Skip to main content

Openly friendly

Titus 3:15 stood out to me this morning. It's the last verse in Titus, and, in Doug-translation, reads like this:

"Everyone here says hi. Say hi to everyone there for me."

Really. Oh, you want a real translation? Don't trust the RefTagger hover point above? Ok…

Titus 3:15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.  (ESV)

See? Unlike most of Paul's letters, Titus doesn't end with a list of names to greet or that send greetings. It's a generic "all of us" to "all of you" finish. Why does this matter? Especially, why does this matter to us?

Paul had left Titus at Crete. I may be missing it, but I don't see a time in Acts where Paul went to Crete, so it was apparently a quick drop-off that fits into the free time of the Apostle Paul. My assumption is a lack of time to build relationships with the church folks there.

So we get this: whoever is there that loves the Lord, we're glad to send a greeting to. Who's glad? All of us that love the Lord.

It's an openness that I'm afraid we don't have these days. Before we'll greet a church or a fellow believer, we want to parse out their doctrines. We want to nail down their positions on social issues. We want to make sure they're "our kind of people."

As a result, white churches and black churches exist. Not "can't get along." Exist. As a result, we have divisions between American Christians and Christians in other places---we don't know for sure that those "Chinese Christians" we hear about being persecuted are really Christians, after all, because we haven't heard their stance on……(fill in the blank).

Can we learn to get over this? I'm not saying we should neglect sound doctrine, for the "unity of the Spirit" of Ephesians 4 is based on the "Spirit of Truth" of John 14: unity cannot cost us truth. Certain things are absolutely true.

However, we need to learn to involve ourselves with others, to open up and trust, and then, if necessary, take the hard step of correction later. If we don't, we will continue to miss the blessing of good relationships and true effectiveness for the Gospel.




Popular posts from this blog

Book: By the Waters of Babylon

Worship. It is what the church does as we strive to honor God with our lips and our lives. And then, many churches argue about worship. I have about a half-dozen books on my shelf about worship, but adding Scott Aniol’s By the Waters of Babylon to the shelf has been excellent.

First of all, Aniol’s work is not based on solving a musical debate. While that branch of worship is often the most troublesome in the local church, By the Waters of Babylon takes a broader view. The starting point is the place of the church. That place is a parallel of Psalm 137, where the people of God, Israel, found themselves in a strange land. The people of God, again, find themselves in a strange land.
Second, in summary, the book works logically to the text of Scripture, primarily Psalm 137 but well-filled with other passages. Then it works outward from how the text addresses the problems submitted in the first chapter into how worship, specifically corporate worship, should look in the 21st century Weste…

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Put Down That Tablet! Exodus 35

Moses assembles the people of Israel at Sinai one last time before they set out into the wilderness, headed for the Promised Land. He gives them a reminder of some portions of the commands of God and emphasizes the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35 link).He also gives the one Biblical mention of tablet-type mobile devices in Exodus 35:3, where the command is given not to use your Kindle Fire on the Sabbath Day. Some of you just groaned. Some of you skipped the one-liner, and others just missed it. I’ll address you all in turn, but first let us address the person who thought this might be the hidden meaning of that command. After all, we are so easily distracted from our worship and commitment by all of the digital noise around us, why would we not take this text in this manner?The quite simple answer is: because it is not about digital devices. In total, the command to focus the day on Yahweh, Covenant God of Israel and all of Creation, and if your device subtracts from your f…