Titus – Week 3(a) – Titus 3 (Politics and the Church)

This week we will conclude our discussion of Titus. Please read Titus 3 for Tuesday night. Please remember that we are not meeting next Tuesday. The Tuesday afterward we will begin a discussion of Love based upon excerpts from Soren Kierkegaard’s “Works of Love.” The excerpts are attached and are taken from a compilation of the spiritual writings of Kierkegaard called the Provocations (pp.91-122).

Titus 3 may be one of the more relevant passages of Scripture we will read between now and next November. Echoing Romans 13:1-7, Paul says to be submissive to the governing authorities. (v.1). Regardless of your thoughts on the last several American presidents, no leader within our system could compare to cruelty of the contemporary Roman emperors. Nero (54-68) killed Peter and Paul, Vespasian (69-79) destroyed Jerusalem, and Domitian (81-96) carried out the first directed persecution against Christians. These were not good people, and yet Paul instructs Titus to be obedient. I am certain we will discuss the limits of this obedience on Tuesday.

Within this same list which begins with obedience to the governing authorities Paul tells us to “speak evil of no one, avoid quarreling, be gentle, and show perfect courtesy towards everyone.” (v.2) Because this list of appropriate conduct begins with the political, it is only logical that all of the list relates to the political. Self-righteous indignation about politics simply has no place within the Christian community or within the Christian himself. Those outside of the church will be foolish, slaves to passions, and spend their days in malice and envy, hating one another (v.3), but not us. When we allow the politics of the empire to infect our community, we are no longer following Jesus, but the powers of this world. The appropriate Christian attitude was best put forth by Sen. Bob Dole in his concession speech: “The President (Bill Clinton) was my opponent and not my enemy.”

Dinner is at 6. The menu is bacon cheeseburgers. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here.

Lex iniusta non est lex (An unjust law is no law at all), St. Augustine, On Free Will; St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica; Martin Luther King, Jr. Letters from a Birmingham Jail.

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