Posts Tagged ‘Fathers of the Faith’

“I spent 16 years of my life as a vocational minister working with college students along with a short stint on a church staff. College students are a lot easier to work with and a lot more fun. Grown-ups live a whole different kind of life and are pretty uptight about a lot of things that aren’t that important. After a messy break from church work, I have entered the work of my second half as a good-for-nothing layman. I say that because I heard a pastor say one time that “pastors are paid to be good, but laymen are good for nothing”. Honestly, I love my new role. The transition from paid minister to every day working guy has been tough because nobody out here seems to know how to balance all the major areas of work, family, faith and ministry. And if they do have it together, nobody says anything. Most folks are just muddling through. The only people who seem to speak consistently into the life of a layman with any authority are the pastors” (The Howitzer).

“For though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have you not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (American KJV).    

Paul, of course, was addressing a local church with many serious problems. And, he being the spiritual father of the Corinthians believers had them under his wing, so to speak. But, there was strong opposition from the enemy. Furthermore, there was a lot of rhetoric being slung back and forth like hash in a greasy spoon in Abilene Texas. 


Good old boys like to talk. But the Lord’s brother, James, states: “let every man be swift to hear. Slow to speak, slow to wrath” (1:19). At a family function, I remember a blunt statement directed to me. “Rick. You just talk and talk and talk.” I thought I was having a good time; I didn’t realize how I had offended this man. But, the more I’ve dwelt on this statement, the angrier I’ve became. Anger led to resentment; resentment lead down a dark road into bitterness.  


truth. What I’m driving at is this: Paul probably heard it all before and probably intended to diffuse a ticking time bomb in the church at Corinth. Here’s my hypothesis.   an element ofTalk is cheap. I know that’s a cliché. In many clichés, there is


If some of those “instructors in Christ“ had matured a degree more, then maybe they could have functioned as a catalyst generating a stronger and more mature faith. Instead something went wrong and sin got loose.    

Paul’s letter is a testament to how bad circumstances can get when spiritual leadership is lacking. There just weren’t enough spiritual fathers to curtail the mounting manifestations of sin. Did they throw in the towel prematurely?    

Here’s another old saying: when the going gets tough, the tough get going. I like that. So many men get mired in pettiness. Somehow we have too many soft men of God. Is that oxymoronic?