Monday, October 27, 2008

When Paul came to Corinth

When Paul came to Athens and Corinth, he found them filled with idols and immorality. The culture of monotheism he had known in Jerusalem was now replaced with rampant polytheism. There were gods everywhere. Women were quiet in Judea but noisy and evident in Achaia. Only men were priests in Judaism, but the temple priestesses were abundant in Corinth. There were nearly 1000 of them, and they knew how to satisfy a man in their worship. In Judea there was a book of divine law, but in Corinth all one need do is keep the gods happy.

When Paul came to Corinth, he came to a foreign culture very unlike the one he found in Judea, where he schooled under Gamaliel as a Pharisee. In Judea they valued righteousness; in Corinth they valued sexual immorality. "Food for the stomach, and the stomach for food!"

The paradigm shift from a Jewish culture to a Greek one was overwhelming. I cannot imagine even the shift from modern to postmodern culture to be any more radical.

Some say, "A new culture should require a new brand of Christianity adapted to the culture, Amen?" So says the "emerging church." The church must change or die, so says all the experts! We have to be postmodern; we have to be pluralistic; we have to stop being judgmental about anything; and we have to stop beating up on sinners with the Bible. We need a new church for a new age!

Paul did not say that to the new Christians he converted at Corinth or Athens or Colossae or Rome. He didn't argue for an accommodation to culture. He argued for the world to conform to the gospel teaching.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

1 Corinthians 11:2 Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

2 Corinthians 4:18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Colossians 2:6-8 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established £in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Colossians 3:1-4 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

As salt, we are to permeate the earth; otherwise we are worthless.

A new church? Paul said there is one church. A new church cannot be the one church Jesus built; it must be different. A new church is not really a church; it is a counterfeit, pretending to be the real thing.

I think I'll listen to Paul and hold fast to the Lord's way.


1 comment:

Matthew said...

I just wanted to let you know that I am going to Castle Rock in Colorado. It is the congregation that we talked about a while back. They asked again and this time I said yes. Just wanted to let you know and thank you for all that you do for the cause of Christ and for the help you provided me. I will see you again when I am in the Nashville area. We have family there.