Let Jesus and Someone Else Correct Us
"Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head." (Psalm 141,5)
I've been in churches that are meddlesome fault finders, that use faults as a pretext to run your life.
But I've also been in others where no correction is given, or would be received.
I think the church at Corinth thought that they could wear out the apostle Paul and thereby avoid his correction. Begin with say 1Corinthians6,9-11.
We in the church are often quick to mentally correct and then judge those outside it, but the Apostle Paul only those inside it.
It might be interesting to contrast our present day lack of correction in some quarters of the church, by counting Paul's corrections to the Corinthian Church.
As we attempt this, we keep in mind that 2Corinthians13,1 tells us Paul is about to come to them for the third time, but that there were likely more corrections than visits, in terms of letters and emissaries too. At 2Corinthians 10,9 Paul laughs at himself a bit and recognizes that his letters of correction are "many" and thus the corrections therein are "many" too.
Paul's Corrections of the Corinthian Church:
1. His first visit, a painful one (to them and him) was likely his first correction, per 2Corinthians2,1;
2. Then his second was presumably 1Corinthians itself per1Corinthians6,9-11 reminding them that some conduct risked their salvation;
3. Then 2Corinthians2,4 speaks of a letter that rendered Paul to tears regarding a sexual scandal, written out of extraordinary love (probably regarding the male churchgoer that now needs to be restored to the community rather than drummed out of it, 2,7).
This second letter, which we likely don't have, perhaps was kept confidential by the church so that the scandal wasn't broadcast, or some how lost;
4. Then there was likely another strong or correction visit after this letter, per 2Corinthians2,1;
5. Then Titus came to oversee the correction- which is a correction in and of itself. Titus came to smooth the waters, and encourage those being corrected, and he thereafter tells Paul that the community is repentant about the letter, and reconciled to Paul and his correction, which leaves Titus' mind completely at rest, 2Corinthians7,13. Thus, Paul's complete confidence is restored in them, 2Corinthians7,16.
Reading the whole context here at 2Corinthians7,2-16 explains the difficulty of Titus' checking on the correction mission;
6. Then 2Corinthians itself;
7. Then 2Corinthians at 10,8-13-three whole chapters. Here, Paul launches into a new level of correction and exasperation in that new fangled and more popular apostles are wooing the faithful away by preaching "another Jesus" (2Corinthians11,4), presumably the Jesus who does no correcting.
This is likely another, given its whole new level of polemic, a fourth letter, and thus a repetition of the prior correction (s).
In this last and seventh correction Paul brings the whole matter to a head and states unequivocably that he will not back down nor spare anyone (2Corinthians13,2) if he is forced to publicly confront in person those who are refusing correction:
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith: prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you except ye be reprobates." (2Corinthians13,5)
What Faith Courage
In the face of mockery and at the risk of losing the congregation itself, and perhaps even his authority as an Apostle, we know the Apostle Paul corrected the church at Corinth at least seven times.
Correction, sometimes very severe, is all over the scriptures.
Samson was corrected by his parents to lusting after a racy Philistine gal rather choosing a gal in the the faith clan of Israel (Judges 14,3).
Zechariah, father of the Baptist was corrected by God for his disbelieving the angel's goodnews.
Jacob was corrected for fighting God.
The author of Hebrews corrected the Christian folks nostalgic for the majesty of the Jerusalem temple cult where they were no longer welcome:
"My Son, Despise Not Thou The Chastening of the Lord, Nor faint When thous are rebuked of Him: For whom the Lord Loveth He Chasteneth, and scourgeth every Son Who He Receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" (Hebrews 12,5-7)
I had a boss who put it this way about correction- "Q-TIP": quit-taking-it-personally.
How come only corporate managers get to correct God's people, and not God's "managers" in the body of Christ?
Conclusion: It's Part Of Our Faith
The Lord and Pastors like Paul are just doing their jobs when they correct. It's part of Jesus' better and more loving way.
I thank Jesus for every correction He has ever given me. His rod and his staff have been very effective, though not always comfortable.
As we all have experienced, he does it best.
I also am grateful for the folks, and especially pastors, who took the time and ruffled my feathers. Such is the stuff of courageous apostles.
Think of it this way- which is easier to say "I stand corrected" or, "I stand outside the fellowship of the Holy Ghost."
Peace Out. Br. Tobin
first sept. '11
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...