“Teach and urge these things.
If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.
He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.”
The term “fighting fundamentalist” has become a pejorative used to disparage and ridicule naïve literalists who hold the Bible to be the Word of God.
Consequently, evangelicals often shy away from doing anything that would make them appear overly firm in defence of the Faith or even somewhat aggressive in pursuit of the truth.
It is often true that evangelicals want to be acceptable to the elite of the religious world, though they don’t necessarily wish to jettison their faith in the Bible as the Word of God.
Let me state for the record that I am a naïve literalist when it comes to the Word of God.
I accept that God said what He meant to say.
It is not my job to make His words palatable for modern sensibilities; I am responsible to declare the truth He has given, warning lost people to flee the coming wrath and urging the righteous to stand firm in the Faith.
Undoubtedly, that makes me a Fundamentalist in the eyes of many.
However, as with many labels, the term covers a multitude of sins, meaning pretty much whatever the one tossing about the term wants it to mean.
If I am to wear the label, I should at least be able to define what I mean.
To be a Fundamentalist should mean that I hold to the Fundamentals of the Faith.
Ideally, the term means that I accept Jesus Christ as very God and very man.
It means that I am convinced that He gave His life as a sacrifice for sinful people because of mankind’s inability to rescue themselves.
The term means that I am convinced that the Son of God conquered death and is risen from the tomb.
To be a Fundamentalist means that I know that Christ the Lord has ascended into Heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father.
As a Fundamentalist, I am certain that by faith in Him, the Risen Lord of Glory, that anyone is set free from sin and brought into a right standing with God Himself.
To be a Fundamentalist means that I believe that Jesus the Son of God is coming again to take His people to Himself.
Perhaps most importantly, when I say I am a Fundamentalist, it should mean that I am convinced of these precious truths because the Bible is God’s authoritative and accurate Word.
This Book is infallible and inerrant, and it is the basis for faith and practise.
To say that I am a fighting Fundamentalist requires a bit of explanation, not because the term is difficult, but because the term has been seriously distorted.
I don’t go looking for a fight; but I am in a fight.
I am a man of peace, seeking peace with all people.
However, as I stand firm in this most Holy Faith, I know that the truths I hold will prove offensive to those who are opposed to the Master.
Tragically, church members who want the comfort of the pew without the cost of the cross will whimper, whinge and whine that I am attacking them when I declare truth.
Outsiders who know the truth, but who are unwilling to embrace truth, will attack me as if that action will free them from the conflict of their own conscience.
Though not seeking the opprobrium associated with the term, I became a Fundamentalist.
Without seeking conflict, I became a Fighting Fundamentalist through standing firm.
If you have convictions concerning the Christ and concerning His Word you will soon be known as a Fundamentalist.
As one Fundamentalist of a bygone era stated, “If you want no trouble, don’t say anything, don’t do anything, don’t be anything.”
As the Master has warned, “A man’s enemies will be the members of his household” [MATTHEW 10:36 NET BIBLE].
The strongest opposition to holding convictions often comes from fellow believers.
I worked closely with the wife of a denominational leader on one occasion.
On the board which I chaired were three Christians, each individuals of stature within their denomination and within their respective churches.
This woman was one of those believers.
When opposing action from the board which I found to be morally doubtful, I framed my opposition by stating that I held Fundamentalist views.
Peggy remonstrated with me, “Oh, Mike, don’t say that; it is so offensive.
Don’t let anyone know you are a Fundamentalist.”
Her view was that the world would be amenable to almost any action so long as believers were prepared to make concessions morally and ethically so that we could work in concert with those perishing together with this dying age.
Her position did not differ significantly from that of numerous denominational leaders I have known over the years.
One such leader informed me, “You could pastor any of our largest churches if you would only be more reasonable in your sermons.
If you were not so combative, people would flock to hear you.”
This is precisely the Pharisees’ complaint about Jesus.
That is the same thing the Judaizers said to the Apostle Paul.
May God deliver us from such compromise.
I do not urge you to be pugnacious; but I plead with you to know what you believe and to know why you believe.
I urge you to stand firm in this Faith.
I will encourage you so long as God gives me opportunity to turn from the easy path to embrace the rigour of this manly Faith.
I insist that God seeks courageous men and women who will not yield in matters so vital to eternal salvation.
*IMPERATIVES FOR PASTORAL MINISTRY* — “Teach and urge these things.”
All that has preceded the missive to this point!
Let’s review so we are all on the same footing.
Summarising all that Paul has said to this point leads to the conclusion that he is focused on oversight of the congregation.
The Apostle’s primary concern has been insinuation of false teachers.
In fact, it was his concern for their infiltration into the community of faith that was his initial focus in this missive.
“As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.
The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
“Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted” [1 TIMOTHY 1:3-11].
The instructions Paul delivers continue in what should be seen to be eminently practical.
Lead the congregation to be a praying church.
Follow sound order, appointing only those qualified to lead as elders.
Seek out gifted men and women to provide service as deacons and within the Order of Widows.
Know that you will never be in the majority in society, for society will become progressively corrupt as the end of the age nears.
Be godly in your own walk before the Master.
Seek peace with all people.
“Teach and urge these things!”
What is obvious from Paul’s instructions is not only that the elder is to act responsibly in doing the various things named, but he is to “teach and urge these things!”
The elder is to teach and he is to urge listeners to honour God through adopting these various acts.
Paul stresses the act of preaching throughout the two letters to Timothy.
Follow his train of thought.
As mentioned moments ago, Paul opens the letter by reminding Timothy that he must charge people “not to teach any different doctrine” [1 TIMOTHY 1:3].
The Apostle says the overseer must be “able to teach” [1 TIMOTHY 3:2; 2 TIMOTHY 2:24].
Beyond this basic requirement for eldership, the elder is charged with the responsibility of seeking out faithful men in order to teach the truths that Paul has provided through this letter [2 TIMOTHY 2:2].
Underscore in your mind that the means by which an elder equips disciples is through the ministry of teaching.
This brings me to consideration of the act of preaching in this day.
Contemporary preaching appears to be based on several models that are at best secondary in the Word of God.
Seminaries and Bible Colleges train pastors to function as administrators; and the expectation of church boards is that they are hiring an administrator rather than preachers.
The board acts as sort of a corporate board and the pastor is viewed as an ecclesiastical CEO who is hired to fulfil the expectations of the business-minded board—he serves at the pleasure of the board.
Again, preachers are trained to be counsellors.
There seems at times to be incredible effort to create pulpit psychologists to help people deal with their problems coping with life.
If I heed the emphasis of modern pastoral training, we pastors are responsible to equip people to live a trouble-free life now—parishioners are to be comforted and comfortable with life now.
The philosophy of church goers in these latter days appears to be “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” [ISAIAH 22:13b].
Modern church goers are accurately described by Isaiah when he writes,
“‘Come,’ they say, ‘let me get wine;
let us fill ourselves with strong drink;
and tomorrow will be like this day,
great beyond measure.’”
I do not wish to disparage the work of administering congregational activities or of providing wise counsel for people who are struggling to know how to respond righteously to life’s challenges.
However, the first priority of the man of God is to “preach the Word!” Pastors must always remember the apostolic admonition that is given to the man of God in the last days.
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” [2 TIMOTHY 4:1-5].
Take note that Paul issues multiple imperatives incumbent upon the man of God.
First and foremost, the man of God is to be a herald—a preacher proclaiming the Word of God.