What’s the point of speaking up?
Look at 2 Timothy 2:14-18.
“14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarrelling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.“
Quarrelling & Godless Chatter
Okay, according to this passage, the early church has some problems. Paul‘s instructing Timothy to take care of it. More of the false teaching that Paul mentioned earlier in the book has presented itself.
Only this time, it’s presenting through the “…quarrelling about words…” and “…godless chatter…” Paul also mentions a couple of the ring-leaders to watch out for: “…Hymenaeus and Philetus…“
(Which, I don’t know about you but those two guys sound like mobsters to me anyway. Might as well be called Fat Tony and Slick Vinnie. Just saying.)
Continuing on, Paul says their teaching is spreading like gangrene.
Okay folks, I Googled gangrene this week. I’ll save you the photographs. The name itself should give you a clue. Nevertheless, let me read an exurb from WebMD.com:
“Gangrene is a condition that occurs when body tissue dies. It is caused by a loss of blood supply due to an underlying illness, injury, and/or infection…There are different types of gangrene and all require immediate medical attention…When blood cannot travel freely throughout the body, your cells cannot survive, infection can develop, and tissue can die…“
Here’s the point: Gangrene is not a pleasant experience! This is not a pretty metaphor that Paul uses here.
Whether Timothy likes it or not, he’s going to have to take a stand and stop the spread of these infections that are bringing so much discord into the church.
Why should Timothy take a stand against all of this?
“Come on Paul; they have their ideas and we have ours. A little debate never hurt anyone. We just need to be more open-minded to new ideas. Couldn’t we all just get along?“
Paul’s answer which is God’s answer is very clear: “If a teaching and subsequent debate contradicts Biblical truth, it needs to be cut off!” Why? Because the people are at risk!
People Are At Risk
Paul states that it “…ruins those who listen.” People will become “…more and more ungodly.” And it has the potential “…destroy the faith of some” people.
God is using Paul to highlight the great risk to the people that shows up when quarrelling over philosophies becomes a forfront practice. Godless chatter can silence the Gospel. So for the sake of the Gospel, we must take a stand when the church starts down these roads.
But who can take a stand? I’ll discuss that in my next post.