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1 Timothy 3:1-13
 
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
 
Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. 
(ESV)
The Courage of It
Monday of Pentecost 18
28 September 2015
In the mid-fourth century there were still active and large pockets of Arian sympathizers within the church. This caused no shortage of trouble for the faithful bishops who were forced continually to defend the truth and contend against the false teachings of the various Arian parties. Debates between the orthodox and the Arians were arranged and out of these debates extensive sermons and treatises supporting the faith of the divinity of Christ the Word of God appeared. Gregory of Nazianzus was invited to the capitol of the Eastern Roman empire, Constantinople, to argue the case for orthodoxy there and campaign for the truth with the populace of the great city. While in Constantinople, Gregory was given a palace to live in, which he converted into a church. An anti-orthodox mob attacked the church during the Vigil of Easter in 379, murdering a fellow bishop and wounding Gregory. The Constantinopolitan rabble considered Gregory to have deserved this rough handling in the big city. The Constantinopolitans thought that Gregory was unable to protect himself, because he was a naïve country bumpkin, unschooled in the ways of the big city.
 
Although wounded in heart and mind Gregory set about delivering the theological orations, which gained him the name of "theologian" from posterity. Here "theologian" has a much narrower meaning than the way we mean it today. When we use it today we mean a specialist in the divine revelation. When Gregory is said to be a theologian it means that he was the defender of the "divinity of the Word (Logos)." Despite the naïveté of the "country bumpkin," Gregory's orations vanquished the Arians and gave orthodoxy the boost it needed in the imperial capital. Perhaps his suffering and the ridicule he underwent was entirely in keeping with the suffering of Christ and was a bearing of the cross. In any case, Gregory was undeterred from his mission to proclaim the divinity of the Christ and to deconstruct the heresy of the Arians. Such courage would be useful in our day.
 
Gregory was not a young man when all this happened. He was a mature theologian about 50 years old (A.D. 379-380), relatively old in the ancient world. But he was still fired up about defending the full divinity of Jesus Christ against all comers. Though he had written and preached about the truth for some years, he was not about to let this opportunity to proclaim the truth slip through his fingers. He preached a mature theological oration with the fire of a youth. Nor was he afraid to point out the errors of the Arian and Apollinarian party. He was willing to be critical of heresy as well as to defend faithfully the eternal truth of the divinity of the Word. Today, we are reluctant to be critical of false teaching for fear that we may offend. But when was the last time you were wounded by an Arian mob? This is God's business, not our own. Let's show the courage of it.

 

Gregory of Nazianzus

"This is what might be said to cut short our opponents' readiness to argue and their hastiness with its resulting uncertainty in all matters, but above all in those discussions which relate to God. To rebuke others is a matter of no difficulty whatever, but a very easy thing, which anyone who likes can do. However, to substitute one's own belief for theirs is the part of a pious and intelligent man. Let us, relying on the Holy Spirit, who is dishonored among them, but among us is adored, bring forth to the light our own beliefs about the Godhead, whatever these may be, like a noble and timely birth. I have not been silent at other times; for on this subject alone I am full of youthful strength and daring. However, the fact is that under the present circumstances I am even more bold to declare the truth, that I may not (to use the words of Scripture) by drawing back, fall into the condemnation of being displeasing to God (Heb 2:4; 10:38).
 
"Since every discourse is of a twofold nature, the one part establishing one's own position, and the other overthrowing one's opponents; let us first of all state our own position, and then try to controvert our opponents. This we will do as briefly as possible, so that our arguments may be taken in at a glance (like those of the elementary treatises which our opponents have devised to deceive simple or foolish persons), and that our thoughts may not be scattered by reason of the length of the discourse, like water which is not contained in a channel, but flows to waste over the open land."

Gregory Nazianzus, Third Theological Oration, 1
 
Prayer
Lord Jesus, You know that our lives are but a breath. By Your incarnation You have shared our mortality and saved us from our transgressions. Hear our prayers and quiet our fears, for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
 
For John Meyer, that the Lord Jesus would grant him healing of body and soul
 
For Diva Pilli, that the Lord would guide and guard the hand of doctors that proper therapies would be applied and that the Lord would grant healing
 
For those who are confronted by grief and anxiety, that they would cast their cares on Christ
Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

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