Last night I was reading about a Zambian priest who has been excommunicated from the Catholic church for ordaining married men to serve as priests. (4 so far…) I was intrigues to hear this because of my heritage and personal conviction as a restorationist. While I was interested in this article, and especially the comments that, “It’s amazing,” he said. “These are people who, because of celibacy, did not advance to the priesthood, and now they want to be ordained.” I couldn’t help but think about 1 Timothy 4 and the scripture’s account of those who would later, “forbid marriage, and the eating of meats”. (for reference, see http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,235777,00.html )
I got to thinking about the theological differences in those who are concerned with simple Biblical truth vs. the machine of Catholic dogma. Is it any wonder that men are coming out of the woodwork to serve in ministry if an archbishop will ordain them while married? In 1 Timothy, Paul warned about this type of attitude, and when a man from the Catholic background shows up to start ordaining them, lots of guys who otherwise would have been priests years before – decide to enter service.
So in a round about way – I got to thinking about that and all the differences in practices, requirements, and qualifications for not only priests in the Catholic church, but also each individual Christian in our modern day. There are some folks who bind all kinds of non-Biblical teachings on believers. Not that I would dare negate any Biblical teaching on specific requirements for holy living, but I would most certainly nail my 95 theses to the door of the cathedral of human tradition and empty pharisaic requirement. I got to reading, and one of the simplest accounts of personal requirement and instruction I’ve found in Titus 3:1-11. (text below)
I particularly appreciate the New Revised Standard’s rendering. 1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, despicable, hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6 This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is sure. I desire that you insist on these things, so that those who have come to believe in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works; these things are excellent and profitable to everyone. 8The saying is sure.
I desire that you insist on these things, so that those who have come to believe in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works; these things are excellent and profitable to everyone. 9But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10After a first and second admonition, have nothing more to do with anyone who causes divisions, 11since you know that such a person is perverted and sinful, being self-condemned.
I love that passage. How simple! It covers almost everything for daily living, and it even touches some doctrinal things such as, faith only vs. works, its allusion to baptism and empowerment for daily living by the Holy Spirit, and dealing with a divisive brother. I pray that this archbishop keeps on the trek toward a more Biblical path. I applaud his boldness and disregard of his excommunication. Wasn’t Martin Luther excommunicated for his bold stand on simple Bible truth? Not that he had it all perfect either, but he was on his way. Which of us has it all figured out?