Tuesday, July 25, 2017

3 John

In 3 John we see another pervasive problem in the church. Whereas 2 John warned us to reject false teachers, 3 John exhorts us not to isolate ourselves. It is an appropriate companion piece, because that is the most common overcorrection churches fall into in trying avoid false teachers.

There are too many churches that, in an effort to stay true to the way they understand Scripture, won’t associate with other churches. The slightest of doctrinal disagreement has them branding others as heretics and non-believers. For John, there was a core doctrine that mattered. As long as churches embrace the apostolic doctrines on Jesus and the Gospel, they should be seen as partners in God’s mission. Sometimes, though, more than mere doctrinal issues are in play.

John speaks against a bad leader named Diotrephes. He appears to be like so many bad leaders, hungry for power and influence, and he refuses to support outside leaders or any other men who might, unintentionally even, win the admiration of his flock. Just as we individual believers are not meant to live in isolation, but in community with other followers of Christ, so too are local churches not to isolate themselves.

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