Apologetics 6: 2 Timothy 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 10, 2021 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”
~2 Timothy 2:24-26

Last spring, I was going through the New Testament looking for any Scripture verses that did not make sense without the straight-forward reading of Genesis, and I came across this passage. It did not relate to my study, but it stood out and I knew I had to deal with it. I immediately put it in my notes to write on this and I’ve been chewing on it since. When I started working on this apologetics series, I knew it was time to get into this passage. Then in June, I took a personal retreat and took a more thorough examination of the surrounding context and I was just blown away. I’ll be blunt here: this has been a VERY difficult thing for me to practice. So, in this post, I am writing specifically to Charlie Wolcott, because yours truly needs to hear this message more than my audience. I’ll take as much time as I need to unpack these three verses and the surrounding context because there is a LOT of content here.

I watch “The Chosen,” and I need to give a spoiler here on Season 2. In Season 2, Episode 1, Jesus has been sharing with James and John that they will soon have the power to heal people as He does while they were in the Samaritan town of Sychar. But towards the end of the episode, some Samaritans pass by them and mock them, spitting at them. James and John go after them, all for defending Jesus’ name, and Jesus has to physically restrain them while the two brothers ask Jesus if they could call fire down from heaven. Jesus gives them a stern rebuke and dubs them “Sons of Thunder” at that point. But one thing that caught my attention was how Jesus rebuked them for thinking they were special because Jesus had chosen them, but then He told them flat out that they weren’t special at all. I felt that rebuke.

I grew up in the church and on the mission field. I don’t know what it’s like to be pulled from the mire. I don’t know what it’s like to have been indoctrinated into false teachings and have God rescue me from it. I’m glad He preserved me from that because I would have fallen for false teachings if it was simply “the rule” for when I was growing up. It wasn’t until the last 10-15 years that I learned that Christians do interpret the Bible differently (some cases are legit, but many are not). I was stunned to learn that there were Christians who did not read Genesis plainly (it still baffles me why they could consider this to be a valid option). Yet I am still one of the ones God has chosen for His kingdom work in this generation. That fact needs to humble me more than it has.

When it comes to standing for the truth and for sound doctrine, there are two major categories of people: Pharisees and Bereans. The Pharisees were known for their adherence to sound doctrine, but they totally missed the point of it all. They added their own traditions as equal to the Law, and yet in their zeal to carry on their traditions, they rejected the heart and intention of the main Law itself. The Pharisees are often considered the picture of “legalism” because of this (though Jesus called them out on hypocrisy more). The Bereans were believers who heard Paul and Silas speak and instead of merely taking them at their word, they went through Scripture and tested and searched to see if what they said was true. It is easy to confuse these two, on both ends. It is easy for the apologist to think he is being a Berean and cross the line into Phariseeism. But it is just as easy for someone who is in error to hear a Berean say, “Hey, this doesn’t line up,” and accuse the Berean of being a Pharisee. We have to remember that we can only control our side of things. We can’t control what people think of us or how they read us.

When we deal with apologetics, our ultimate goal and purpose in life is to glorify God. I was taken aback when I heard Paul Washer state in one sermon excerpt that he is not as concerned about whether someone goes to Heaven or Hell as he is that God is glorified in any of it. Evangelism and apologetics in particular have lost their purpose in their role. Today it is about numbers and converts, and for the most part, the Gospel has been watered down to make it more “palatable” to the heathen to make the numbers look good. This is unhealthy. We must do things God’s way, proclaiming God’s message as God gave it, and also in the manner in which God told us to do it. The question that remains is this: is what we are doing glorifying God or not? It only glorifies God if it is God’s message and proclaimed in God’s manner.

After glorifying God, the other primary purpose in this text is that we are to rebuke and teach so that the other person may find repentance. My next several posts will explain how and why the lost are lost, and that will showcase why Paul gives us why we should be nice to the enemies of sound doctrine. But this should be our motive for apologetics: to teach the truth so that people may find repentance. No one embodies this better today than Ray Comfort. You may not like his style or his apologetics, but I don’t know of anyone who longs to see people saved more than he does. Instead, what we end up seeing is, “This is wrong, this must be marked out, and that’s the end of it.” I can see a lot of that in me, hence the need for me to write this to myself. Or we see, “No one is perfect, and we don’t know the truth, so no one should proclaim it as exclusive.” That is just as wrong and marking error without correction than. So how do we deal with all this? Next week, we’ll explore the four characteristics of the lost from this passage as a whole before digging into each one in detail. After that, we’ll look at the Christian methods to deal with them.

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