Paul’s Footsteps #216

Footsteps #216

Please don’t see our reflections on 2nd Corinthians as just a history lesson from Paul’s life. It is preserved for a purpose. There is a tightrope to walk today when we consider our own attitudes to spiritual leadership. The tight rope is walking between being gullibly blind in who we follow and being critically discouraging to genuine shepherds who seek to lead and feed God’s people. The “super-apostles” are not there on the ground when you need them! In my many years, I have seen several good shepherds chewed up and spat out by ungrateful congregations because they didn’t measure up to the flashy leaders in other circles. 

Paul’s “friends” had put him in an impossible situation (12:11) by adopting worldly views on spiritual leadership (12:12-14), withholding their love from him (v15), and making unfair accusations against him (v16-18). Paul regrets having to defend himself, against such disloyalty. 

Spiritual leadership has been a common theme in 2Corinthians. They were putting great stress on oratory, good looks, wealth, visions, and revelations–all worldly measures of spiritual leadership. Paul addresses the issue once more in vs12-14: The things that mark an apostle–signs, wonders, and miracles–were done among you with great perseverance. In effect, Paul is saying in this passage, “My life and my preaching is what I want to be judged by.”  

He does acknowledge the ‘signs’ of an apostle. But the age of the apostles is past! I believe in miracles and the gift of healing, but I have always struggled with the miracle-working evangelists why have great success with psychosomatic illnesses but show no evidence of anatomical healing. Why don’t they do eyes, or quadriplegics, or those with Alzheimer’s? I believe in the gift of healing, not the showy, worldly, give me your money version, but the one outlined in James 5:13-16 with fasting elders, prayer, confession of sin, and the anointing with oil (which represents the Holy Spirit.) The Bible is very clear about the end-times role of the miraculous and how we should approach it with caution (e.g. Matt.24:24, Rev.13:13). Sometimes true faith is having the faith to not be healed and trusting God with the outcome.

No Comments

Post A Comment