wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among
them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his
deeds which h does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content
with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who
wish do, putting them out of the church." --
3 John 9,10.
Iranian hostage crisis, a TV news series was called: "America held hostage".
It showed how a few fanatics with a few weapons were virtually holding the
most powerful nation in the world hostage. It was a trying time for our
government's officials. If the nation gave into their demands, it would
encourage them to more such actions. If it acted against them without
meeting their demands, someone was bound to get hurt ¬maybe innocent people.
There seemed to be no good solution.
news tells us of new instances. Some at home. Some abroad. A few zealots
demanding that the world dance to their tune - or else. One shutters at what
might happen if such ones rose to the top in some powerful nation. Perish
was a spiritual terrorist who held the church where he was a member hostage.
He loved preeminence. Somehow he gained the control of the church. The
results are well known. He opposed the apostles. He refused to receive those
sent by them. He used malicious words against them. He was not content with
not receiving faithful brethren, he forbad others from doing so. If they did
he put them out of the church. Can you imagine what it must have been like
to have been a member of that church? Can you imagine the tension that must
have existed? Brethren would almost be afraid to breath for fear of crossing
everyone who loves preeminence has the ability to gain control of the church
like Diotrephes. One may not have enough power and support to put anyone out
of the chinch. He is not qualified for real leadership or scriptural
oversight. (If he were he would not love preeminence or be self-willed nor
would he want the kind of power he now desires). He or she can still, to a
great degree control the church by holding it hostage with an ungodly
temperament. Other members live with the constant threat of trouble or
embarrassment if his demands are not met. Often brethren will meet his
demands to avoid the scene he can create.
business meeting several options (authorized under generic Scriptural
authority) for doing the Lord's work may be discussed. Brethren try to
decide which option is the most expedient for this time and place. It is
obvious to all present that one method is likely the best choice for them.
Obvious to all, that is, except Diotrephes, Jr. He must exercise his power
of objection. If the method is not the one he suggested, no telling what he
might do or say. He might threaten to go elsewhere. He knows no church likes
losing a member. He might just sit back and take verbal pot shots at those
who are working the option adopted by the brethren. He might just pout and
dare anyone to try to involve him in the work.
may unilaterally decide on a course of action for the church. He may be
unable and/or unwilling to reasonably try to persuade the church of the
validity of his judgment. He simply tells them what he thinks they ought to
do or not do. He usually couples his demand with a threat - either stated or
something is his idea, then he will work his head off for it. If not, then
he finds ways to hinder the work. If brethren want his cooperation and/or
avoid trouble, then they had best follow his recommendations. All too often,
brethren will give into his demands to avoid the hassle.
sport a few brethren is nit-picking. Legitimate constructive criticism,
properly discussed with those who can help and be helped it, is good. This
is not what I am talking about. Capable, but sensitive brethren are
discouraged from preaching, teaching, leading singing or some other work
that needs doing because of such nit pickers. They know the price they will
have to pay. If one does accept a work, he is constantly aware that anything
he says or does could be a target for the nitpicker. So, the work of the
church is held hostage out a real fear of being picked apart by such
Let us have
more "fellow workers for the truth"
like Diotrephes who seek attention and power - even if it means controlling
the church by pettiness. The Bible does not teach that a congregation should
be ruled by majority vote - nor, does it teach that it should be ruled the
whims of some sorehead.
by Edward O. Bragwell, Sr.
What Can God do?
Undercover Agents for Christ
Reformation or Transformation?
Be Careful With the Blame
Is Unrestricted Loyalty a Virtue?
A New Dogma
How to Raise a Heartache
The Right Baptism
For Past Auburn Beacons go to:
Anyone can join the mailing list for the Auburn Beacon! Send
your request to: