have new knowledge from God.
that you can find passionate leadership. Be encouraged that you can find those seeking God sincerely. Be encouraged that you can see the work of the Holy Spirit. Be encouraged that all these can be found in the history of the church. Be encouraged that we serve a patient and long-suffering God. Be encouraged that He continues to work by the power of the Holy Spirit through the Church every single day.
There are divisions and denominations and controversies, but as we read the Word of God and follow our ancestors in seeking the truth, we find truth in the enduring theology of the New Testament, its preservation by the Early Church Fathers, through Councils, Confessions, and Catechisms, the Reformation, and the spread of Protestantism throughout the world. The story of the church is exciting and powerful and should be the source of understanding God’s preservation of the truth, the singular truth taught by Christ.
The church and its endurance is the means by which God in Christ chose to maintain His truth. It is through the small, seemingly boring, and insignificant things that God works. He has ordained the church to be a place of humble power for the salvation of His people. Can anything good come out of Nazareth? In the history of redemption, there were long periods of what appeared to be silence, but God in that time was shepherding his sheep, equipping the faithful, and patiently waiting for His children to come to Him.
…see the story of redemption through a long-term lens as we await the return of our King. Let us be faithful where we are in the ministry of the Gospel. Let us seek to be a people for God’s glory alone. Let us look back to the men and women of faith who brought us safe thus far. Let us be enthralled and motivated by their struggles. Let us know deeply the simplicity of the Gospel. Let us be faithful witnesses of the same. Let us be patient. Let us be content with the working of God His Church. Let us fulfill the Great Commission. Let us do our part in preparing the harvest. Let us look forward to our coming redeemer. Let us seek to make Him and His salvation known to this lost world.