elements of full-time ministry pt. 4
Element #4- A love for orthodoxy (2 Tim. 1:13)
At last, we have come to the end our journey in considering what Derek Thomas calls, the four elements of full-time ministry as is found in 2 Timothy 1-2:2. So far, we have carefully reflected on what it means to be marked by an unashamed fidelity as a Christian, what it looks like to have a heart for the ministry, what it means to lead a life of sanctity, and now we come to the fourth and final element, as Christians we should have a love for orthodoxy.
Paul mentions to Timothy in 2 Tim. 1:13, “Follow the pattern of sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (ESV). To have a love for orthodoxy is to have a craving for sound teaching as is noted in Scripture,
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8 ESV).
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete” (2 Cor. 10:3-6 ESV).
Though these passages may seem, what I call, “theologically militant”, there is an important principle behind them. In order for Christians to not get caught in empty philosophies or “lofty opinions” that are not in agreement with Christ’s teaching, there has to be a right way to believe in the first place. As Thomas rightly notes in his lecture series on an introduction to theology, “We need to crave sound teaching like spiritual vitamins”.
I would suppose then that having a strong love for orthodoxy means a few things. First, as Christians, we need to be in God’s word and learning the truth that is presented in Scripture. Second, we need to apply that truth to our everyday lives so that empty doctrines do not captivate us in any way. The final result in having a love for orthodoxy means that we take what we have learned to also give all the glory back to God for what He has revealed in Scripture. If God had not opened our eyes and brought us to salvation in Christ through the Holy Spirit then we could not even know truth because to know truth is to know Christ crucified (1 Cor. 1:18-25 ESV).
In closing, do not be like the theological downer who has no concern for theology in his life. Do not be the person who wants to be a Christian without the so-called “hard theology” that only brings about arguing. The truth of the matter is that theology is to be Christ glorifying and we as Christians should crave that type of knowledge. To have the thought that theology is only good for arguing is to totally misunderstand the concept. If you are a Christian, have a love for true and healthy orthodoxy. Christ is worth it!